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Outdoors

Odds and Ends

2017-09-30b

I don’t think we will have a very colorful Fall in Michigan this year.  The unseasonably hot, dry spell we had in September caused many of the leaves to shrivel up and drop, and now rain has moved in.  We are now almost halfway through October, and we still have not had a killing frost, which always seems to make the colors pop.

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Went to water my flowers the other day, and found something was blocking the spout of the waterer.  Was horrified to find it was a tree frog who had been washed right to the narrow tip and seemed to be firmly stuck.  Afraid trying to help might cause more harm than good, I decided to wait and see if he could figure it out for himself.  It took a few minutes, but he did gradually squeeze himself out, landing safely in the flowers.  You just never know where you might come across these sweet little guys!

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I often come across some interesting feathers on my walks.  I know the larger one came from a Wild Turkey, but I don’t recognize the smaller one.

 

 

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Cool Down

2017-09-29

The unseasonably hot weather finally moved on, and I think I have put away the shorts and sandals for a while.  Knowing the chilly morning would keep the mosquitoes at bay, Abbie and I headed for the Nature Conservancy for our walk.

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Cupflowers seem to be blooming late this year, but are putting on a good show now.

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I have been nurturing a patch of these next to my lawn, but they don’t really appreciate my dry, sandy soil.  They seem to do better at the conservancy near the ponds and swamps.

Didn’t have the camera with me today, but I thought my cell phone did a pretty decent job.  Haven’t mastered a simple way of transferring them from the phone to the computer, so I cheat and e-mail them to myself!

 


Day Trip

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I have been promising myself a trip to Dow Gardens ever since my first visit there in March.  Now, with Fall breathing down my neck, I decided on the spur of the moment to drive there yesterday.

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With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees, it hardly felt like Fall, and I was not able to stay very long, but brought home some nice photos.

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Many of the roses were not looking their best in the hot sun, but this one seemed to be holding up quite well.

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I came across this charming sculpture in the Children’s Garden.  Have always had a soft spot for pigs! 🙂

 

 

 


Early Color

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In typical Michigan fashion we have gone from unseasonably cool to unseasonably warm weather, and Fall colors are beginning to appear here and there.

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This Maple in the Park is always among the first to turn, and catches the afternoon sun beautifully.

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Recent heavy rains have given us a fine crop of mushrooms.

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They are popping up everywhere.

 

 

 

 


September Mornings

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As Summer winds down, chilly nights often bring foggy mornings.  Although I don’t look forward to the cold weather to come, I do enjoy walking in the fog.  It muffles sound and gives me a feeling of privacy.

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The campground in the Park was full to capacity over the holiday weekend, and even though a few stragglers remained this morning, they were hidden from my view.  Abbie and I do enjoy having the Park all to ourselves!

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I came across some Jewelweed growing next to the lake, and the moisture clinging to its petals really helped it live up to its colorful name.

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Hummingbirds have been busy at my feeder, packing on the calories before heading south for the winter.  I envy them.  I have always said if I had wings and no job, I would head south for the winter too!

 

 


Balloon Festival

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For many years now, I have attended the Balloon Festival held every August in Metamora.

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Each year I tell myself I have enough balloon photos in my hard drive and will just go to observe and enjoy, but it is such a colorful occasion, I just can’t resist snapping ‘just a few photos’.

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Every year it seems to draw more and more spectators and the amount of traffic creeping through this tiny village is just mind-boggling. The handful of village police officers have to bring in temporary officers to help direct traffic and keep parking organized, and they do an outstanding job.

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Good weather is critical for a safe launch. I have seen launches cancelled because of high winds or threatening storms, but last weekend the weather could not have been more perfect.  Sunny, not too hot as shade is scarce for the hundreds of spectators, and hardly a breath of wind!  I lost count of the number of balloons, but there must have been about 20.  I was glad I didn’t leave my camera home after all!


Late Summer Blooms

IMG_4452My Rose of Sharon is planted in a shady spot, so tends to bloom a little late.

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On the upside, it will continue to bloom until frost.  I am hoping to have some of the trees around it pruned in the Fall to improve conditions for it.

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Brown Eyed Susans are blooming in people’s gardens, and is also growing wild.  I came across these in the State Park, along with some Daisy Fleabane.


August 10, 2017

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Cooler, drier weather has allowed us to venture into the woods for some of our walks. On a very still morning, parts of the lake looked like a reflecting pool.

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We had a little taste of Fall last week, which I really did not mind, as the mosquitoes and deer fly were less active, allowing me to work outside in peace.

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I often come across a toad in or near my barn, and the cats, fortunately do not seem to bother them.  This fine specimen has to be the biggest one I have ever seen!

The numbers on the ruler don’t show up well in the photo, but he measured almost six inches long.


August 3rd.

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I was relaxing on my hammock in the shade of the Locust tree next to the house the other day.  I don’t often see it from this angle, and realized what a nice photo this view would make.  Hard to believe this tree traveled home from the nursery in the back of our old station wagon more than 40 years ago!

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Storms in the area created some impressive clouds yesterday.  Most of the storms passed us by again, but we have picked up an inch of rain so far today, and there could be more on the way.

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The flowers on my back deck are putting on a lovely show.  It takes a lot of watering to keep them happy, but it’s worth it!

 


A Break in the Weather

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Hot, humid weather or rain has kept me cooped up in the house for several days, but cooler, drier air has finally moved in and I have been able to catch up on some mowing, and snap a few photos.

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My resident Barn Swallows have young in the nest and escort me when I mow, swooping around my head like miniature fighter planes, catching the bugs I stir up.  I so enjoy their company!

 

I decided to see if I could grow some decorative gourds in a container next to the deck.  To keep them from spreading all over the lawn, I trained them up the fence of an unused dog pen.  It did not look promising at first, but now it looks like I will have at least a few to decorate my table in the Fall.