Thursday, September 17, 2015

Almost Autumn

The last few weeks have been a mini-rollercoaster of weather - from extremes of hot humidity to a week of chilly socks-and-sweater days and where-are-the-extra-blankets nights. Now it's warmed up again - Summer's last gift before Autumn officially kicks off next week.

Life has been extra-full, with magazine projects (and an article!) due, extra hours spent covering for a co-worker on leave, and a brief but extremely painful dental interlude which put everything else on hold for a few days. All this has left very little time for cycling, but last Sunday I was finally able to get back on the bike.

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It's been two weeks since I've ridden, and I can't wait to see what's blooming as Summer winds down into Fall. The brief week of cold weather has discouraged the goldenrod and finished off many of the other late-summer flowers, but I'm counting on plenty of aster.

And here are the first, thronging the roadsides in palest lavender:


A favourite silo:


A tiny, brilliant knapweed blossom shines from a recently-mown verge:


Lichened bridge railing over a brown stream flowing between almost-autumn-tinted banks:


Frilly white patches of Queen Anne's Lace...


...mixed with one of the many varieties of wild sunflower (another member of the Aster family):


Across the road, some deeper lavender aster (these are Azure Aster or Prairie Heart-Leaved Aster, Aster oolentangiensis Riddell):


And at the end of this road, the loveliest aster of them all (in my opinion) - Smooth Aster (Aster laevis var. laevis), like tiny bits of sky fallen into the ditch:




A few miles more, and we reach a favourite marshy corner. Next month, these black waters will reflect the fire of maples turned red and gold by frost, but today, the reflections are still mostly green:


At the edge of the water blooms an Evening Primrose:


Around the bend, the cornfields are turning from green to gold under the deep blue sky:


More asters grow here - a very large, deep-pink variety (I think these are New-England Aster, or Aster novae-angliae):


At our feet, Tallulah notices a humbler plant - it's Burdock, bearing prickly blossoms:


Back on the bike, it's time for a shadow shot:


We pass a favourite shed, and snap a photo to remember it by (in case it falls down over the winter - it's slumping a little more each year):


A few miles on, I see several pairs of turkey buzzards flying over the fields and woods to my right. I turn down a side road for a closer look, and soon they begin to circle overhead, back and forth and around, getting a little lower each time. They're huge, dark, and a bit sinister. (In fact they remind me of the flying Nazgul in Lord of the Rings.)


One by one, they begin to land in a tree about 25 yards away. They're facing me, and obviously watching to see if I'll move. There are nine in all (just like the Nazgul - this is getting creepy).


It's rather unnerving to be watched by these huge carrion birds. They make me think of desert treks across endless sands, of men fainting for lack of water, collapsing under the pitiless burning sun as the circling buzzards descend to peck and tear at their....

High time I moved on to more cheerful places and thoughts! By now there are five birds in the tree - all staring straight at me - and the other four are preparing to land. I resist the urge to look over my shoulder as I pedal away.

Miles on, I spy yellow blossoms growing in a marsh. It's too late for kingcups - what can these flowers be?


They're obviously a member of the vast Aster family, but growing straight out of the water. I'm not sure I've ever seen that before. Research identifies them as Nodding Beggar-Ticks, or Nodding Bur-Marigold (Bidens cernua). Another one for the wildflower list! :)


Only a few miles to go now. I stop for one last aster photo - a very tiny variety, similar to Daisy Fleabane.


(But are they asters after all? I just found a link which suggests they may be False Aster or White Doll's-Daisy, Boltonia asteroides.)

So many flowers, so little time. The wildflower list continues to grow - as of today the total is 135. It's bound to slow down soon; we usually get our first frost before the end of September. But for now the sun is shining and I'm looking forward to the weekend and the chance to ride again.

I hope the sun is shining for you too, wherever you are.

~

P.S. The next installment of Binding Off Knitted Projects with a Crochet Hook will be up in a few days. :)

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22 comments:

  1. What a lovely bike ride, and it's nice to see so many flowers still. I'm sorry about the dental interlude, it sounds excruciating. But great news to be busy with magazine projects and an article. Well done you! I hope you have a good weekend, with some time for relaxing. CJ xx

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  2. As always, a beautiful and interesting bike ride. I love the variety of wildflowers you find, especially all of these aster types. They're so simple and pretty. I hope your dental situation has been resolved by now, those are never a good time. Thanks for sharing another lovely ride. Take care and have a good weekend.

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  3. It's amazing how many of those flowers look so similar but are different. Sorry about the dental thing.. I am dragging my feet at making an appointment for a few things that need to be fixed.. no.. please.. no.. wah. We are having a cloudy day with sunny interludes. It's 71 d. outside! OK.. back to work on my wedding afghan. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  4. As always great flower pictures. I rather like turkey buzzards, wait, let me amend that, I like the way they ride the thermals and soar around. My sympathy on your dental work, I have to take tranquilizers in order to visit the dentist.

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  5. What a fun ride! I loved all of the flowers and the birds too. I'm sorry about the dental woes. I can definitely sympathize with you. I hope your weekend is a love.y one.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  6. I love your beautiful late-season flowers! We just returned from Teton, where it might be snowing again tonight ( yes, snow yesterday!). No more flowers there!

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  7. In all your busyness I am glad you made time to go cycling again and share it with us here, Sue. I am always amazed by what you see and how you capture so many beautiful views. Yesterday my oldest daughter and I were out in the yard and were startled to hear a riot of chirping going on in some of our pine trees. We couldn't see who was chirping and wondered what the racket was all about until my daughter spied several hawks stealth gliding high above the pines! I'm hoping you will be free of more dental woes and that your work projects will be a pleasure to complete. xx

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  8. I am visiting from CJ's Above the River. Thanks for sharing a wonderful bike ride, I really enjoyed your photos. Cx

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  9. Thinking of those buzzards... I really like them! And I want to say a few words in their defence. They are not Nazgul. They don't kill. They aren't cute, that's for sure, but someone has to clean the world. Please like them. They deserve it! :)

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  10. Lovely ride and pictures, too. I always love seeing your pictures. :) Looking forward to seeing what your hook has been up to lately! :)

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  11. Lovely catch up ride. GOod for you for a new WILDFLOWER. Im sad to see summer go, but I love autumn.

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  12. What a lovely ride. I agree that the smooth aster is especially pretty. The nazguls are incredibly sinister aren't they? i hope it is a long time before you need to endure more dental work. Poor you. Juliex

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  13. Asters are awesome, that's what I think, But I suspect that we don't we have as many wild varieties as you seem to in Wisconsin.

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  14. I enjoyed the ride Sue thank you for sharing your lovely pictures. The magazine projects sound exciting, I too have had a painful dental interlude hopefully it will be resolved at the end of the month. Have a great weekend. :) xx

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  15. So glad you got out on your bike after such a crazy week. Wisconsin in the Autumn is beautiful, even just the beginning of Autumn. Hope your mouth is feeling much better now,
    Meredith

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  16. I agree with Annie, we don't have the wild varieties that you have. The colours are so intense aren't they?

    Bidens Cernua is rather wonderful too. What is the flower in your header - it is very pretty?

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  17. Dear Sue..as always it is so good to see the beautiful wild flowers in your area, and to know that your rides are so filled with wonder.
    Congrats on the magazine project. Hope the teeth will be happy and comfy soon.
    Love,
    Ellen.

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  18. Lovely photos, you have such beautiful wildflowers - the colours of the various asters are wonderful.

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  19. The flowers are really beautiful. I've never seen evening primrose in real life.

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  20. Aren't these wonderful days? :-)

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  21. Your hats look gorgeous! I have done I don't know how many Piceas because my child tends to loose a lot and I was looking now for a pattern for glovers.

    Would you consider posting one to match the hat?

    I also need to do a sweater. Could you recommend me a crochet stitch for that?

    Big hugggg! And many many thanks for so many pretty things posted!

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    1. If by "glovers" you mean fingerless gloves or mitts, I don't think I could do a matching pattern right now, because the hat is still under copyright to Interweave. But you could easily make some for yourself by using the band pattern as an edging, and working a simple tube of stitches (hdc or Stretchy Star), leaving an opening for the thumb.

      A stitch for a sweater - that's a difficult question. It would depend on the yarn (weight and type), and also what kind of look you were going for. If you have yarn already, I would suggest going on Ravelry and looking up projects that use that yarn. You can refine the search to "sweater" or "top" and see what comes up. This should give you some ideas. :)

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