Friday, October 23, 2009

Falling and can't get up

One draw back of living in the desert is the simple fact that our climate seems to only acknowledge two seasons. Full on winter or blistering summer. Those seasonal displays of fall color are often bypassed completely due to lingering hard frosts that cause the foliage to go from lush green one day to crispy green fallen leaves. We have gotten a small show this year as my apple trees are a glorious vibrant yellow, the bridal wreath spirea is a fire engine red, and the cotton woods across the street have managed a variegated display. My childhood was spent in the Midwest where the splendid fall colors were enjoyed on leisure weekend drives. Now I must find my "fall fix" via the web. Almost makes me yearn for an area of the country just to enjoy the displays. Almost forgot for a moment the deal breaker of such areas, humidity. Not high on my list of lovely climate experiences.

Be still my heart. Can you seriously just imagine sitting in these FANTASTIC chairs, snuggled deep in the blankets, perhaps a crackling fire to warm your toes? My Japanese maple was destroyed this last winter so no more shows for me.

Another glorious example of how your sedate backyard retreat can transform itself into a new lifeforms with the addition of a few cold nights. I would enjoy this space every waking moment.

Oh my. sighhhhhhhhh. Are you detecting a maple trend here? I obviously have a thing for them, but really who wouldn't if you got to enjoy this show?

This view would be the perfect one to see from my front porch. Full color riot as far as the eye can see. Until you hit that darn mountain range which as obviously already hit full on winter mode. Nope, too close for comfort there.

Now, someday, this will be my real life view. This was taken past color prime, but SOMEDAY it will include large shade trees chosen just for the lush canopy of summer and the brilliant display of fall glory. I'd rather have some ornamental grasses blowing in the wind rather than the tumbleweeds though. Add in some mums, coneflowers, sedum......home sweet home.
Did I mention fall is the PERFECT time to head to the garden center for bargains galore for perennial plants, shrubs, and trees? Not only do you get bargain prices, if you get planting now, those sad looking specimens will have a chance to adapt to their new homes, develop some roots, and readily settle in for a long winter nap. Come spring, they will creep into life forms to sustain your garden for years to come. FYI, some mulch around your new plantings to protect for the first winter is a grand idea. Kind of like people moving to a new neighborhood, you gotta show them a little love while they get acclimated to the surroundings.

So go, enjoy the display if you are so lucky. Meanwhile, I feel a nursery visit coming on....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eternal flames

Ever just wish you could curl up by a crackling fire? Surround yourself with comfy blankets, perhaps a dog or cat, sip hot cocoa or a steaming cup of tea, mesmerized by the dancing flames before you, completely oblivious to the outside world crumbling in chaos? That's where my head is at these days. I would much rather cocoon myself in warmth than face the daily grind. Cool fall breezes may have triggered the yearning, or maybe is just the simple lunatics I face daily that have triggered my need to hibernate. In a cave.

See, even a modern cave would suit me just fine right about now, and we all know modern is not in my reality.

A roaring fire, surrounded in stacked stones, just as old builders would have done.

A rustic fire to accompany an evening meal, nestle your face in a bowl of slow cooked goodness with some nice crusty bread.

Retreat to another room to further admire the multitude of color and forms that appear in an endless array of the warming glow.

Or a simple treat for two, rustic and casual, to enjoy the autumn splendor in its full glory. Smores, perfectly browned over dying embers before retiring to a cozy bed for deep slumber.

Sigh, no such luxury in my immediate future. If only the eternal flames could light my path, perhaps life might be a bit more enjoyable in my little corner of the world.