Let’s just clear the air, so to speak. What follows does not make you sneeze. No. The culprit behind fall sneezing and wheezing is ragweed. This beautiful specimen of Salidago rugosa, Rough Stem Goldenrod, is loving our cool, dry early fall. Its downy stems are reaching heights of up to five and six feet, and its buttery rays buzz with honey and bumble bees way into the dusk, when I slip into the field of gold.
I love where I live, though I leave a fairly large carbon footprint to embrace all that I love. Every second and fourth Saturday throughout the growing season, I tune into Car Talk and travel to Covered Bridge Road, Orangeville, Pennsylvania. To market, to market, to market I go!!! My favorite vendors include the folks of Forks Farm, host to up to two dozen local organic farmers, bakers and friends. Free range poultry, grass fed beef and pork, eggs, fresh cheese, scrumptious goodies, squash and greens and garlic and potatoes….AND the most beautiful scenery year round. Last Saturday I shot as many photos as I could, believing that the approaching Frankenstorm would tear the remaining fall color from branches. One of my most favorite shots, however, was this lovely lichen atop the cows’ fencepost.
Silently, steadily I waited for my passerine friends to return to their snacking, my seat becoming damp and chilled. My neck ached and the lens wobbled, so I lowered my Nikon, fortunately. For in that unguarded moment my eye was caught by the imperceptible movement among the vines beneath the siskin snack shop. Stealthily I resumed my photographer’s yoga pose, a teeny-tiny path framed in my viewfinder. AH! From the the oak leaf-blanketed vinca emerged a soft gray cylindrical body, with barely a trace of eye or ear. This pink limbed critter has probably been living among the rocks at lawn’s edge all summer. It is only now, as I notice all of fall’s colors, that my mole lends her colors to my landscape palette.
Autumn heralds color changes; we all anticipate the breathtaking beauty of deciduous maples, oaks and aspen. If we are observant, we will also notice the rich colors birds sport after their fall molts. Adding to the seasonal surprise is the variation in the birds visiting our lawns and feeders. Here I captured my most recent irruption: Pine Siskins!
CONTESTANT NUMBER THREE: This year I noticed some spectacular color among the ever-green needles of the White Pines. Interior shards of gold, the old needles clung in brilliant contrast to the forest colored new growth. Just days later the needles dropped, carpeting the ground in tawny pine tags.