It has been a cool month and we have been enjoying the fall colors this past week or so.
I think this is the prettiest the chinquapin oak has been in the fall. Usually the leaves are an orange brown color that is not too special, but this year the color was a little more pink/orange. Of course, it is hard to capture in a photo.
Carpinus caroliniana – American hornbeam. The leaves are pinkest where they get the most sunlight. There are lilacs on either side. I like the lilacs, but I am tempted to get rid of the one on the right as this tree grows, to give it plenty of room.
Zooming in from the upstairs window I was able to capture the orange/pink color a little better.
We planted two hornbeams at the same time. They are on either side of the lilac. They came from Possibility Place, where we have gotten the majority of our native trees and shrubs. I am beginning to wonder if the tree to the right of the green lilac is not really carpinus, but is ostrya, because the leaves never turn pink and always stay very yellow. But I am not sure yet, and will need to keep researching. The catkins and fruit do not appear to be the same on these two trees.
Zooming in on the right side of the picture above, there is the yellow “hornbeam” on the left, the fothergilla turning bright colors in the front, and the very yellow spicebush on the right.
The asters were some of the last flowers to bloom in the garden.
I was surprised to see this moth still flying around in early November. The coral mums are great places for the last pollinators.
Saturday we took a walk on country lane in the Palos forest preserve. The sun came out to brighten the orange leaves!
Today we took another walk in the forest preserves. The green leaves of the invasive bush honeysuckle really stand out, when most other leaves have fallen. After all our years of hiking here we were amazed to walk for over an hour on a trail that was completely new to us in this area. The thing is, some of these trails are too buggy in the heat of the summer, so this was a great day to hike here. Part of the trail was very rugged, so it was good that it was not too muddy or too icy to go up and down the hills and through stream beds.
A toad crossed the path in front of us. The path was between a pond and the forest. Where would the toad go this time of year? It was facing away from the pond and moving slowly in the cold weather…
Not sure of the name of this lake in the forest preserve, but I think it is the first time we have walked past it! We did not see many waterfowl on this gray day.
Back at home after our walk it was time to mulch up the fallen oak leaves and build up the compost pile, which you can see in the back right hand corner of the picture. Last week we went and got some great dark colored composted manure from the nearby horse stables. In the picture it looks like dark soil in the garden beds. We are still eating the kale, collards and brussel sprouts from our garden.
Sandhill Cranes: While working on the compost pile I could hear the sandhill cranes calling and looked up to see four v-shaped groups overhead flying toward those corn fields in Indiana. Maybe there were 40 – 50. Love it!