A jaunt in the countryside becomes a private celebration of autumn.
We passed fields of pumpkins glowing orange in the morning sun, spotted strawberries for sale at a farm stand, and marveled at the range of the harvest in the Applegate Valley.
Scarecrows have appeared in many gardens, where squash and zucchini are still growing plump.
Trees are heavy with apples, pears, and even one persimmon tree spotted near Ruch.
We were saddened by the loss of one pear orchard, being razed, yet its abandoned trees have gone wild and thick with golden fruit.
I was squealing like a kid when we discovered miniature donkeys, then full-sized donkeys, among livestock in the Applegate Valley. And llamas — it was such a joy to see them munching under apple trees, that we resolved to return soon to meet the farm owners.
Geese were pestering pigs at one farm; and at the neighbor’s, an energetic Black Angus calf was leaping — leaping! — through long grass to reach the herd.
There were a surprising number of dead skunks on the sideroads, yet everywhere, the signs of fall were distinct. This isn’t a region for fall colors, so one red maple on a front lawn is cause for celebration among great forests of evergreens. Beech leaves are turning yellow, but so many deciduous trees have gone from green to brown, that we were delighted when a single yellow leaf fluttered over our shoulders during a short hike.
Falcons and kestrels kept watch overhead, and butterflies — some, migrating Monarchs — seemed to be more numerous than any other living thing we saw during a couple of hours in the valley.
I am so grateful for this season, and for all its beauty in the morning quiet. We are truly blessed to be living in Southern Oregon in autumn.