Thursday, October 15, 2020

Golden Days

October started out chilly, with several frosty nights. On Sunday the 4th, I took a walk to the prairie restoration project to see how the woods and fields were looking in their autumn dress.

Oak leaves carpeted the start of the path...

...which then skirted a cornfield, all dry stalks and tassels rustling in the breeze:

After crossing another field, the trail led through a second small wood before opening out onto the restored prairie:

Dried flowers stood amongst the native grasses:

Frost-proof asters were blooming in pale lavender...

...and deep saturated purple:

A chestnut tree (I think) shone softly bronze:

Mysterious seedpods stood up from the dried grass:


The next day began a balmy period of sparkling days in which the very air seemed golden, as if filtered through the deepening yellow and honey of aspen, oak and walnut leaves. Sugar maples, not to be outdone, held up branches like flame against deep-blue autumn skies.

On Thursday the 8th, I rode my bike to work on the kind of morning that gives October a good name. The church on the corner was flanked by maples dressed in scarlet and orange:

Outside of town, birch trees shimmered under a pale half-moon (which looked much larger in real life):

I took a little detour to visit a favourite stretch of maples:

When I reached the river trail, the wildflower killer mowing machine was hard at work on the wide verge (alas for the last blossoms sheltering in the tall grass!):

Hours later, I captured my shadow on the ride home:


On Saturday I walked downtown to pick up our weekly consignment of eggs. The maple trees on the corner were still ablaze:

Back at home, I lingered outside, enjoying the sunshine on the gloriously golden walnut tree towering over the garage:

A sparrow landed on the roof and posed for a photo:

And I couldn't go in without snapping the bouncing patch of volunteer marigolds next to our door:


On Sunday, the sun disappeared behind a thick blanket of cloud, taking my cycling mojo with it. Instead of riding, I took a walk to the park, along sidewalks covered with a confetti of leaves:

This superb aster was blooming at the lake's edge:

At the park entrance, mums were glowing in yellow and apricot:

A few steps farther on grew bright Virginia creeper:

Our village park sits on a small peninsula, with a lake around it and a pond in the center. The edge of the pond has been planted with native wildflowers, including milkweed (gone to seed here):

And aster, purple and white:

Maple and pine trees line the park road, making for lovely autumn collages like this one:


This week has been rainy and windy, tearing much of the color from the trees. The walnut tree behind the garage is now bare:

Geese and sandhill cranes are gathering on local lakes and in harvest fields, preparing for the long flight to come. The balmy air is gone, and there's an icy bite to the wind.

Tonight we are forecast for below-freezing temps and widespread frost. Earlier in the month, I covered my tomatoes and herbs on frosty nights, hoping to keep them going for a few weeks longer. But now it's time to yield to the inevitable.

This morning I picked all the remaining tomatoes, harvested what I could of the chives and thyme, and heaved one last sigh for the lost summer.

Any ideas for using these green tomatoes?

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Monday, October 5, 2020

A Belated Farewell to Summer

Hello bloggy friends and readers! Happy October to you all.

Summer is well and truly over in Wisconsin. After what seemed like weeks of grey skies and heavy rain, we've now had several nights of frost. Soon the green and growing things will fall asleep for the winter, but in my photo files the flowers of August and September still bloom.

I'm sorry to be so late in posting these. After getting my book published, I fell into a long creative slump which included photo-editing burnout and a deep reluctance to write. (The state of our nation didn't help.) Now that the book dust has settled, I hope my blogging mojo will return.

So today's post will be short on words, and heavy on flowers - but that's a good thing, right? :)


From left, purple loosestrife, nodding onion, and ironweed, all growing along the Wisconsin River:

Found on country roads, clockwise from left, whorled milkweed, horsemint in bloom, flowering spurge:

Clockwise from upper left, knapweed, Queen Anne's Lace, wild chicory with red clover, Butter-and-Eggs (yellow toadflax):

A short evening ride with Mr. M, our shadows flying before us:

The photos in the next three collages were all taken on one glorious late-August ride, in which I found oodles of flowers.

Clockwise from upper left, wild sunflower (with Pennsylvania leatherwing beetle), boneset, cattail with purple loosestrife, Joe-Pye weed:

I was thrilled to find an entire field of prairie blazing star:

Also seen on this ride, clockwise from upper left, water hemlock (I think), goldenrod, pale pink thistle, and spiderwort:

Late in August, I rode to work one morning under soft clear skies...

...and rode home that afternoon with the sound of thunder ringing in my ears (just made it before the massive storm broke over our village):

The last ride of August included pumpkins in a field, pussytoes bursting into bloom, and Amish barns under blue-and-white skies:


Evening primrose, aster, and my own shadow along the river trail:

On a quiet road, a hint of the color to come:

Late September brought more colorful trees, lavender aster, and golden soybean fields:

One last photo, taken from the car on the last day of September, when a stunningly vivid double rainbow arched over the town where I work, fading and reappearing several times. I caught the last of it on my drive home that evening:

Next week I'll post some (more timely) October photos.


I hope you're doing well. If you live where there are fires, may you have protection and clear air. If hurricanes or storms have passed your way, may your home be intact and free from flooding. If you live in an area of conflict and unrest, may you have peace and safety. May all of us stay as healthy as we can, and willingly take care to guard the health of those around us.

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