If one is observant this was the week that brought about the first marked changes as our seasons progress from late summer toward early fall. Fall is a long, protracted season at this latitude. We'll experience elements of fall including colourful leaves and pleasant weather from now through Christmas. But the first of them began this week and I like to mark their passing each and every year. In this part of the world nut trees, particularly black walnut, are plentiful and they are the first harbinger species. This week the nuts moved a step closer to maturity as the leaves begin to rapidly turn yellow and fall. As an aside, even after eight years in this area it's odd to me to see colourful leaves and bares trees months before fall like weather hits in earnest. The staghorn sumac growing along the roadsides is also beginning to show a bit of colour in places and the Bois D'Arc trees that line every fencerow in this part f the world (locally called bodark, commonly known in other places as Osage Orange) are beginning to drop their heavy fruits.
We welcomed the first of the season's cool fronts with open arms and open windows. It arrived on Friday to blow the humidity away and we've enjoyed a truly spectacular weekend with temperatures in the low 80's during the day and mid 50's at night. It's been a real treat to work outside and we're anticipating many weeks of mild, pleasant fall weather. The cooler nights are already beginning to have an effect on the warm season grasses which have begun to senesce. If things progress as they normally do our warm season grasses will be completely dormant by mid to late October. Meanwhile soil temperatures are still way too high for cool season grasses to begin to grow. As I mentioned in my last post I sure am glad we got some heat to trigger the warm season grasses or I would be contemplating feeding hay right now.
I also noticed that some of the "early" horses are beginning to grow out winter hair this week. Most will start in the next couple of weeks and the stragglers will begin to follow as October days begin to quickly shorten.
What are your favourite things about fall ? What 'natural" things do you watch to mark the passing of summer ?