Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Tale of Two Autumns

These are some shots of the farm in November of 2016... and some cute kids, exploring their surroundings!

Raking leaves... a fall staple here, and notice that the leaves from the big Norway maple are deep gold... 

Today, those same leaves are all still on the tree, barely changing color. Instead of a vision of gold, the leaves are confused by the short days and not-so-cold nights and they're just turning kind of yucka-yucka brown and falling.... Our typical gorgeous autumn blaze of color didn't happen this year! 

And here we have wood chip piles delivered by the town...

The children WERE NOT delivered by the town!

Note the big pile of leaves and the climbing children, ready to jump into the big pile of leaves!!! Fall fun on the farm when pumpkin season is done....

And when you're quite small, the jump down, into the leaves, seems VERY SCARY. Therefore it is very nice when a friend just your size gives you a hand of encouragement. "We'll do it together!" says Finn....

That look. Those faces. Like "DO WE REALLY WANT TO DO THIS???" 



But... adventure awaits kids who go through life with a leap of faith, a good lesson for the grown-ups around us!

Morgan was too quick for the photographer... or the camera too slow! But you can see when determination wins over fear... and after that first scoot/jump down the wood chip pile, they were game to go again and again!

Now we're back to 2017... this is from our trip to North Carolina two weeks ago. Check this color along I-86 in the Southern Tier of New York, an area where I've set lots of stories. It's the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains and it's gorgeous country, and a lot of it is really off the beaten path. Tiny towns, forest preserves, farms... 

And this one was in Pennsylvania, along I-99/Rt. 15... The picture doesn't do it justice, the deep, dark cloud cover kind of shadowed the brilliance of the foliage. 

But back here, in Western New York, a lot of the leaves still cling to the trees. The lack of cold temps overnight have the trees fooled... but the lack of light with the shortened days have them scratching their leafy heads. And the fact that we border Lake Ontario, and the Great Lakes hold their heat far longer than air does, are an added factor.

I love trees.

I don't mind raking or cleaning gutters (actually, Jon does that for me now, God love him!!!) and I love shade. Shade is the natural temperature equalizer in July and August, and my windbreak from winter's worst winds...

I think when you live in the Eastern Woodlands you better love trees. 

Anyone who's tried to go through thick forest here, crowded with underbrush and thick trees, knows that this mix of deciduous and evergreen forest is one of the reasons that central PA is called "THE WILDS" because they're pretty sure Bigfoot lives there! :)

Now whether they do or they don't, we're talking density of forestry, so I wouldn't be surprised to find some interesting creatures between the Southern Tier of WNY and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.

It is rugged country.

And then I imagine how this must have looked/been when those first settlers rowed up the Susquehanna...

Or when the first travelers pushed through dense forest to settle the first "Western frontier" Western NY and Pennsylvania...

A natural ridge that is now route 104 was a help, and did you know that Broadway in Manhattan got it's name because it was a natural "broad way" through the island, providing a natural path for Native Americans and Europeans to travel from one end of the long, skinny island to the other.

Nature's pathways.... by land or water, nature's paths were the first mode of travel and part of the reason we are where we are... because who would pick the hard path if God and nature provided an easier choice?

And here is what we woke up to last October 27...

The first snow... and that bone-chilling cold coaxed those leaves down.

No snow this year. Not yet. This is what my trees look like right now!
A young maple I planted about 8 years ago as a twig... It's getting so big! But with weird fall foliage, right?

This huge maple is usually a stunner of deep gold... 

Our red maple, turning brown.... 

And my young catalpa tree, just for you, Missy! I've kept several seedlings from my giant bean tree because I love these trees. The big bean-like leaves, the monstrous bean fruits!!! It's like the bean plant from the dinosaur eras!!!!

But the weather folks are saying we're due for cold and snow so we've stockpiled wood onto the porch... and clearing out the garage.... and getting ready to greet winter from multiple directions.

And how are we handling the time change?

Well the rooster and I are both up and working by 3:30 AM... He thinks it's morning even though my neighbors might not agree, but give us a week or two... and we'll both adjust.

But in the meantime, books are being written.... and the dawn's being greeted by Rocky-the-Rooster. Just a little earlier (by the clock, that is!) than he crowed last week! 

Soup and casseroles are my go-to comfort food fix... and I do believe egg nog has been sighted in my fridge.


Because one has to celebrate all the blessings of life!

And here's the shameless sales plug for this beautiful story, on sale now across this wonderful nation.... A wonderful story of sacrificial love and love renewed... And you should be able to find it in Walmarts and major retail outlets from sea to shining sea!

And let's not forget the fun of a delightful mystery, a story that's gotten so many fun messages and emails... as Priscilla Latham Grant's life takes a major left turn, back to the Martha's Vineyard, the place of her mother's birth and a whole lot of great stories... and characters! "A Light in the Darkness" is available HERE... as book one of the delightful "Mysteries of Martha's Vineyard" series... and pictured here with Patti Jo Moore's gorgeous calico!

Multi-published inspirational author Ruthy Logan Herne loves life... she loves God, her family, her country and she's mighty partial to coffee, chocolate and dogs.... and three new miniature donkeys that need cleaning on a regular basis, so we've added that to Ruthy's daily chores! Email her at or visit her website, like her on Amazon and Book Bub... and by all means, send her a friend request on facebook where she loves to play and pray with people.


  1. I enjoyed the commentaries re last and this year. WNY is so confused by this warm weather.
    Emma Lane

    1. Emma, it really is! I was at a funeral yesterday so I'm answering on Friday morning, and we have: SNOW. :) Not major snow, but snow! Deep temp change overnight but the leaves are still hanging on the trees... I expect this might tempt some down, Emma. Don't you?

  2. Good morning, Ruthy!

    I grew up in those eastern woodlands...a little farther west...but your post brought back wonderful memories. We lived in a neighborhood that had been built in the post-war years of the late 1940's, but the farm field behind the houses in our block had never been developed. A quick look at Google Maps shows me that the woodsy paradise of my childhood is still there, and is still undeveloped. It was as good as growing up in the country (nearly), to have multiple acres to wander in.

    I love living out here in the West, but since our house is at the edge of both the Hills and the prairie, we have no trees. :( And the trees we would have in the Hills are just "pine trees and those other trees," as one transplant from Ohio described it in the 1880's.

    I miss the deciduous trees. I even miss cleaning the gutter and raking the leaves! But I've traded that life for big skies and cowboys. :) I guess I just love both worlds!

    1. Jan, we bloom where we're planted, don't we? It's the nature of us!!!!

      And it always surprises me how few trees there are out west... but then when I visit Nebraska, there are so many more there than 150 years ago when all the settlers found were some scruffy quick-to-burn cottonwoods. So that's interesting, that folks brought their trees and coaxed them to life as they plowed the thick, twining prairie grass roots.

      The trees just needed a chance... and some top soil!

      I think that's a positive influence on the land, but it's quite a cause and effect, isn't it?

  3. Funny, Ruthy. I was just noticing today that many of our trees still have green leaves too. I figure the extra dry summer has something to do with them not turning vibrant colors, but the temperatures have just been confusing.

    1. It's an elongated season but not as pretty! What a strange difference, Cate... and I might be sending a big wind your way (that arrived here overnight) and there's something crazy biting about a sharp, cold wind tunneling down city streets. Oh shiver me timbers!!!

  4. This is truly amazing, Ruthy. The trees around here have been dropping leaves like crazy. We're used to the no-color-just-change-to-brown-and-fall routine, but we've seen a smidge of color this year. Nowhere near as glorious as your golden ones, though. Beautiful.

    1. It's so out of our norm! Overnight driving rain changed to snow by the time I got up at 3:00 AM, (hello, time change!!!) and it will be a topic of conversation today... and makes me glad I've got a porch full of firewood. BUT... I still have to finish chicken fencing. :( and get the young hens moved. So I'll be donning my layers today or tomorrow and gettin' it done!

  5. Oh my goodness! Finn & Morgan jumping off that pile is just so precious!

    1. Isn't that adorable? He kept reassuring her that it would be okay... and when she "jumped" it was more of a run-and-slide.... but he kept taking her back up that hill!!!

  6. I love the photos! We've had a really warm fall here. We've had autumn colors, though. But also weird things like fruit trees (cherry I think) blooming!

    Love this kids pictures! You can just see the motion. :)

    1. Oh, those silly trees, Missy! STOP BLOOMING. NOW. It's November!!!!


      I told them. :)

      But if you get December cherries, let me know!