Fall Favorite Fifty at Five Hundred

Here are 50 of my favorite autumn color photos taken at Balsamea, at 500 pixels wide (or tall). If you’ve followed this blog a long time, you’ve seen these before. However, most of them managed to disappear from the blog, so, for the record, here they are again.

Click on a picture to open its own page where you can post comments on it.

OR, click any of the pictures in the series (after this first one) to switch to gallery/carousel mode where you can step through them like a slide show and comment right there on any picture.  They look nicer there because they are not bunched up so tightly as seen here.

Or just say stuff in the comments box at the bottom of this post, if you ever get there.  Or email me for all those delish things you always love saying to me privately.

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The Balsamaple Tree

Any questions?  Please post them!

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The Junk Tree (Fagus grandifolia)

Six years ago a first-time visitor to Balsamea — call him Schmoe — looked at a young beech tree in the yard (then just a campsite) and asked, “What’s that doing there?”

Beech 33 Schmoe's Junk Tree 515x464

This is the tree Schmoe asked about. At the time it was about half this size.

His tone seemed to imply that there was something wrong with it being there — or something wrong with me for having it there.

I told him it was a beech tree that I saved when I cleared all the other original trees from that little part of the forest. (This was during my Thoreauvian Experiment, living off-grid in a 100 square foot camper for two years, with a dog, before Balsamea grew a house in 2010. I had cleared only a small space in the woods, less than a tenth of an acre.)

Other examples of American Beech:

Beech 03 change begins 2     Beech 05 leaves green 1

I kept that tree because it had a nice shape, as opposed to so many other trees growing scraggly in our dense, competitive woods. When allowed to grow in the open, beeches have a beautiful shape and make terrific shade trees and climbing trees, and they produce spectacular autumn colors that last long after all the maples go bare.

When clearing space, I kept a lot of trees that were in bad shape, too. I nursed them along and they are wonderful now. In truth they were always wonderful. I just imposed my aesthetic notions on them, with the help of lopping shears.

Before I got to tell Schmoe why I kept that beech tree, or why I liked it, he added, “It’s a junk tree. They get that bark rust.”

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The “bark rust” starts with an insect infestation which causes a fungal infection. Other than this bark condition, everything about this big old beach (one of our tallest) seems normal, and has been this way for at least 9 years that I know of.

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American Beech in Autumn; Balsamea Style

Cameras capture only a small fraction of the beauty in nature (especially my cheap Fuji).  The autumn mix of banana yellow, toasted golden russet and pale lime green colors of American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) often truly dazzle me.

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Looking east across the north half of our front yard, October 11, 2013. Click for much larger image.

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Autumn Light and Color

Balsamea made a statement today.  She asked me to post it here.  Listen.

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  • Beautiful Autumn (aditixpictures.wordpress.com)  Here is somebody with a great way of seeing things.

Fernucopia and Ferndog

Just one of the ways we made good of the anniversary of 9/11/01 …

This fern patch is in our “5-stump Skypatch.”  Skypatches at Balsamea are little openings in our dense woods.  This one is caused by the removal of a row of five large trees, by some selective logging done about ten years ago.  Our “Whitetail Way” trail goes through the length of this skypatch.

Fernucopia at 5-Stump Skypatch on Whitetail Way Sept. 11, 2012

And lest he be left out …

Buddy the Ferndog

9/11/12: First Frost is ICE!

Despite the sobering remembrances of another 9/11, I’ve declared 9/11/12 a holiday at Balsamea, in honor of our first frost coming four days earlier than the average (9/15) AND it was not merely FROST, but ICE!  I had a zillion tiny puddles of ICE on the roof of the car at 7 AM (in the shade).  Solid enough that I could not move them without considerable force.

Every year I look forward to First Frost day as the launch of my favorite time of year: from now to the end of December, and often all the way to February.

So despite all the effort going into multiple drafts of deeper posts pending here and elsewhere, among a thousand other things life wants me to do for myself, I had to drop everything and say YAY FOR FIRST FROST DAY!!!

One of the ways I celebrated was with a little campfire until 8 AM.  One of life’s greatest gifts is the pleasure of feeding a little fire on a chilly morning as the sun reaches the point where it sends rays zapping at hard angles through the trees, catching your campfire smoke in dazzling arrays.  Didn’t have the camera with me this morning, but there’s one from another time if I can find it.