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October 15, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Snow geese arrive in the Skagit as sunny October woos you to farms

Look for snow geese like these, making an early arrival now in the Skagit Valley. (photo by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times, 2012)

Look for snow geese like these, now arriving in the Skagit Valley. (photo by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times, 2012)

Snow geese have arrived early in the Skagit Valley. Is it a sign of a harsh winter to come? Are the caterpillars extra furry? Or does it just mean the geese like our mid-October sun breaks?

Haven’t measured the caterpillar dreadlocks, but I did spot a farm field of white — with bobbing, goosey heads and an occasional wing flap — in the distance from the Dike Road, just outside Mount Vernon, on Saturday.

Friends who live there confirmed the arrival of geese, though they don’t expect trumpeter swans until November. (Swans hang out across the road from their Britt Slough farmhouse; when their college-grad son visits he complains that their honking keeps him awake.)

We spent the day up there pressing homemade cider from bushels of apples our friends harvested from three old trees behind the house. We had no idea what types of apples they were; some were reddish, some were green, some were a bit of both. We just piled in whatever was washed and ready for the press. With no recipe whatever and no added spices, the cider was tangy, sweet and delicious. It made for quite a day of seasonal jolliness, with spottings of V-formations of honkers overhead.

(Did you know you can rent cider presses? Here’s where. And be sure to read the safety instructions on how to make cider that won’t make you sick.)

A frog perches on a pumpkin at Gordon Skagit Farms. (archive photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

A frog perches on a pumpkin at Gordon Skagit Farms. (archive photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

If you prefer your cider ready-made (but still from local Skagit apples), head for Gordon Skagit Farms, on the McLean Road, where you can get fresh, hot cider on a cool October day. While there, pick out your favorite Halloween pumpkin and other seasonal produce — they claim 63 varieties of pumpkins, squashes and gourds.

Looking for other outings on this week of October sunshine? Don’t let it go to waste. Here’s a list that includes all sorts of Halloween events, including farms ready and waiting with corn mazes, pumpkins and other produce, all over Western Washington.

And remember to honk if you see a snow goose. (But not with your car horn. They need their rest after the long flight from Siberia. Maybe roll down the car window and say “honk, honk” in a quiet and welcoming way.)

0 Comments | Topics: apple cider, Halloween, harvest

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