Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fall is Fabulous

Fall is almost over, and I have not had the time to totally enjoy it yet again. The trees put on their best clothes just before they get naked for the winter, and my allergies quiet down to give me a short respite from the more unattractive symptoms that come with my immune system's affliction, so I have no good excuse not to get outside and take it all in.

Oscar has dug dozens of holes in the yard so that I may have a wide variety of trees to provide shade, oxygen, neighbor & road blockage, windbreaks and beautiful foliage. I have tried to make sure we have trees that have good looks in the summer and fall. I love evergreens for their year-round green (which is very good if you are one of those folks who gets sad in the winter months. A little green goes a long way then), but getting a good mix of color for fall can be a challenge that provides enormous reward.
I love the maple trees because they can provide such bright colors, and they have the best yellows and reds in the yard. Their colors seem to last the longest, too. The tall Poplars provide big yellow leaves, the oaks a nice brown, rust or even wine, sassafras gives a great orange, the junipers have green branches with blue-gray berries, and the holly keep their green, shiny leaves to give the bright deciduous trees' color some contrast. I love a very mixed color palette...

Claris like the fall, too. I hide her Kong toys in the yard and we have a good time shnuffling through the leaves and finding them. I do have to remember to collect them all before Oscar runs the mulching mower over the fallen leaves to clean the yard up, or else it gives him quite a startle. Running over a Kong toy with the lawn mower makes a real loud noise, a big thump, and is good neither for Kong nor mower. Those Kongs are extremely tough and survive the experience, but the mower blades get more bent up every time...

Morty the cat seems to have mixed feelings about the fall. The fallen leaves provide him less cover, but the field mice are trying to get into the house and garage more, so his hunting improves exponentially. It becomes "Wild Kingdom" in our home, and he is the star predator. Living in a rural area surrounded by fields and farms makes the appearance of the mice inevitable, and Morty makes sure we are not troubled by them too much...
Thankfully he is not as interested in the birds as some cats I know. It might be that he is a bit lazy, and catching the mice is easier for him and involves less climbing. He reserves climbing for escaping the dogs when he is tired of them trying to chase and bother him.

So again I am attempting to enjoy the fall before the winter starts. I am not one of those strange people who enjoys the winter. I might like it more if it were not for the fact that I live near Richmond. Here we might get an ice storm or two, some cold and blustery days, but snowfall is rare and does not seem to accumulate into those beautiful clean white drifts that appear on Christmas cards and ads for ski vacations. Richmonders cannot drive in any precipitation, and snow brings them into fits of apoplexy. They become obsessed with going to Ukrops to buy up massive food supplies and huddle by the space heater until the white terror has passed... So I am going outside to take in some of the color, get a little sun and play with the hairy beasts I live with. You should get out there, too!

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