Colors of the Autumn Season

November 4th, 2007

    The beauty and colors of Autumn are amazing.  Simple contrasts, sunshine, a gentle breeze…  a boy with his stick and a dog… playing, trying to catch leaves and laughing.

Fox Haven in Autumn

In late afternoon the trees almost glow in the fading sunlight.

 Oak tree in November

We try to hold on to the rich hues of the landscape, yet it lasts only weeks each year. 

Beautiful Oak Trees in Autumn

Soon it will be time for the leaf piles!

Sneaking Up on the Heron

October 26th, 2007

A couple days ago we had a visitor to the pond…  a Great Blue Heron.   They don’t come by very often, mostly in the spring or fall for a few days.  And I am not a fan of the Heron beyond their beauty, grace and sometimes ungainly nature.  Why?  Because they eat fish!  Normally I wouldn’t haven anything against a bird eating fish, but the Herons that visit are eating my fish!  The fish that I stock, feed and care for… and well, sometimes I eat them myself. 

The Heron doesn’t care what kind of fish, or even if they can swallow the fish.  They will grab a fish and if it’s too big?  Just leave it on the bank and go for more.  In the spring I found a huge Bluegill that the Heron couldn’t swallow laying on the bank half dried up.  And of course I have some smaller Koi that this giant spear of a bird would love to eat.  So generally I try to scare the Heron away, and they try to sneak back when I least expect them. 

But this time I managed to sneak up on the Heron!  It was down by the pond, and warily looking around.  I saw that it was behind a tree, and slowly crept to the pond with the camera, keeping the tree between us.  The Heron’s head turned from side to side, sensing something was happening… then it moved out from the tree to get a better look…

Great Blue Heron behind an Oak tree

 “Awwk!”… it saw me and leapt off the bank in fright, flying out over the water as I snapped a few pictures.   It looked like a giant kite with a neck and legs!

 The Great Blue Heron jumps off the bank taking flight

Then the Heron flew out over the pond and away into the trees.  I don’t know if it ate any fish on this day, but its neck looks kind of full and I haven’t seen my little Koi around… :0 

Great Blue Heron flying over the pond 

And the leaves are really falling everywhere now, especially into the pond where they gather in the corners on the surface of the water.  Isn’t the kaleidoscope of color neat? I like the green White Oak leaf resting in the middle.

Colorful Autumn leaves floating in pond

Trees, Leaves and a Sunny Breeze

October 24th, 2007

    Certain days in October feel so energizing to me.  The cool mornings and warm afternoons seem to provide an incentive to get a lot done outdoors.  Plus it just feels good, and looks nice with the colors and changes after a long, hot summer.  In some ways, I wish the fall season would last longer… maybe six months of fall and six months of spring!  Hmmm… doubt there’s anywhere quite like that is there?  Yesterday started out so cool, about 45 degrees F, but  then warmed up into the high 60’s.  The leaves are falling more and more each day, especially if it’s windy.  But in late afternoon the wind was just a gentle breeze with the sunlight filtering through the trees and around the pond… one of my favorite views.

 October afternoon with the sun on trees and pond

The Yellow Lab enjoys wandering around while I do chores and take pictures.  I finally completed burning a large pile of brush.  It rained quite a while the day before, so the forest and grassy areas were wet, and the air was calm.  But the dog just played nearby the whole time.  He found a green walnut and threw it into the air, amusing himself for a good half hour.  He wanted to swim in this picture, but we just stopped by to check out the leaves in the water.  There will be a lot more soon!

The leaves are falling into the pond 

I dumped some of our grass and leaf mulch pile over the garden fence.  This fall we will put a lot more leaves into the mulch pile for next year.  Hopefully the garden will really be enriched over time.

Mulch from leaves and grass piled for the garden

Not Quite Autumn Yet

October 15th, 2007

     Can you believe it’s already the  middle of October?  I’m amazed how fast time seems to pass… almost without realizing it we are well into the Fall season.  But you wouldn’t know it from the warmer weather, and how the trees and shrubs are hanging on. The week ahead looks fairly warm as well, and we still haven’t had our first frost, thankfully!  I’m enjoying the flowers and lengthy growing season this year.  Perhaps it makes up for the late Spring freeze that nipped so many trees and shrubs.  But there are changes taking place, especially among the woodland shrubs and trees.  The leaves are just beginning to fall and make their annual carpet on the ground.  The color change is just beginning as well, but some of the trees remain totally green, hanging on to their “photosynthetic bounty.”  

A Red Oak leaf falls gently into the water, and floats slowly across the pond.

 Red Oak leaf floating on water

Farewell my green friends- the leaves of the trees provide so much… shade, privacy, peaceful shadows, whispering sounds and simple beauty.  As they change and fall away, we slowly enter the still grays of winter. 

Green leaves of the Oak trees before the color change in October

Flowers at Summer’s End

September 19th, 2007

      Many flowers have begun blooming again.   This week is warmer, but probably the last very warm week of the year.  A fitting tribute to summer’s end perhaps.

I found this beautiful apricot rose open at sunrise.

An apricot rose blooming in September 

The butterflies love the sedum plants in flower. 

What a neat plant… drought tolerant, easy to grow, beautiful in flower.

 Pink Sedum blooms everywhere in late Summer

And below is Sweet Autumn Clematis in full flower.  It’s very beautiful, and very fragrant.  Almost reminds me of Jasmine.  Some say this plant can be invasive and escape from the garden to the surrounding borders and forest.  We have not experienced that in the Zone 5/6 weather, and the plant is at least 5 years old.

Fragrant white flowers of Sweet Autumn Clematis

Speaking of invasive, I know these are wild Morning Glory flowers, but they are growing everywhere!  They seem to appear when you least expect them.  This one is growing around a small shrub, claimed by the drought and heat this summer.  There’s something about them I like…

Wild Morning Glory vines are everywhere

     It doesn’t seem like Summer should be coming to an end for the year.  Yet I see the light has a special color to it in the mornings and evenings, the droning of insects in the trees has grown quieter, and the birds seem quieter too.  I heard a Phoebe yesterday, but he’ll soon be gone, as will the Hummingbirds.  Everything has it’s season, and it’s time for Autumn.

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