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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Return of the Sun

Sunshine and rain puddles, drops of dew and scarves of mist add their touches to the color of the day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

What I See

“Big picture! Big picture!” the Artist frequently reminds me when he sees me scanning the ground at my feet. He’s right to find the big picture important – and I love it, too (see the one above), but little things also form a big part of my world. Sometimes I’m looking for special stones, but I may just as often be seeking clues about who’s been down the road earlier in the morning. Were there deer? Coyotes? Someone walking a dog? Birds or snails, snakes or mice?

Yes, I see the big picture. At this time of year, the bright colors in the landscape are impossible not to see.

But in every season there is some particular tree or plant that grabs my attention day after day and won’t let go. This autumn it’s wild grapevine that I can’t help seeing everywhere. One arduous morning spent tearing and cutting and pulling vines on part of our home property sensitized me to its presence in the passing scenery – climbing trees, clambering over fences, clinging to and nearly smothering everything that will give it a foothold.

In the plant’s defense, we must note that it is native to this area, and its fruit is edibleOn the downside, the vine recognizes no boundariesAnd some years, I’ve noticed, you can search and search without finding any grapes on the vines. Did wildlife get them all, or did the vines simply not bear that year? Well, it isn't as striking in the landscape as the bright fall scarlet of Virginia creeper, but it makes a good contrast.

Some wild foods require far more work than others to harvest and store. I can spend evening after evening contentedly peeling and slicing wild apples (my eye is especially attuned for wild apples in the landscape) for the food dryer (drying fruit concentrates its sugar, so the tartest wild apples become palatable in dried form), but one year of hulling and shelling black walnuts was enough for me. Anyway, the squirrels depend on them to fill their winter larder, so I'll just gather them up and leave them for the squirrels. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Leelanau Morning

And now, from the other direction, going back --

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Autumn Reds Arrive

Virginia creeper

Staghorn sumac



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Leaving the Main Road Behind

We saw a sign for a garage sale. Initially David slowed but then drove on past. After all, we hardly need anything. “Unless you want to stop?” Well, I said, maybe they’d have a couple of old plastic pails or something? Man’s World, as we call the garage barn and basement, sometimes needs contains for random projects, and the Queen of the Kitchen does not appreciate having her saucepans appropriated. So we went a little farther down the road, turned around, and went down the driveway toward Lake Leelanau to discover Paradise.

Polish Heritage Farm is a small, diversified agricultural operation. They have pigs, goats, ducks, and all kinds of chickens. Guarding the chickens from marauding foxes are neat little guinea hens. The guineas forage for their own meals, and there’s a market for their beautiful feathers.

Our genial host was so forthcoming with information that I could only absorb and retain maybe 5-10% of what he told us. Also, I was distracted by the surroundings – so much life everywhere! It's hard to concentrate in a state of total bliss, which is how I felt with the animals sounds and smells and the soft autumn breeze and the happy children.

We came away with a carton of fresh eggs, and when we go back soon for produce I’ll take along my scythe for sharpening. I feel like we discovered a gold mine! I need to get more pictures, too, on future visits.