Friday, October 24, 2014

Notes From The Country - Autumn Lullaby

Leaves, leaves and more leaves. That's pretty much the story around here. The reds of our Fire Maple, Service berry, and Red fire bush (that's what I named it), and the yellows, rusts, and golds of the Mountain Ash's, Locusts, Aspens and Cottonwoods. We've had a particularly colorful year this year. The abundant spring and summer rain we've had followed by the warm, sunny days of this autumn so far, with dry, mild nights have provided the perfect environment. Did you know that leaves don't actually change color in the fall? The bright, sunny days of summer keep the leaves full of chlorophyll which makes for the green. The true colors of the leaves are there the entire time though. They are just masked by green. When the days become shorter and the sun not as intense, along with other factors, that chlorophyll production stops, and at the time of year when we take our cue from the colorful leaves around us and start thinking of masks and pumpkins and Halloween, the trees' leaves are actually taking off their masks and showing their true selves. It's like nature has this little secret joke. 

The Cottonwoods in the surrounding pastures are brilliantly bright. They progress from bright yellow to a rusty yellow-orange before shedding it all for their winter nap. Every time a breeze picks up it's starts raining leaves so the garden, lawn, and deck are pretty much covered right now. The prettiest have been collected and are drying between newspapers to grace the Thanksgiving table and remind me of these fleeting days - because by Thanksgiving everything is bare and brown!

The chickens are free ranging it now because the remaining tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and greens from the garden have been harvested. From the kitchen with the window open I can hear them crunching around on the leaves. 

Inside, our house has been decorated for Boo Season for awhile, candles are lit on many evenings because for me candlelight and fall evenings go hand in hand, and the annual Halloween cookies have been made (and as of now, are pretty much gone. hmm)

The growing season this year was outstanding for the farmers in the area. Our local pumpkin farm was chock full this year, and the dairy farmer down the road said this was the best corn crop ever. Makes me happy for them. They are totally at the mercy of the Colorado weather. 

I absolutely love this time of year here. We've been taking advantage of the remaining mild weather to enjoy walks down our road, engage in the hoopla of our college football games, savor our local breweries and their seasonal offerings, and steal a bit more summer feel before it truly says goodbye....

   Here is a beautiful, poetic lullaby for the season. If you ever get a chance to see these guys live I would highly recommend it. We were fortunate to see them in the stunning outdoor music venue of Red Rocks here in Colorado recently.

Almost forgot. Happy Friday! This is my idea of synchronicity. We had a mid - week meet up at our favorite underground cocktail establishment this week and they had this on tap. I'm usually not one for hard ciders, but this choice combined a flavorful, not too sweet taste with just the right amount of spiciness in the form of a perfect seasonal cider. I noticed the cider pull first - saw that the cider maker and the name of said establishment were the same, then discovered it is made in California's  Sonoma County near Sebastopol. I remember driving through Sebastopol and enjoyed it's delightful country atmosphere with it's abundant apple orchards (go figure!), and it fueled my dream of living in the country. Sometimes the fun is in the details.