This was taken on an overcast day, and the leaves were obviously suffering from tar spot after a humid, hot summer, but I liked the rich color.

Pretty much the last to fall, the maples and ash trees are already bare.

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes – Red Oak Leaves

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Saw this pile of leaves across the street.

 

 

A couple of swift kicks later, it looked much happier.

 

 

 

 

But all too soon, the work of art was vandalized and swept away.

The END.

Autumn

Sidewalk drama in four snapshots

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Nature

Ginko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps everyone has tired of pretty leaf pictures, but I decided to chance it and post three snaps of a ginko tree.

The ginko doesn’t leap to mind as a go-to for autumn foliage.

It seems like a lot of years, the leaves just turn yellowish-brown and drop to the ground.

But this year I’ve seen a number of them putting on a spectacular golden show.

I’m always pleased to spot one of these, they’ve got all sorts of positive associations.

It’s nice to see something that’s survived for over two hundred million years.

Dinosaurs of the Jurassic, like one of my favorites, the brachiosaurus, could graze on them.

When Frank Lloyd Wright built his first home (in Oak Park, Illinois) he selected the property because there were beautiful ginko trees planted there.

I’ve seen the leaves countless times in artwork from Asia, especially Japan and read that the trees are treated as sacred at Shinto shrines.

Old arboretums in the eastern states of our country inevitably have specimens, some planted in the first years of the republic.

It’s cool for our republic to have these “living fossils” around, like most of our political leadership.

And as an “herbal supplement,” it’s supposed to remedy insufficient blood flow to the brain.

That problem seems to be pervasive right now during the political races, so there’s another good reason to keep these ancient trees in circulation.

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Autumn, milwaukee, Nature, Uncategorized, wisconsin

Walks Around Wisconsin. Milwaukee, October

 

It’s that time of year again.

The days are mellow but at night, there’s a bit of a nip in the air.  OK, really more of a wholehearted bite.

Autumn in Wisconsin — hard cold winds straight off the Canadian prairies sweep summery days away.

 

Experienced walkers in these parts know how to stay the course during the cold winds.  Put on your heaviest boots & take on some ballast – – drop a half-dozen rolls of quarters in your coat pockets, maybe a couple pints of Captain Morgan, the favored antifreeze in these parts.

Wax the ear flaps on your Stormy Kromer hat to cut wind resistance and head into the headwinds.

 

People are using to weaving, here in the city that leads the country in excessive drinking, so tacking & jibing with the wind comes pretty naturally.

Signs in the park remind dog owners that during High Wind days, any breeds smaller than a St Bernard should be double-leashed and aviation wheel chocks are recommended when they stop by a fire hydrant.

 

Who knows where the summer’s heat is carried off to – – I seem to recall an old Chippewa legend — when the North Wind blows into town, all the sunshine’s warmth is swallowed & carried to Capistrano.

Or perhaps I’ve got that muddled somehow. But modern science offers an equally crazy story to explain the change in seasons.

 

This old planet wobbles along on a bent axle or tilted axis, something like that?

“Wobble & Tilt” should be a carnival ride, or cop lingo for an inebriated pedestrian, but it’s scarcely appropriate behavior for a mature planet.

And recently I’ve become hopeful that scientists will buckle down and stabilize this situation.

 

The Big Red Ball. Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison

 

 

Last month, apparently lacking adult supervision, those crazy kids at NASA deliberately crashed a spaceship into an asteroid.  (Some articles called it a “moonlet” which makes me feel bad, like we’re picking on the little guy.) The idea was to see if they could change the asteroid’s course as a kind of test run for a planetary defense system.

So I’m thinking, once NASA has practiced up a bit, crashing spaceships & changing orbits, etc. perhaps they can correct Earth’s wobble & tilt problem?

Redirect some pointless wandering rock to smack into Earth.  Nothing over the top like last time, when they wiped out the dinosaurs, just a smack on the wrist with a ruler, so Earth straightens up and flies right.   Haley’s Comet is due for a visit in 2061, they should have it all worked out by then.

 

These same science types are working on jaunts to Mars, where temperatures during the tourist season average -81 degrees F.

 

We laypeople may not know much about space travel.  But we do know, that those sorts of scientists, interested in the Red Planet, and eighty one degrees below zero, are not from around here.

No one from Wisconsin is much interested in traveling somewhere colder.  The Wisconsin science types are mostly in Madison, huddled around a plasma magnetosphere called The Big Red Ball.

 

 

Our planet has a magnetosphere of course, so at least we’re protected from solar winds, even if it doesn’t help with the Alberta Clippers or the Arctic Cold Fronts.

 

The Big Red Ball, at the U of Wisconsin, kinda looks like a Hollywood mad scientist thing – – covered with magnets, wires, gauges, and pretty sure a 48-cup stainless coffee maker. And it cranks out 500,000 degrees F.  or 5 million K, something like that, basically “real hot,” a miniature sun.  And the scientists really don’t care if they discover a darn thing — as long as the funding holds out, the lab is nice and toasty.

And that reminds me, time for cinnamon raisin bread toast and hot coffee, gotta go.

 

 

 

 

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A pair of swans were the only movement in a beaver pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

maples reflected in a small pond

 

 

 

A heronry appeared to be deserted, but I’ve still seen the birds fishing in local creeks.  Most of the NY herons will take off for the Caribbean soon, but some Great Blues tough it out all winter.

 

 

along the shore of Lake Ontario

 

I’ve posted a few pictures from this place in past years.

The Sterling Preserve is not far from Oswego, NY, and about an hour’s drive from Rochester (maybe 45 minutes if you skip the leaf-peeping and drive down Route 104 like a bat out of hell, which is generally the custom in these parts).

In the 1970’s, a utility company acquired thousands of acres to build a nuclear power plant – – there were/are such plants near Rochester and Oswego.  However the plans for this Sterling plant fell through and there’s now roughly 1400 protected acres of fields, wooded hillocks and marshes .  And almost two miles of shoreline along Lake Ontario, all cobble beach.

 

 

The woods are nice – mostly maples, oaks, tulip trees and beeches.  Along the eastern edge of the preserve, remnants of a stone boundary wall and an old apple orchard are visible, now overtaken by native trees.  Near the marshes, there’s more buttonbush shrubs than I’ve seen anywhere else in the region.

WP seems to be doing that thing it does – – some of these photos fuzzy to me, I fiddled with them but no improvement.  They seem to look ok when you click on them.

 

What a variety pack of colors on a single branch from an oak tree

 

 

Birds, Clean Waters, Finger Lakes, FLX, Great Lakes, hiking, Nature, NY, Ontario, Uncategorized, Upstate New York

Walks Around Upstate New York. Sterling Preserve, October

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One of the many nice things about autumn, is that a bit of rain doesn’t spoil the day.

In the summertime, if you’re headed to the beach, determined to swim and sunbathe

but then a rain storm blows in, your day is scuttled & scuppered.

(I thought those terms seemed more sea-worthy than “screwed up.”)

You can go back home, put on your DVD of “South Pacific,”  stand real close to your plasma widescreen,

soaking up a bit of UV radiation, eating your rum raisin ice cream cone with a dusting of sand.

Uncork the vintage bottle of Coppertone you found behind the clothes dryer and have a few sniffs.

But it’s just not the same as a day at the beach.

In your living room, it’s rare to have a gull swoop down to steal your doughnut, for one thing.

 

 

 

But this time of year, a walk in the park on a cool drizzly day is A-OK with me,

bathing in a great woodsy, earthy aroma.

The color of the wet leaves and the mushroom-y notes in the air intensify.

It doesn’t smell of decay, but kind of rich, really.

It’s a smell of health & wealth, as the leaves fall to enrich the earth.

 

 

It’s cool enough to wear a rain jacket, so you’ve got pockets for an apple and a few snacks.

Just enough rain to lay the dust, same idea for taking a hip flask along.

So here’s a few cellphone snaps from a couple of walks, on wet days, sometimes taken during a brief sunshower or an actual outbreak of sunshine.

 

 

 

These two characters were hanging out together. Gray tree frogs. The one hunching on the right, looks much darker, because I didn’t notice him at first, and startled him when I shifted a trash can, so he jumped into a planter filled with water. I scooped him out and dried him off with some tissues but he’s still looking grouchy, or maybe just a bit woebegone, in this shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I liked this little alien guy, who cleverly disguised his flying saucer as a toadstool.

 

 

Autumn, Nature, Uncategorized

A walk in the park – early autumn

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Autumn, steam radiators

A message to the super, Danny.

 

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

From floor to floor, and down and side to side,

The summer’s gone, and temperatures are falling,

It’s you, it’s you must go, and I must bide

And on the ice must slide.

 

But come ye back when busy is the blizzard,

And when the valley’s hushed and white with snow.

It’s I’ll be here, in long johns like the Eskimos,

Oh Danny boy, I cannot feel my toes.

 

 

Oh Danny boy, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are knocking

From floor to floor, and down and side-to-side,

The summer’s gone, and radiators need unblocking,

It’s you, it’s you must go, the thermometer’s fried.

 

But come ye back ere next summer’s in the meadow

And when the valley’s hushed and white with snow,

Tis I’ll be here in salt brine and in ice floe,

Oh, plumber guy, plumber guy, how my nose I’ll blow!

 

But when ye come,

and the flowers have taken a beating,

If I am dead, as dead I well may be,

Maybe then ye’ll come and find the place

and finally fix the heating.

 

 

 

 

The photo of the radiator is by F J Ferris on the hevac-heritage.org site.
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Nature, Uncategorized

Good news on the fashion weather front

 

Woolly Bears are of course the most reliable forecasters of the coming winter.

The broader the black band, the tougher the conditions will be.

So I was darn pleased to see this fellow, telling us it will be a really mild season.

I was thinking about what to call our little furry weather predictors.

I guess you could call them “palmists” because we like to gently pick them up, and hold them in our palms, to see them roll themselves into a ball like a tiny hedgehog.

But we couldn’t say “soothsayers,” because they never say anything.

They communicate their predictions by how they’re dressed.  Not such a crazy idea – if the weatherperson on TV appears in hipboots & sou’wester, it’s pretty easy to interpret, just like the woolly bears, so we might need a a word for this.

Someone predicting warm weather, by wearing stripes, you could go with SeersuckerSoothShow-er.

But HypothermiApparelAugur is too clunky, as is ClothClairvoyanGlacé. 

Snowsuit Sibyl isn’t too bad.

Meteorlogifashionista is my best effort, trips right off the tongue, doesn’t it.

Please let me know if you come up with something good!

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Autumn, Nature

Autumn leaves ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ A purposeless partial peck of pictures

 

 

 

None of these snaps are stellar examples of photography.  They’re meant for a quick flip through, to enjoy the autumn colors.

I didn’t have much free time this autumn, to walk through the woods while the leaves were doing their amazing color transformation.

 

Sugar maples are my favorites – – creating an incredible number of variations in shades and patterns.

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch, to compare the loose leaves, to leaves of books – – like a visit to a big library, there’s always going to be just too many to look at and take in.

And the maple leaves are already coming down and fading – – we need some clever tree botanists to improve their shelf life.  Keep the colored leaves on display longer.

Arboriculturist is the term for a tree botanist, I think, making me a humble arboricultourist.

The leaves get stamped by librarians, and anyone else walking, Expired, and turn to brown, way too quickly.  The show is done, and the woods are dun.

When the pages of old documents and books have begun turning brown, the librarians and archivists call them “foxed.”

Well, no good.  Yet another thing that needs fixing.  I think foxes are beautiful, and using them to describe splotches of mold/fungus/rust in dusty old books is highly inappropriate.

I thought of how to replace this term without slandering foxes.

“Warthogged”?  Warthogs are grayish, not brown, so that won’t work.

 

photo from Earth.com

 

I think I found the solution in a fish market.

Monkfish.  Delicious, but ugly as homemade sin, it’s amazing the fisherfolk don’t throw them back in the ocean.  They look like dead blobby aliens, that the harbor patrol pulled up, bloated and brown, after a couple weeks underwater.

And as big-mouthed bottom-feeders, perfect for our current times.

So we’re going to call the paper leaves with brown splotches “monk-fished,” and this term works well with old manuscripts.

“Brown” has positive attributes, of course.  People associate it with Earth.

Down-to-earth, soil, wood, wholesome, organic.

Plain, wholesome.  Good ol’ Charlie Brown.

President Reagan used to wear brown suits, I think it helped project an image of reliability.

 

 

But perhaps in modern/urban days, brown has a less positive image.  The sky in Atlanta or L.A..  The administration packed with brown-nosers.  Remember in “Reservoir Dogs,” when the robbers are assigned color codenames?  Quentin Tarantino, that arbiter of good taste, objects to being called “Mr. Brown,” which he associates with…organic waste, although he used a different term.  (Tim Roth was “Mr. Orange,” and remained silent, it was good he didn’t ask for “Mr. Taupe,” since that’s French for “mole.”)

Brown is also the color of dead leaves, once this colorful time has wound down, and they’re just a heap of decaying cellulose.  Well, here’s a handful (maybe a peck, certainly not a bushel) of autumn leaves, still dressed up for their last hurrah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1963 “Ugly Brown” Lee Hazlewood  https://youtu.be/lRyekqsdgx8

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Random shots from Schuyler & Tompkins counties, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, hiking, Nature, NY, Upstate New York

Walks Around the Finger Lakes. September & October, Schuyler & Tompkins Counties

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