Fall Color and Reflection

I hear it over and over again – women saying they love the fall because of the colors and the crisp, cool weather. I love the fall and spring for the mild weather and I also love them because they signal change. I love living where we have four seasons. Another reason I like the fall is because the days are getting shorter so my evenings are more relaxing. I’m not outside weeding or doing other garden chores to stay out of the hot sun of day, but still suffering through our heat and humidity that lingers into the night. I look forward to getting a shower and into my pajamas soon after dinner and spending the evening reading, sewing or sketching.

I noted the first fall we were here that we don’t have much fall color on our property. I have a cold and so was sitting quietly in my sunroom late yesterday afternoon and realized that while we don’t have a lot of bright color I was still enjoying the muted tones of early fall. So I grabbed my phone and went outside to photograph some color.

These aromatic asters bloom until first frost. This purplish blue color is a favorite of mine.

I’ve come to love columbine – it’s delicate spring flower and pretty foliage through summer and fall.

Tupelo tree – also known as black gum or sour gum

white oak

Dogwood tree

Redbud tree

Silverberry tree – see the gold leave in the upper left corner – this tree is just starting to turn. It’s kind of hidden behind other trees in our front yard so I keep missing it’s June blooms and golden fall leaves. Will try to remember to keep an eye on it.

This is one of our volunteer oaks in the front yard. I think it is a burr oak.

pear tree

Southern magnolia tree

Sassafras tree

Gooseberry bush

Rose hips

Sedum

Purple coneflower

barrenwort or bishop’s cap

Down with the brick walls

I took photos of our dismantling of the brick walls that line our driveway. Moffat paving said they should get to us in October so we are waiting to hear from them. They are contracted to take down the walls but I wanted to save some of the brick for a walkway in the kitchen garden. My neighbor, Nancy, says bricks are 50 cents each at Habitat for Humanity. It seemed worth saving what we could even though it is a messy job dealing with the mortar dust.

There was a good six inch gap between this wall and the asphalt. Dave used the tractor to nudge the brick forward so we could see what we can salvage. A lot of it has mortar that is too difficult to remove with our hand tool method. The original mortar is crumbling, but the mortar previous owners used for repairs was much newer and stronger.

The brick on this side started falling on their own. We were able to do the rest with hand tools.

Moffet doesn’t do brick. They will replace with a wall of block in a brown and grey. Just a wall, no pillars. I think pillars are a bit pretentious anyway. I expect we will fill in with plantings.

I invited Nancy to take any bricks she could chisel off. She got a shovel full on the tractor and Dave drove it up their steep driveway. She gave me some of their chinese chestnuts. Above are the roasted nuts. I’d never had them before. They are somewhat starchy in texture and not really much taste. I ate a few and put the rest in the freezer.

While thinking of chinese chestnuts, I have to set the record straight. A couple years ago I posted here that I though we had found a beech tree hidden among the privet we were chopping down. Well, come to find out, it was a chinese chestnut. Surely planted there from nuts gathered by squirrels at Nancy’s place across the road. Oh, well. I’d prefer the beech but won’t complain about a volunteer plant that provides food.

Fall is Finally Here

I’m sitting at a table with an open window at my back and the breeze is glorious! The first three days of October were around 90 degrees which is crazy. Today is beautiful and we are even expecting some much needed rain on Monday so keeping my fingers crossed.

Dave usually walks Darcy in the morning and we both go in the evening. Dave’s requirement to report to work in northern Virgina two days every other week means it is hard to get his hours in so I’ve been walking Darcy in the morning when I can. She plops herself down when she looks back and sees people coming up behind us which is pretty much always since it is a well loved park we walk in. I literally have to drag her to get her going again. Then the people say “oh, she’s tired” and I let them know she just wants to see them. She runs around the dog park for an hour so I know walking with me isn’t causing her to be tired. I enjoy walking again and can feel it is good for my body.

Letting her have her little break.

The red chokeberry bush

 in my nature journal

The paw paw tree leaves start turning color quite early. I harvested quite a few this year. They are best when I just pick them off the ground before they start to rot too much. I gave some away this year. Some people had them before and were happy to have them again. One had never had a paw paw and was surprised she like it.

Our one little pepper plant has given us quite a few large peppers. I expect this is the last of it. I made some sweet red pepper relish with these. The guys ate it on their chicken salad sandwiches last night.