Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Rides

I have so many blog posts bouncing around in my head - crochet posts mostly, but others too - yet somehow they're just not getting written, or finished. This is partly due to time constraints, and partly to a tedious habit of perfectionism that can sometimes almost paralyze my creative output.

But here's something I can write about without having to think too hard....

~ ~ ~

Though still summer by the calendar, the thermometer says it's fall. Nights have been cool - some very cool indeed, in the upper 30s. We've yielded to the inevitable: put on socks and long pants, rooted out the jackets and scarves, and added blankets to the bed.

Daytime temps are still moderate (for the most part), allowing me to ride in shorts and jersey. The air continues clear and lovely, with the bright blue skies peculiar to autumn.

A week ago Monday: a morning ride, and a favourite barn.

Around the next corner, wild sunflowers are thick on the verge. Have you ever seen anything so cheerful?

A mile or two later, I am on the lookout for some pale blue asters, which always bloom first on this particular stretch of roadside. And here they are, right on schedule:

They're quite small, and delicately lovely:

More miles, then up, up, up a hill, across the top, and ready to descend the other side, into a favourite valley:

And that's all the photos for this particular ride.

~ ~ ~

Sunday, late afternoon, Tallulah and I hit the road. A strong cool wind is blowing, but the sun is still warm enough for shorts and bare legs. I will make vitamin D while I can....

"I hope you realise," remarks Tallulah, "that I'm breaking the wind for you."

"Thank you, Tallulah," I gravely reply. "I do appreciate it. And I think perhaps 'blocking the wind' would better express your selfless action."


A favourite bend in the road:

Shadow shot!

Riding at this time of year has a sort of valedictory feel. Nature is winding down, bringing a sense that colder weather is coming, that the cycling days are limited. Between last Monday's ride and today's, there's a marked difference in the number and appearance of wildflowers. Cool nighttime temps have killed off many varieties; even the ubiquitous goldenrod has suffered. I feel the urge to photograph all the flowers I can, while I still can.

Thus it is that I stop in the middle of a steepish climb to shoot some mysterious white blossoms growing in a shady spot well away from the verge. I've seen them here for a few weeks now, but have been reluctant to pause for a photo due to the aformentioned steepness of the hill. Today I figure I'd better shoot while the shooting's good - who knows when the frost may come?

The wildflower book identifies them as White Snakeroot. A member of the aster family, this plant contains a toxic chemical that can cause a sickness in cows, which can then be passed on through their milk to humans. (Apparently this sickness has is no longer a concern, thanks to modern feed and processing capabilities.)

At the top of the hill is a tempting stretch of wildflowers that have escaped the chill breath of pre-autumn, including thistles still vibrant with colour...

...and one or two perfect red clover blossoms. I'm very fond of red clover, a humble wayside flower that has an exotic beauty when viewed up close:

A lone Salsify, gone to seed, shows lovely delicate bones:

This Queen Anne's Lace has already curled up for the long winter's nap:

It's not just flowers that survive on this sunny hilltop: skeeters are busy stinging through my shorts (little buggers) while I dally amongst the blossoms. So it's back on the bike and down the hill, so fast the skeeters can't follow. We fly across the valley and up another hill, then turn onto the high prairie, where clouds march in formation across a September sky while drying corn stands to attention below:

Soon we turn another corner and head back down to the lowlands, through stretches of wood where the shade is cold, making me long for home and warmth. I'm working out a crochet problem in my head as I go, and the miles fly by. Roast chicken and potatoes for dinner tonight....

A good ride.

Two good rides, in fact. :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. Hello Sue, how I loved sharing this ride with you....makes me want to get on my own bike too.
    Your photos are beautiful . Many of the wild flowers I recognise, but not all and I'm wondering what skeeters are?
    Thank you for sharing
    Jacquie x

    1. Mosquitoes. They like me much more than I like them. :)

  2. What a beautiful ride, it's lovely out there at the moment isn't it. Wonderful flowers still as well. CJ xx

  3. You really live in a beautiful part of the world. Your pictures are gorgeous, I would love to join your bicycle rides. At the moment the weather here in Germany is fine as well, sunny and warm in the daytime and low temperatures in the nights. Enjoy your days, Viola

  4. Can't get much more cheery than those sunflowers, you're absolutely right. I love that you know your roadsides so well that you anticipate what will be flowering and where.
    I'm pretty sure that perfectionism is handy in pattern writing.......though a bit tedious for you it has it's benefits for everyone else! And not so good if it stops you from starting - good luck! Juliex

  5. As always great pictures, particularly the last one of the clouds about the cornfield.
    I envy you your cool temperatures. It was 73 and humid when we got up this morning, that was our overnight low.

  6. The wildflowers are just beautiful and your photos are truly breathtaking. I especially love the shot of the Salsify. I did have a "snort" at your cautioning Tallulah regarding her comment. She's such an innocent, or perhaps not?

  7. Nice photos! Yes, you have to love sunflowers and their infectious cheer. I like your shot of the Salsify skeleton too. I think Snowcatcher and I need to pay Wisconsin a visit. One of my mountain bike mags has an article on riding Wisconsin's Northwoods. It looks quite nice. An autumn road ride may be bristling with color as well.

    1. You know we would LOVE to see you both out here. Please do come!

  8. Beautiful photo's as always Sue, I love seeing them, those flowers are so cheery, it's sad that winter will soon be upon us, enjoy your rides while you may. xxx

  9. Sunflowers always make me smile, and yours brought a much-needed curve to my lips today! We just experienced our first mid-day descent of the season that needed arm warmers, but alas, we didn't pack them!!! Didn't expect to need them for a couple more weeks!

    Good that you're getting those flowers while you can. It truly won't be long now...

  10. I just love that you are working out a crochet problem as you cycle!
    Great inspiration

  11. So happy to see the bright wildflowers. It is nearing the end of them this year I fear. Thanks for sharing.

  12. You have a great eye for photography. Love that big, fat bumblebee!

    I can't believe how fast the cool temps are reaching you guys up north. We are still in the 90s during the day and the 80s at night. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather. I want to start running outside again.

  13. Gorgeous! I can't believe you're already down to the 30s at night. I am whining here because it's going into the low 70s and I am just.not.ready for the cold. You are made of sturdier stuff than I.

  14. I think it's so cool how you can take us along for your ride and we feel like we've gone even though we're enjoying your account from our easy chair. LOL! Love the flowers you found and the curves and old barns.. just delightful. I added your blog to my list and thanks for adding mine to yours.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  15. Oh what a lovely ride! You are living in a fantastic part of this world. With sunflowers and old barns!
    Love that!
    Have a wonderful weekend

  16. The skies in these pictures are just gorgeous! I love all these close up pictures of flowers too. When we slow down and look close they are so varied and remarkable.

  17. I can smell the air and feel the coolness. Lovely images! Hot as heck still here. Afternoons at 3 pm when we leave school are unbearable. I've dreaming of cooler weather for sure. I've not been blogging much either. And although I keep crocheting, I don't give anything away because I like gifts to have a theme and a purpose and when I can make it all come together, I don't do anything, which I've got to get over. I have so much that needs to find a new home. :) Have a great weekend. Tammy

  18. What a fun ride! So loved seeing all the lovely flowers. Now I really am wondering what is on your hook....I love reading about your riding adventures, but I also love reading about your crochet adventures, too. :) ((hugs))

  19. You do live in a beautiful part of the world. We have been out in the wilds too, in weather that has been unseasonably warm and sunny, but most of the wild flowers up in the hills where we were seem to be over. I'm actually starting to look forward to the autumn cool, 24C/70F is a wee bit too warm for mid September.

  20. Gorgeous photos. My favourites were the one of the salsify and the last one of the clouds above the corn fields. Good to hear you're still able to get out cycling. I love this time of year - there is so much changing from week to week.

  21. So nice to see the lovely September flowers on your outing! Thank you for your visit to my place! As for conkers, I purposely didn't talk about conkers on strings which the children of my generation used to play. I couldn't bear to make a hole in my own beautiful conker collection and hit another conker until it broke!

  22. What a beautiful post! Thanks for taking us along on such a lovely ride! xo

  23. I love the sunflowers, they look like my Yellow Daisies on my local monadnocks!

  24. Love how you paint such a beautiful picture with your words Sue and as always the photos are wonderful.
    The bee in the Red Clover is just gorgeous and the Salsify and Queen Anne's Lace are so interesting.....
    Love to read about the change of season on the opposite side of the globe.

    Claire x


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