“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in tune once more.” ~ John Burroughs
It had been a day of constantly wiping a runny nose, rocking and comforting my 15 month grand daughter who was feeling miserable and irritable from her first cold. I bundled her up in a warm blanket and we stepped out the front door and onto the porch. “Let’s go see what’s happening outside.”
The rain from earlier in the day had let up, clouds were still heavy and low. A hint of woodsmoke filled the air and mixed with the fresh chill that November air brings. Quails were calling to each other in the brush beyond the creek bed. A squirrel scampered up an oak, chirping as he moved jerkily. Baby girl calmed and quieted, looked around. I wiped away her tears. Bright red Toyon berries hung low and glistened from the recent soaking. Autumn leaves that were still clinging on trees and shrubs danced in the gentle breeze, as a new brilliant layer of leaves carpeted the ground. Off the porch I stepped with this sweet one cradled in my arms. “Let’s go for a walk around the yard, love.”
We moved slowly just taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of the late afternoon. Listening, looking, soaking up all the gifts that this November day offered. Mother Nature enveloping us and working her peace and magic.
It was no more than ten minutes that we were outdoors but our spirits were lifted and our moods were refreshed, just as I knew they would be. Soothed and healed once again, all courtesy of nature.
November arrived a few days ago, just as we were finishing our autumn chores. We’ve harvested the vegetable garden, added new compost to beds, planted bulbs and seeds, harvested additional seeds to plant in the spring, and cleaned up each garden bed. Mr. Hollyhocks and I are a good team, working together on many projects side by side, but there are also certain chores I take care of while he prefers others. A perfect example is the irrigation in the garden beds. I honestly have no knowledge of re-routing irrigation lines — I just show him what is needed and he takes care of it.
Many of our weekends in September and October were spent removing plants from one garden bed or another and tucking them into areas where their needs will be better met. Never have we lived and gardened in one area as long as this particular spot has been home. And never have we had to remove all of the plantings from certain beds because their environment no longer is in full sun, as was the case so long ago when the beds were first planted. We’ll see how successful we were with that endeavor next spring. I’m hopeful though that everything will be able to put down roots and get comfy in their new surroundings. Hopeful. I think that word defines all gardeners, don’t you?
With autumn chores behind us, I now want to rest a bit more and take in every bit of this fleeting autumn beauty before the rain and winds blow these colorful jewels off the trees and shrubs. I don’t want to miss a thing. Happy November!
“Summer’s loss seems little, dear, on days like these.”
On Sunday my husband and I took a break from our outdoor autumn chores and drove the one hour up to the Tahoe area to view the fall foliage. Leaves on our trees at home in the foothills are just starting to put on a show but we had heard that if we wanted to catch the foliage performance in the high sierras we’d better go sooner rather than later. Hiking boots and layers of clothing, a cooler filled with snacks and drinks, our beloved furry companion, check, check, check, and off we went. We chose to hike the new-to-us Cathedral Meadow, near Taylor Creek and a favorite area of ours, Fallen Leaf Lake.
We encountered a perfect fall day with blue skies and warm temps and a whole lotta golden groves of aspens glistening in the sunlight. Beautiful scenery and fabulous views of Mount Tallac all along the trail were free for the taking! I honestly can’t imagine that we could have timed it any better! If you’re in the area, go now!
“Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile.” ~William Cullen Bryant“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all” ~Stanley Horowitz“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~Albert Camus“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ~Lauren DeStefano, Wither“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.” ~John Donne
“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves.” ~Humbert Wolfe
“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”~Joe L. Wheeler“And I rose in rainy autumn and walked abroad in a shower of all my days…” ~Dylan Thomas“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” ~Anonymous“I am rich today with autumn’s gold.” ~Gladys Harp“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” ~Lee Maynard“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” ~Samuel Butler“Or maybe spring is the season of love and fall the season of mad lust. Spring for flirting but fall for the untamed delicious wild thing.”~Elizabeth Cohen“There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood- Such of manner, hint of mood; And my heart is like a rhyme, With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.” ~Bliss Carmen
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” ~Jim BishopWishes to all for a lovely autumn season.
It’s true, I have always had a love affair with autumn, but have you ever seen one as beautiful as this year’s? Who can resist the brilliant shades of red, gold, and orange that the trees and gardens are wearing this time of year?
Come with me, won’t you, on a tour of some of my favorite areas on our property.
Here we are at the pergola sitting area.And this is across the lawn looking toward that area with the pergola.The Eastern Redbud’s heart leaves are a favorite of mine.Ornamental grass, Miscanthus is in the foreground near the seasonal creek bed with birch leaves just starting to change to yellow, and maples putting on a fiery show.This old wheel barrow is planted with Coral Bell’s, Violas, Euonymus Sunny Delight, and Evergold Carex.I love the lawn covered in these beauties.I had been on the hunt for two child sized adirondack chairs and found them last weekend in Sutter Creek at a favorite shop called Antique Gardener. I had envisioned them in white, but I love how these look right now with the terra cotta pots in the background and the reds of the maples in that area.
And now let’s head over to the front porch. This sweet old yellow chair greets us with some of autumn’s vibrant bounty as we walk up the sidewalk. Purple Love Grass is in the pot behind the two pumpkins to the left of the chair.Sweet November, indeed.
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
~Lauren De Stefano
“The heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasures out upon the leaves.”
~Charlotte Flake Bates
“Winter is an watching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn, a mosaic of them all.”
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket then all the other seasons.”
About twenty years ago, my sister introduced me to this delicious autumn-y bread and it quickly became a family favorite. The semi sweet chips add a touch of chocolate goodness to the pumpkin and spice bread. Choose to add a glaze or not before serving. I’m so happy to share it with you.
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350.
Use cooking spray to grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
Combine flour, baking soda, and spices in a bowl and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the pumpkin. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Add the mixture to the loaf pan and smooth top.
Bake 65 – 75 minutes, depending on your oven.
Let cool on baking rack.
Optional: When cool, drizzle with glaze.
Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 – 2 Tablespoons cream.
Makes one loaf, but I suggest doubling the recipe and making two. Freeze one to have on hand for a cozy treat when friends and family drop by during the holiday season!
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
The leaves on our trees and shrubs have not yet begun to change, but take a look at the Virginia Creeper rambling over our fence. There’s so much beauty to look forward to!