We are easing into that time of year for the fall and winter holidays. Strenuous for some and a celebration of joy for others. I have little work to do this year other than shop for gifts. Thanksgiving is being done mostly by others. My expectations are low which is a peaceful place to be. So, I am going to go to my happy place and enjoy the wonderful fall weather we are having and select a blessing each time I snap the shutter.
I am blessed to have the time to follow the birds and plants and their changes on this land as they head down for a long winter's sleep or at the very least slowing down.
I am blessed that the rain this year has come at all the right times and pretty much in the right amounts.
I am blessed to be where I am and still be able to reach the river down the small hill when I want. I am blessed to still be able to get in and out of a canoe.
I am blessed to have these giant oak trees as friends that put on such a show throughout the year.
And I am blessed to have to rare hawk stop buy to shop for food. Have a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving!
When I bought and planted this sugar maple tree, I was told that the climate warming changes to my state meant that the tree would really struggle as the winters became less lengthy...and perhaps less cold. I was told this was not the place to plant such a northern tree. I did not care because I just love how this pioneer catches fire each and every fall never failing to warm my soul. Please note that the colors in these photos are what the camera was able to capture with no color boost!
I spend cold spring mornings gathering blossoms that seem artificial in shape with their large petals in sunshine colors. Summer has an abundance of blossoms in all shapes and sizes. Fall includes the daisy-shaped blossoms of asters and mums. Then it all changes as I collect the sugar maple leaves that have been scattered across the distant lawn. They soon curl into crinkly pieces of parchment, but the glow does last for days.
I am alone this month. All alone. No demands on my time and a schedule of my own making. I ate leftover pizza for early dinner and then made my way down to the river for a chance at capturing a fall sunset.
The oaks hang on to their leathery leaves until the last. Tonight will be a big wind that may tear away some of these beauties. Temperatures will drop a few degrees.
The gulls are taking advantage of the last calm evening for a while. They cry and laugh and look like white flags swooping over the river from my vantage point at the house. When I get down to the water's edge a few stay behind out of curiosity, perhaps.
All is unusually quiet. No workman on the house across the river, no boats creating waves and wakes, no barking dogs. It is as if "they" are mourning the departure of summer and looking for autumn and getting ready for a change. It is marvelously peaceful and I sigh. I am alone and not alone which is the best of pleasures.
I like the way the rough bark on the old cedar captures shadows as the sun heads downward. It is strong and handsome and protects the smaller oaks from the stronger winds.
The saltbush is now in its white fuzzy glory, throwing fairy wisps across the water when the wind picks up. While I do not get a beautiful sunset, I enjoy the evening quiet until it is past dusk and I slowly head up the gravel path to the house. I surprise and am surprised by a yearling deer that is crossing the path. He stops framed by the trunk of the beech tree, as do I framed by the last of the light from the water, and we assess each other in admiration before we both move on to our different paths.
The sun continues to move to the left as it sets at the mouth of our small inlet from the larger river. Most days there are no clouds in the pale blue sky to catch the dwindling rays of that orange orb and create a jaw-dropping sunset, but the angle of the sun as it bounces off of the water is, in itself, a lovely event. Let me share. Below the sun reflects off the water to shine upward through the drying dogwood leaves in the early part of the sunset.
Then as the shadows darken, the water still hangs on to the last bit of golden light as if in a departing lover's embrace.
The saltbush has begun to lose its feathery seeds and is the last to kiss the sun goodbye. While the air is mostly cooler now and I pull my jacket closer, the image is of warmth through my camera lens.
I am one of those gardeners that want to squeeze the life out of the growing season by making sure something is blooming throughout the months until that first freeze. I have found that in late February I get started with the Lenten roses and move through the spring with bulbs that turn bold yellow faces to the winds and showers. My summer beds show lots of traditional flowers as well as traditional bedding annuals. Then comes the fall. In early fall which is our mid to late September, I get the asters. Huge bushes of starry flowers that reach out across my walkway and crowd against the boxwood. They attract the smaller and larger bees but not too many butterflies. They have no fragrance, but their abundance is glorious.
Once the starry blossoms close their heads I then look forward to my chrysanthemums, which also have no fragrance. I bought four new varieties this year to fill in some bare spaces where other perennials passed on. (I have no idea why my font changed here!)
That last one in the photo above is my favorite with such a rich autumn orange. I pinch these back in August or whenever they want to bud so that I get a later autumn bloom and bushier plants. They still have to be staked. Yes, sometimes the ones you buy from the nursery in fall can be transplanted, but only the sturdy ones make it through my winter, so I get mums in the spring and plant them out at that time. Then in November, everything except the pyracantha berries and a few trees loses their color and slumber until the next season.