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Photo Friday

I was raised in Niagara Falls, New York... the honeymoon city. A definite change of the seasons can be observed, and autumn was my favorite. We used to collect the best specimens close them into a book to flatten and dry them, and slip them into a pot of paraffin wax to preserve them. That way we could have autumn all winter. But, they did make a splendid display when thrown into the fireplace on a cold winter evening. One at a time, of course.

Now I live 3,000 miles away on the coast of California, near the Monterey Bay. Autumn here is a plethora of seasonal incongruities.The lemon tree in my back yard is dripping with fruit. Lemonade anyone?

Due to the lack of sugar maples, oaks and other kinds of deciduous trees that require very low temperatures this time of year, the bright flaming colors of autumn change from a verdant green to brown overnight, sometimes remaining on the bows through winter. Then other trees, like the California Oak and the Red Madrone keep their leaves all year round. the only brightly colored leaves I can observe, are on display in stores. Buy now, before winter gets here! Only 25% off!!!

Palm trees are much more abundant in Southern California, but they still manage to survive further north. They get a little ragged this time of year, but they do not drop their leaves... er, fronds? As the years go by the lowest level of fronds will dry out and lay down upon the trunk. If they are not trimmed. They can get many layers of dead fronds which harbor hosts of birds and their ecosystems. This picture shows a close up of a palm tree with it's fruit, or I should say nuts, as they fall on the ground like acorns and have the same nutty hard appearance as acorns. In the springtime, the tree flowers heavily, but are not noticed unless you look "between the lines".

It doesn't rain all summer long, so things can get pretty dry, fields and hillsides all appear to be a gold velvet if observed from a distance, if you are further inland. However since I am coastal, there is usually sufficient moisture in the fog to keep things a bit greener locally. Still, compared to some coastal areas, we cannot keep our yards or gardens green without watering through the summer unless we have native plants growing. At this time of year I am able to have autumn Japanese chrysanthemums as well as spring bulbs beginning to pop up. Definitely not autumn in New York.

We just had our very first, and early, rain of the season. The fall of 1980 I moved here and was surprised when I went down to the beach the day after a storm.

All the branches and logs that had dried, broken or burned from up in the mountains the summer before had washed down the creeks and rivers ending up out in the ocean and then were washed back to shore.

I expected to see driftwood, but not mountains of it! And I never expected to see the primeval drive of the human need to create something out of it all.

I've seen drawings of the Native Americans who once lived in this region. Their wickiups (homes) strongly resemble the "art" that today's local California natives create.


  1. A wonderful selection ~ the driftwood pile is amazing! Anf the Lemon tree unbelievable ~ we don't have Lemons growing in the UK ~ it must be wonderful to stroll out and pick a Lemon whenever you want one.

    Mine is here:


  2. Very nice pictures. I have never seen driftwood come up like that, but then the last time I was to the ocean I was 10 and it was really windy. All I remember about it is the sand beating up against my legs, it hurt.
    I would love to have access to a Lemon tree so we could make fresh lemonade. Yum!!!

    Here is mine:


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