Monday, August 18, 2014

Sign O' the Times

No, I'm not referring to a Prince album with the title of this entry.  Even though it's still 90+ degrees F outside, I'm seeing little signs everywhere that fall will soon be upon us.

The deer are even more visible as they fatten up for winter.

The beavers are shoring up their dam with our little trees.

Some of our trees have started dropping their nuts, which they do every fall.  There's a constant gentle tap, tap from them hitting our roof and deck.  We have lots of squirrels here, and they are pulverizing the nuts still in the trees.  I can look out and see a steady stream of shells falling from the trees, and our driveway is absolutely covered in the little shards.

Some of our fall-blooming azaleas have opened up.

I decided to let the Sweet Autumn Clematis have its head and twine up through our gardenia bushes.  I'm so glad I did.  It's just starting to bud out.

The liriope is sending up its purple spikes.

 Our ginger lilies will be blooming soon...

The camellia bushes have little buds...

...and the little berries on some of our bushes have obtained a hint of blush, getting ready for their big fall show of color.

The blossoms have fallen from our beautyberry bushes, and they're setting up berries, too, for late winter color.

You can see the coming season in our insects and arachnids, too.  I've been looking for spiny-backed orb weavers with no luck so far, but I did spot my first Venusta Orchard spider of the season.

I still see lots of flies and bees...

...and I spotted this late-season cicada as he pushed out of the clay and headed for a tree, where he prepared to molt.

Fire ants here are most active in spring and fall, and in the past week saucer-sized mounds have been popping up all over the place.

I always tap the top of the nest with my foot to make sure it's not a 'regular' ant nest.  Fire ants look like harmless little black ants, but they are incredibly aggressive.  Even though I tried to be quick, ants were swarming on my shoe before I was able to withdraw it from the top of the nest.  Thankfully, I didn't get bit.  Look at that activity!

The cats don't care much about the changing season.  They continue with their "all seasons" reclining.  :)

Fall is, by far, my favorite season, so I'm incredibly encouraged by these subtle signs, even though the temperatures aren't quite there yet.  I know it's coming soon.

Have a great week!

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