Perfect Fall Days, Leaves, Paws in the Park, Mineral Springs Flora, Deer Season & Safety Precautions

The rain began to taper off on Sunday, but it sure rained on Fall Arts in the Park on Saturday. Since then, its been drier and cooler, with mornings in the fifties. We’ve had two or three perfect fall days, the kind that make you feel glad to be alive. There’s some color in the woods, mostly dogwoods and maples, and just this morning, the oaks are starting to show a bit of red. I’ve blown leaves once, and will need to do it again very soon. It’s always a guessing game, but the peak of the leaf color will likely be the third – or perhaps the fourth – week of October.

The Mesquite Grill is open in the old KFC location. This is apparently a chain based in Georgia that advertises authentic Mexican cooking. Apparently, they also have a full bar. Online reviews have seemed positive, but I haven’t gotten a first hand report from anyone I consider knowledgeable yet.

In Blue Ridge, Paws in the Park is October 17th from 10:00 – 2:00. The parade of animals starts at 10:00 at the corner of East Main and Church Street. There will also be a rabies clinic, microchipping, a 5K run, and the Mutt Mile.

I’m told the new park on Mineral Springs Road  is coming along nicely. The North Georgia Master Gardeners have identified and labeled some of the plants in the park and compiled the following list:

Climbing Hydrangea/Decumaria barbara, Kudzu (INVASIVE), Mountain Laurel/Kalmia latifolia 30’, Christmas Fern, Per., Cinnamon Fern, Per., Chinese Privet (INVASIVE), Muscadine/Vitus rotundifolia, New York Fern, Per., Sourwood/Oxydendrum arboretum 25-30’, Sweetgum/Liquidambar styraciflua 60-75’, Poison Ivy, “leaves of 3 let it be”, Greenbrier/Smilax rotundifolia, American Beech/Fagus grandifolia 50-70’, False Solomon’s Seal, Per., Southern Magnolia/Magnolia grandiflora 30-50’, Mountain Laurel, Sweet Woodruf, Per., Multiflora Rose/Multiflora rosa, Wild Ginger, Little Brown Jug/Shuttleworth’s Ginger, Common Sweetshrub/Calycanthus floridus 6-9’, Tuliptree/Liriodendron tulipifera 70-90’, Serviceberry “Sarvis”/Amelanchier arborea 15-25’, Sweet Azalea/Rhododendron arborescens 8-20’, American Holly/Ilex opaca  40-50’, Whorled Loosestrife, Trillium, Spleenwort, Partridgeberry, Post Oak/Quercus stellate 40-50’, Northern Red Oak/Quercus rubra 60-75’, Hickory/Carya (Ka’-ri-a) 60’+, Hearts-a-bursting/Euonymous Americana, Sourwood, Eastern Redcedar/Juniperus virginiana 40-50’. PARKING AREA: Joe Pye Weed, Alder or Black Alder/Alnus glutinosa  monoecious ( both male & female flowers),  Flowering Dogwood/Cornus florida 20’.

Gun season for deer comes in this Saturday, October 17. That’s a good weekend to stay out of the woods, unless you are in an management area that is closed to deer hunting. Georgia has a very long deer season, with the last day being January 10th . (The north zone season is the same as the south zone this year.) This is the season for both private land and the national forest, except that the season ends December 26th in the Chattahoochee National Forest. The seasons in the management areas are different, with occasional deer hunts punctuating much longer periods of small game hunting only. If you’re planning to go for a hike, I recommend that you visit a WMA (Wildlife Management Area) that is not having a deer hunt. You can find the schedule here:

If you look at the Cohutta (out Old Hwy 2), Rich Mountain (near Cherry Log), and Blue Ridge (out Doublehead Gap Road) WMAs, you’re likely to find one that isn’t having a deer hunt at any given time. I would not go into the woods anywhere without a blaze orange cap, which you can find at almost any gas station or hardware store. Do not wear or use anything white, like a handkerchief. It could be mistaken for the underside of a deer’s tail.


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