Tag Archives: fall in the Ozarks

Ozark Quiet Country Road

It’s amazing how fast the trees turn color after a single frost. Walking down a quiet country road is a good time to enjoy the changes.

Black walnuts leaf out late and drop their leaves early. The frost hurried them along. Swirls of yellow leaves blew down looking like a yellow snow storm.

looking down a quiet country road
Fall colors peek through the green. Leaves drift down to pave the road. They blow about with the wind. Birds are quietly eating so the only sounds are the rustling of the leaves and rushing of the wind on a walk down a quiet country road in the Ozarks.

After weeks of calm weather, the winds have returned. Standing on a quiet country road is a time to hear the wind rustling through the drying leaves. The sound is a slow rush punctuated by dropping leaves plopping onto the road.

Black walnuts thud into the grass. On the road the walnuts smash down, muddy rocks hitting a brick wall.

tree turning red
Different kinds of trees turn different colors. Sassafras turns a salmon red. The pasture remains emerald green for now.

A few lizards still dart off. The leaves make it impossible for their speedy flight to be silent.

So many adventure books about Indians mention moving silently through the forest. The Ozarks people get a good laugh at that. Nothing moves quietly through the falling leaves.

mushrooms along a quiet country road
A fallen tree along the road provides a home for salmon shelf mushrooms.

People love noise or it seems so. Their vehicles are loud. The quieter ones have radios blaring.

Having time to enjoy the quiet country road is special. Fall leaves pave the road. Trees range from green to bronze with yellow popular now. The reds are getting a good start.

The creek swishes now as it washes leaf blankets along. Many of the leaves sink down to create warmer places for the fish over the winter.

mushrooms along a quiet country road
A fallen tree along the road provides a home for salmon shelf mushrooms.

Squirrels crash through the leaves as they leap along carrying walnuts up to hiding places in the trees. Other times the squirrel stops to eat and teeth skritch on the hard hull.

Walking down a quiet country road listening to the wind in the trees, watching the leaves swirl down, scattering birds out of the giant ragweed where they are eating seeds, admiring the color in the trees almost makes fall a special time of year. If only winter wasn’t hiding in the wings.

Enjoy the Ozarks through photographs and haikus in “My Ozark Home“.

Autumn Leaf Rain

Late autumn leaf rain in the Ozarks isn’t what you think of when you hear the word rain. It isn’t water.

Frost arrives and the leaves turn color. This year many of them turned brown. Some turned yellow, purple or orange.

Regular rain did go through when the color was peaking on the hills. Heavy stratus clouds blanketed the sky and kept the days dim dulling the colors.

goldfinch eating seeds
The giant ragweed and other plants are dead sticks now with food attached. Goldfinches, sparrows, juncos and cardinals are reaping the seeds.

Peak color often holds for several days. It did hold this year for two or three dull days.

Finally the clouds moved on one afternoon letting the sunlight make the hill colors glow. Wind made some leaves fall.

The next morning was about twenty degrees. This is frost flower temperature.

These delicate ice curls only happen one or two mornings each year. I go up on the hill to where the dittany grows to look for them.

autumn leaf rain
The first big killing frost signals the beginning of the autumn leaf rain and the end of fall colors. Any hint of a breeze brings down clouds of colorful leaves to blanket the ground. It continues until the trees are bare for the winter.

As I crossed the bridge, I found I was in the middle of the autumn leaf rain. Every tree was raining its leaves.

Most deciduous trees have s special layer form between their leaves and stems when the leaves change color. This double layer of cells is where the leaf will break free when it falls.

Like the color change, temperature determines when most leaves fall. A deep killing frost like twenty degrees does it.

Under foot the ground was paved with color. Leaves drifted down on the wind making me look for birds and finding only leaves.

ice edged leaves
Spikes of ice create a lacy effect on pasture plants. This takes temperatures in the twenties or below. These spikes vanish when the sun touches them.

The pastures were white with frost. Birds were everywhere. The juncos or snowbirds and sparrows have arrived for the winter. They are eating seeds on the various plants such as giant ragweed, daisy fleabane and grasses.

The hillside hadn’t gotten cold enough for frost flowers. The dittany even had green leaves on its stems. The trees were the attraction with their autumn leaf rain.

Admire the Ozark hills more in “My Ozark Home.”

Ozark Fall Colors Finally Appear

September was warm, in the eighties most of the month. Leaves stayed green although they did yellow a bit showing that fall colors lurked just below the surface.

Killing frost hit suddenly a week early in October. The leaves ignored the warning.

Not all of them ignored this cold. The dogwoods turned purple. The black walnuts dropped their leaves a little faster. The far hillside looked more yellow.

some fall colors showing on hill
Ozark trees are having trouble putting on their fall colors this year. Some are just dropping their leaves. Oaks don’t drop their leaves and are turning red a week or so after the first killing frost.

Several more frost have whitened the mornings. Finally the trees are taking notice.

I read somewhere that day length was what triggered fall colors. Watching the trees here I have serious doubts about this.

The trees do change color over the growing season. Spring has a lighter, more vivid green. Summer has an intense darker green. Fall brings in a dryer, yellower green.

But these are all shades of green. Very few plants show fall colors as long as the temperatures stay warm. Poison ivy turns red even before frost.

fall colors increase
In just a day the amount of color showing on the hillside has increased. The trees were ready to turn color. The sycamores along the creek have had some leaves turn yellow, some turn brown and others fall still green.

Frost brings out the yellows and reds. The colors don’t show overnight. I’m watching the hillside trees.

First the yellow deepens. It’s as though the trees are discussing what to do next.

A week or so later the trees seem to come to consensus. Oranges creep in.

Over three or four days the entire hillside turns into a riot of fall colors. These will hold until a deep killing frost, high winds or storms knock the leaves off the trees en masse. The leaves do drift off a few at a time before this and would slowly leave the trees bare without the bigger pushes.

hillside in full fall colors
Once the trees begin to change color, the hillside is reddish orange in a week to ten days. The line of persimmons has already dropped its leaves leaving fruit hanging on the branches. This drops a few at a time when the wind blows. The goats harvest the fallen fruit during the day. Deer scavenge during the night.

This hillside  of mostly oaks is easy for me to watch as it is opposite the barn door. The goats have taken to staying out late and have to be hunted down and encouraged to come in. The late blooming grasses, falling leaves, acorns and persimmons are too good to leave, it seems.

I walked down the creek bed and out into the pastures. Perhaps I was late doing this as the hickories are brilliant yellow. Perhaps I should take more time away from settling the garden for the winter and go looking at the fall colors as they won’t be here nearly long enough.

Enjoy Ozark seasons in photographs and haiku in “My Ozark Home.”

Country Fall Sounds

Killing frost came by followed by a couple of light ones. Summer is over. Fall sounds surround those outside in the Ozarks.

Over the summer wind blowing through the leaves has a rustling sound. In the fall the leaves are dry and brittle so they clack and bang. Some of them drift off to the ground.

Cicada buzzing dominates the summer days sounding like a thousand tiny chainsaws at work. That is gone replaced by the chirping of katydids, chips of crickets and sawing of grasshoppers.

crickets iconic fall sounds
Only male crickets chirp. The difference? Males have two spines off the abdomen like this one. Females have a third longer one in the middle used to lay eggs down in the dirt. And the number of chirps a minute do reflect the air temperature.

Great Vees of geese fly high overhead on their ways south. The honking precedes and follows them helping anyone watching locate the flocks.

Warblers twitter in the trees. They spend the days raiding the giant ragweed stems of seeds. Evenings find the birds gathering in great noisy flocks getting ready to move further south overnight.

Crows have some kind of debate going on. One caws to gather a group together. They caw loudly as they leave the gathering. Then another one calls a meeting.

Woodpeckers are busy staking out their territories. Pileated woodpeckers have the loudest calls and sound off as they fly in their swooping patterns from tree to tree. Once the birds land, the drumming begins as the they drill out nesting holes.

Fall sounds add many new nuances to the country music buffet as many summer sounds retire for the year. Some sounds ignore the seasons.

morning doves
Morning doves are ground birds like chickens and have flat feet for walking. When spooked, doves take off with a whirring sound. These are waiting for the food to arrive at the bird feeder. Sunflower seeds are fine. Milo is good to. Millet is the best. This seems to be the opinion of the doves.

Morning doves whirr up from the ground when anyone approaches. The only difference is in number as the young birds have made the population swell. Some will migrate. Others will remain camped on the bird feeder.

Sadly the sounds of ATV’s, motorized mules and vehicles remain too. The fall sounds stop or get drowned out as these roar by. Hunting seasons are starting up so more are driving by.

Distant sounds of chainsaws drift in. Cold weather reminds so many of a need for firewood. Cutting earlier is better as the wood has time to dry.

Long stretches between man made sounds still occur. Then the fall sounds fill the air reminding all that winter will be here soon.

Contemplate seasons in the Ozarks through photographs and haikus in “My Ozark Home.

Summer Turns Into Fall

As summer turns into fall, the cars start drifting by looking out at the fields and hills. Some come admiring the colors. Others come to gather walnuts. Others are scouting out the deer.

Few cars stop to let the people out. That’s a shame. Summer turns into fall in small ways. Those riding by catch only glimpses as one smear of yellow seems like another.

Along my Ozark road summer turns into fall gradually or seems to. Walking along the road lets me see the changes.

Jerusalem artichokes bloom as summer turns into fall

Jerusalem artichokes are among the last sunflower to bloom in the Ozarks. Their stems can reach eight feet high, but are blown over by the wind. Even the wild ones can have artichokes on their roots, if they grow in rich soil.

Throughout the summer sunflowers blaze from early Black Eyed Susans into Brown Eyed Susans into a half dozen other sunflowers. White daisy fleabanes cast their small white heads around the yellows.

Finally the Jerusalem artichokes open their orange yellow flowers. Yet they are already competing with goldenrod and Drummond asters; both are fall flowers.

Summer turns into fall with yellow goldenrods, blue asters, white heath asters and pink tall thistles. The sunflowers disappear leaving fall flowers controlling the road.

Overhead poison ivy and Virginia creeper are wreathing the tree limbs with red. The dogwoods are turning dark reddish purple on the hillsides.

summer turns into fall when the dogwoods turn color

Dogwoods are one of the earliest trees to turn color in the Ozarks. Those in the woods stay purple. Trees in the sun are a rich reddish purple. Close up the leaves set off the scarlet berries.

Squirrels are busy now. Black walnuts are their prizes. They snag these and carry them away.

Hickories are dropping their nuts. Acorns are ripening on the oaks.

Several grasses are seeding bringing wild turkeys out into the pastures. Although the river oats line parts of the road, the turkeys stay away. They are much too wary to risk the cars.

Deer are different. They graze along the road leaping over fences and bounding off when cars come by. Fawns are known now only by their small size and staying with their mothers.

tom turkeys forage as summer turns into fall

Tom turkeys group together in the fall. They spend lots of time feeding on bugs and grass seeds in the pastures.

This year the road has huge stretches of giant ragweed. Birds are delighted with the seed bounty. They hang on the stouter stems picking the seeds, flitting away with flashes of color when approached.

My Ozark Home by Karen GoatKeeper

For 25 years I’ve watched summer turning into fall here in the Ozarks. “My Ozark Home” is a look at what I’ve seen.

Summer turns into fall here in the Ozarks in much the same way every year. Yet each year is unique. Walking the road is how I see this.

My Ozark Home” is available as a pdf now. The print book will be available by the end of September.