Glimpse of a shady forbidden wood
Asters like pale lavender stars
Soybeans turning from green to gold
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After a brief brush with Autumn, the weather has gone back to feeling quite summery. But the angle of the sun, and the early changing of leaves here and there, remain to remind us that the warmth is temporary.
Sunday is cloudy and damp, about 70º, with a mild east wind of 9-10 mph. If there's a cycling equivalent to dragging one's feet, it's what I am doing today. A bursitis flareup, achy muscles, and horrible allergies have sapped my enthusiasm for exercise of any sort. Today's ride is undertaken in the spirit of "I don't want to do it, so it must be good for me." :)
A tree at the edge of town - bigtooth aspen? - is also feeling stressed. Its leaves have all turned brown round the edge:
(I remember this tree doing the same last year.)
Tall shrubs on this road are dotted with red and black berries. A Google search reveals them to be Buckthorn:
As with many flowers and shrubs that particularly catch the eye, Buckthorn is considered an invasive species.
A few miles on, the road is fringed with lovely dried grasses that bend and sway in the breeze (especially when I'm trying to snap their photo). I think they may be wild oat:
Cheery clumps of asters have popped up all over. These have blossoms about an inch wide:
Goldenrod usually grows in a jostling crowd, but I pass a few snobbish plants (with particularly impressive blossom heads) standing on their own. Here's the biggest of them:
On the next plant but one, a bee crawls very slowly over the tiny flowers. He doesn't seem to mind the camera poised an inch away; is he drugged with the scent? (Actually I'm not sure goldenrod has a scent.) Or maybe he's tired from a long week of pollen-collecting.
Creeper on a wire gate:
Sheep barn - but where are the sheep? (Inside taking a Sunday nap, one presumes.)
Just up the road from the sheep barn is our egg supplier's house, where live the pedigreed pigs destined for gustatory fame on the tables of Madison's finest restaurants.
There are five of them in the barnyard, and when I stop to take their photo, they all crowd up to the fence, as close to me as they can get, and stand quietly looking at me. (Perhaps they expect a treat, but all I have for them is kind words.)
Adieu to the piggies and on up the road, past a favourite oak:
Then a sudden stop, for I spy tiny apples growing at the edge of a thick wood:
Adorable apples, about 1-1/2" in size, with a rosy blush on their cheeks. I thought I knew all the wild apple trees hereabouts, but this one I have never noticed until now.
More surprises on this road: what I always thought was honeysuckle turns out (after more Googling) to be grey dogwood. Just now it is loaded with miniscule white berries on coral-like red stems:
The orange berries on the left have me completely stumped. An evening spent combing the internet yields no matches (Pyracantha seems closest, but the fruit looks wrong). Any botanists out there who can help?
Climbing towards the high prairie, looking back on cornfields under heavy grey skies:
And one last shot of a soybean field, caught in the act of turning gold:
A damp cloudy ride, but I'm glad I took it. A few months from now we'll be snow- and ice-bound, and then I'll be pining for the open road. I should enjoy it while I can, right? :)
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