We couldn't have asked for a nicer week than the one that just past. Sunny days and foggy mornings in the valleys; warm nights with the songs of crickets and the summer's last Whip-poor-will. The dark shapes of cattle in the meadow pasture at sunset. The fresh green grass will soon become a memory to them, until Spring comes.
By the end of the week, the Sugar maples on the mountain slopes were beginning to show their fancy Autumn colors. They stick out in the forest landscape with striking hot reds, rich lemon yellows, and fiery blaze orange. The show is just beginning, and the picture becomes more intense each day as Autumn touches the Kickapoo Valley with its brush of many colors. When the frost finally comes, the paint brush will move much faster. Slowly but surely, the lush greens of summer will disappear as the colors of fall spread across the landscape.
I'm surprised how well some of the fruit-bearing bushes and trees did this year. There seems to be an abundance of fruit on the limbs of all the apple trees. Little red Crab apples crowds every branch. Their shiny, dark red fruit will provide food for those who need it through the long winter ahead. This is also true of most all the fruit-bearing shrubs and trees.
The juicy red berries of the High-bush cranberry will dry on the stem and may not be eaten by the birds until late winter. To me, they look good enough to eat right now. The branches of the Serviceberry are also crowed with dark blue fruit; they too are a favorite bird food.
It seems like only yesterday, I was admiring how beautiful the Crab blossoms were, and now the time for fruit has come. The end result is Nature's gift to all who are in need.
The tall sunflowers are already losing their yellow flowers, and the brown cones of the seed heads are all that remains. The coneflowers, too, are going to seed, and I try to get out and spring some of the dry seeds around the pasture before the finches find them.
The bush daisies are still in full lush, yellow bloom. They will hold their heads high until the frost takes away their yellow petals. This is a special time, a time when the Goldfinches go on a feeding frenzy at the many seed heads. For now, the bush daisies are a good place for a Yellow warbler to find a grasshopper. I had a little trouble spotting a yellow bird in the yellow flowers, but his soft chirping led my eyes to him. It always pays to trust your ears and let them lead the way.
Three turkeys searched for bugs at the edge of the woods. They are looking handsome and healthy as the morning sun touches their skinny feathers. I think it would be fun to be a turkey and spend just one day with them. Turkeys move around most of the day, staying on the ground and constantly searching for food. Oh, the things they must see and hear on their travels up, down and all around.
Tonight I discovered a tick just inside the hairline on the back of my neck—the first tick I've seen since the second week of June. Guess it's time to start misting my clothes with bite blocker, an herbal remedy from the local food co-op. The early Spring and mid-to-late fall are peak times for Wood and Deer ticks in the Kickapoo Valley. It pays to be diligent about tick checks, so it's just part of my day.
If you are overwhelmed by the pace that the artificial world has set for you, take some time to "get real" and go outside. This simple thing is the very most important way you can help heal the Earth. Naturally, you let the Earth heal you first.
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