Monday, October 11, 2010

Signs of Fall

Usually, i am the flag waver at the very front of the "Autumn is Finally Here" train, but this year, i seem to be behind.  My part of the country doesn't get a lot in the way of traditional fall colors, but this year we seem to be especially behind.  A very large percentage of the blogs i read have long since announced their welcome to autumn, and now it's my turn.  I had to do a little searching, but it's my turn.  So i took a walk through my woods to share a few of my favorite things.

My very, number one, mostest ever, favorite sign of fall at my house is this unusual flower, Euonymus americanus L.  It also goes by the names American Strawberry-bush (don't eat these strawberries please), Strawberry bush, Hearts-a-burstin' (which is really fun to say, especially if you use a thick country accent), Wahoo, and Bursting heart.

Here's a somewhat blurry picture. that shows how pretty it is up against the white bark of the Eastern Hophornbeam tree.

Here's how the "heart" begins.

Here it is beginning to open up.

Here it is bursting.  It will drop its little heart pieces after a few weeks.  This very subtle little plant that lives under large trees is one of my very favorite things in the world.

Sassafrass, just about the first thing to change colors at my house every year. This year, i'm planning to dig up some roots for some seasonal sassafrass tea.  I might not drink it, but the smell is out of this world.  sometimes, i'll break a twig off the tree and just walk around sniffing it.

Along with the poison ivy.  Poison ivy is awful, but it sure is pretty!

Mulberries.  I dont' have the kind of mulberries that people eat.  But my chickens seem to love them!

Goldenrod.  I love the subtle color it adds to the landscape, though it's hard to get a really good picture.

Here's one of my very favorite weeds.  This picture is from last year, but the same weeds are blooming now. This is the Camphorweed.  When you squeeze the blossom between your fingers, it smells like camphor or menthol, and it can be used as a topical pain reliever.  Neato, huh?

Acorns.  There are so many acorns on the ground right now that when you walk, you're constantly crunching.  There's no way you could sneak up on anything.

Another major favorite of mine:  the sycamore tree.  These massive leaves start falling, and in a few weeks they will be absolutely covering parts of the forest floor.  This one is larger than my hand, but it is small in comparison to many of the leaves that will be falling soon.  I LOVE sycamore trees.

Another thing i love about the sycamore tree is how it sheds its bark in the fall.  Sycamore is one of the few types of tree that shed their bark and grow new every year.

In addition to all these beautiful plants, another sign of fall in Texas is barbecue cook-offs.  Some of GSSH's friends competed in a cook-off this weekend to raise money for children's cancer research, and my darling with the scroll saw made them a sign.  He says it's not his best work, but it's so good, i must show it off.

This picture helps you see how he achieved the illusion of flames.  The name of the cook-off team was Rogue Cookers if you can't read that.

Here it is out in the sunlight at the cook-off.  Everyone really loved it, and we got to have lots of yummy Texas barbecue while we were there visiting and admiring his sign.  Thank you, Rogue Cookers!

Now that i've gotten warmed up, i'm sure i'll have more walk-through-the-forest pictures for you in the near future.  This really is my favorite time of the year.


  1. Beth, how beautiful your fall is. I absolutely love that Euonymous. Different from what I see here in WV and I love yours more. What a fitting name. I also love that Beauty Bush--I don't think that will grow here but I am going to find out--would love to have it. Sycamore's are one of my favorite trees too. I love the bark and the white underneath--it's looks like they've had paint swashed on them. Your hubby's sign, well that is just awesome. He is a talented man.
    Thanks for sharing, Amy

  2. Don't call the camphor-thingy a weed! If you like it, it's a wildflower ;-)

    My favorite definition of weed is "any flowering plant you don't want" - so by this definition, if you don't want a Rose, it's a weed.

    Thanks for sharing your fall fun-ness!


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