Another Great Hiking Trip in the Books

My sister and I spent the last four days hiking the gorgeous Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail during peak fall color.

Watch this space over the coming days for pictures, tales of close encounters of the Ursidae kind, freaky night sounds, and more!

In Which the Trees Finally Put on Their Autumnal Attire

In the immortal words of Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, the trees, they are a changin’.¬†I may be paraphrasing there…

Black Walnut

Fall color has been a long time coming this year, but now we are seeing the yellow, orange, and red, warnings to the birds and squirrels that time is running out to put away their winter store.

Sugar Maple

Signs for us that that beautiful season of winter is around the bend, waiting for us with a cozy fire, a blanket of snow, and five months of dark seclusion in which to read and write and hibernate after the frenetic race of the warm months.


I know I am looking forward to it…even if you aren’t.ūüôā

Autumn Comes to Fenner Nature Center

Colors tinge the edges of leaves, the ground is teeming with grasshoppers, and every flower rushes to produce its seed.

It must be autumn at last.


Fenner Nature Center, October 2016

Coneflower, Fenner Nature Center

Helenium, Fenner Nature Center

Grasshopper, Fenner Nature Center

Aster, Fenner Nature Center

Queen Anne's Lace, Fenner Nature Center

Gone to seed, Fenner Nature Center

Sumac and tallgrass prairie, Fenner Nature Center

Queen Anne's Lace, Fenner Nature Center


Seeds, Fenner Nature Center

Tallgrass Prairie, Fenner Nature Center

Tallgrass Prairie, Fenner Nature Center

Milkweed Pods

Fenner Nature Center

Mushrooms, Fenner Nature Center

Virginia Creeper, Fenner Nature Center

Leaves just beginning to turn

The Boy contemplates nature


The Next Thing

Minute by minute, another August is ending.¬†September whispers at the edges of leaves.¬†It’s time for bats in the house and flocks of blackbirds lifting as one from fields and lighting like raindrops on telephone wires. Young¬†woodpeckers sit on my windowsill and peck at their reflections. Hummingbirds hover at my morning glories and anise hyssop.¬†The bees and wasps get more aggressive, the chipmunks get cheekier, and my pantry shelves fill up with jars to see us through another year of toast and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

It’s the time of big clouds and dramatic sunsets and morning rain. It’s the time when the squirrels steal my almost-ripe tomatoes and I vow yet again not to plant them next year.¬†The weeds I should have pulled are spreading their seeds all over the garden to be sure I’ll have weeds to pull next year as well.¬†I did manage one big day in the dirt¬†recently when the humidity dropped a bit and the temperature was only in the low 80s. But by and large I’ve been a neglectful gardener this year.

And as others finish up their trips and put away their luggage, we find that there are still places to go. San Antonio for him, Albuquerque for me, and smaller jaunts around the state for conferences and book events and hiking trips. There are books to write and books to revise. In the evenings after the boy goes to bed, we sit in the Cigar Room pursuing our shared passion.

Soon the goldfinches will be lending their color to the trees and the nights will be cool enough for fires in the fire pit outside. Soon we’ll be able to give our poor overworked air conditioner a nice long break. They’re predicting a snowy winter for the Great Lakes Region this year. I hope they’re right. In the meantime, I look forward to fall and bid this summer a fond farewell. It’s been marvelous. But I’m ready for the next thing.

First Frost

Sunday morning we finally had our first frost.¬†Cold weather’s been slow in coming this year. Nearly a week of bright, sunny days in the mid-70s preceded this frost. But most of the leaves are finally down.

First Frost

As they sometimes do, my irises bloomed a second time this year. They tend to put out one last effort before winter if we get a stretch of warm days. But time is short for what still remains in the garden. The burning bush holds to a few last leaves. The hostas have all turned yellow and collapsed. Another day of working out in the yard will erase it all. Then the snows.