Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Autumn in the Country

 When autumn comes to to the farm, it's impossible to stay indoors--and the first official day of fall is arriving Wednesday. This is my favorite time of year: warm afternoons, dancing sunshine, a crisp, blue sky, and chilly nights. It's a time of contrasts. Soon, we'll face the bleak, monotonous winter, but now, we can take off our shoes and go barefoot.


"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend all the daylight hours in the open air." 
--Nathaniel Hawthorne

I love to wander around the farm, snipping vines and wild things. 
Won't you come with me?

Do you remember that old song "Poke Sallet Annie?" Well, poke weed grows with abandon in my yard. It's exotic, with alien-like berries falling in graceful arcs. The colors are vibrant, like something you'd see on an decorator's idea board: acid green and fuchsia.  You'd never know the berries are toxic to humans. Here in Tennessee, a festival is devoted to this weed. 
Because of its toxicity, use caution if you wish to use the weed in floral centerpieces. Wear gloves--and wash your hands after handling any parts of the weed. If you're interested in learning more about poke weed, read about it HEREHERE, and HERE. You can also find great articles HEREHERE, and HERE. 

In my little patch of the world, poke weed is a food source for wild birds.


Do you know the difference between goldenrod and ragweed?  I have a field of goldenrod in the north pasture, and it provides a habitat for small critters.Apparently the flowers are edible, but I haven't tried them. Learn more about goldenrod HERE.


Wild grape vines have snaked their way through the oak leaf hydrangeas, providing food and safety for nesting birds.  Through armchair research, I've enjoyed learning about wild grapes and the birds they attract.

But fall in the country isn't always quiet and bucolic.
During my walk, I hear gunshots--around the bend, a hunter has planted sunflowers to attract deer and mourning doves. My hand freezes as I reach for a purple flower. I'm a good way away from the hunter, but still. Maybe I shouldn't linger. Normally, I wear bright orange when I'm foraging outside, but today, I'm wearing an autumn-brown granny dress. Another crack of gunfire makes me dash inside, gripping my bounty.













From my patch of earth to yours, I wish you a




30 comments:

  1. Gorgeous. To me, Mother Nature's paintbox is never better than in the fall. Stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Autumn to you, Michael Lee. I was forging on my morning walk, filling my pockets with dried seed pods that have scattered about. Love this time of year. I can feel a slight change in the air, and the sun is setting earlier.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorgeous colors! I remember many years ago, my grandmother mentioned how someone she knew ate poke and was hallucinating. It sounds like they must have eaten the berries... Anyway, love your photos. Enjoy the rest of the week!
    Shelley

    ReplyDelete
  4. Welcome back! My condolences on the passing of your beloved Zap. Nature is the Great Restorer. Hope you find comfort in the autumnal splendor unfolding outside your door. Beautiful photos you captured of your bounty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Several years ago, the day before moving from my home in Memphis to marry a man in middle Tennessee, my best buddy dog Thor died from cancer of the spleen. Life and its' curveballs! I nearly called off the wedding in my grief. It was 7 years before I could open my heart to another dog, a chocolate Lab so dear he amazes me daily. Grief has no timetable or roadmap. My heart goes out to you.

      Delete
  5. Oh my, such a gorgeous vignette. Definitely say fall in a big way.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Happy Fall! I do remember the song, but don't think I have ever eaten the greens.
    The colors of Fall are beautiful. Just I don't like what follows.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I adore Fall for all the reasons you mentioned too. Your bounty is wonderful and I'm glad you weren't hurt!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I believe that all parts of poke weed are poisonous. Research should be done before anyone tries eating the leaves or root. I've been enjoying your blog and am sorry for the loss of Zap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! Better to be safe than sorry.
      I'm still lost without Zap and Mister, but I'm trying to keep busy.

      Delete
  9. Gorgeous arrangement! There's nothing better than bringing beauty in from the garden...glad you didn't get shot (lol)!
    Happy Fall!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy fall to you as well. I'm glad you turned around and went back when you heard the gun shots. Can't be too careful these days.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy fall to you! I love your bounty from the country. We have drifts of goldenrod across the field that I forage for with snips and a bucket in hand and pokeweed grows with abandon at the corner of the field by our driveway. It's good to see your creative spirit at play again :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gorgeous images, Michael Lee! IMHO, some of the prettiest colour co-ordinates come from Nature's beauty. As for collecting from her bounty; I hunt for pine cones that grow in our area that of which one matures mid spring and the other around this time of the year then donate them to my youngest grandchild's school to use for art projects which is appreciated ... ☺. -Brenda-
    P.S.: It is so nice to see you back.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My first mother in law was born and raised in the Ozarks. She knew all there was to know about gathering wild greens. She added poke leaves to a mix of lambs quarter etc. She said never harvest poke leaves after the stalk is red. I don't know if any of that is correct, but I ate many a bowl of wild greens at her table and survived. She said poke is found where the earth has been disturbed. She lived to be near 100. The only wild foods I've harvested are blackberries and morel mushrooms.

    Love this beautiful post!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I know your miss your buddies. I'm glad Autumn has come to help replenish your beleaguered soul.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In northeast Ohio, a week or two ago, an Amish boy got hit in the head by a stray bullet while working in his field. They surmised it might have been someone shooting squirrels, but hadn't investigated at the time they published the story. Luckily, he survived! You're smart to be careful.

    And PLEASE tell me how I missed Zap's passing??? I'm so sad and so sorry. You've been "through the wringer" this year and I hope you will soon find peace and solace within and without. I love this quote from Dean Koontz: “Once you have had a wonderful dog[s], a life without one, is a life diminished.”

    ReplyDelete
  16. When we lived on our farm I learned shoe rely after we moved in that the sportsman's club was just a few miles away. I freaked out at first when I kept hearing gunshots. We were perfectly safe as our farm was on a ridge and the club was down in a valley/gully. Whew! Living in the country... there are different cautions a mother must teach her kids. Snakes. Poisonous weeds. Varmints. Etc.

    I wondered about Polk salet. I used to think it was Polk salad in the song. Ha! I was a town girl growing up. Ha!

    Glad you are up to chatting again.
    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  17. I never knew about poke weed, Michael Lee, and don't know if I've ever seen it. Your foraging brought about beautiful photos, but happily you raced inside with the sound of gunshots. Eek!! Be careful and Happy Fall!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, yes, ma'am...be sure to wear bright orange outside this time of year.
    Love all your beautiful photos...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Michael Lee! Oh, it's Autumn! How nice it would be to walk around your lovely farm and view all of the wonderful sights. You certainly know how to capture them too. Is that the wild poke salad ? that folks eat? I really don't care for spinach, mustard greens and such, but being from Alabama so many of my family did. Yuck! ;) I've been gone and have missed so much. I've scrolled down to see the progress on your ranch burger! You're going to have a mansion! Sorry about your floors and the delay in moving. But oh when you do get to move - it's going to be wonderful! Happy autumn to you, sweet friend, and thanks for popping in to see me.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. You might as well have been describing me foraging in my yard!!! All the same plants grow on our property. I actually never knew what poke weed was although I've seen it all over our yard. We've got a couple of teenage boys at the farm across the field from us and they are constantly target shooting. The dogs, as well as I, HATE it. It is scary! Happy that you are back, photos are gorgeous as always :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Michael Lee and Happy Fall thanks for sharing such beautiful photos of the flowers and your land.
    I hope your husband is healing and feeling better.
    Take care.
    Julie xo

    ReplyDelete
  22. Isn't Autumn wonderful?! We're having a heatwave again, but I think it's just Summer trying not to let go ;) At least the nights are cool again.

    Be careful out there, my friend.

    (((hugs)))
    rue

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh dear, please do wear bright orange when you're foraging outside! My next-door neighbor has a cluster of weeds and brambly type bushes bordering our property. I always wondered what those purple berries were. Now I know! I had no idea they were poisonous. Glad I never clipped any!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi there, I've just come across from Dewena's blog.
    What fabulous photo's. I just love Autumn / the Fall and the wealth of colour it brings.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
  25. You did a good job letting us know that fall has arrived in your world. In Texas, we do not have much to share yet.

    ReplyDelete
  26. was so happy until the gunshots :-( i look forward to going home to my own golden light next month, while everyone is into xmas i will be relishing fall~

    ReplyDelete