Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This is November

We're finally having a traditional November. It's cold and frosty, and the world is rapidly losing its fall colors. But that's okay, now it's time to rest from our garden labors. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day when the U.S. stops for family time and feasting, while remembering to be grateful for our abundance. But it's only this week that it really feels like November. Last week was a different story.

Autumn arrived late this year, and slipped in on cat feet. The weather stayed mostly warm and pleasant, and the flowers stayed for an extra long visit.

There were a few chilly mornings, but the lightest of frosts soon melted away into sunshine. It left us all with plenty of time to complete our fall chores. Leaves were raked up, vegetable gardens cleared away, and bulbs were planted.

At the end of these chores, I was able to rest on the patio with my iced tea as if it was still summer time. Yes, I was barefoot. In November.

But the sad ending was that within twenty four hours, I was wearing my winter coat and gloves, with snowflakes in the air. It was brutal. I've lived my life in Michigan and Ohio, and I'm used to drastic weather changes. And yet that one was especially harsh. So it goes. November is supposed to be cold and drab, but we had fooled ourselves into thinking that winter wouldn't come this year. While we avoided the snowstorms seen in other areas, it was still an unwelcome change.

Since I knew this change was due to arrive, I savored those last warm days. I took pictures, and wandered through the grass barefoot one last time for this year. I marveled at summer flowers still blooming. I picked tomatoes, and had them for lunch. And I wore my flip flops one last time. Now it's time to hunker down and start planning next year's garden with an afghan on my lap and hot tea in my hand. Rest, it's not so bad. And yes, all of these photos were taken in November, in Ohio!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Autumn in the Park

It's been awhile since I updated my blog, so when I went to write up a new post today, I couldn't decide whether to talk about how my garden is still growing in November, or to show you my annual autumn trip to Chestnut Ridge. Both are worthy subjects, so I'll start with a perfect day in the park, and sometime soon I'll show you my still lovely November garden. The weather has been quite strange this fall, so all of the colors are later than usual. Peak color happened at the end of October into early November, which worked out great for me since I was on vacation in mid October when it usually arrives. I thought I was going to miss the best parts of fall this year, but that has not been true at all.

Chestnut Ridge is a favorite spot of mine, and I really do like to visit it several times throughtout the year. But it's in autumn that it really shines. I never miss a visit this time of year.

Last year at this time, I posted from this same spot as I contemplated my upcoming knee replacement surgery. It was a frightening thing but had to be done, and I knew I was in for a trial. I was correct, of course. There was a lot of pain, illness and hard work, but the end result has been fantastic. It truly did give me my life back.

One of my goals at the park this year, besides taking pictures of the fall colors, was to once again hike up to the top of the ridge to see the city skyline off in the distance. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't see this view as much as I had in the past. Perhaps the trees grew too tall, or maybe it was just the haze and smog obscuring my view.  But the colorful trees against the blue skies made up for for that lack. And my sense of accomplishment was through the roof. I did it! A year ago, I could barely hobble around the parking lot at the park.

After my hike, I wandered down to the pond for more photos, of course. Usually the colorful trees are reflected in the water, and I was not disappointed. I often sit here for quite a long time, just watching the glory that is autumn in Ohio. This day was particularly quiet, even though the park was full of other visitors. It's almost like a cathedral for those of us who worship the outdoors.

I'm sure we all marvel at the colors of autumn, and the leaves that swirl about our feet. But I have a favorite type of tree this time of year, and at Chestnut Ridge, there are several of them. Sweetgum trees seem to show their fall finery in every color at once, so I gather an assortment of them for this photo each autumn. It was the ending of a perfect morning, but lunch was calling me home. I think I should go back again soon before the leaves all fall. Housework can wait, I'm sure you all agree.