Late afternoon, and I had the Arboretum trails almost entirely to myself. One or two dogs were out for an afternoon stroll with their human companions, and I came upon one family group, but with no one to engage in conversation, I enjoyed a quiet stroll around Lotus Pond, down the hill to Blueberry pond (Pictured above), and back to the car park before dark. Come along and enjoy the beauty with me.
Of course, for me a trail walk at the Arboretum is not complete unless I make the circle around Lotus Pond to enjoy the many sides of the Golden Willow Tree.
Today, because I had a little time left before the sun sank below the horizon, I decided to follow the trail from Lotus Pond to Blueberry Pond. I hadn’t walked that way in a while and checking it out in near-dusk on this late Autumn afternoon was a delightful experience. The clump of birch trees to the left of the trail and the bench at the top of today’s blog post caught my eye, and I paused to capture a colorful photo of the shoreline of Blueberry Pond.
From Blueberry Pond, I climbed the hill, returning to the visitor’s center where I found my car, sitting nearly solitary in the parking lot. Chilled, but happy with the images I had collected, I stowed my camera pack in the back seat, started the car, turned on the heater, and headed home.
Thanks for joining me for today’s trail walk. See you soon! Trail Walker
A story I didn’t have the heart to tell until now.
Mr. Bluebird has just peeked into the nesting box. Perched on top, Mrs. B. is wondering if the box is available. “Have the sparrows left?” she queries. “Can we move in?” (That’s my guess at their conversation based on their actions and the expressions on their tiny faces.)
A few months earlier, when summer was at its peak, Mrs. B, with a little help from her mate, had diligently built a nest in this very same box. When the nest was ready, the time had come. She laid three tiny eggs in her carefully constructed nest, and both parents went to work keeping watch over their brood. Day after day, she tended the nest, making occasional quick trips outside to pick up more twigs and a grub or two, carrying them back to the nest in her beak. Sometimes Mr. Bluebird would bring her a grub or a worm, although he mostly patrolled the neighborhood, doing his best to keep the house sparrows and blue jays away from the little family.
Sadly, his best wasn’t good enough. One morning, when Momma and Poppa were both briefly out of the nest, an intruder got inside. How do I know that? I know because I had been keeping a close eye on the nest from my nearby kitchen window. Seeing the pair of beautiful blue birds, tending the nest so carefully, brought me great joy.
I checked on them every time I passed by the window, and then, one morning, tragedy struck. I glanced out the window and was horrified to see a house sparrow sitting on top of the nesting box, and the bluebirds were nowhere to be seen. I checked the nest often for the next few days. Occasionally I spotted Mr. Bluebird, perched on a nearby branch or on one of the feeders, his eyes scanning the neighborhood, but the momma was nowhere in sight. The house sparrows were around though, entering and leaving the nesting box they had quickly claimed as their own.
Finally, after a few days, we opened the box and discovered three tiny eggs, with a hole pecked in each one. We sadly cleaned out the box, hoping an empty box would discourage the sparrows. It did, but except for a very rare visit to the neighborhood, the bluebirds were gone. They didn’t return to the nest.
Then one day, months later, at the end of October, I was excited to see a bluebird, not just one, but a pair of bluebirds, in the backyard. I began to keep a close eye on the nest, as I had months earlier, and eventually, as I watched, Mr. Bluebird entered the nest, not once, but several times. And one of those times, a house sparrow flew up and tried to enter the nesting box when the bluebird was already inside. With a flurry of feathers and much beating of wings, the brave bluebird repelled the invader, as I stood at the window and cheered.
What will happen next? I don’t know. I’m rooting for Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird, but the sparrows are persistent. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
Please keep your fingers crossed too.
I’ll let you know what happens!
Fall festival at Patterson’s fruit farm is a wonderful family occasion…especially for those who have small children in tow. However, Bob and I don’t have small children or even small grandchildren. The youngest grandchild in our family turned 21 in April, so we usually avoid the fall festival, as colorful as it is. But on this day, when our visit to the doctor (to get some stitches removed from my face) took us in the direction of Patterson’s Fall Fest, Bob had an idea that appealed to me in more ways than one! He said, “Why don’t we stop at Patterson’s to get some apple dumplings?” How could I say “no” to that proposal? Had it been a Saturday or Sunday, I would have said, “Let’s not. It will be way too crowded!” But it was the middle of the week, so we decided to take a chance, and we were thankful we did. Although there were plenty of visitors, the crowd was manageable and everyone was enjoying the beautiful day. We had a great time, the apple dumplings, apple butter, and apple cider were delicious, and the view from the top of the hill was a bonus…especially for an amateur photographer like me. I couldn’t resist adding a few more “Color Me Autumn” pictures to my photo gallery.
Thanks for making the visit with us today. I hope you can find a fall festival to enjoy where you live. Be sure to take your camera…or at least your phone, which is the camera I had with me today.
Earlier this week, I lifted my eyes from the keyboard and glanced out the window next to my computer. It was already late afternoon on what had started out as a gloomy overcast day. To my delight, outside my window the sun was shining! I immediately went into action. Leaping out of my chair and grabbing my camera, I invited Bob to leave his desk and head to Holden Arboretum with me for an impromptu trail walk.
Two weeks earlier, I had visited the Arboretum, hoping to find the sugar maple tree crowned in glorious autumn color…not an unreasonable expectation in the middle of October. Normally we would have nearly reached peak color here on the south shore of Lake Erie by that time, but that afternoon, to my disappointment, the tree still looked much like it had in mid-summer: beautiful, but almost entirely green.
Today, with the late afternoon sun shining and puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky, I almost held my breath as I hurried down the trail to where I could catch sight of the tree. My expectations weren’t high because the end of October is well past the time for peak color in northeast Ohio, and in a normal year, the maple would have lost most of its color and many of its leaves by the first of November (the day I am writing this post).
Then I rounded the curve in the trail and saw the maple.
My heart burst with joy.
I hadn’t missed its peak color after all!
Three more for today from my Color Me Autumn trail walks (Click to enlarge pictures)
Autumn red near Lotus Pond
View from under the sugar maple
Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
I’ll be back soon to share more Autumn joy.
It was a perfect day for a trail walk, so I headed to Holden Arboretum because the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I hoped to find some photos to add to my “Color Me Autumn” collection. Parking my car, I hurried down the trail to the sugar maple tree, which by this time should be showing beautiful color. One glance at the tree, pictured above, told me that Autumn wasn’t making much progress. At least not yet! If I were to give it a grade, based on the colors I could see, I would probably give it a D+ (I’m a tough grader and, based on recent Octobers, my expectations are high). Frosty nights (but not too frosty) and bright, sunshiny days are the necessary conditions to create the colors that make Autumn my favorite season. Walking all around the tree to view it from all angles, I realized, to my disappointment, that it was still mostly green. It’s a beautiful tree, but green isn’t what I was expecting to see the second week in October. Sigh! Oh well, I’ll just go back to the Arboretum next week and update my Autumn color report. Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures from week two. Although I’m giving today’s trail walk a low grade for “fall color,” it still earns high marks for overall beauty.
That’s all for this week, trail walking friends. See you next week! Trail Walker
I ended my last post with the words, “I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow’s post.” “Tomorrow” turned out to be longer than I expected,” but finally, after several frenetically busy days, I have come back to share the pictures from Last Friday’s walk in Chagrin River Park. At the top of today’s post is a picture of a fisherman wading in the shadow of the power towers in Eastlake, Ohio. Looming behind those huge steel structures, which somehow remind me of the legs of huge, metal grasshoppers, are the power plant’s smoke stacks. If you were standing at the base of those tall stacks, your walking shoes would be a few feet from Lake Erie.
Turn your back to Lake Erie and with your feet pointed (more or less) southeast, walk past the Rural Road picnic shelter and playground. The river will be on your right as you follow the trail.
Eventually, after huffing and puffing up and down a few hills, you will find yourself standing at the base of the sledding hill. Climb the stairs to the top, sit down on one of the benches, and look back down the trail that brought you to this point.
That’s all for today. Thanks for visiting.
Stop by soon, and we’ll see what else we can find along the trail
Friday dawned with sunny, but cool weather, so as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared off the table, I pulled on a warm jacket and headed to Chagrin River Park. There weren’t many birds willing to pose for a picture, although I did spot a female cardinal. That’s her at the top of this post. Most of the pictures I took today were landscapes and riverscapes, (Is that really a word?) I don’t have time to post them all tonight because my eyes are already at half-mast and bed is calling, but along with the lady cardinal, here are three of my favorites:
By afternoon, the clouds you can see in these pictures had turned into drizzle, so I was very thankful that I had put my trail walk before my housework. I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow’s post. Please come back then. (There will be at least two more birds!)
See you tomorrow…
after I finish the housework I neglected today.
Suddenly, it is beginning to look like Autumn. Time to break out my “Color Me Autumn” tag and get out for some Autumn trail walks…My favorite season!
As soon as my dentist appointment ended this morning (Perfect report from the hygienist), I headed for the Arboretum. I don’t have time to write more tonight, but here are a few pictures from today’s trail walk to show that Autumn colors are beginning to appear despite the predominately green leaves.
The leaves on the golden willow tree will eventually turn yellow, but the transition is slow. Look around the tree, however, and you will see more Autumn colors.
Are you seeing Autumn in your neighborhood or are you saying goodbye to winter? Whichever season you are leaving (or entering), as you walk along the trail with your camera, you are sure to find something beautiful to photograph. Go on out and enjoy it whenever you can. That’s what I’m planning to do.
Rising early this morning, I knew I had a busy day ahead of me with places to go and people to see. So I chose to start the day with a quiet walk in Chagrin River Park, and that, as Robert Frost might have said, made all the difference. Join me and take a look.
Two views of the fire pit. On this chilly morning…jacket weather, someone had come early to build the fire, well before I got there.
Before long, I had to leave the park and hurry off to begin my day. It was as full and busy as I had expected, but a glorious day for the end of September. Autumn was in the air!
Thanks for joining me today. Hope to see you soon.