Fall has fallen

Fall has fallen and so have all the leaves, but never before have I seen such a varied display of Mother Nature’s colours.

A week or so back, just before the rains started, I was sitting out on the barn porch watching the sun sinking towards the western tree line. There were several peculiar cloud formations, and the sun’s glow was of a deep, distinct yellow instead of the usual red ball of fire.

Something stirred me to get up off my butt and look eastward to view the coloured leaves on the trees of the hardwood bush that covers the steep hillside which corners our property. Never before have I seen such vivid sun-struck leaf colours. It was like looking into a huge fireplace, with each colour of gold, red, yellow and orange vying to put on the best of all shows.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and it lasted for a guesstimated ten minutes. Then, like the shutter closing on a camera, there was left nothing but shadows. Looking west, the yellow ball of sun had disappeared, although still highlighting brightly the jagged tree line.

That same week, overhearing their far-away garbled gabble, we could see the familiar ‘V’ formation of an extremely large flock of geese that were obviously heading in a southerly direction. A few days later, on the way back from a pickup at the local feed store, we saw a flock of several hundred crows noisily gathering along a thickly treed hedgerow. This was unusual, as the crows in this area seem to stay around all winter, feeding on sloppily harvested corn and ample road kill. I assumed this flock was just moving through from places farther north.

And yes, I miss the dipping and diving swallows that left during the last week of August. They were joined, the following month, by the meadowlarks, bobolinks, killdeer and saucy little house wrens. The bluebirds held back until late in October and robins were still bob, bob, bobbing across our lawn at the month’s end. And then the rains came, day after day after day. Cloudy skies and windy days greeted us each morning.

On one of these grey and drizzly days, some longtime friends of mine dropped up from Fergus just to see where I was, what I was doing, and how I was. Naturally, after two long years, I was glad to see all three of them, so after indulging  the grand tour of birds in my birdhouse and animals in the barn, we went out for lunch at a nearby eating establishment.

The table chosen had a warm fireplace burning just back of us and a window that overlooked a proverbial babbling brook over which several bird-feeding stations dangled on a retractable cable. It was a cozy spot in which to have lunch and chat about things in common, one of which was about feeding the wild winter birds, as we enjoyed their amusing frolics flitting to and from the feeders.

We watched the same species – nuthatch, chickadee, junco, and cardinal – that visit their feeder in Fergus and mine here at the farm, making trip after trip, from the thickly branched cedars surrounding, to select a seed of their choice. As we chatted inside, they chattered and chirped outside. I think a good, healthy lunch was had by all.

Take care, ‘cause we care.





Barrie Hopkins