"I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." ~Wendell Berry

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall Dresses Up Like Summer

This has been such an unusual Fall - not at all like the typical windy, cool Falls I've been accustomed to in the past.  I'm beginning to think that Fall chose "Summer" as its Halloween costume.  With the highs averaging in the 80's last week, it was windy, but not at all what I would call 'cool'. 

The only real weather-related evidence indicating Fall really is coming is the ghostly fog that hovers over the ponds and in the lower valleys. 

Common Milkweed is even regrowing new shoots.  This picture was taken on Wednesday, 11/2/2016.  No, no, no!
Even the ever-present, persistent and invasive thistle is re-blooming.  The main shoots of these were cut off earlier in the season, thinking they would die (note the cut off stems), but the extended warm weather has given them new life. Ugghhh!!

My landscape bed is a juxtaposition of both new life and death - the New England Asters and American Beauty Berry bushes going to seed, yet the lavender and clover are re-blooming.  It feels so very weird and strange right now.

Lavender bed - 11/2/2016

Clover regrowing and blooming - 11/2/2016

We can all debate the *cause* of global warming, but it's hard to deny that something is definitely changing with our weather. Plants are re-growing and blooming at a time when they're supposed to be preparing for their winter nap, storing up energy for next spring.  I'm hoping once Fall does decide to start dressing them down, the plants will have enough time to prepare for their winter's sleep.

Now is normally the time I gather seeds from all my native plants.  I was bummed with a rather lackluster performance by my coneflowers and prairie blazing star plants this year, but I was able to gather buckets full of New England Aster branches after the flowers went to seed.
New England Aster seed heads.
New England Aster seeds after being removed from the branches.

I had never gathered cardinal flower seeds, so when I cut off the stems with the seed heads and shook them, I was shocked at all the stuff that fell out, looking more like pollen than seeds.  Not quite trusting these were seeds, I looked them up and sure enough, these teeny tiny specs are cardinal flower SEEDS!  I think I have about a bazillion of them now.  Not really sure they will all come up next year, but I have plenty of them with which I can test various methods to get them to sprout!
Cardinal flower seeds!

I bagged all the seeds I collected in a large brown paper grocery bag that will absorb moisture while they wait for me to perform my favorite winter rituals - burning off dead stuff, raking and scattering seeds!
My backyard feels so abandoned now that my purple martins are gone and all the gourds are cleaned and put away.

If you've noticed that I haven't written much over the past few months, it was because I had a very rough, emotional summer with my purple martins.  It was one that tested my principles and dedication to all the wild things I love.  It was such a tough journey and I had to come to grips with many decisions and fight many battles with my own brain and heart.  It forced me to grow emotionally - painfully beyond what I initially wanted.
I am only now ready to write about it - silly me, my healing comes with writing this blog.  Probably should have started writing about it sooner, but it was still too fresh.  I have come to the conclusion that I will be taking down my Trendsetter before next purple martin season.  This is a tough decision for me because I am so attached to that house.  Stay tuned, I'll be writing more about the events of this past summer, what led to this decision and some upcoming changes. 
My Trendsetter - washed for the final time and wrapped up for winter.