Wednesday 24 October 2018. A Quick Look at Some Modest Fall Colors

It was 42 degrees F under mostly clear skies at 9:50 this morning as I rode to Flying Machine Avionics for a pour-over of fine coffee and to relax and focus for a little while. It was not much of a ride, but felt I needed to document this peculiar autumn–last week the leaves on just about all of the trees were green, and over the weekend temperatures below freezing and strong winds blew down lots of green leaves (not to mention branches and sticks).

So was little afraid that there would be no fall color this year! And was so sure that the earlier rains would guarantee a great show.

Anyway, there seemed to be some color emerging during the past few days.

It’s still pretty green, but at least some trees are managing to put forth some color, like this one around the corner from the coffee place.

It looks like we will have had another fall color display this year. Whew!


Sunday 21 October 2018. Early Brown Flowers and Late Green Leaves

It was 36 degrees F and sunny at 9:15 (late-! – but not before yoga practice and dog walking) as I headed on Rhododendron to examine the Florida and Orchard streets prairie planting.

On the way noted the effects of yesterday’s wind: lots of sticks and green leaves on the ground.

Noted also that although it was mid-October the tree leaves barely had begun to turn color. Here is one of few on its way, at least.

The prairie had pretty much completed its bloom for the season, the extent of which was a slight shock and more than a slight disappointment.

But the seed heads of the spent flowers presented their own austere beauty.

Here are goldenrod ,

and crispy cup plants.

Found just a touch of color in the last of the New England asters,

but otherwise it was mostly shades of brown: stiff goldenrod ,

another goldenrod species, showy goldenrod, I think

wild blue sage,

and whimsical pods and seeds of common milkweed.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping for some fall leaf-color before the coming months of winter browns and grays.

Sunday 7 October 2018. KRT to the Salt Fork, in Fog

It was 59 degrees F and thickly cloudy at 6:40 this morning as I rolled Rhododendron out of the garage and rode east on Main Street with the intention of heading north on High Cross Road.

But changed my mind as I noticed fog rolling in; did not want to be sharing the road with vehicles while visibility was reduced.

So instead of turning north at High Cross continued east on the KRT.

the edges of which were green but mostly post-bloom. Made me think of the word “sober.”

The bloom was not entirely finished, making the remainders more precious.

Small white (calico?) asters still were common, and there was the occasional fresh burst of goldenrod.

These asters showed their toughness (and the strength of the life force), growing out in the path,

as did this velvet leaf plant.

The trail will need maintenance.

At Full’s Siding noticed that the sweet little bike book box I had admired on previous trips was not there.

Alas. Its owner may not have wanted to continue exposing it to the weather. I hope it had a respectful removal.

Rode as far as the still-wet Salt Fork bridge,

under which the water was high.

On the way back caught the occasional sawtooth sunflower (unless it was Jerusalem artichoke).

Also there still were soapwort,

black-eyed Susans,

a bunch of two kinds of asters and some goldenrod.

The most abundant flower out this morning definitely was the white (calico?) aster.

Looked at the fog over Full’s siding.

Saw a nice bunch of (I think) willow asters.

There are a lot of species of asters in Illinois, and I’m not confident about identifying them. Need to put the asters on the list with the grasses: plants to learn to tell apart.

Back in town saw a ring of mushrooms (and some less exactly arranged) on a lawn on Main Street.

Approaching downtown, the fog seemed even thicker than it was out in the country.

But soon all of it would disperse.

Saturday 21 September 2018. Irrepressible Mushrooms and the Little Prairie‚Äôs Last Hurrah

It was 54 degrees F at 6:45 this morning as I got Rhododendron out for a very quick ride to Meadowbrook Park.

The weather phone ap said the sky was clear, but, curiously enough, I observed a layer of mostly uniform grey cloud. Maybe it was too low or thin to be detected by the instruments. It was a trivial but valid reminder to verify reported information with one’s own senses.

On way south on Race Street stopped (without expectation) to check whether the Amanita mushrooms had yet appeared.

They had, and quite a few of them!

Was glad they were back, if not so spectacularly burgeoning as the first time I saw them.

Time was short so decided to check the (U of I) President’s prairie on Florida and Orchard.

Saw the late-blooming prairie flowers, many bearing slow-moving bees:

showy goldenrod

wild blue sage,

panicled(?) aster, common Canada goldenrod,

and a purple aster I’m pretty sure was not New England aster but couldn’t say for sure

which it was.

So glad to have taken a little time not to miss the persistent mushrooms and the waning but still radiant display of prairie color.

Sunday 16 September 2018. Sunrise Ride to St. Joseph and Back among the Goldenrod and Sunflowers

This morning at 6:15 it was (about) 70 degrees F and just slightly misty (otherwise clear) as I headed on Rhododendron for the KRT via Main Street.

Rode straight to the trail’s origin at Main and University.

The sun was just beginning to break the horizon.

Along the trail were patches of Helianthus (sunflowers)–perhaps grosseserratus (saw-tooth) or perhaps tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke).

In stark contrast to the bright yellow sunflowers were the geometric brown and grey structures of dry velvetleaf seed pods.

Rode on eastward with the rising, diffuse September sun straight ahead and sparse, shrubby trees to the left and right.

Stopped to view a nice patch of Jerusalem artichokes; I think their relatively broad leaves indicated that they were not sawtooth sunflowers.

Saw on fences exotic but handsome blue morning glories.

then more golden faces of sunflowers,

giant ragweed,

and the harvest in progress.

Crossed the Salt Fork toward the sun .

Arrived at the present end of the trail in St. Joe. Looks like there was at least one turkey vulture on the grain elevator roost.

Headed back, with view of The Wheel House restaurant.

On the way back stopped for prairie dock,


probably Jerusalem artichoke ,

and quite a healthy stand of poison ivy and accompanying goldenrod.

Then home again!