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.


  1. So beautiful. Praise the Lord for His wonderful creation that we can see and enjoy in the midst of all the darkness. I love your pics!

    1. Yes indeed. Stunning pictures that remind us there's still sacred beauty around us.

  2. Oops, that was me, commenting about God's creation. :)

  3. I would choose a blower/vacuum that would mulch it up into a bag for 2 reasons.
    First, raking does my hands in really fast. The joint at the base of the thumbs tends to wear out on women first. It has held true for me.
    Secondly, oak leaves tend to be thick and don't decompose very fast. Instead of the blower/vac, I mow the leaves and the mower chops them up and they go in the bag. The bag has to be emptied frequently, but that's OK.
    This winter I'm planning to use all those mulched leaves and grass as litter for the chickens instead of pine shavings. They love jumping in the piles and scratching anyway so they'll probably be a big help breaking it down even further.
    Your leaves look like red oaks. They do have beautiful color. My oaks aren't turning yet. The gums are though, family to maples, which are beautiful in fall too.
    This whole country is beautiful, but I think your area is one of the most spectacular.