My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, October 28, 2011

SkyWatch Friday: Scenes of Autumn

This post is particularly photo-intensive, as I've gathered a bunch of Autumn scenes shot on four recent walkabouts in our neighborhood. This is my favorite time of year, and with all the exploring and new things to see after moving to town last month, I've gone completely camera-crazy. (Okay. Craz
ier). :-)
Not all of the photos feature sky, but most do. Despite this being a SkyWatch post, I just couldn't bear to leave any of them out, sky or no sky!

If you'd like some music to accompany you on your stroll through these Autumnal scenes, here's "Colors/Dance" from George Winston's album "Autumn." (George, a favorite of mine since college, is practically a local boy from up the road in Miles City, MT. He plays a concert here nearly every year, and this time I plan to finally go!)

These gorgeous maples live on a street just around the corner from our new house. I love the lighting in this first one, and the girl walking home from school through the carpet of fallen leaves...

But I also love this perspective of the same spot, with the trees all the way down the street forming a sheltering canopy over the sidewalk. I also like the deserted feel of this photo, since Autumn has such a strong sense of solitude to it for me. I couldn't decide which photo to post, so I'm posting both. Which do you like best?

Those maple leaves are definitely ready for their closeups...

I didn't get close enough to identify what species of tree this is, but it's sure a beauty. I had to climb a long, very steep hill to get to another neighborhood for this photo, but it was worth every panting step...

This apple tree was just behind a bent-willow fence in the front yard of a very hidden little house. I was tempted to snatch one of these enticing ripe apples, but made do with stealing a photo, since it also enabled me to capture that gorgeous sapphire sky...

These next two are of an especially beautiful (Japanese?) Maple in someone's side yard...

As I was shooting those two photos, I happened to look down and find a little veggie patch growing along the fence beneath the trees! Sweet! So I grabbed these photos of a winter squash and little red peppers sporting lovely Fall colors of their own...

Poplar leaves against another perfect, cobalt blue sky...

(This one's a bit blurry, but I love it anyway!)

I saw this Burning Bush as I was driving home one day, and came back with both Willow and my camera on foot to get photos of it. On the way, we met an elderly lady walking her dog and stopped to chat about the beautiful day and the beautiful Fall colors, so I mentioned I was on my way to photograph a burning bush a block or two away. She thought I meant someone's shrubbery was literally ablaze and grew quite alarmed till I assured her that although it is ablaze, it's with lavish color instead of flames! :-) ...

Had to take a closeup, of course. :-)

Although the least colorful of the bunch, this next photo is my favorite. I took it late yesterday afternoon in the park right across from our house. There were squirrels all over the park busily eating and gathering their stores for winter, but I was especially smitten with this inquisitive, photogenic fellow, who had to come check me out while I was photographing his lady friend...

so maybe there's something to this rally squirrel thing! :-)

I'll end this post by sharing my late grandmother's favorite poem, October's Party, and wishing you a great weekend! And don't forget, for more skies (with or without squirrels), visit...

October's Party
by George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand;
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind, the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple,
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played;
The party closed at sundown
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."


  1. Just had to scroll down and read about your recent adventures. I had been wondering what happened to you. Your cottage is absolutely adorable! i am in love with it.

  2. What beautiful colors! And that little guy peeking out at you on the tree is adorable! It's great that you're really enjoying this fall beauty.

  3. Superlative! I hope we have a fraction of the colors you seem to be having there...autumn is still clearing her throat here before getting underway but wow...she loved y'all this year. Thanks for the photos.

  4. Beautiful captures, Laurie! That squirrel is so adorable. What a great shot!

    The first picture of the yellow maples makes the sidewalk look like a yellow brick road. :)

    I love burning bushes and that one tree that's so bright is gorgeous!

  5. It looks like Wyoming is the place to be for gorgeous fall color. When I look at the window here, I mostly see green, with a few bright spots of red or yellow tucked here and there. It's nothing like the glorious fall colors we had in the Midwest — or like you're seeing. We do have squirrels, though! And lots of spiders. I think the spiders are the signal that fall is here.

  6. Autumn is my favourite time of year too, though I have a soft spot for winter as well. Your wonderful photos reminded me of just why I love it. Thanks. I loved the squirrel, and the canopy photo was my favourite.

  7. Absolutely stunning colours, I love those veggies lurking amidst the brown leaves. Hope your feeling better after the fall by the way, sorry I've not replied to your email yet - been busier than a busier thing! Love your avatar pic :O))

  8. I'm overcome with delight at coming across your blog. If this post is anything to go by, I will be visiting often. Thank you for this cheery post.
    BTW, what is the decorative black object below the red maple tree?

  9. Lesley ~ Thank you for visiting and thanks for scrolling! :-) Yes, I was mired in the morass of moving. I'm delighted that you think our cottage is adorable ~ that's high praise coming from someone who takes such splendid photos of so many wonderful houses (and other buildings!) We're not sure if we'll buy Dragonfly Cottage yet, but the fact it would mean not having to move again (at least for a few years) is strongly in its favor.

    Cadry ~ How good to "see" you again! I'm glad you enjoyed the colors and my cute "peekaboo" friend! And yes, I've been reveling in the fall beauty. Having the time, the access and the great weather has been such a gift.

    veganelder ~ I love the imagery of Autumn clearing her throat before getting underway! She's definitely been generous to us this year - we don't remember ever having so many beautiful fall colors before, and think it's because we normally have had at least one hard freeze and several snowfalls by now. But it has stayed mild very late this year, and the trees have had ample time to get their fall finery out of the back closet and put on a great fashion show! :-)

    Tanya ~ Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for going on an Autumn stroll with me! :-)

    Wenche ~ Thanks! I think Fall colors are just amazing.

    Molly ~ Thank you, Molly! Isn't that squirrel just the cutest? I love that face! :-) You're right, that sidewalk does look like the Yellow Brick Road! That Burning Bush is one of two in front of that building (it's some sort of office building), but the one I photographed had the most stunning color. And I really want to find out what that bright red tree is, because I love both the shape and color of it and would love to plant one!

  10. Andrea ~ Normally I'd say no, New England is THE place to be for gorgeous fall color (with the upper Midwest a close second), but this year we may be giving them both some colorful competition. Usually we have to content ourselves with shades of gold, from the aspens, cottonwoods and poplars, with sumac and chokecherries providing some dashes of scarlet. But this year the colors are more varied, vivid and widespread, and it's really been something. I'm glad I've had a chance to explore so many neighborhoods on foot and bike this year, camera in tow! And as if the trees and shrubs weren't putting on a colorful enough display for us, it's been warm enough to keep most of the flowers blooming right along with them, from roses to geraniums to the less surprising mums and pansies. Quite a riot of color around here these days! I'm glad I could share some of it with you, though I have no doubt the PNW is beautiful this time of year in its own, more understated and elegant way. :-)

    I haven't noticed many spiders here, but we'd get a lot of them under our deck at the "old place" this time of year.

    Ellie C ~ You and I share the same favorite seasons (we're unusual when it comes to appreciating winter!) As I said in my comment on your blog, I'm glad we can share each other's off-seasons, as I'm really enjoying your beautiful spring/early summer garden photos, and will even more as winter finally arrives here.

    The squirrel is a champ, and you and BW share the same favorite in the canopy photo.

    Barbara ~ Seeing that little veggie patch was such a fun serendipity! (Between the apples and the veggies, the temptation to commit food theft was strong in me!) I'm glad I happened to look down and notice it. Wish I'd been doing that when I was out for that walk and got beat up by that awful sidewalk! I am feeling better, thanks - but my face still frightens small children. :-) The swelling's gone down, but the bruising is unsightly and the road rash looks worse as it heals.

    "Busier than a busier thing" ~ you crack me up! And Miss Willow thanks you for loving her avatar photo! (But Tess is wondering why Willow's photo is the avatar on HER blog. LOL She's never gotten over her Doggles post celebrity!)

    Hannah ~ Welcome, and thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and do hope you'll be back often because there's lots more eye candy in store! :-)

    You asked a very good question that I was halfway hoping no one would ask because I haven't got a clue! :-) I wondered myself, and tried to figure it out without tromping across their front yard to investigate, but I never could puzzle out what that thing is. At first it looked like one of those metal fire pit thingies, but why would it be right under a low tree? I hope to find out what species of tree it is, and when I do I'll see if I can also find out what that thing underneath it is, because right now I just have to assume it's what you called it - a black decorative object! :-)

  11. Apologies - just noticed I wrote 'your', instead of 'you're' in my original comment. Call me anally retentive but it's not the kind of thing I can ignore!!

  12. What a fantastic series of photos, I couldn't choose a favorite. You get some amazing colors there, we just get the golden aspens but not a lot else where I live.

  13. My favorite pic is the little squirrel too! What a cutie! I also really like the ones with the sunlight coming through the golden leaves and the apples...the color of the apples is stunning against the sky.

    The two pics at the top, one with the girl walking home and the one without seems like the first pic was taken from behind the girl and the second one could have been taken by the girl herself because it looks like it's shot from just about the same place where she was walking in the first photo.

    So glad you're enjoying the autumn in your new home after all the hard work of's the time for fun!

  14. Barbara ~ LOL, apology not necessary but if it'll make you feel better, it's accepted. (It drives me nuts when I make that sort of booboo too, so I totally understand!) :-)

    Al ~ Thank you! When we lived on the side of the mountain at 5500' we had the same lack of variety in fall colors that you do. Just the golden aspens (which you have to admit are really lovely against a blue sky and the evergreens that usually surround them!), and a touch of crimson in some ground cover and chokecherry bushes. I think we're getting all these different colors down here in town where we moved a month ago because we're now in a riparian area instead of a mountain one, we're now in a Zone 4 area instead of Zone 2-3, and there are a lot of old neighborhoods and yards with non-native ornamental trees and shrubs planted along with the native species. And then our lengthy stretch of mild weather has let that riot of color really show itself late into the year. I'm glad you enjoyed my photographic sampling of it!

    Rose ~ Why am I not surprised at your favorite photo in the bunch? :-) Don't you love his little pursed lips? I really love the sunlight coming through the golden leaves too, they look like they're illuminated from within. I'm glad you like the apples photo so much, I almost didn't include it because I thought compared to most of the others it would appear drab. But I too love the deep red against that sky, and to me apples are just as much a part of this season as pumpkins, so how could I leave them out? I'll email you a photo I took of the bent-willow fence around their yard, too - I think you'll like it.

    What an astute observation about the two "maple canopy" shots! I actually shot them from the same spot (or pretty close), but the one of the girl I took from a spot a foot or so to the left of the sidewalk using my wide angle lens setting, and the other I took from the middle of the sidewalk using my telephoto. I had to be strategic because it was clearly garbage collection day in that neighborhood and I didn't want garbage cans garping up the photos!

    It's not all fun yet, there's always more stuff to do (still organizing and rearranging to make max use of space, trying to line up various inspections so we can get a better idea of what would need to be done to this place if we buy it and what it would cost us, etc), but we definitely have a lot more time for fun stuff now! Well, I do - BW's workload is definitely picking up and his workdays are getting longer, but he's got a week of vacation in mid-November so that'll be great!

  15. Sitting on my own,
    I contemplate,
    Summer is gone and the colored leaves fall down to the ground,
    Looking better than the rest of the year. I stole that from Dando Shaft ;-)

  16. Spud ~ A most appropriate snippet of song lyric to steal for this post, I must say! :-)

    I'd been tempted to share either Willie Nelson's or Eva Cassidy's rendition of "Autumn Leaves" on this post...

    "The falling leaves... drift by my window... the falling leaves... are red and gold..."

    Sad and beautiful song, especially as sung by Eva who died so young. But I decided to go with music that had no lyrics. Choosing music to share with posts is a lot of fun for me, though I have no idea if very many (or any) people ever listen to my choices! :-)

  17. Wow!!! I hope I can do this post justice!

    I agree hands down that you're best photo is of the squirrel mostly because everything else would be expected to stand still for a photo but definitely NOT a squirrel. That looks like a shot that someone would wait hours to get after waiting patiently with a telephoto lens hundreds or yards away!! That was really awesome. He totally looks like he's posing for you!
    As you know, poetry is not my favorite thing but your grandmother's favorite poem was so sweet!!! My favorite line was "Professor Wind, the Band". How clever!!

    I'm shocked that an elderly lady had never heard of a burning bush. Glad you added that to her vocabulary!!

    My favorite leaf photos were the ones of the japanese maples. and of the two gorgeous maple photos, my favorite (since you asked specifically) was the second one. I love when trees form canopies and you captured it perfectly in that photo. It's so inviting!!

    Thanks for a gorgeous post. I'll try to get caught up! We are NOT in sync. I had time to read when you weren't posting and then I left as soon as you started posting!! Things should improve now though!!

    Have a great day!

  18. Jo ~ You had no trouble doing this post justice - your comment was delightful (as always!), and quite comprehensive, too! :-)

    I'm tickled that you loved the squirrel photo best, and that you loved it so much! I'm sure happy with it! I think when the weather is warmer and I can hang out in the park longer, I'll get a lot of really good squirrel photos (I've had some great photo ops, but either couldn't get the shot in time or didn't have my camera with me). The squirrels are so used to people, they're pretty cooperative subjects (and cute as can be!) :-)

    I'm also glad you liked Ging's favorite poem. I think it's sweet too. Thanks for reading it, despite poetry not being your cup of tea. :-)

    I think the elderly lady did know what a Burning Bush was, but for some reason she took me completely literally, and the species of bush didn't occur to her till I'd corrected her assumption. Then she acted like, "Oh, of course - duh!" lol

    I also love the Japanese maple photos - maples are one of my favorite trees (and would probably be my absolute favorite if I could only choose one species!) And I too love it when trees form canopies over paths or lanes or roads, or in this case - over sidewalks. I agree with you that they're almost irresistibly inviting.

    I know, we're definitely out of sync! I thought this sort of thing would probably happen back when I had no time to post and you suddenly had time to read! But yes, things should improve, and I'm confident you'll get caught up before long! :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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