Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Red October

Once again we were blessed to have a red October, meaning the two oak trees in our yard gave us a fireworks display.

Those who live in more deciduous climates where colored leaves are just a regular part of fall cannot appreciate what a treat they are in conifer-dense Idaho. God bless whoever planted these two oaks back in the mid-90s or so.

The changeover started a little over halfway through September.

It rained on the last day of September, and the leaves were irrevocably committed to turning at this point.

Lots of green during the first week of October, but these would soon be outnumbered.

We also have a honey locust tree in the yard. It doesn't turn as dramatically colorful as the oaks, but it drops lots of little yellow leaves that add to the overall glory of the yard during this month.

For obvious reasons, early morning or late evening are the best times to photograph things (the "golden hours") when the sun streams through the leaves and highlights their beauty. This is a snapshot from a nearby location as the sun was setting. The mountain behind was already in shadow.

Morning and evening shots.

Fog often wisps through our area. These still-green leaves contrasted against the blurred truck.

Here are two of the backyard trees: the honey locust on the left, one of the oaks on the right.

This is the second oak tree. It's closer to the house and I can see it from the kitchen window.

The other trees behind it are willows.

By mid-October, things were peaking.

One by one, the leaves started to drop.

And the oak tree by the house was looking glorious.

I mean, c'mon ... isn't this enough to make your heart sing?


Here's the kitchen oak tree from a different angle, photographed in the evening sun. The colors are so rich, they almost look fake.

This is our neighbor's magnificent elm tree (the "tree in a million").

We had a light dusting of snow a few days ago that garnished the leaves and highlighted the trees on a distant slope.

It didn't last long and melted off before noon.

The day came, inevitably, when the leaves on the ground outnumbered the leaves on the tree. "I'll start raking," Don offered. "No, don't," I answered quickly. "I'll do it." Raking leaves is just part of the visceral enjoyment of fall.

Armed with a rake, hay fork, and cart, I got to work.

Darcy, of course, was a huge help.

To me, raking leaves is a fun novelty.

I set up the leaf cage near the garden, since we're using the leaves in the garden beds.

Even in fallen leaves, there is beauty.

On Day One, I got the backyard raked.

On Day Two, I tackled the side yard and garden area, but not before a frosty morning highlighted some gorgeous leaves.

The side yard was easy, and only took an hour or so to rake up.

Then it was time to tackle the garden area.

By the end, the leaf cage was quite full...

...and the grass was (mostly) clear.

The trees are by no means finished, but it was time to get the grass cleared before some rain moves in later this week.

Big change of weather coming in.

But the leaves are raked. We're ready for it. Meanwhile, I've enjoyed every minute of our red October.