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A foretaste of fall. August 25, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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It’s a typically hot, humid late August day here at our friend Ben and Silence Dogood’s rural cottage, Hawk’s Haven, located in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. Hardly the sort of day to bring cool, crisp weather and colorful foliage to mind. But our friend Ben is thinking of autumn nonetheless. It seems that suddenly, everything is speaking of fall.

First are the incidentals. Our friend Rob, a professor, and his son both started back to school today. Our friend Rudy began his volunteer season at Hawk Mountain today, indicating the start of autumn migration for the raptors which will appear there in ever-increasing numbers as fall turns to winter. Two of our favorite bloggers, Joy of GardenJoy4Me (http://gardenjoy4.blogspot.com/) and Aunt Debbi of the Aunt Debbi’s Garden (http://auntdebbisgarden.blogspot.com/), posted today about autumn themes, respectively shopping for Hallowe’en accoutrements and seeing her three boys off to school. Not to mention the smell of woodsmoke that has replaced the smell and sizzle of grilling. Fall is clearly in the air.

Then there are the signs closer to home. Our Eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana) are so loaded with berries that they’re almost as powder-blue as blue spruces. (Gin drinkers, eat your hearts out.) Today, our friend Ben saw green berries on our privets (we grow them here as handsome, rounded shrubs, not hedges, and they’re a favorite bird refuge), a preview of the blue-black berries that will remain on the shrubs ’til spring. Though ruby-throated hummingbirds and goldfinches currently share space at our rose-of-Sharon shrubs (the hummingbirds visiting the flowers, the goldfinches, the black-oil sunflower seed feeders we hang from the branches), our friend Ben knows that soon enough, the flowering season will end, the hummingbirds will be on their long flight south, and the male goldfinches will have exchanged their brilliant yellow plumage for the olive drab costume they wear when trying to blend in during the cold feeder months. It’s now as dark at 6:30 a.m. as it was at 5:30 seemingly seconds ago. And where are the lightning bugs?!

But the kicker is this: Last evening, our friend Ben saw the first Canada geese of the season flying low over the cornfields near Hawk’s Haven, their honks sounding the primal call of summer’s end. It doesn’t feel like fall. But it looks, sounds, and smells like fall. Fortunately, this season of breathtaking beauty and color, of Harvest Home, is my favorite. If only it could be fall all year long!



1. ceecee - August 27, 2008

While I must admit that I am thinking about Fall (planting a fall garden, chickens moulting), it doesn’t even begin to feel like it. The temperatures hover in the mid-90’s with no end in sight. Now I hear there is a hurricane in headed into the Gulf of Mexico. Fall is a date on the calendar. Our weather follows it’s own calendar.

I too am expecting more 90-plus weather before it finally comes to an end, but I’ve been enjoying the lower temps in the meantime!

2. deb - August 27, 2008

Great post. We won’t see any geese for a while. Thanks for the linky dink.


Can’t say I envy you the hot summers, but I sure envy your milder winters and longer growing season, Deb!

3. Curmudgeon - August 28, 2008

Enough with all this talk of FALL! My tomatoes are still green! And I discoverd 2 little potimarron squashes on my vines. I need more SUMMER! BTW, I so miss the geese flying overhead! It’s one of my strongest childhood memories from growing up in NJ and DE.

I’m glad you remember geese fondly! I find that most folks who grew up with them either ignore them or hate them. I only encountered them after moving to PA, and I still think they’re the most magical thing on earth (especially snow geese)!

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