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Archive for the ‘Nature/animals’ Category

DSCN6424The leaves are falling fast and furiously here on the Cutoff. With a wind advisory for tomorrow and a slight chance (please let it be slight) of snow, the trees hereabouts will be skeletons of their summer selves for Halloween, so, indulge me, dear reader, as I share one last post of October’s leafy splendor.

These verses are from one of my favorite poems of Robert Frost’s. It is one I’ve posted before. I offer it up once again as we bid farewell to what has been a resplendent fall season.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
 From Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

 

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In a Rut

DSCN6471 - Version 2He was sauntering across the road as I executed the turn into our drive.  Watching me watching him, he paused as the driver’s window rolled down and the camera’s eye targeted him. He cunningly kept to weeds in the lot next door as I slipped out my cell phoned to call the Antler Man, who was working up in the barn. I knew Tom would be excited to learn that the boys were out roaming the Cutoff. We had recently discussed the fact the neither of us had seen any bucks in a long, long while.

Tom has a bird’s-eye view of life here on the Cutoff. His own aerie on high with which to watch the world we live in.

Meanwhile,

I needed to get the perishables into the fridge, so, motored on back, took the bags out of the trunk, put food away, and then wandered out front to see what I could see.

There I was, hiding behind the cross-the-road neighbors’ tree, staring down a doe who had better things on her mind than me. My Antler Man was patiently waiting on our lawn, which I discovered as I turned around. A buck, a doe, Antler Man and Penelope Paparazzi , all  coexisting here on the Cutoff. We ARE a PBS documentary.

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Rutting season has commenced here on the Cutoff.

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Drones

We had been frolicking under the welcoming arms of Olga Larch, amazed at her beauty, and taking silly pictures of the Purple Peeper, Penelope.  Maybe it was my camera, an aging but dependable digital that the Antler Man gave me for Christmas a decade or so ago. It is held together with duct tape and construction grade rubber bands, but, golly by gee, it does the job and keeps me cataloguing walks and dinners, grandkids and life.

So, there we were, emerging from under Olga’s leafy protection, anticipating the walk back up Frost Hill to our car.  We heard “it” before seeing “it”. Tom thought it sounded like a chainsaw on wood, employed elsewhere on the grounds of the arboretum. I thought it to be a small plane sluicing the pristine sky. Then, astounded it, we saw it zooming in, dipping down, swooping low, meeting the curve of a path, and then, like a bee full of nectar, darting back to its illusive hive.

Two women of certain age were resting on a bench, oblivious to the unidentified flying object. A couple walked ’round the bend, he querying  with a nod and a wink,  “think it was government?“. We laughed, thought CIA – or Amazon practicing book deliveries.

Back in our mocha colored VW with its luscious latte interior, we motored on, up hill and dale in the autumnal glow.  I was behind the wheel when I spied a Kodak moment, my thoughts on shadows I was collecting.  Does anyone else collect shadows?  With no one behind us, I idled and asked Tom to try to get a picture. He humored me, as he always does, took a few shots, and on we went, leaf peepers at full throttle.

Home again, I downloaded (or is it uploaded?), the camera cache of the day, prepared dinner and so forth and so on, later posting about Olga and sharing a few sillies on Facebook.  It wasn’t until a few days later, fiddling around with the photos, that I saw “it”. There, on the ground, not far from the shadowing tree; could it be that illusive drone that buzzed by us as we bid farewell to Olga?

Alas, dear readers, I’ve droned on and on, so will end this missive of a fly-by-photo of a tree, a shadow and a trash bag – or is it . . .?

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DSCN6200Such a sight was afforded on a crisp Autumn afternoon.

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 Time was spent under the low, sprawling branches of what I mistook for a bald Cypress.  Please click on the picture above to get a better sense of how expansive this tree is.

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Like pines and balsams and cedars, larch are also conifers.  This magnificent specimen is an Olga Bay Larch.

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Olga is situated at the base of Frost Hill, along the Conifer Path, toward Meadow Lake and just outside the Children’s Garden at the Morton Arboretum. From whichever direction you meet her, she invites you into her inviting embrace, to inhale her woodsy fragrance, discover her dainty cones, and to feel her silken needles.

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From the windows of space under Olga’s welcoming branches, to the fern-like crown of her canopy, this specimen is a charmer, with room enough underneath her ample skirts from which to spread one’s wings and imagine fairies and wood sprites, elves and gnomes, even the illusive Purple Penelope Peeper .

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DSCN6121The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

This poem of Yeats is so very lovely, and just spoke to me today.  I hope you are finding peace wherever you are.

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DSCN6153Nature’s wheel just keeps spinning a colorful web this fall. The trees have been outstanding, with their leaves turning  in earnest this week.  I want to drink it all in while the show lasts.

DSCN6149Some of you asked to see “my” Copper Beech in her Autumn splendor.  Her leaves are exhibiting their coppery rust, which makes it  a striking companion to what I believe is an aspen. Copper and gold; such amazing tones in nature. Even in the rain – especially in the rain – the performance is spectacular this year. Yet again, I was exploring  the Morton Arboretum on Wednesday.  The path above was leading to the glass-blowing pumpkin extravaganza going on through the weekend.  If you are in the area, you really should drop in to see the Glass Pumpkin Patch at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, and then absorb all the fall colors.

Leaf Peepers! That’s what we become in the fall. Leaf Peepers!

The path below wanders amid an arbor rainbow.  I felt a bit like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road.

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It doesn’t matter where paths wander in our midwestern fall ; just that we take the time to walk them, as this pair did in the Autumn mist.

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Would you like to see some of the glass pumpkins? They are even better in person.  Click on photos for a better look-see.

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DSCN5973Shall I tell you a story of linen and ink, gardens and waterfalls, sunshine and splendor?

It occurs at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois.

Our garden club’s adventure started with a private tour of the Lenhardt Library; a treasure trove of horticultural books, journals, periodicals, reproduction prints and more. There was an amazing display of noteworthy bookplates, including those of Charles Dickens and Eugene Field.  Several of us were particularly interested in Field’s bookplate as we first met long before joining the garden club, when our children attended Field School, named for the poet. (you know him – Wynken, Blynken and Nod).

After our introduction to the wonders Lenhardt has to offer, we were taken into the June Price Reeder Rare Book Room. It was as if a hush fell on my soul, so enthralled was I in the presence of four centuries of bound and conserved horticultural wisdom, some of which became the template of remedies for modern medicine.  To touch the linen pages that predate the anniversary of Columbus’s discoveries, the day before Columbus Day is commemorated here, is rather awesome, indeed. The library is in the painstaking process of digitizing  these books and journals, some truly tomes, for all to access. You can see some of them by clicking the link to the rare book room above.

No garden club event seems complete without food, so, we stopped for lunch at the Cafe. We commiserated over sandwiches, soups, salads and sunshine, then separated, some taking a tram tour of the grounds, others walking the paths.  I suspect most of us also ended up in the bountiful gift shop before heading home.

The groundskeepers were busy, hauling this and that, flowers and soil, pumpkins and gourds, readying the Botanic for this weekend’s fall festivities. It was a pristine day; the best kind for visiting such an expansive garden. The Chicago Botanic Gardens is a destination for grade school field trips as well as an international destination to world travelers.  It pleased me to no end to hear the many languages that were being uttered and the universal joy of horticulture.

Here are a few photos taken in the Rare Book Room.  Our guide was Leora Siegel, the library’s director. It is an understatement to say that she was exemplary as she guided us through the centuries of books. I felt a tinge of regret when the tour concluded as I longed to hear and see more.

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Finally, a few photos of the grounds, which include the Japanese garden, the vast vistas, waterfall, and stunning chrysanthemums dripping from the main arbor leading out to the Botanic’s grounds.

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