We take our little slices of beauty where we can.
After several nights returning home after dark, I have to acknowledge that summer is over.
It’s not just my imagination this time. The www.timeanddate.com website confirms we’re losing about 21⁄2 minutes of sunlight each day.
Pretty soon we’ll all be taking vitamin D supplements and rolling our quarters to buy Christmas presents.
In the meantime, try to leave work early to be in awe of autumn. The clouds can be ginormous this time of year and so close you think you can smell them. Or is that chimney smoke?
We’re lucky in Chico where smart people planted plenty of Chinese Pistache, Raywood Ash and Ginkgo biloba. Even the orchards, especially walnuts, turn a nice amber color.
On a recent evening walk with my sister in Paradise, we saw a tree that was half green. The other half was the exact color of her recent home hair coloring — Ronald McDonald red.
In Paradise, the trees are really turning the corner. Chico trees are just getting started.
If you drive down the Midway right now, and cup each hand on the side of your eyes, it looks like you’re driving through a tunnel of green, yellow and orange.
Perhaps we’ll get some rain this winter. On a normal year, fall is a good time to plant new trees and shrubs so they grow sturdy roots during the cold months.
Shopping now is a good idea if you have an eye for fall. You’ll get a vibrant impression of what to expect in future years.
Leaves — nature’s natural accessories
While I’m currently hung up on what the leaves look like, soon they’ll fall and turn to mulch.
Many people run over leaves with a lawn mower so they are smaller, then add them to an active compost bin. You can also drizzle them over bare spots in the yard like fall-colored confetti. In addition to coming in fall fashion colors, they keep the weeds down.
After eating Halloween candy, you can use leaves to stuff the pants that are now too small, and make decorative scarecrows.
If you’re on a vacation in a cabin in the woods with your extended family, you can make wreaths from fall leaves. Buy a wreath-starter at Michael’s craft store, borrow a glue gun, and go gather leaves in the woods until it’s time for dinner.
On a recent outdoor excursion, my sister and I picked up fistsful of deep oranges and reds.
We also pocketed a few handfuls of mottled green olives along the walking path.
When I got home I dumped them on the kitchen counter and — wowza. It looked like a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving centerpiece, or at least one suited for Heather’s Hovel.
I’m thinking you can use fall leaves exactly the same way you would use spring flowers, including tucking behind your ear.
• Pin them to your lapel, just because.
• Cut some longer twigs and make a fall leaf bouquet.
• Decoupage the front of your refrigerator.
• Hang a leaf mobile in your baby room.
• Make a garland of leaves for the front door threshold.
• Better Homes and Garden, http://goo.gl/12EtwF, suggests taping leaves to the wall with clear tape.
• Leaves can also be scattered all over the floor, for that vintage inside-the-barn holiday look.
• Better yet, scatter leaves in a romantic trail leading toward your lair.
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