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More Autumn and Your Fall Favs.
October 18, 2010

What a Wonderful, Blessed time we enjoyed this past week.

As you know, Karen, Yolanda and I spent some time last week in northern Michigan.

We enjoyed some sights like a Lighthouse or three, a plethora of fall colors and a 'PINK' cement truck.

Yes, a full sized Man's cement mixer truck painted 'Pink' and on display in Traverse City for a very good cause.

There were lake shores to see and some barn quilting as well.

Fruit and pumpkin stands peppered the roadsides, but no time to visit the vineyards this time around.

(Pictures up and down this letter from up north.)

What amazes me, is how the relatively warm temperatures of the Big Lakes can keep the temperatures above freezing, even this time of year.

Flowers were in bloom in most locations we visited.

(A Patriotic Themed Barn)

Yes, there were a few locations where Impatiens and Hosta were toast, but so many other tender annuals were thriving and in bloom, only adding to the fall colors we went to look for.

We did spot a flock of grazing Turkeys, one deer and a single Perched Bald eagle.

However, tooling 74 MPH down the highway doesn't make
for a good photo Op.

The weather for this time of year was as close to ideal as well.

Mostly sunny and mild (60's).

Small town America is still a vibrant place, even in Mid October.

Driving through a few small towns, I took notice to a bit of the life style and years gone by.

People leave pumpkins and bales of straw at the end of driveways and near mailboxes.

Towns decorate for the season (any season) and feel safe about it.

It was like going back 40 or so years for me.

No way would a pumpkin remain for a single evening if I placed it near a mail box here in suburbia.

Yet, the town of Frankfort, MI. was preparing for its 'Fall Harvest Festival' and every street and intersection heading into town had several pumpkins,
straw and some corn stalks displayed and advertising the up coming event.

Unmolested and looking pretty.

I said to Karen................. "No way would that last one night where we live."

Now that is a two edged statement.

Good and bad.

You get the picture

Nothing beats our 'Creator's' natural beauty.


Though some spots were past their peak by a week, others were at their prime, and still locations right near the lake shores of the Grand Traverse Bay were probably a good week away from prime time colors.

(Fall colors and vineyard.)

I will share a few pictures today.

There are several variables that go into making fall colors.

I wont go into details right now, but length of day, temperature, sunlight or lack of, enough moisture, not enough or too much moisture, etc. go into making a colorful fall.

A pretty fall means just the right amount of cool nights, sunny days, proper moisture and so on.

A poor color season is brought on by droughts and early leaf drop.

Too much moisture and color season never reaches its fullness.

Wind and rain can beat leaves off and dry seasons will turn them brown and drop early.

You get the idea and your fall colors will often tell you what your summer was like and what your fall is like right now.

Here throughout much of Michigan and surrounding areas, Autumn has put on a good show.

One of the best in recent years.

(Barn Quilting )

I typically won't spend time taking pictures of House sparrows, but this one caught my attention.

It first showed up a couple of weeks ago and comes and goes several times a day.

Albinism is rare, but probably more common in House sparrows than any other species of bird.

For me, this is my first completely albino creature of any sort (wild, and not including pigeons) and a real treat to have it visit my back yard and feeders.

I saw no sign of it being bullied by the other sparrows.

A completely albino bird is the most rare, lacking any pigment in its skin, eyes, and feathers.

The eyes in this case are pink or red, because blood shows through in the absence of pigment in the irises.

The beak, legs, and feet are very pale or white.

Completely albino adults are very rarely spotted in the wild.

Skin eyes and feathers are lacking the pigment melanin

Albinos are genetically weaker than the normal populations of any given species.

For many of us in the northern regions, fall color is past its peak and you may now be raking leaves.

You in the more southern or warmer climates may only now see a glimpse of fall colors and things to come.

You may notice the fall colors of a certain tree and think how nice that would look in your yard or wildlife gardens.

Before you go out on that Gotta Have Mission, do your homework.

Is it native?

How large will it get and so on?

Nothing like planting a cute little tree and having to move other plants a few years later because you didn't plan ahead.

One thing many people seem to ignore is the root system of a tree.

You don't want to be one of those people

Is it a shallow rooted tree?

(Yolanda and Karen posing with Grand Travese Lighthuse)

Will it ruin my lawn or gardens?

This is a very important thing to look into.

Some trees run shallow.

For example, Spruce and pine and cedar trees have a shallow, long running root system, well beyond the drip line.

The root upheaval in your lawn make it difficult to mow, or they run into your flower beds stealing water and nutrients from your flowers.

Silver maple or soft maple are usually purchased and planted because they are a fast growing tree.

Silver maples also make a mess with seed helicopters, busted twigs and a massive shallow root system that ruins many a lawn and they aren't that pretty in the fall.

Go with a Sugar Maple, Black maple or a Red for better effects all the way around.

Sweet Gums trees are beautiful when in all of its fall glory.

From green to shades of yellow, red and purple all on the same tree, make gum trees very attractive.

However, gum trees also have a shallow root system that lifts up soil and high winds can disrupt your tree.

Sweet gums also produce these medium sized seed balls in the fall that are full of stiff, almost pricker like spines that are uncomfortable.

Will your new tree put up suckers along the root system?

Will it help attract wildlife?

More and more Gardeners are looking for trees that serve more than the one purpose of shade.

You may be looking for trees and shrubs that offer a multiple season attraction.

Trees that have attractive blooms like Serviceberry, Chokecherry or Dogwood in the spring.

Attractive fruits in summer (sometimes fall) and attractive foliage in Autumn.

If you have a keen eye, you may even appreciate the bark of a tree as well.

Time is running out here in the northern regions if you want to plant a tree now, but in the warmer climates, you still have time.

No matter where you live, trees are considered a new planting for up to two years and need to be treated as such.

That means regular and deep watering of at least 1" a week.

Yes, even after the leaves have dropped, you must still tend to all of your plantings if you aren't getting the proper rain fall.

Newer plantings aren't established and need some TLC like watering until the ground freezes and continue to water where it doesn't freeze.

Sure your tree may have a one year guarantee with it, but do you really want to go through the hassle of digging it up and bringing it back.

Not to mention a set back for another year.

Remember to look for a healthy trees and to untangle roots before you plant it.

Mulch is important as well.

Well, it's time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

Until next time.

(Pumpkin and produce stand.)

Deloris Stone of Georgetown, Kentucky.

Autumn, although its depressing to me to know winter is coming, I have to say I do love the apple cider and bonfires in the fall as well as color if you have the right conditions in your area. Its also a chance to try out all the new soup and stew recipes and turn to matters inside the house that I've neglected all spring/summer to be outside. But then winter hits and there is nothing more beautiful to me as standing in the warm house in front of my back window or door and watching all the birds chow down at my feeders, especially the brilliant red of the cardinals on the white snow.

Thank you Deloris.

Fall colors, soups and a good bowl of chili make a good recipe for Autumn. I love feeding birds too, and you are on the right side of the window.

Dave of Sheridan, Michigan.

My favorite time of the year is Fall! I love the colors, the smells, the calm that comes over us after a hectic summer. The chance for long cool walks are among my favorites, no hot sun, no sweating up a storm to get up that hill and see the splendor of God's art work! I enjoy watching the changing of the birds and seeing how each will change. I do regret the Sandhill cranes leaving, but I also know in a few months I'll be so excited to see them again. The chipmunks are hurrying around outside busy saving food! I love the Fall harvest and the visits to the orchards and the wonderful smell of those doughnuts cooking and the Fallish taste of apple cider! ENJOY the Fall season, it's God's way of saying enjoy life :O}

Thank you Dava,

God's creation often leaves me speechless and the sheer beauty and bounty autumn provides is truly a reason to give thanks.

Sandra Smith of Truman Lake, Missouri

Here is some of my favorite times of the season. Around 5:00 p.m. to watch the bluebirds, sometimes we have counted up to 14 or 15, that come to our birdbaths and then to roost in our birds houses. They inspect each new birdhouse or roost that I place in the yard.

I have approx. 20 or more birdhouses or roost for the birds. Most I have made or recycled in some manner. Heritage Days will be October 16 and 17th at the Truman Dam. To walk the paths while fires and tents are set up to depict our heritage and observe the lifestyles back when. Making hominy, sorghum, home made bread, fudge, cider along with all the craft people. Civil war enactments, the blacksmith, spinners and so much to enjoy. We look forward to this every year and amazed how much it grows each year. Thank You for your letters. I find they are always so timely and oft times speak to my heart and soul.

Thank You Sandra.

As you have noticed, wildlife has its own routines and schedules and that can make it easy for us to enjoy.

Heritage and history are important reminders for all of us and many communities have festivals to honor both.

Judy from Upstate, New York.

My favorite things about Autumn are, Beautiful colors, smell of dead leaves, the crunching sound as I walk through the woods, burning scented candles, preparing squash for the freezer, smells of baking pies and home made bread.

Thank You Judy.

Sights, sounds and smells, amazing how the human mind and body enjoys and reacts to our surroundings and like the beaver, we plan and store for future needs as well.

(Old Mission Point Lighthouse)

Barb from West Chester, OH (Cincy suburb)

Generally I don't like fall because the hummingbirds leave, the tomato crop stops AND I have to close up my pool.... all make me teary!!! However, I DO like the disappearance of high humidity and heat - I love warm, sunny days and cool nights! I also love the smell of burning leaves and the colorful trees.

Thank you Barb.

For years, fall was a real drag for me too.

Everything would die off (or so it seemed) and months of cold gloomy and snowy days followed.

I still wish for spring, but now I can appreciate all of the seasons and like you, I can find a silver lining no matter where I look.

Faye Bowman in Lancaster, PA.

Thank you for asking about my favorite fall things. Well, of course the weather for one thing. Fall is my favorite season. I love Indian summer and the Harvest Moon. The Brilliant blue sky, and leaves turning beautiful colors. I'm just so excited about the whole thing and look forward to it every year.

Thank you Faye,

The sky is bluer in the fall, isn't it and the season does offer so much (I'm slowly learning).

Closing off toady's favorites is:

Diane of Derby, New York.

My favorite thing about fall is:

I start canning tomatoes. I also cut up and freeze apples for pies. I love to cook or bake all the new recipes that I found from the summer. Then the long rides
to see the leaves change. That is what makes me love fall.

Thank You Diane.

Fall does indeed offer much.

There you have it folks.

Fall offers much indeed.

Killing frosts for allergy sufferers.

Cool and warm crisp days.

(Point Betsie Lighthouse)

No more being cooped up inside.

Soups, stews, and chili.

Camp fires and fireplace fires.

Colors beyond our imagination.

Star gazing.

Harvests and festivals.

There is so much more to enjoy.

And to think, I almost was too busy wanting spring that I almost forgot the reasons I enjoyed fall when I was a lad.

Now it is your turn to share what you like about fall.

I would like to do this for a few more weeks, but I need reader participation.

It is after all, your newsletter.

Along with your favorites, send me your.

Name (last is optional)

City or location

State or province.

It only works when you participate.

No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle and good, without the world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.

-- Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) American Bishop

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Luke 6:38 (New International Version)

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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