Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Lovely Tuesday Ride

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Sunshine warm with blessing, not burning
Goldfinches weaving a web of flight
Mosquitoes refreshingly absent

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After a week of blisteringly hot and humid weather, the temperature swiftly dropped over the weekend into near-autumn. Skies cleared to a bright blue, the wind veered north for a refreshing two days, and suddenly we realised that summer's end was near.

For the nature lover, the approach of autumn is imbued with a sense of nostalgia. We look with fond eyes on familiar leaves and flowers as we do on loved ones who are about to leave on a long journey. Soon they will be gone; it will be months before we see them again, and their beauty seems suddenly very brief and very precious.

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It's a beautiful Tuesday afternoon as I set out on Iris the vintage bike, with camera (and turtle) tucked into my jersey pockets. The sun is like a blessing on my back and the katydids are singing in the marsh.

Daisy fleabane still dots the roadside, busy with bees making honey while the sun shines:


Clumps of helianthus stand about scattering sunshine:



And goldenrod is everywhere. (It's been blooming for a few weeks now, but I haven't wanted to admit it. Goldenrod means Autumn - and I'm not yet ready for Summer to end.)


Swallows look southward and think about the long flight to come:


Some of the cornfields are very dry already (we've been short on rain since July):


Clouds of tiny blue asters have appeared in the ditches, with blossoms about 3/4" across:


Very Large Thistles (perhaps Bull Thistles?) stand well over my height and hold up pale mauve blossoms against the blue sky:


The bees are busy here, too, sucking the last drops of summer sweetness:


Cow parsley has put on brown for autumn:


This cornfield still looks green and lush:


Back on the bike and around the corner to chase my own shadow up the road...


...and take my own photo:


(I like the road line reflections in my sunglasses.)

Some huge, unidentified piece of farm machinery rumbles down the road towards me...


...scattering hay as it goes. (A tractor with tedder attachment perhaps?)


Up hill and down, through sunshine and shade, around several corners, and heading back towards home.  I spy some New England Aster peeking out of the trees to my right, and stop for a photo:


(These blossoms are larger - nearly 2" across - and more reddish-purple than the tiny blue asters of the previous photo.)

A few miles on, we pass a large thistle gone mostly to seed. Thistledown covers the ground, and Tallulah asks for a closer look.

"My friend Marigold says thistles taste great," she remarks. "But these are kind of dry and flavourless."


"Try a blossom," I suggest.


"Well? How does it taste?"

"Prickly!" says Tallulah. And sneezes.

One last shot of downy thistles against the blue, blue sky...


...and we head for home.

A very lovely ride - warm but not hot - and full of flowery end-of-summer joy.

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40 comments:

  1. That you can identify all of these lovely wildflowers is a wonder to me! I still see a children's book about Tallulah in your future. We got an inch of rain yesterday, by the way. Still no cool weather like where you live. Is there a "cool weather dance" I need to try? ;))) Linda

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    1. Thanks very much, Linda! We could do with some of that rain up here....

      As to the wildflower IDs, I usually have to look up some of them at the end of my rides. It's a slow process but I am learning more of them each year. :)

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  2. It seems that we are having exactly the same weather here in Pittsburgh suburbs :)
    And I would like to paraphrase last line of your lovely poem, moving it a little bit indoors, to my kitchen:
    Fruit flies refreshingly absent

    :)

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    1. Ah, what a relief when the fruit flies go away! :)

      Have you tried trapping them in a little bowl of vinegar with a few drops of dish soap added? They love the vinegar, fly in to get some, and the soap kills them. (Cruel but necessary.)

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    2. I just set the trap up today. It is very necessary, because I have a pig pot of apple and pear butter bubbling on the stove. They worship it.

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    3. Hope it works - it seems to take a few days to get all the little buggers.

      Apple and pear butter sounds scrumptious! :)

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  3. You are so blessed to live in such a lovely place. :)

    I always love it when you take us along on your ride...so much fun! :)

    Sending you blessings always sweet friend.

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    1. Thanks so much, Vicki! I am very behind on blog visits, so please excuse my temporary absence ... shall hop over now to catch up on your latest doings. :)

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  4. Beautiful picture of the bull thistles! Looks like you had a very nice ride.

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    1. Thanks Dee! It was a very lovely ride. :)

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  5. You have the bull thistle I've been wanting to dye with!!! Ours all fried a month early. And you have goldenrod! Another great dye plant!!! (Although I've yet to try that one...)

    So glad you still have some riding weather. I hope you get a bit more...

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    1. We've got lots of bull thistle - come on out and pick some! ;)

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  6. Lovely post, Sue ~ the last photo of the thistles agains the deep blue sky is gorgeous! Tues. and Wed. I was out taking photos of some of the same flowers. Autumn is my favorite season ~ but just by a little ~ I love them all. I am certainly looking forward to snow and winter fun. Have a good one!

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    1. Thanks Louise! Colorado has some great wildflowers for sure. :)

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  7. Such a lovely bike ride at this wonderful time of the year. I like seeing the swallows getting ready for their big departure. Nice shot of the dried cow parsley against the sky. These are the days we shall remember when the winter winds are howling and the snow flurries are swirling in all directions!

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    1. Isn't that the truth ... I will be missing the warmth and the freedom. On the other hand, cold weather is conducive to crochet. :)

      Thank you Sandra!

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  8. If you see Autumn can you send it here? I need a break form the heat and humidity. Beautiful pictures today.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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    1. Thanks Mere - I'm afraid Autumn bounced away again and we are back to the hot stickiness. But it won't last for long - our first frost is probably only a few weeks away. (Gulp.)

      :)

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  9. I too am clinging on yo the last days of Summer Sue, our sky has been a perfect blue like yours. Loving your photos and looking good on your bike xox penny

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    1. Thanks Penny - I am glad to hear that your weather has been tolerable! :)

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  10. It has been very strange weather here, hot, cool, humid, nice. I would be happy if we just has the same weather for a couple of days. BUT ant day with sun is a good one in my book.
    Thanks for all the pretty pictures on your rides.

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    1. Hooray for the sun! I feel just the same.

      Thanks Beth. :)

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  11. That looks like a maize header to me, maybe out to cut that yellow field.

    The weather has notably changed here, but can't really put my finger on it somehow. Tallulah reminds me of Eeyore when they try to find something he likes to eat, he wasn't keen on thistles either.

    Lovely bike ride, it must be refreshing to not have the searing heat, I know itis for walking. Our big walk is just a week away, and is getting scary now!

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    1. Thanks for the ID, Faith - it makes sense as he had just turned out of a cornfield (but not the one in the photo).

      Hope your walk goes well! :)

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  12. What a lovely late summer adventure, and such beautiful golden light. Love the perspective on your cow parsley and those busy bees among the flowers.

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  13. another great ride together..how many calories did I burn with you?

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    1. Gosh, I don't know - who counts calories?

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  14. It seems to have come to a close all too quickly Sue.....maybe not for you, but it really doesn't feel time for Autumn!!
    Love all your pics, particularly the thistle down against the blue, blue sky.
    I can imagine you are enjoying the cooler temps and the beauty around you. Talullah makes me laugh, she's such a character.....
    I have just come inside for a cold drink and a break from the whipper snipping. Sunny day, with a light breeze makes it easier to get out and garden.......
    Enjoy your weekend,

    Claire X

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    1. That's right, Summer is still ahead for you Down Under! Looking forward to some zinnia pics.... :)

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  15. Hey!
    Lovely bike ride with you!
    I wonder about that farming machine that you met on the road. Could it be something that picks up hay bales and then throws them (well, places them I guess) upon a trailer? Only it is covered in hay and those roundy bits look as if they could pick something up...it is a mystery to me!

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    1. Me too, but I think Faith may have got it in one when she said "maize header" - what we would probably call a harvester. :)

      The roundy bits look very fascinating when detached from the tractor and standing up - they make me think of a lace design.

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  16. Such wide beautiful blue sky--ah! I love it.

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  17. The weather has become truly autumnal here too over the last week. Chilly enough in the evenings to light the fire! Already!! It seems too soon. Summer just flew by.
    Your photos are very beautiful and you captured the purple of the thisles perfectly.
    Rosie

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    1. Thanks so much, Rosie - our weather has warmed right back up again, but I know that in a few weeks our evenings will probably be as cool as yours. Enjoy your fires! :)

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  18. It's been a while since I popped in on one of your lovely bike ride posts ... I wonder how many miles you've cycled since you began these?!

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    1. Good question - I have never kept track until this year. (I'm just over 1300 miles for 2013.)

      :)

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  19. Sue, please take Linda's comment to heart...a children's book with your Miss T Turtle and some of your fabulous photos...identifying flowers...self published perhaps. Pray about it, please :)
    Gracie xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Gracie - I have seriously considered starting a Tallulah blog, but right now I can't keep up with my own! The flower idea is an interesting one....

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