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Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome Fall

I came across this article in the Seattle Times this morning and thought I would pass it on. I visited Lincoln county during my Labor Day Rock and Road trip. Who knows, perhaps one of the wheat farms I passed through is part of this article.

I think it is a wonderful concept and certainly it brings the farmers a bit more profit.

But simply posting an interesting article seems a bit dull. One of my "fans" noted the absence of a "meandering post" this weekend. I was on call and running about with weekend chores. I just could not get myself away into the woods.

But ahhh tonight.. how better to salute the beginning of Fall than with a quick walk in the woods. Balmy weather is so typical for Puget Sound in late September. Our first day of Fall will prove to be a blazing hot time with forecast daytime in the middle 80's. It seems to easily cool off over night. Simply does not get better.

I stopped by Redmond Watershed Park on my way to the barn and was greeted by what is a subtle sign of the progression of the seasons. Just a few months ago it stayed light until nearly 10 PM now, not so much.

The woods already felt cool and dark. I could find many subtle signs that the Fall is here. Everywhere mushrooms are showing up. Douglas Squirrels will soon be harvesting and hanging them in trees. I know there can be some great finds for human consumption but I have never been brave enough to learn anything but the most obvious of the safe mushrooms.

Bushes set berries and they are usually gobbled up by birds. In the Fall it is not unusual to find flocks of drunk Robins hanging about in (and from) trees from overeating fermented fruit. Ash and Madrone are particularly popular. I was thrilled to find these berries. I have never seen our native Orange Honeysuckle , Lonicera ciliosa in fruit. Usually the plants are growing up in trees, so challenging to spot. The flowers are eagerly eaten by birds and small mammals. They will pull off the tube flower and eat the base where the sweet nectar is collected. This honeysuckle plant was right at eye level.

There were Nootka Rose, Rosa nutkana still blooming in a few places. Such a wonderful deep scent. They have large hips (which is perhaps why I like them) and these will serve up tasty eating for many birds and mammals through the winter.

Trees deep in the woods are not changing their colors yet. You can see some yellowing and browning up on some of the larger trees like Big-leaf Maple and Black Cottonwood, but the lovely Vine Maples are still bright green. I am seeing random small trees along roadsides starting to change. Those trees are exposed to harsher conditions. In the deeper woods the change is slow. During those wonderful blue days of late October and early November coming across a graceful Vine Maple surrounded by conifer trees can make you forget about the Sugar Maples of New England.

The fat round leaves of the Vine Maple are easy to remember. Their samaras have wings that are almost straight across.

Yes samara is the technical term, but most people look at me blankly when I use the term. Whirley Birds ... better?

I was driving home from the barn and it was not yet 730. The sun was already below the horizon so I am not sure when the sign at the park will be changed. The thinnest sliver of moon was setting right behind the sun. I could not resist trying to capture the last rays of summer.

Soon enough sunsets of any hue will be a rare treat. Gray with variations.


  1. Your blog is such a treat for me! I lived in
    the PNW for 9 years and miss it terribly. I am thoroughly enjoying living vicariously through your meaderings! :)

  2. Thank you . I find my joy is increased when I can share the wonders with others.

  3. Hey Poopoe, I love rose hips. They're wonderful cut on a vase, just as they are. Even once they start drying out.

  4. CFO I will keep that in mind. I have chinese laanters that do great in fall flower arrangements, never thought of rose hips.

    These are in a public park, so no cutting. My neighbor has a lot of plants, not sure if he lets them get hippy though.