YESTERDAY, WE FOUND A HINT OF FALL – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – FALL


Yesterday, in the rain driving to the doctor, we kept looking for fall. We could see touches of it here and there, but given that it is already the end of September, it should have been everywhere.

One autumn tree in a sea of green

But today, with the temperature just right. The rain has finally finished and the sun is shining. I live in hope. If we look, I’m sure we will find a little hint of the fall to come.

So, just so you know what might be on its way, these were all taken in mid-October. By the river, on our own street, near the dam in the middle of town.

It’s coming. I can smell it in the air.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

So this post is a bit early. It’s not autumn yet. Not for another week. In this region, mid-October is generally peak and the week before is delicious — as is the week after.

Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I won’t give up until all the leaves have fallen, I promise.

This is MY season!

AUTUMN COMES TO NEW ENGLAND – #WRITEPHOTO – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumn Comes to New England – #writephoto

It is the end of September. Normally, we would be wrapped in the bright leaf colors for which New England is justly famous. Not so far.

We were at Manchaug a few days ago and everything was green.  We always look for the first color of the year along the water, but aside from some berries and a few yellow leaves, it was still deep summer green.

The dam at Manchaug was full this year. Lots of rain this spring and summer.

It seems to make the colors bright and show up sooner than anywhere else.

But it was green along the river on Tuesday. Today is Friday and it has been pouring for the past couple of days. Good news? The temperature is down and you can see bits and pieces of the season on its way.

Bad news? If it doesn’t stop raining soon, the leaves will turn yellow, then brown, then fall off the trees. Rain is just not the best thing for autumn colors.

Today, though I began to see — through the rain — the start of colors and even the occasional scarlet maple tree shining through the green. And finally, I saw a tree. Just one tree, mostly yellow with some red. I took pictures.

Considering how grim much of life has been, one bright tree made all the difference.

OKTOBERFEST, THE PEOPLE’S FAIR – RICH PASCHALL

The meaning of the annual celebration, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

German-American Festival, Chicago

German-American Festival, Chicago. It seems every community wants to have an Oktoberfest.  It doesn’t matter if they have any idea what the Oktoberfest actually is.  They just want to have one.  Perhaps some think if they have enough music and beer, then they have a Fest.  Our community is no exception.  Chicago’s largest ethnic group is German-American so we think we know how to have a Fest.  As street festivals go, it is pretty good.  It is not an Oktoberfest like you would find in Germany.

Some of my friends have the Oktoberfest in Munich on their Bucket List.  They think I should want to be a party to this too.  The older I get, the worse this idea actually sounds.  For those who don’t know, around six million visitors show up for the 17 to 19 day festival.  If you do not have a reservation in advance, you are not likely to get into one of the crowded beer halls.  In fact, huge crowds of beer drinkers can get rather unhappy if they run out of beer, as happened at the 200th anniversary in 2010.
The Bavarian festival began in October 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig got married and invited the people of Bavaria to join in the celebration on the field in front of the city gate at Munich.  The celebration was held somewhat annually and eventually lengthened.  It’s beginning was moved into September and ended with the first weekend in October.  So in many ways this “Volksfest” is more of a September event.  If the 3rd (German Unity Day) falls on a Monday or Tuesday, the event gets extended to include that date.

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart, Germany

Contrary to what many may now think, the event was not always held.  Twenty four fall seasons saw no festival because of cholera, or war, or hard economic times.  But most years the autumnal celebrations go on around Germany and tourists flock to the carnival like events.  For those who like to wander the grounds or can not get into a hall, the outside areas now include rides, food booths and beer booths.  You might find a seat outside, but the fall weather is not always accommodating.

Cannstatter Volksfest

Cannstatter Volksfest

One year a friend who lives in France tried to organize a trip to the Munich Oktoberfest, but the reality is you must plan a year in advance in order to get in.  So we made the best decision we could have made.  Together we went to the second largest German Fest which is held in Stuttgart, Cannstatter Volksfest.  Yes, it was crowded and the weather was not the best, but we got into beer halls, drank and ate with people from around the world, stood on our benches and sang songs we barely knew.  It could not have been better.

Like many European cities, the public transportation in Stuttgart is excellent.  Although we were not particularly close to the fair grounds, we took the train and got off right at the entrance to the festival.  When we left, we found an old German sitting across from us on the train.  Since there are many beer halls featuring a different beer each, my friend asked the gentlemen what is the best beer in Germany.  “Frei bier,” he exclaimed.  That will remain one of our favorite travel moments.  We repeat it often.

Perhaps the best part of the adventure was sharing in the fun with one of my best friends.  Yes, we seem to have fun wherever our journeys take us, but we would not have found an atmosphere quite like that Oktoberfest anywhere else in the world.

Note:  Click on the Stuttgart picture for a larger version of the fair grounds.  We did walk around in the rain, just like everyone else.

TREES WITH COLOR COMING

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It’s the time of year when people spend a lot of time and energy looking at trees. Photographing trees. Talking about trees.

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It’s autumn in New England and trees are big news. People come from long distances to look at the foliage. A good year for the trees is also a good year for tourism and all the associated businesses. Today the rain stopped and the leaves are changing. We don’t get a lot of color right here because most of our trees are oaks and they don’t have the really bright colors.

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You want serious color? Look to the alders, birch, and maples. Especially the sugar maples. They give you the bright reds and oranges that screams “autumn!!”

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We were out taking pictures yesterday, so these photos are a preview. Much more will come (I hope) during the next week or so. Once the change begins, it happens fast. Between yesterday and today, there’s big difference.

TREE | THE DAILY POST

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 25: SING THE SONG OF HARVEST HOME

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015 – 25
14 octoBER 2015: SING THE SONG OF HARVEST HOME

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Just when I thought that Autumn was going to be a subdued season this year, beaten by the dryness and higher than usual temperatures … just when I had resigned myself to brown leaves followed by snow …

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It rained a bit more last night. This morning, the leaves popped into full Technicolor. Autumn arrived in all its glory.

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My maple tree is back. It’s more orange than red this year, but it is definitely wearing its festive colors. Golden autumn has arrived and it is glorious. It did not betray us. I look out my window and it’s breathtaking.

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Fall is always too brief. I’m not sure if it could ever be long enough. If it were all year round, I’d be fine with that. I love this time of year. I love the cool days and crisp nights. Bright leaves, amber sunshine. Warm golden twilight.

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Baseball and football on the television and glorious days in which Mother Nature has put on her fanciest clothing. It’s her last party until the long, white winter sleep.

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Should you decide to accept this challenge, you can use a picture from this or any post of mine  — or any other picture you like. Write something about the picture or make something up, using a photograph — any photo — as a jumping off point.

This is the easiest prompt in the world.

HARVEST: MONTHLY PHOTO CHALLENGE 09

Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 09 – Harvest

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Fall does not officially begin until the Wednesday, September 23, the first day of Autumn. That’s the day of the Autumnal Equinox, when days and night are of equal length.

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Locally in central Massachusetts, the leaves began turning before August was done, leaving the beginning of September to feel like summer, with temperatures in the nineties and high humidity … while big swathes of the woods are bright yellow.

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Full Autumn in New England does not visually arrive until early to mid-October. As we drove into upstate New York, it was obvious that the trees had not changed yet, but were thinking about it.

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Two days later, Autumn is rushing in, surrounding golden fields full of corn and barley. Goldenrod and purple asters are everywhere.

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So our early changing leaves must be from lack of rain. We had no rain in August, not one measurable rainfall.

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About half of the gallery photos were all near my house during the first week of September when the aspens had just turned bright yellow. The rest of the photographs were taken today (September 15th) in and around Cooperstown, New York in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

If you live in this region, you know that the color of the leaves changes from month to month — from light golden green in the spring, to the deep green of late summer.

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The big water is Lake Otsego, “Glimmerglass” of James Fenimore Cooper. The place in which we are staying is on the shore of the lake.

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Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his own galleries this month. Absolutely, go take a look. Amazing photography.

SPRING INTO FALL

It Feels Like Football, Rich Paschall

While many consider the Labor Day weekend (which includes the first Monday of September) to be the beginning of Fall, others think of it as the last gasp of summer.  I prefer to think of it along the lines of the later.  That was much easier this year as that three-day stretch was among the hottest days we have had here in the Midwest all year.

Rushing the seasons is not on my list of things to do.  In fact, in a great upper Midwest tradition, I prefer to hang on to summer as long as possible.  After all, the season here is not long enough as it is.  Anyone who has been freezing in the upper deck of Wrigley Field in mid June will understand this completely.  We need our summer.

Those walking down the avenue in October and finding people in shorts and flip-flops will realize our desperate desire for a longer season of warmth.  We do not give up on the idea until the snow flies, which sometimes happens before Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November).  You have celebrated Thanksgiving in the snow, haven’t you?  No?  You live too far south.

Let the autumn come as it should, I guess, with the autumnal equinox (or the vernal equinox for you Latin scholars). This is the time when the sun appears directly overhead at the equator in its trip southward.  You know the equator, it is that line around the center of your globe.  You do have a globe, don’t you?

Photo Credit: Bill Paulino

Photo Credit: Bill Paulino

The sun is at it furthest point north on the first day of summer.  From there it is all downhill, or southward anyway.  When it crosses the centerline, this year on the 23rd of September, we reach autumn while the southern half of the earth begins the Springtime.  It is a unique astrological story that has the sun seem to move north to south and then back again when the sun really does not moves at all.  It just stays in one spot and burns people where its rays are strongest.  I would attempt to explain that apparent movement of the sun to you, but I will leave that to your astronomy professor.  You do have an astronomy professor, don’t you?  No, I do not mean your astrologist.

Each season has taken on a unique feel to me.  Winter is our indoor season, from the holidays to the spring.  We watch sports, read books and when the need arises, we shovel snow.  There are plenty of indoor activities to take up the time, whether you are a “homebody” or someone who likes to get out and enjoy your sports and entertainment away from home.

Spring feels like renewal.  It burst with a new energy that the return of our greenery brings.  Getting out and cleaning up the yard and “organizing the garden” is a joyous ritual.  I say organizing the garden because it has a life of its own.  I plant very little, but rather move things around and pull up the unwanted visitors (weeds).  Some “volunteer” plants appear in such numbers that some must be asked to leave to make room for the others.

Summer feels like baseball.  If you were in a city with two major league teams and surrounded by a few minor league teams within a short drive, you would understand this completely.  We long for the days when we can attend a baseball game and not have to wear a jacket (or winter coat).  We watch baseball at home, at sports bars and restaurants, at various social events.  Yes, it is still the national pastime.

Autumn feels like football. It is not because the National Football League is back in action.  For me, it is something more than that.  For decades it meant that it was time to get out the football and go to the park.  For a few years as a kid it was tackle football in a league, but for decades it was pick up games with friends in the park.  These were touch games rather than tackle, although our exuberance may have made the touching a little more “enthusiastic” some weeks.  I loved this feeling more than the others.  When I walk outside, feel the autumn air and see the leaves change color, and later fall to earth, I think of football.

What does the autumn “feel” like to you?  Does the change of season have a special feeling to you?  Does the Fall  weather invoke anything inside your memory banks?  Comment below, then pump up the football and gather up the gang for a game of two hand tag in the park.

AUTUMN RUSHING IN … MORNING AND EVENING

The season is coming on so fast, there are visible differences in leaf color in a six-hour period.

In the morning …

And the, a few hours later …

I have to go down by the river. That’s where the maples turn scarlet and our woods has very few maple trees.

I don’t know what to expect this year. It has been so dry. Regardless, I need to see.

 

AS THE LEAVES TURN TO GOLD

Fall keeps on going. These were taken just a couple of days ago … and autumn has since moved on apace.

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We still haven’t gotten any rain, but there’s some in the forecast. Hopefully, it will materialize and actually rain, as opposed to threatening, then dissipating without leaving any water behind.

This is our backyard and woods, now, in early September. It’s early afternoon and the sun is high in the sky. The world is glowing.

OKTOBERFEST, THE PEOPLE’S FAIR

The meaning of the annual celebration, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

German-American Festival, Chicago

German-American Festival, Chicago

It seems every community wants to have an Oktoberfest.  It doesn’t matter if they have any idea what the Oktoberfest actually is.  They just want to have one.  Perhaps some think if they have enough music and beer, then they have a Fest.  Our community is no exception.  Chicago’s largest ethnic group is German-American so we think we know how to have a Fest.  As street festivals go, it is pretty good.  It is not an Oktoberfest like you would find in Germany.

Some of my friends have the Oktoberfest in Munich on their Bucket List.  They think I should want to be a party to this too.  The older I get, the worse this idea actually sounds.  For those who don’t know, around six million visitors show up for the 17 to 19 day festival.  If you do not have a reservation in advance, you are not likely to get into one of the crowded beer halls.  In fact, huge crowds of beer drinkers can get rather unhappy if you run out of beer, as happened at the 200th anniversary in 2010.

The Bavarian festival began in October 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig got married and invited the people of Bavaria to join in the celebration on the field in front of the city gate at Munich.  The celebration was held somewhat annually and eventually lengthened.  It’s beginning was moved into September and ended with the first weekend in October.  So in many ways this “Volksfest” is more of a September event.  If the 3rd (German Unity Day) falls on a Monday or Tuesday, the event gets extended to include that date.

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart, Germany

Contrary to what many may now think, the event was not always held.  Twenty four fall seasons saw no festival because of cholera, or war, or hard economic times.  But most years the autumnal celebrations go on around Germany and tourists flock to the carnival like events.  For those who like to wander the grounds or can not get into a hall, the outside areas now include carnival rides, food booths and beer booths.  You might find a seat outside, but the fall weather is not always accommodating.

Cannstatter Volksfest

Cannstatter Volksfest

In 2010 a friend who lives in France tried to organize a trip to Oktoberfest, but the reality is you must plan a year in advance in order to get in.  So we made the best decision we could have made.  Together we went to the second largest German Fest which is held in Stuttgart, Cannstatter Volksfest.  Yes, it was crowded and the weather was not the best, but we got into beer halls, drank and ate with people from around the world, stood on our benches and sang songs we barely knew.  It could not have been better.  Perhaps the best part was sharing in the fun with one of my best friends.  Yes, we seem to have fun wherever our adventures take us, but we would not have found an atmosphere quite like that anywhere else in the world.

Note:  Click on the Stuttgart picture for a larger version of the fair grounds.  We did walk around in the rain, just like everyone else.

NOTHING TO COMPARE

Autumn Leaves – Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread?


This morning ... our early autumn woods.

This morning … our early autumn woods.

Talk about mixed emotions. I love autumn, by far my favorite season. The color. The smell of the air with that tang I can’t even describe. The sun changes to amber and the entire world glows. Of course, here in New England, foliage rules. In a good year … I hope this will be one such … it is incomparable. Magnificent.

But Autumn also comes bundled with its own sadness. Always there is a melancholy overtone to remind us this is the end of the warm time. The finish of a cycle that began when the ice broke at the end of last winter. Now, the visible shortening of days begins and the chilling of nights.

In our latitudes, snow will follow. Snow, ice, bitter winds will blow. We will hunker down, locked in our houses and wait for spring.

Note: I took all the pictures this morning, between writing the first paragraph and publishing the post. Hot off the presses.

SING A SONG OF HARVEST HOME

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Earth or the Harvest Season

I do so love the autumn. From the crisp smell in the air, to the amber color of the sun, to the huge harvest moon as it hangs over us. I wait every year for autumn to come and mourn its departure. It is never long enough. If it lasted all year, it would then, finally, be long enough!

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A November Woods

Still burdened with a stubborn cough, even so — I can get to the kitchen and out the back door. Camera in hand. Such a beautiful day. A good excuse to use a camera I rarely use, the Olympus SP-810UZ (36X zoom) . I wondered what I might create.

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The woods is a still-life composed of leaves, twigs and rich blue sky.

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November came gently and sweetly this year. Winter will come before November is done, but for now it’s still almost summer though it carries the palette of late autumn.

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The seasons tick along. Nature’s clock, relentlessly marching towards winter. So far, November is warm and bright. Color hides in the crooks of trees.

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Good to live in a place where nature abounds. No searching. My forest is beautiful.