Thursday, October 12, 2006


I love autumn mornings, especially now that I don't have to go to school! But, more than that...

I think October must be my favorite month. I mean, I love spring and the promise of warm days, I truly do. But the summers have become ordeals lately. I hate the heat and mosquitoes. At least in the winter, I can put on a jacket and go outside and walk around a bit. Sure, there are a few days when it is just too cold and or nasty. There are Nor’easters and all that. Sometimes there might be a bit of snow. Ice storms are scary but no more so than hurricanes. But the summers lately have been so hot day after day that I have hated to go outside. I hate it when I feel I just cannot even breathe.

Of course, I am spoiled – was spoiled. August, at least, was always spent in the Poconos, sometimes most of July. We returned “home” for the beginning of the school year and then back to Pennsylvania around my birthday to take ERM back up and get her settled in. I never missed more than one day of school doing that, so it was mostly a long week-end, but it gave me a peek at the beginnings of the awesome foliage in Pennsylvania and a touch of needing the fire in the kitchen stove to take the chill off the house. I would take the bus back up the first week-end in November to close the house and to drive “Miss Daisy” home. So in a sense, I had the best of both worlds – I missed out on the extreme heat in Virginia and the extreme cold of Pennsylvania in the winter.

September arrives with the promise of cooler days or at least cooler nights. The air conditioning gets turned off, windows get opened, I can breathe again. Slowly but surely a few leaves flutter down. The color doesn’t really change much here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the most brilliant reds come from the poison ivy that has climbed the trees. A few people have planted the bright maples from up north but none have the awesome reds found in a Pennsylvania, NY, or New England landscape.
But in October, our colors pick up their pace a bit - still nothing to rival the states to the north, but enough to tell that something is happening.
The local geese have figured out how to fly in formation and have moved on – somewhere – making room for the new geese traveling through. Soon the sounds change to the call of the snow geese, many of whom will winter here.
The hummingbirds generally have disappeared by September 15th though this year I saw one on the 18th flying around my bird feeders. He obviously was not a “local” or he would have known I do not feed the hummers. I love them dearly, but their feeders attract wasps and yellow jackets and I am deathly allergic to their stings. I don’t know if the hummers can get anything from the fall azaleas that are coming in bloom or not, but that, phlox, Rose of Sharon and zinnias are all that is on the nectar menu here at Possum Lane until mid-October and I have never seen a hummer partake of any of them.
By October first the camellias have kicked in gear, the spicy magenta ones first, then the pinks and finally the white/pink blush camellia. The Rose of Sharon, also known as Althea around here, starts to fade. The mums out front are bright and cheerful their amazing yellows sending a warning that the next flowers to bloom out there will be daffodils.

The English daisies are in full bloom. They look nice next to the yellow mums.

The brilliant blues of the hydrangea have faded to a soft pinkish color, a color so muted the blooms almost become invisible even though they are as big as the bright blues and purples from July and August.

Speaking of purple, the Beauty Bush is, well, beautiful! And the colors seem to do quite well with the fall blooming azalea next to it.

The Strobilanthes isn’t far away and is just magnificent!

A walk thru the woods brought me to my patch of Euonymus americanus. Google it and see pages of this fascinating plant. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do.

The last roses of summer are gone replaced by the last hurrah of October.

The veggie garden is not pretty anymore. There are dead leaves hanging off the tomato plants. The squash plants have been pulled up but the strawberry plants that were buried by the squash are now enjoying the sunlight for a change.

The feeding patterns have changed at the bird feeders as the bird population changes. Some of the birds are year-round residents and some migrate if only for brief periods of time but return to the yard year after year.

Soon the ground will be covered with leaves, natures way of keeping the ground warm in the winter. The trees will be bare and the sound of the wind will change. Pumpkins will show up on lawns, kitchens will once again smell of apple pie, pumpkin bread, homemade cranberry sauce.

My Punkin will have to search out the sunbeams where he can keep warm.

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