Colorful Neighbors

The sudden drop in temperature and uptick in wind speed around the Twin Cities area means this golden colored maple tree right outside our living room window is about to lose all its festive autumn plumage. Too bad, that. On recent gray afternoons, it has kept some cheerful brightness going – very nearly a compact, backyard version of the Sun with it’s ability to bring some welcome energy into the house.

I’m guessing within a few days we’ll have nothing but bare sticks outside the window.

Still, there’s some compensation for the emptiness of the winter months in all the raucous color we’re getting today. In much in the same way, the Real Sun will someday (5 billion years) burn up all its hydrogen and turn into a colorful dying thing very much like the creepy cat-like space eyeball photographed this week by NASA. This image represents what remains of a star very much like our own, after the thrill is gone. It’s a troubling cosmic routine with a brilliant conclusion. Too bad we won’t be able to appreciate it fully.

Cheerful thoughts, eh? Sounds like somebody’s been feeling the weight of years on his birthday! But all of this full-of-life to bleak-landscape change is entirely predictable and impossible to stop, so why not quit moping and enjoy the show while it’s still going on?

Where do you go to enjoy fall color?

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62 thoughts on “Colorful Neighbors”

  1. Good morning. Fall, high lighted by colorful leaf displays, is a favorite season for many. I enjoy the fall colors, although I also see it as the start of winter as Dale has mentioned. I don’t look forward to winter, but it is not completely devoid of beauty. The bare branches of trees seen against the sky give an interesting view.

    My back yard is a good place to see fall colors this year. The ash trees have turned to an unusually bright shade of yellow and are still holding some of their leaves. I few days ago I was showered by a large number the golden leaves of these trees when a stiff breeze caused many of them to fall all at once.

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  2. to the windshield of my car, there was a time when i would go out and on purpose try to make the most of my world, today i am in reactionary mode rather than proactionary mode when it comes to time allotment. i am lucky on the fall color end of lifes spectrum, i have a wonderful peep show right outside my window, i have the minesota river valley in its glory as my panaroma, well i used to. when i moved into this house 8 or 9 years ago i notied that the previous owner who was a privacy freak had planted blue spruce and some fir trees as a yard border he also planted an oak tree that i suspect he dug form a seedling in the yard and transplanted to the front and center location in front of the big picture window that overlooks the valley. when i first viewed them they were impressive but also worrisome, majestic but foreboding. they were certainly going to become such wonderful privacy barriers that they would rope me in rather than keep others out. if there is something someone wants to see in my window they are welcome to it. my adonis like physique is a wonder to behold i am sure but lets not bury it in spruce. so i called out the tree guys 8 or 9 years ago and they agreed that the idea of planting a wall of pine trees that would soon block out the river view was not something they would have done. i could top the trees but it would make for funny looking pines with split tops that required re topping every couple of years and that the simple answer would be to replace the trees with a variety that greos only 15 feel tall. fast forward 8 or 9 years. i like blue spruce but i really like the idea that on the other sode of the blue spruce and the oak tree is a rivervalley view that i cherish. in a matter of only a few days i will be able to see it again after my reminder f my ansestors form north dakota has finsished blowing the few remaining scene blocking briefly colorful oak plumage from the cubicle partition placed between me and my lustfully longed for tranquil color pallette below. problem is when the leaves have blown off the oak that hide the valley , it will show me a valley full of trees that have had all the leaves blow offf the little gray sticks that will be left behind. i had the gouy out again a couple of weeks ago and he suggested i trim the tree form the bottom up and see if looking under the canopy worked. i think i will just chop the damn thing down but man do i feel guilty. its such a beautiful scene blocker.

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  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    T
    his year my deck was prime–it looks out overt treetops on a bluff to the Minnesota River. In the neighbor’s backyard is a stunning maple. Last Friday I felt warmed into a stupor. It was 70 degrees, sunny and golden on the deck. As I sat there and watched the leaves shimmer, I just could not move. It was so lovely.

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    1. you were smart enough to get out there and bask in the 70 degree color filled days of last weekend. bless you. i knew i knew i knew i should stop and sit and relax but…..

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  4. Last weekend I was delighted by the colors in the area around the apple orchard I visited with Daughter. This week, I only have to walk out my front door and enjoy the trees around me. There was a truly stunning maple by the park where Daughter goes to girl scouts – mostly yellows with some orange and red highlights, set against the clear blue sky we had last Tuesday the color was almost too vivid to be real. There is a maple with similar coloring (though more reds and oranges) just down the hill from Daughter’s school bus stop. I found myself ogling it yesterday…and then missing the maple we used to have that turned crimsons and bittersweet oranges (it succumbed to disease a couple years back and now we have a rain garden in its place – lovely in its own way, but not at all the same).

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  5. The roommate and I are going to Red Wing tomorrow to see if there’s any fall color left down there–we’d planned to go on her birthday two weeks ago, but I caught the plague from h*ll instead. My adoptive mother’s family lived in that area, so I’m familiar with and very fond of Red Wing, but I haven’t been down in a good 4-5 years now. The last time I was there, my friends found a coffeehouse that served veganizable sandwiches; sure hope it’s still in business and I can remember what street it was on. Otherwise, I’ll have to bully the St. James staff.

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  6. Nobody will consider me original for saying my favorite leaf-peeping spot is my cabin on Lake Superior. The lake is so big it creates its own micro-climate. The water actually retains warmth in fall, so that the trees right around Superior turn color about 12 days later than trees inland. We have a pair of mountain ash trees that blaze a furious red at this time of year.

    I love this time of year. I once wrote a column in which I presented my own ideal calendar. It had no January or February in it, for example, but I think it had four Octobers!

    I might try for a cabin visit next weekend. Have a lovely weekend, baboons.

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      1. No, that’s lost now. I created it at a time when I was an active outdoorsman, so I wanted many Octobers in the year since that is such a good hunting month. I no longer hunt or fish, and now my ideal calendar might include a bias toward months that are wonderful in their own right but not especially for hunting or fishing. September comes to mind.

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  7. Morning all. I love the fall. Where I grew up, there is a longer, more protracted fall than here, but here does pretty well. Beginning way back when I was in college, every fall friends and I get together, make a big pile of leaves and then jump in. After we’ve exhausted the amount of times we can stuff leaves down each others’ clothing, we tromp back to my house for pot luck. This year is the 38th annual. However, this year leaves are falling a little faster than other years and they are very dry and brittle, which doesn’t make for fun piling. So we might just potluck this year!

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  8. We have so few trees here, but there is color if you look.Our fall color comes from yellow leaves on ash leaves contrasted with the purple leaves of Canadian Chokecherry trees and crimson leaves on some shrubs the names of which i don’t know. The grape leaves on our vines turn a nice yellow that remind me of ripe pears. We have a Japanese Maple that gets reddish leaves in the fall, but Maple trees like the ones that grow in the East just don’t make it out here, and I miss them. We saw some nice color as we drove through the Slim Buttes in the northern branch of the Custer National Forest in SD on our way to Newell SD to pick up the lamb we ordered, mainly yellow ash contrasted with the Limber? pine trees.

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  9. I have a mock orange that turns a lovely shade of lemon yellow. Used to have a small mountain ash that turned a nice orangey bronze, but it died. I miss that. I also miss the big tall willow that used to grow across the street – it was beautiful in fall.

    This time of year when I’m coming home I like to turn down the street that’s one block west of mine – they have all sugar maples as boulevard trees.

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  10. Last weekend we hauled the bikes to Coon Rapids Dam Park, and biked 11 miles round trip (!) west to Elm Creek Reserve – there were wonderful patches of color and the weather was perfect. Then on Sunday, took my mom to French Regional Park in Plymouth for more of the same (plus you can watch hoards of kids on the rope climbers – reminding you of swarms of ants).

    But from our upstairs back windows, the neighborhood ash trees have been spectacular, and out front the neighbor’s burning bush just lit up yesterday. Is it my imagination or are the colors more vibrant this year?

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    1. every year brings its own deal. the yellows and reds are hot bright this year but with the dryness they turn matchbook brown and fall off in record time. i told everyone who would listen to look quick and enjoy because its going to be a quicky this year and bam all the color around the lake i drove mpast this morning had been replaces by muted browns and beiges. the window opened for those unbelievable yellows on the maples and the reds on the accents. i love red and orange together and this year was red form heaven. its seldom as good as you envision it should be. this is the year. breathe it in as deeply as you can with what is left. it like so many other things is fleeting and should be embraced for the short time it is here. thanks for pointing it out dale. now about that cats eyeball…

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  11. Here it is an obvious answer: drive up the MN River Valley to Chaska and then down the other side. The drive down the west side of the river from Chaska is a fun drive, if you do not know it. Much loved by motorcycle riders, which should tell you something about the character of the road beyond the color. When we lived up north we would go on family picnics back up into the maple ridges away from the Lake.
    (We’ll see if this posts.)

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  12. Morning–

    I’m lucky to have a lot of woodlands around the farm. Oaks, maples, Ash, and bushes of I don’t know what they are’s.
    I have a couple favorite roads; Wabasha County Road 11 follows the Zumbro River through the small towns of Hammond and Millville, among others. A lovely windy road through the valleys. And Olmsted County Road 1 crosses the Root river with remnants of an old mill and some stone buildings (on private property). But there is a park:
    http://www.co.olmsted.mn.us/pw/parks/rootriverpark/Pages/default.aspx
    The other day I mentioned a spot along our creek with the limestone? Yeah, kinda like that…

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    1. Ooh, I would love to see these, Ben. Next time we head down to Winona, maybe take some back roads…

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  13. The fall brings an end to many things growing in the garden, There is just a little planting left to do if you grow garlic which is planted in the fall. I also plant shallots in the fall. There is still some harvesting of late season crops to be done including carrots, beets and some other root crops as well some hardy greens such as kale and endive. I have just started harvesting leeks. The dry weather has resulted in some root crops that are not very big because I didn’t do enough watering and I hope the brussels sprouts will put on a little more growth before they need to be harvested. How about the other gardeners in this group? How is the end of your gardening season shaping up?

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    1. I harvested the remainder of my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants yesterday. I watered regularly this year, but my onions didn’t do very well. I could use more sun on my garden. I still have some kale, chard and herbs. I’ve had good luck leaving the chard in until it snows.

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      1. An unusually large number of spotted cucumber beetles decided to make holes in my chad and have left my with almost no chad to eat. I couldn’t control them with the organic spray I used because there were too many of them. I’ve seem damage from these beetles in my flower bed in the fall in other years, but this is the first time I have noticed their damage on chad and they also did a lot of damage to some other tender greens.

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        1. Okay, as usual, I have no ability to proof read. Chard not chad or maybe it was Chad, not the beetles, that ate my chard.

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    2. We harvested everything on Wednesday as we got three inches of snow. Green tomatoes are ripening in boxes, the butternut squash is just about all nicely brown but will need a little ripening time, too. The remaining eggplants are waiting to be cooked up into something. All the peppers are roased and frozen, as are the earlier eggplants and chard. We are going to plant garlic this year for the first time. When do you harvest it? I was able to kill a 12×14 patch of grass before the snow came and I will have a guy come and till it in the next couple of weeks and then put a load of composted manure from the local stockyards on it. We plan to plant tomatoes there next year. Our lawn gets smaller and smaller every year. This weekend we will trim up the peonies and day lilies and transplant some other lilly bulbs and plant some daffodils. It is yard cleanup time now. I hear that the temps are going to go up again and be in the 70′s by the end of next week.

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      1. You should harvest garlic when the leaves start to show their age in mid to late summer. I think it is best not to wait until the plant completely die back because the bulbs might not be as good if they sit in the ground too long.

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    3. I just cleaned out a spot between two sheds. About 40′ long and 15′ wide, would get morning and afternoon sun.
      Any suggestions for that spot? Otherwise it’s just going to end up grass / weeds and junk. (again). And perhaps a through-way for deer.

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      1. That might be a good spot leafy crops like lettuce, spinach, and chad and maybe herbs like parsley and dill. Do some experimenting. I never know what will do best in an area and I am often surprised that some things will grow in places that I think are not good for them. Could you fence in the area to keep the deer out?

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  14. It was very colorful on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a few weeks ago. There were lots of maples and oaks beginning to turn color up there. The oaks were the color of good red wine: burgundy and even purple. The maples were just beginning to blaze, so that here and there you’d see one that looked like it was on fire. It was lovely.

    My favorite place for fall color is the drive along Wisconsin 35 from Red Wing to Alma. I love, love, love that drive!

    I have pine, walnut, ash and oak trees in my yard. The walnut and ash trees have provided some bright yellow this year. Most years their leaves just turn brown and fall off. My back yard was filled with golden light for the last couple of weeks, but now most of the leaves have blown off. It seems like it’s a somewhat early this year (for peak color). I have some native shrubs as well, and they have really nice colors. The American highbush cranberries have wine-colored foliage with red cranberries; the ivy that is climbing them is crimson and purple, and the nannyberries are dusky purple. I have two burning bushes (euonymous) that are looking somewhat variegated right now – some of the leaves are half crimson and half deep green. The Solomon’s seals are yellow and the asters are lavender and deep purple. My yard is already ankle-deep with leaves.

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    1. Krista, I agree, that “drive along Wisconsin 35 from Red Wing to Alma” is so beautiful. Love, love, love it!

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  15. As gorgeous as Minnesota Fall is I still cherish the times in college we went to Vermont. Take our trees and bright blue skies and run them up and down mountains for added enjoyment.

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    1. I believe the famous leaf peeping season in NE is considerably longer than here. The same beauty prevails in both regions, but here we get such a brief fall that in some years it almost literally doesn’t happen at all.

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        1. I think we should have a day on the Trail where we all post experimental and obscure abbreviations or acronyms and the rest of us can guess what they mean.

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    2. Beth-Ann – I remember taking a little puddle-jumper plane in Vermont many years ago. It was this time of year and flying so low over the colorful trees was breath-taking.

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  16. Downton Abbey Note 2: The place called “Downton Abbey” in the TV series actually exists, but its real name is Highclere Castle. Whereas the fictional Downton Abbey is located in Yorkshire, far up in northeast of England, Highclere Castle sits in Hampshire, a much smaller county on the southern coast. The castle we see today was built in 1839-1842 to be the home for the third Earl of Carnarvon.

    The fifth Earl of Carnarvon married well. His wife, Lady Almina, was the illegitimate child of Alfred de Rothschild, She was considered one of the great beauties of her time, and she came to the Earl with a dowry that was described as “stupendous.” Lady Almina was a spirited and patriotic woman. In 1914 she transformed Highclere Castle into a hospital for the wounded soliders of The Great War . . . so that storyline in the second season of Downton Abbey is actually history.

    The first two decades of the twentieth century saw feverish activity in archaeological digs in Egypt. Lord Carnarvon, Almina’s husband, provided the money that kept Howard Carter busy digging in a hopeless chase for the tomb of a minor king. Then, in 1922, that chase culminated in the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen.

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    1. I won’t usually tack more trivia on to trivia, but excuse me today. A lady novelist (and I use that description advisedly) published a letter in a New York magazine saying that there was a “Pharaoh’s Curse” on those who broke into a sealed Egyptian tomb. Right after the letter appeared, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon rocked the world with the discovery of “King Tut’s” tomb. And then six weeks after entering the tomb, Lord Carnarvon died of an infected mosquito bite. That led to a frenzy of speculation about the Curse of the Pharaoh.

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  17. I was surprised to go out and find that fall had arrived big-time a few days ago. I wasn’t expecting it because I think I remember being warned that it wouldn’t be very good this year. It is beautiful for sure.
    There used to be a maple that turned bright orange at the top of a hill not far from my house. Unfortunately, a few years ago, it was subjected to some brutal pruning and it has lost its glory.
    I do like it when the ivy on my house turns red. In the process it has days with green, yellow, red and maroon,
    (since I’ve been so unobservant this year, I had to go outside to check on the ivy’s progress this year. It turns out it’s not a banner year for my house ivy)

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