It has been a cool September and pretty nice so far.
There has only been one frosty morning in the valley, but it was pretty darned frosty. It caused the leaves to start turning from green to autumn gold almost over night. Because of the early frost, the fall colors should be extra beautiful this year, although the show may not last as long if we get another frost soon. Folks who want to see the Kickapoo Valley in its most colorful splendor should pay us a visit soon.
While reading next to an oil lamp last night, a large Crane fly passed by my face and started circling the flame outside the lamp globe. After a minute or so, it lit on the base of the lamp to rest. I took a picture so I could see him close up. How fragile it looked, with its long skinny legs and fine wings. The most fascinating thing about it, though, was its beautiful rainbow-colored eyes. It would be fun to see what the world looked like through such colorful eyes.
By mid-week, the green valley landscape was transformed to yellow, gold, orange and red. The dark green leaves of the soft maple trees along the river banks are now lime green and turning toward yellow. From a distance, the sugar maples look like beautiful flowers in a coulee flower bed.
The corn fields in the river valley were leafy green one day and dried beige the next. It never fails to amaze me how frost can zap the moisture and color from a green leaf so fast. Each autumn I look forward to seeing the beans turn bright yellow, but many of the soybean fields turned brown after the frost touched them.
A house cat patiently peers into the water, waiting for a frog or minnow to move. Itís something heís done all summer long from his spot on the boat-dock. It wonít be long before all the amphibians and reptiles will disappear, and the cat will have to find something else fun to do. The black water reflects the autumn colors along the river, and the pretty leaves will be carried on the currents where theyíll drift away like a summer memory.
Iíve been seeing some migrating hawks that pass through here each fall. The young Red-tail hawks have a brown tail that is slightly longer than the adultís red tail feathers. These young hawks are still learning how to hunt, and they can often be seen perched near the roadways. When the real cold comes, they will move further south while the adults stay behind for the winter. The turkey vulturesí bare featherless heads are vulnerable to the frosty weather, so they move south when the real cold comes. All summer long I watch them soaring over the valley and I miss seeing them through the winter months.
I havenít seen a hummingbird for a couple of days, although Iím still keeping an eye out for them. Small flocks of bluebirds have been moving through this week. Their soft, faint whistles let me know where to look for them.
The old eagleís nest made it through another summer nesting season. The heavy nest may weigh a half a ton and sits at the top of a dead White pine tree. I donít think the dead tree can hold that kind of weight much longer. If it falls over, I hope itís this winter and not next spring when the eagles are using it.
It seems like only yesterday I stood here by the pond and saw the cattail reeds just starting to poke up through the water. That was last April, and now there are several tall brown cattails that are sending their fluffy seeds off into the winds. I remember the Red-winged blackbirds that nested in the cattail reeds in May. I still can see the dragonfly perched on the top of the green cattail in August. All I have to do is close my eyes and let my memories take me back to summer.
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