Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Roads

Brrr! October was cold this year. It began with heavy rains, and ended with surprising snow - but there were sunny days, too, as you'll see in the photos below. Cycling gave way to walking this month, the garden was laid to rest, a birthday was celebrated, and there was more surgery for the Aged P.


First Half of October

Early in the month, when temperatures are dropping and frost is imminent, I find a beautiful visitor in the garden, soaking up the warmth of the sun:

Possibly a Question Mark butterfly? (see what I did there?)

Later that day I take a ride, on which I see some goats (and not much else):

A few days later, another small winged visitor is spied in the garden. Word must have gotten out that members of the lepidoptera community are welcome here....

By the second week of October, nighttime temperatures are plummeting. Time to gather in the last of the harvest:

Basil, thyme, chives, tomatoes, and serrano peppers

The herbs go into the freezer to flavor our winter meals; the tomatoes sit on the counter, being eaten as they ripen; the peppers go into the fridge, where they'll keep until Mr. M uses them up.

Thursday Evening Walk to the Park

A week later, on a still, cool evening, I walk to the park to see what I can see.

Asters going to seed, with satin-smooth lake behind:

More asters, still in bloom:

Sun setting fire to the maples:

Pine needles raked into orderly rows by the autumn winds:

Acorns on the ground:

A pink cloud admiring its own reflection:

An improbably scarlet maple leaf:

And milkweed fluff curled like an 18th-century wig:

Birthdayish Drive and Walk

Rain falls on my birthday, but the next day is sunny and clear, so we celebrate with an autumn drive and lunch at a favourite restaurant.

Our table is between two windows. Here is the view from one of them - an old building draped with Virginia creeper:

And here is the view from the other - the Wisconsin River:

After lunch, we take a short walk on the trail at the river's edge. There we see garden art:

A bike repair station, fully equipped with air pump, tools, and multi-use stand, for the needs of passing cyclists:

A sandbar covered with gulls:

Mysterious flowers along the trail - some kind of jewelweed, perhaps?

Back in the car, we take the scenic route home, through woods growing golden with autumn maple:

We round alluring bends in the road:

Pass meeting-places filled with memories:

We meet a friendly dog lying in the road, who very much wants to get in the car and go for a ride with us, but his owner won't let him:

I fall in love with a lonely bit of rail fence:


The day is so beautiful that when we get home, I head out for another walk.

The maple trees at the church-on-the-corner are all shades of red-gold and green:

Around another corner, down a little-used trail, treasures of the woods are waiting to be discovered.

I don't know what this strange growth is...

...but the beetle on top seems to be saying, "It's mine, all mine!"

A platter-like fungus sprouts from a fallen log:

Brilliantly-colored Large Milkweed Bugs swarm on a host seedpod:

The trail passes by a lake that shimmers softly under gauzy veils of cloud:

Back in the woods, an empty walnut shell:

Suddenly a deer steps onto the path ahead of me. We both freeze, staring at each other. I turn on my camera and take several photos, but the deer doesn't move. Finally I take a few steps forward, and only then does the deer jump away. I walk on smiling, feeling ridiculously privileged at the encounter.

The last bit of trail leads past a marsh full of dried wild grasses:

Last Week of the Month

Birds glimpsed in a tree near the parking lot at work:


Later in the week, I take what may well be the final ride of the season. It's 50 degrees out, which should feel balmy, but there's a bitter nip in the wind.

The road curves past fields of drying corn:

Around a corner or two, the trees close in. Fallen leaves and pine needles line the verge:

Oak trees are red in the sunshine:

And a canopy of maple delights this tree-lover's eye:


Two days later, we wake to this:


This morning, on the last day of the month, more snow is falling...

...and temps are well below normal for the time of year. Are we in for a Long Winter?


In other news, The Book is very near the end of the pattern-editing phase. Next will come project photography and technical illustrations. Slow but steady wins the race (I hope).

Here are some recent class projects I designed for work:

Still the best job ever. :)


Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate it, and happy nearly-November to all!

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019


...was eventful.

From mists and mellow fruitfulness, and flowers for the bees, it progressed to surgeries for the Aged P, and scary medical news for a most beloved family member. There was a lot of crying and praying. While the tears have (mostly) receded, the need for prayer remains.

Writing isn't usually a problem for me, but tonight the words don't want to come. So I'll just post my photos, with a few captions, and hope for better things next month.

Hoary Vervain

Rowan berries - this is the only rowan tree I've ever seen here

Sandhill cranes transitioning from brown summer plumage to grey winter plumage

Can you spot the cranes in the mist?

Beggar-ticks, a member of the aster family

The fields are changing colours

Serrano peppers in the garden with cycling laundry in the background

Verbena and marigolds in the garden

The last sunset of the month

My goal for the 2019 cycling season was to ride over 1000 miles, something I haven't done since 2013. Tonight I passed that mark. I'm so grateful for my bike, for the beautiful Wisconsin countryside, and for the health to ride.

I hope you had a lovely September.

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