Early Autumn at Glen Helen

It was a perfect early fall day, sunny, cool, windy, and still brimming with life, at Glen Helen.  Herds of deer were crossing the stream and shadowing us in the woods the whole way.  Leaves were just changing and starting to fall, and the asters were sparkling like pale blue stars everywhere.  There were many showy fungi, looking like shellfish.  The yellow springs seemed extra shiny orange in the bright sun.  “My” sculpture tree stood tall and graceful in death as always.

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Italian Birthday

Did I say I outdid myself before?  I lied.  This time I nailed it–the quintessential Italian dinner, from antipasto to gelato, plus, oh yeah, a birthday cake that actually looks and tastes like one!  I’m too caked out to describe it all, so just trust us, it was good!  OK, so I am a foodie.  Here are some festive scenes.  Also, thank you to [you know who you are] for all the very kind birthday greetings to E.  She was overcome with gratitude for her adopted family, the only real one she has.

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Erev Birthday at HQ

Yesterday evening, after a very nice Equitas meeting where they thoughtfully surprised E with a big birthday cake (which we all ate), we adjourned to HQ, the Tavern at YS, where we sat drinking craft beers and Irish coffee, ate fries, and played the jukebox.  There’s a ghost at the tavern who apparently likes to come out this time of year and start playing around with the jukebox and turning the pages.  Spooky.

Then we wandered around back alleys in the dark.  Some artists were painting beautiful scenes on the buildings, and they let me take some photos.  YS is sparkly and mysterious at night at the fall equinox.

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Sweet Arrow Reserve Along the Little Sugarcreek P.1

I know it sounds like a yummy dessert, but it’s a “new” wildlife reserve we explored today.  It consists of vast prairie full of spectacular asters in purple, pink, and white, masses of goldenrod, and many other species of grasses and flowers; and paths winding through shady woods of stately old trees along a creek.  There were many fascinating fungi as well.

The most amazing discovery was a huge, ancient, hollowed out living tree (sycamore, I think) that had its own windows and skylight!  We could easily stand inside it with room to spare.  It was like a hobbit tree!  We spent some time gawking at it and taking turns standing in it.  There’s even a rare sighting of enigmatic YT.

I’ll post this in two parts.  The hobbit tree is in P.2.

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Wetlands and Prairies P.1

Yesterday we walked through Koogler Wetland/Prairie, and then checked out another section of park nearby.  We were treated to a dazzling show of asters, goldenrod (Solidago spp.), orange and yellow jewelweed, all the golden sun/cone flowers, deep purple ironweed, and some unusual, colorful prairie plants, berries, and grasses.  We watched a long gray water snake swim lazily down the fish-filled stream where tiny frogs kept jumping in.  I spotted what almost had to be some wild hops vining through the trees!  And at the second park, we found the motherlode of monarchs feasting on purple ironweed.  If you look closely, you’ll see some in part 2.  I’m dividing this into two posts.

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Harvest Here at the Almanac

Our garden is still putting out.  The eggplants finally decided to get around to doing something!  So exciting!  The assorted heirloom peppers are ripening daily.  We’re still getting all kinds of Italian/heirloom  tomatoes.  And the flowers speak for themselves.

I should mention, the heirloom corn did produce many ears, but they were less than impressive, except to the squirrels, who are eating them up!  So all is not lost.  And the many sunflower varieties have attracted many songbirds who weren’t here before, so that’s encouraging.  It’s like a bird choir out there at the “sanctuary”.  I’ve seen quite a few hummingbirds commuting between all the flowers and nectar feeders.  And lots of butterflies swarming around their favorites.  Very gratifying.  Just doing my small part in restoring some wildlife to the area.  I look forward to doing the same on a slightly larger scale in TN.

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