Gray-brown November . . .
The season is changin' . . .
Fueling up!

We started this month with a balmy stroll in the woods, where lingering bronze oak leaves glowed in the warm sun.

A day or two later, bluebirds serenaded us as we worked up a sweat while cleaning the dead tomato vines off the garden.

At night, a few katydids continued to sing, albeit v-e-r-y slowly.

Frosty nights gilded fallen leaves and left a skim of ice on the birdbath – yet some afternoons turned shirtsleeve warm.

We savored the subtle browns, tans, grays, and golds of the leafless walnut trees, prairie grasses, and dried flower heads. A couple of yellow goldenrods and purple asters hid in the now-dormant warm season grasses. The sunny afternoon even presented an ideal time to mow the ski trails . . .

A flock of snow geese drifted southward above the valley, their plaintive calls perhaps predicting a more dramatic seasonal transition.

The cool drizzle that greeted us the next morning also foretold the change. A flock of wild turkeys left the dripping woods to brave the gentle rain in a hayfield on an open hilltop. Sluggish earthworms wriggled across the damp driveway.

Four bald eagles – oblivious to the weather – screeched and cackled as they soared and sparred over the river bluff. And the moisture only enhanced the beauty of the autumn woods and prairies.

But as dawn broke the following day, we realized that, yes, this is still Iowa in November. Wet snow, whipped by whistling winds, bent the bluestem and Indiangrass, frosted the tree branches, and obscured the horizon. The radio told urgently of power outages, school closings, and hazardous roads.

Goldfinches, titmice, chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers crowded onto the feeder for sunflower seed snacks.

Still, the calendar claims there’s another month of Autumn – as fickle and variable as it may be. We look forward to more sunshine, as well as the gray days. We anticipate siskins, rough-legs, and other visitors from the north, as we bid farewell to the slow-to-leave robins.

As winter approaches, we’re glad to have a barn full of dry firewood and shelves of homemade soup in the pantry. Let it snow – but not too much or too soon!

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