Last Hurrah

IMG_2852Oakleaf Hydrangea (H. quercifolia) puts on a show in reddish-orange and burgundy beyond a screen of dried wildflowers – goldenrod, aster and heliopsis – gone to seed at the edge of the field.

 

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First Snow

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We received our first snow of the season overnight, dusting autumn with a sugar coating of winter. Melted where touched by the sun, the snow lingers in the shadows, portending winter, a little more than a month away.

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Confetti

IMG_2766Beneath the Japanese maple, fallen leaves lay in a confetti carpet on the grass.

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Nature’s Gifts

IMG_2291Nature’s gifts often overwhelm me.

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Walk Details

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Here are a few details I wasn’t able to include in my last post, but were still worthy of another post of their own. This brave, intrepid little bumblebee was so cold, she was moving in slow motion. I had to admire her perseverance, collecting pollen as long as she was physically able.

IMG_2497Surrounded by a carpet of yellow, orange and rust-colored leaves, I was captivated by this mossy, lichen-encrusted rock outcropping accented with feathery plumes of Lady fern (Athyrium felix-femina). I would love this to be in my shade garden, but it was in the middle of the forest.IMG_2507A late-turning maple is a flame lighting up the forest. The ridge in the background looks to me like an horse’s back right about where the saddle goes.

IMG_2510‘Turkey Tail’ fungi (Trametes versicolor) was growing out of a split in the trunk of a beech tree. Velvety to the touch, they are quite common. A tea made from these mushrooms is said to boost immunity and it is being studied in particular to help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Below is a close-up of a delicate and lacy Hay-scented fern frond (Dennstaedtia punctiloba). In autumn they turn progressively paler becoming a ghostly white. I love to come upon large colonies of them carpeting the forest, they are so beautiful.IMG_2545

IMG_2551I must include a canopy shot or two of sugar maples nearly empty of leaves. How I love these trees! When I think of autumn color, I think of maples. As children, my sister and I used to rake and jump into big piles of the crisp, sweetly-scented leaves. When we tired, we’d bury ourselves underneath, resting and peeking out between the gaps to the tree and autumn sky above. Must be where this love was formed!IMG_2568Marking the end of the day like a sundial, this sunlit birch tree and post in a patch of lawn glow against the shadowed barn in the background.IMG_2567All of the above photos were taken at Bullitt Reservation, a property of The Trustees of Reservations, whose mission is to “preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts.”

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Grow from the inside out.

Eliza Waters:

I love this quote – thoughtful and so true.

Originally posted on life love happiness:

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Walktober

IMG_2526I’ve been inspired by A Forest Garden post to join the Walktober challenge at Breezes at Dawn. Every October Robin sets forth the challenge for folks to post a walk they have taken, then she links them all together for a cross-blog stroll. What a fun idea!

Today my spouse and I went to for a walk at Bullitt Reservation, a property managed by The Trustees of Reservations. From their website:

Once a poor farm, and then later part of the country retreat of first U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union William C. Bullitt and his daughter Ann, this eye-pleasing blend of fields and farm buildings, mixed woodlands, and streams forms a crucial link in almost 3,000 acres of protected land.

IMG_2477Less than a mile long, the trail starts at the farm near a beaver pond, crosses a field and enters a sloping woodland forest. For the first half of the trail, we walk past many old-growth sugar maples with girths four to five feet in diameter that tower overhead. Big grandmother trees! I had to take two photos to show the whole tree. My husband provides scale to give you an idea of how big this one is. I love old maples and this wood has many fine ones.

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IMG_2492Sadly, a few of these trees have begun to die, some due to rot and old age, others to wind or ice storms. Pieces of broken trunks and rotting limbs can be seen throughout the first quarter mile. Covered with mushrooms, lichen and moss, nothing ever truly dies in the forest. It just changes form and becomes something else.

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We passed a hemlock tree stump riddled with holes probably made by pileated woodpeckers that love the soft wood, making gathering insects within an easier job.

Near the top of the trail there is a large glacial erratic boulder that was deposited by the last receding glacier 10-15,ooo years ago. It is referred to as ‘The Pebble.’ In the photo, my husband humorously pretends to be Atlas holding up the earth. That gave me a good idea for a Halloween costume. You could get one of those inflatable globes and somehow attach it to your shoulders. Or perhaps creative types could fashion a globe out of a balloon covered with papier mache and painted to look like the earth. If you try it, send me a photo!

IMG_2503Once past The Pebble, the trail wends its way back down hill. There were golden-leaved beech trees as well as russet oak trees in peak color. Pine and hemlock added a deep green. As we came out of the forest, the hillside across the valley became visible.

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Out in the field the vista opens up and you can see for miles across the valley to the hills beyond. I am not great at judging distances, but I would guess you could see at least ten miles. If there are any geographers out there, correct me if I am mistaken!

The Trustees are great trail blazers and thoughtfully put a bench at the top of the field so we could rest and enjoy the view. I took a photo this summer from this same spot and posted it, so you can look back and compare the views. Maybe I’ll snowshoe out here this winter and again in the spring, so you’ll see all four seasons. The change in three months is quite amazing!IMG_2522

Although this photo doesn’t show early autumn’s glorious peak of maple trees and white birch, it does show the rusty red, ochre and mustard of oak, beech and poplar. The clouds were pretty dramatic, carried along on a brisk wind, creating spots of sunlight racing across the hills. It was too cold to tarry long, so we made our way down across a large hayfield, through a few trees to complete the loop back to where we started.

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This is becoming one of my favorite walks due to its ease of hiking, not too long and with beauty everywhere I look. What is not to love?

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The farmhouse and barn reflected in the beaver pond.

 

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