The calendar says autumn has arrived, yet I look out of our windows and still see green everywhere. On a walk over the weekend I decided to photograph our surroundings to give you a perspective of eastern Pennsylvania as it is now, with the intent of showing you what it will eventually be like next month and in November. As much as I do it for you, the reader, I also like to catalog the property from year to year so that I note the differences in the landscape. Storms, fallen trees, dead foliage, etc., can have a significant impact on the areas around our home. A tree that no longer stands where it used to, for instance, can make a space feel completely different.
With such a wet summer and cooler-than-normal temperatures these past few months, it's going to be interesting to see what our foliage will look like this season. Several years ago we had the most amazing colors that were simply breathtaking, yet the following year, the colors were muddied and the leaves fell before they even had a chance to change colors. I felt robbed of the transition. I'm keeping my hopes up for a splendid show this year, so let's see if it happens. I'll have my camera at the ready to photograph everything for you whether or not it's nice.
Just the other day I was telling someone that I've lived here on the east coast the longest out of anywhere else I've resided in my lifetime. The changes in weather, the changes in foliage, the changes in temperatures are all things I enjoy about the east coast. Although I sometimes don't like or even welcome the change in seasons, once I get my mind into gear and begin to notice the aromas, the flavors and the colors of a particular season, I'm all for it. Don't get me wrong, I could do with a place in Hawaii where it is splendid all year long, but for now, I'll enjoy my autumn.
The walk up our long driveway this time of year is always nice. There is a flurry of activity from the birds, squirrels, the occasional deer and of course, the bees. Some of the trees along the driveway are already beginning to turn just slightly. You have to really pay attention to notice.
I love the view of the barn from the bottom of the driveway. The hand-built wall of the patio looks as if it's been here for the 200 years the barn has been standing. This area is always buzzing with activity from the bees.
As I was making my way around the patio, I stopped to admire these flowers and noticed a giant spider resting on the petals. This long-legged creature with a plump body just conjures up images of Halloween.
The facade of the bank barn with the 4 Dutch doors is covered by a simple porch. Every single one of the windows has its trim colored in a nice flax color that complements the stone walls. That exact color is being copied as we speak onto something that's truly special, which will be available for all of you very soon. Stay tuned for that.
I took this particular photograph to show you what used to be here back in the 1800s. A door which gave access to the upper bays of the barn made it easy for the farmers to drop down equipment, bales of hay and other supplies. It has since been sealed up and those two iron squares which flank the bottom window were added as supports for the walls. They hold the eastern and western walls together with tension rods running through the barn.
Looking at the side of the barn, you can see how it's built into the hill. Bank barns like these are common to this area of the country and the fact that many of them still stand today, is a testament to their good bones. You can see more of that color I was talking about on the window frames and along the roof line.
There's nothing like my walks around the field. Look at the trees on the right side showing their oranges and yellows, with hints of reds. The dogwood trees are among the first to change every single year, so you can understand why they remain a favorite with me.
I'm not sure what that flowering growth is in the middle of the grass, but it's wonderful. It gives a nice punctuation of color which draws you in. The butterflies were all over it as I was walking through here. Keep in mind that my friend, Sean, mows several paths around the meadow to make it easy to navigate. As much as I would love to, I don't make it a point to run through the field and roll around the grass. What would the neighbors think?
This old tree which has grown rather crooked is already beginning to change and drop a lot of its leaves. Isn't it nice to see this change in color? With clear blue skies, wonderful temperatures and the sun shining down on me, I felt like bottling up the moment right then and there. Although I'm not a big proponent of soaking in a lot of sun, I did not want to move from this spot because it was so warm and soothing.
As I was making my way down the path I couldn't get over how much activity there was around me. Bees were still buzzing, crickets were chirping by the hundreds, butterflies were fluttering about and birds were flying every which way. Deer which are quite common in the area were not to be found on this day.
A birdhouse with the number 5 sits here on the edge of the path. Several of these are placed around the perimeter of the field and a great number of birds use the houses to take shelter and raise their families. I just happen to like the number 5.
I came to a fork in the road. Which way to go? To the left of me is the edge of the meadow and to the right of me is the 2 acre parcel which is being replanted with native trees. I wanted to take a look at the progress of the trees, so I turned right.
I'm glad I turned right because I came upon one of the apple trees here on the property. It was laden with delicious apples ripe for the pickin'. As you can imagine, I wasted no time in getting some.
The path around the replanted area was dark, but that's because the position of the sun has changed with the season. I first notice the sun's position being different when I'm in the kitchen. The light filtering through my windows feels different and the timing is different. When I'm out and about at my usual time, I notice it too.
One of my friends down in Georgia was telling me about her experiences with black walnuts when she was growing up and I told her that we had several trees here. She asked if we ever cracked them and had them in the kitchen, to which I replied that I did not.
The casings are extremely hard and the inner shells are charcoal black which stain everything quite easily. We let the squirrels partake of the bounty. Those green lime-like orbs flanking the apple are black walnuts.
Making my way back onto the meadow I came upon an island of ostrich ferns. I guarantee you, and you'll just have to take my word for it, but these were not here last year. I don't know exactly how they managed to creep their way to this area, but there here. Amazing.
Ostrich ferns are quick to take root and will cover an expansive piece of ground in no time. That reminds me, another friend of mine in South Carolina was just about to transplant some ferns from Pennsylvania. I have to check to see how they're coming along!
When I get to the other side of the field on a sunny day like this, I'm covered by a lot of shade. The large specimen trees that surround the area are well over 40 feet tall, so this dense canopy becomes somewhat of an umbrella.
You can see what I mean in this photograph. The path at this bend in the field has to go right underneath sagging tree limbs.
In case you were wondering, there are birdhouses #1 & #2.
The landscape still has lush foliage and there is green everywhere you look, but mark my words, this will be completely different in the coming month. Just the other day I heard a flock of Canadian geese heading south already. I think our feathered friends know that fall and winter are right around the corner, and I actually welcome the seasons now. I'm ready for them. Are you?
Enjoy the new season!