This week, Amy has chosen Layered as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden yesterday where they were preparing for Night of 1,000 Jack-O’-Lanterns. Peel away the layers of a pumpkin and what do you get? Scroll down to see the result.
Once again, an amazingly opportune choice of subject from Ann-Christine for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge which this week is Candid. On Saturday we held our 3rd annual Family Fall Festival which always gives me a great chance to take some candid shots but for this challenge I’m focusing on one particular aspect of a wonderful family reunion. Our grandson got engaged in the pumpkin patch! I was asked to take pictures but we were instructed not to give the game away too soon, so all 25 of us were ambling around the pumpkin patch trying to appear very nonchalant without missing the big moment. It wasn’t easy!
Things are winding down now in our garden and this is when most of the hard work begins. There are still a few flowers about, although most of the plants and shrubs have been trimmed, thinned or eliminated altogether depending on how well they’ve done this year.
The rabbits have stuffed themselves to bursting point on whatever they could get hold of, including the bird seed and my best lilies.
The birds are on the move and making their way south so we are seeing some different species from the usual sparrows. This one showed up last week. It was fairly small with a distinctive yellow rump. Not sure what it is so if anyone has any ideas I’d be happy to hear from you.
The cosmos and marigold flowers are particularly colorful right now and are attracting the last few butterflies. There are still a lot of bees buzzing about too, which leads me to an ideal opportunity to give my grandson’s podcast God of Honeybees a plug. The latest episode is about the study of consciousness. Interesting stuff so I hope you’ll give it a listen.
What better way to celebrate the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series than a leisurely stroll around Spring Valley Nature Center on a sunny, 65 degree day in November! Yes folks, miracles do happen! After all the baseball hype and excitement of the past few days, it was nice to get away from it all yesterday and just relax, if you can call walking about for two hours relaxing. For some of us it is, especially when you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat for what seems like a lifetime, waiting for the Cubs to finally win the big prize.
And it seemed like Mother Nature was celebrating with us, everything basking in a golden glow. Finally we could take a deep breath and enjoy life after all those years of torment.
It’s been a couple of months since I was at Spring Valley but apart from the new children’s play area that is being built near the entrance, things are pretty much the same. The farm will probably be closing for the winter soon, so I was glad to be able to make one last visit there this year. One of the horses, that had an abscess in its hoof, was being attended to by the resident veterinary technician who kindly let me stay and watch the proceedings. She did an amazing job and the horse didn’t seem the least bit bothered as she applied some gooey green stuff to the hoof.
After that, I went on to the farmhouse where I met a young lady in costume who kindly posed for me. Everyone at Volkening Farm is very friendly and helpful. I would have visited the house but unfortunately the immediate area was being patrolled by a ruthless band of chickens and as many of you will know, I have a terrible fear of birds, and chickens in particular, so I stayed well back and used the long lens, glancing around me every few seconds to make sure none of them were creeping up behind me.
Leaving the farm, I walked past the track to the arboretum and headed towards the cabin that used to be the old visitor center. A nice surprise was awaiting me on the path, two deer that stayed just long enough for me to take a couple of pictures.
Leaving the cabin, I went along the road to the pond and found several frogs making the most of the sunny day. There was a handy bench by the water’s edge so I got comfortable while a duck paddled over, thinking there might be something to eat in the offing. It soon realized there was nothing doing and steered away to the other side of the pond. A dragonfly landed nearby, blending in nicely with its surroundings.
I would have stayed longer but time was getting on so I bid goodbye to the frogs, (I’ll swear I heard one of them croak “Go Cubs!” as I left) and made my way back to the parking lot. There most likely won’t be too many more days for strolling around but, as we always used to say with the Cubs, “Wait till next year!”
Who would have thought we’d be walking about in our shirtsleeves in 70 degree temps at the beginning of November but such was the case today. A splendid autumn bonus that was best enjoyed in the open and preferably in a place as beautiful as the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Soaking up the sun and making the most of every moment, we’ve seen a lot of changes at the Garden over the years but none more spectacular than the change from summer to autumn.
We are so lucky to live within easy driving distance of this wonderful garden and love to visit no matter what the season but there’s something just so spectacular about the fall months.
Brilliant colors at every turn and in all parts of the garden and with the warm temperatures we were able to take our time to appreciate one of nature’s miracles.
You have to drive quite a distance from where we live before you can consider yourself ‘out in the country’ but visiting the Morton Arboretum in Lisle is a great way to get that country feeling especially in the fall when even a trip all the way up north doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll get those colorful autumn pictures.
One of my favorite spots is Lake Marmo, named after Margaret Morton. The lake is on the west side of the arboretum. Drive down the hill from Daffodil Glade and leave your car in one of the parking areas then take a walk around the lake. You’re sure to see something of interest such as waterfowl or frogs.
There are walking trails all over the arboretum but if you don’t feel that energetic you can just pull in to one of the parking areas and still get some nice shots.
I do enjoy walking, however, and like to get off the beaten track once in a while. Didn’t see too much in the way of wildlife this time. No coyotes, but I did spot a garter snake slithering away as I made my way across the grass.
Back on the east side of the arboretum, near the visitor center, is another lake, Meadow Lake, surrounded by colorful grasses, which makes a very pleasant walk especially when the weather is mild and sunny as it was when I was there last week.
Cee’s choice for her Fun Foto Challenge this week are Vibrant Colors, an easy thing to find in the photo files as they always stand out from the rest.
On the Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, these colorful creations made by various scout troops are a regular feature in the fall.
These eye-catching decorations were on display at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.
The vibrant colors of this costume worn by a participant at the 63rd Annual Powwow in Busse Woods really made a splash!
Gorgeous blooms at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin. For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/18/cees-fun-foto-challenge-vibrant-colors-2/