Fall Already?

For the last two weeks, the maple in the back yard has been dropping leaves. It’s accelerating now. Sadly, I can’t see the colors through the greenery below, but the fallen leaves are spectacularly red and yellow this year.

Peak color is two weeks off, by my reckoning, but storms are coming later this week. Saturday was warm, sunny, and breezy – in other words, a perfect autumn day.

Decked out for Fall.

I ran errands in the morning and swung by Marine City, where I spent a couple hours just enjoying the sights. My favorite coffee shop has already started serving pumpkin spice latte (with nondairy creamer!). It was a nice treat made sweeter by meeting an older couple who chatted with me outdoors for a while.

Afterwards, I came home and tore up the garden.

The neighborhood varmints ate half my zucchini. Literally. They ate the bottom half and left the tops to rot on the vine. Imagine reaching to pick a beautiful squash and feeling it squish between your fingers because inside the skin is nothing but rotten mush. Curse you, cute but destructive rodents! I picked whatever was intact, no matter the size or color.

The delicata, a winter squash, had withered from the roots outward, giving no more nourishment. Normally I’d leave them out to harden, but I couldn’t chance the squirrels. The cherry tomatoes were various shades of green, but gardening friends assured me that if I put them in a paper bag and let them sit, they’ll ripen in a few days.

I spent several hours pulling vines, pulling weeds they’d been hiding, and cutting off the remains of flowering plants. Everything was stuffed into three bags for the community compost.

This week I’ll do the more onerous tasks: transplanting flowers, digging up and resetting pavers, and landscaping the now-empty ground around the shed.


This is only the second time I’ve seen a living cicada. The harsh overhead light made it look darker. It was a beautiful iridescent dark blue in the body and was slooooowly crawling across the cement.

The sound of cicadas is the sound of summer, so how apropos to see one on the last weekend of summer.  Tomorrow is autumn.6F4061C8-314C-4B97-9823-FAE4B07CF086

Curious Human Things

One of the squirrels was foraging in the front yard when I returned home yesterday. Although it scrambled onto an oak when I drew near, it didn’t go far. It watched me get the mail.

As soon as I went inside, it scurried to the box and studied the obviously important mystery of whether it contained food. The following photo came after it had failed to open the mailbox.


If the fuzzy critters ever figure it out – or worse, Amazon or Alibaba – they’ll be shipping themselves all over the world!



Autumn is coming…

5cbf584f-542d-4c58-9c48-215ac28f22f1.jpegLast night was cold enough that I woke up and added a quilt to the bedding, but today has been pleasantly warm and sunny. I spent part of the afternoon lounging on a gravity chair in the back yard, enjoying the perfect temperature and ambiance.

The sounds of late summer are in the air. The piercing cicada solos are accompanied by crickets chirping not just at night but all day long. Perhaps competing for food sources, blue jays argue more raucously and chase sparrows from the birdbath. And the background noise of trees has subtly changed to a drier rustle.


Across the river, Canada’s trees are turning red. Despite dark clouds in the morning, the afternoon was bright and the sunshine broken only by lofty cloud mountains drifting through.

The secret behind pumpkin spice

The local drive-through java supplier (when I resort to buying a cup) has begun offering the “limited time” pumpkin spice coffee.  As hot as it has been, an iced latte sounded wonderful to me.

The past year, there was a lot of buzz on social media about pumpkin spice THIS and pumpkin spice THAT.  People seem to think that it’s too much of a good thing. Not me, and one product I’d like to see again is the pumpkin spice roasted almonds that I enjoyed during the winter!

But I digress.

I began to wonder why pumpkin spice is so popular and people look forward to it in the waning days of summer. When I returned home, I realized the truth.

Distracted by my delicious, aromatic beverage, I nearly ran into this:


An orb weaver poised near the door, looking for an opportunity to sneak inside. Baby, it’s going to get cold outside – and a cozy winter abode is inches away!

Clearly the pumpkin spice is meant to fill humans with good feelings and distract them from the spiders lying in wait to invade our homes and lay their eggs at leisure. Sure, the scientific literature I’ve read says that spiders who live in houses become dependent on the human-created environment and can’t survive outdoors. But that sounds like a risk the little critters are willing to take!

Heaven knows I’ve had to deal with spiders all over the house the last few days. Not including that wolf spider who was on the ceiling just a moment ago but has mysteriously disappeared while I opened the blinds. Just thinking about where it may have hidden, ready to pounce… Yikes!

It does give me pause that there’s an archnophiliac conspiracy working in the food industry. (The all-black-clad, Halloween-loving baristas whom I mistook for gothy fashionistas are clearly among the spider-lovers!) But after that pause, I admit nothing calms me down like a sip of pumpkin-spiced latte.

I guess I’m doomed.