Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Arrives

White ash -- a hardwood favored for baseball bats.

The Summer that I Thought Would Never End is over.
We celebrated the Autumn Equinox last weekend, so it is officially Fall.

But that is not what put an end to the Summer that I Thought Would Not...
For the past month or so, the weather has been much cooler. Not just cooler, but downright chilly at times. Now I wait until late in the morning to head to the garden -- so that it will have warmed up a bit.

Virginia creeper climbs a walnut tree.
Rain remains scarce, but the cooler temperatures mean that plants transpire (lose water) much less than they do when it is hot.

The woods surrounding me are rife with color. Red flames climb many of the trees... red flames that are Virginia Creeper, mostly. I am glad that only a few of the vines climbing the trees are poison ivy. However, Poison Ivy burns lower, at the edges of the woods. Both are a wonderfully rich scarlet.

The beautiful orange-yellow of what I have now identified as a white ash tree glows among the yellowing green of the elms and walnuts. As the leaves begin to fall from these trees later in the season, the oaks and sycamores and others will put out their autumn colors.

Poison ivy in its autumn glory.
The hours around sunset are gloriously beautiful. I have made a point these last few days to wander out at about that time (6:30 or so), as the sun sinks lower and the golden hue to the light enhances the glorious color in the woods.

With the cooler temps, and the little bits of rain we've had, the garden has rebounded. The cantaloupes, which I thought were about done when August hit, now have little melons. The Kansas variety has produced a number of ripe ones. They are small, but....

Leaves and berries of Bristly Greenbrier in the woods.
The cantaloupes disappointed me this summer. I don't know what it was, but the flavor just wasn't what I had come to expect. So I did not expect much from these little late ones.
I cut open the first one to ripen and caught a whiff of a delicate fragrance.

Then I ate one and an oh-my-God sweet deliciousness filled my mouth and forced me to consume several more pieces. What a wonderful treat at the end of the summer that I feared would not end.

The green beans have rebounded, as well. I can pick a small basketful every other day. A couple of weeks ago I wrote my newspaper column on green beans, because of this rebound. I had intended to write more about them here, but was getting ready to attend a four-day women's retreat and didn't get around to doing it. I have now forgotten what else I had wanted to say about beans. The varieties I have growing right now are pole beans -- Lazy Housewife, Ideal Market, and Blue Lake.

Bumblebee at a bean blossom.

The bumblebees are taking advantage of the bean blooms and make quite a ruckus while working there.

The flower gardens also have come to life, celebrating the change of season with colors that seem exceptionally brilliant.

And one of the apple trees has decided to put on a few blooms.

Nature just gets curiouser and curiouser.

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