About Me

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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

No pictures today

After last week's weather that made me want to run away to someplace warm and sunny, today the Mid-Ohio Valley redeemed itself with one of its utterly lovely, in-between-fall-and-winter days. There are no pictures because I was driving a 94-year-old aunt home from Dayton, where we had spent the holidays with a configuration of relatives that included my year-old step-great-grandson (of whom there are LOTS of pictures, but that would be for a different sort of blog), so all I can do is describe the perfection.

The sky was the clear, glorious blue that seems most common after a cold snap (or maybe I just appreciate it more after a series of gray days have left me wondering if we'll ever have sun again--and as far as I'm concerned, two gray days constitute a series). The farm ponds along Route 35 in south-central Ohio were reflecting all that gloriousness. Some were still partly skimmed with ice, and some fields still sported a little snow cover. There were hawks on fenceposts every mile or so.

Moving back into southeastern Ohio, we got to enjoy the hillsides doing their late-autumn thing. Little bluestem lit up anyplace a sunbeam hit, and the dried blooms and seedheads of staghorn sumac absolutely blazed red. The sycamores have finally lost all their leaves, so there was nothing to distract from the eye-popping whiteness of their bark. Pines provided a green break from all the browns, grays, and russets. There was just enough wind for the sun to be setting off sparks in the Ohio River, and the Hocking River was boasting ducks, geese, and at least one blue heron.

Maybe the tropics are over-rated.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Spending the weekend in Toledo, one of my favorite places, but a high of 32, overcast with snow flurries, is just not weather I want to be out in right now. (This is probably a Good Thing as my online students are submitting their research papers at this moment, so there is much Work to Do.) My aging bones are missing the Florida of my youth (which, like said youth, is gone), and gray winter days spark fantasies of running away and being a beach bum.

However, being a beach bum costs more than it once did and the budget won't allow it, so for now, I'll just indulge in a few pictures from last year's Brevard County Christmas.

Hibiscus in my in-laws' front yard:

a gulf fritillary in a park

sunrise at the SeaScape Motel in Indialantic:


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weird November

Let's see: so far this month we in the Mid-Ohio Valley have had snow, a seventy-degree afternoon, driving rain, and now a tornado watch. (And thankful I am that our area seems to have missed the tornado band that hit further west.) How much of the weirdness is due to climate change, I cannot say, but November has been a wildly inconsistent month.

But some things can be counted on. The first junco was scavenging sunflower seed under the feeders this week, and a house wren is visiting the mealworm feeder. We can now safely assume that winter is on its way.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Almost ready

Okay, the leaves aren't all raked (hey, they're still coming down, so what's the point?), and the perennials have not all been whacked back, but the most important fall tasks have been completed. This afternoon, blustery as it was, found me transplanting rudbeckia that had sprouted in inappropriate places and tucking in the last of the spring-flowering bulbs. Come spring, Chipmunk Ridge should be sporting lots of new snow crocus and muscari, along with 200 or so new daffodils (joining the several hundred already here--yes, I'm a plant slut) and 97 Bulgarium allium.

Let it snow. We're ready for spring.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Officially in Love

Okay, I can't help it. As wonderful as is my long-suffering spouse, I am Officially in Love with (at least the first week of)  November 2013, which is continuing to bring us autumn gloriousness long past what seems its usual sell-by date (though when I look at photos taken in November 2012, it was no slouch, either. Is this a trend?).
Cliché as photos of tree-lined streets may be, there is no doubt a reason why we like such things,

 and while raking leaves is probably no one's favorite pastime, how lucky we are to have all this "light come down to earth," to borrow Wendell Berry's phrase.

(And if you don't know the poem, you can read it here.)
Some of the color combinations brought on by this season's changes have hardly seemed real, like this one found along a service road at the Toledo Botanical Gardens.
This year's oakleaf hydrangea is even more gorgeous than usual.
And something growing in a yard in my favorite Toledo neighborhood was like nothing I had ever seen before in November.
I didn't get too close, fearing to discover that this springlike pink was some hideously invasive thing. For the moment, I was grateful to find a bit of magic on an ordinary residential street.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Damp drizzly November of the soul

Herman Melville's Ishmael may have complained about the "damp, drizzly November of [his] soul," but the dark, dampish first of this November did not provoke the dismal thoughts that lead one to join a ship's crew. Instead, it led us to search for the remnants of autumn in our favorite Toledo parks, which did not disappoint.

Despite the overcast sky, fiftyish temperature, and lousy light, the prairie trail was as lush and gorgeous as ever,
and to one side was a bright yellow something--maybe a shrub dogwood--stolonifera, perhaps?

The exciting, unusual visitors to the Window on Wildlife have all gone south, but the usual inhabitants were keeping the place lively. Besides, who doesn't like nuthatches?
The Botanical Gardens still have roses, not at their peak, but--roses, in November, in Toledo!

The grass garden was looking good, and probably will for months,
and the plants in the walled cottage garden were putting on quite a show. The yellow is dying daylily foliage.
And of course, deciduous woods are probably the best thing about fall in the northern United States.
Ishmael needed to get out more. November is fine.