Day Three Hundred Twenty-four

Since last week when I “discovered” the fall beauty of the Bradford pear tree, I’ve noticed a number of them around town.  A few of them are still hanging on to their color.

Today, I grabbed my camera and set out walking to document their glory. Unfortunately, one of them is in someone’s back yard, and I had trouble getting a good vantage point without trespassing or looking like a complete nut-job, so I did not get a picture of it. Another pair is along a main street in front of the Catholic grade school where cars were gathering to pick up their students; I did my best to document it . . .Searching for ColorOn my way back, I caught a mallard family enjoying a large puddle at the park and avoided walking into an overgrown eye-level branch while noticing its unique seeds.

Good walk!

Day Three Hundred Sixteen

Fall Bradford Pear Trees

While driving to yesterday’s walk, I noticed a pretty tree along the way. I couldn’t place what type of tree it was, but saw orange, burgundy, and green–all on one tree on a church’s property. It’s close enough to walk to from home, so I headed up there today to take some pictures and figure out what kind of tree it is.

All of the leaves below were on that one tree. It’s pretty, isn’t it?

Fall's Last ShowFunny thing is, I figured it out what kind of tree it is while I was walking home. I saw a newly planted one along the sidewalk that still had the nursery tag on it; it’s a Bradford pear. Learn something new every day . . .

I also snapped some pictures near the tree and love the colors. And yes, that’s snow on the ground. We had our first measurable snow last night. I’m afraid that winter’s on its way.

Fall's Last Show 2Good walking!

Day Three Hundred Fifteen

An Oak Forest in Oak Forest (Illinois)

With our weather forecast showing dropping temperatures and rain turning to snow, we headed out fairly early for a walk this morning. My youngest son was off of school today for the Veteran’s Day holiday, so he and I headed to the Midlothian Reservoir in Oak Forest, Illinois.

We walked along the paved Blue Trail and then deep into the woods on the unpaved Yellow Trail of this Cook County Forest Preserve. Evidence suggested that this trail is used frequently for horseback riding, but we did not see any horses. In fact, but for a couple of deer and one jogger, we had the whole place to ourselves.

Oak forest in Oak ForestI’m pretty sure we’re past-peak as fall colors go, yet there was still actually some color and even some green left in these woods! I was also surprised to find a marshy pond in the middle of the woods, and I saw a great blue heron land on the other side of the water.

Oak forest in Oak Forest 2We ended up walking farther than I had planned, because I must have missed the turn-off that would have allowed us to loop around. Instead, we retraced our steps and came out the way we went in. Unfortunately with this delay, we got caught in a little rain, but with my camera tucked safely inside my rain-resistant jacket we were able to get back without getting too wet. I couldn’t resist pulling my camera out once though for a quick picture of a large hanging wasp nest!

Thank you, veterans, for your service.

Day Three Hundred Fourteen

Hundreds and Hundreds of Sandhill Cranes

Back in September (Day 264) after visiting the Grand Kankakee Marsh, we traveled to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in hopes of seeing sandhill cranes. That side trip was a bust, but we vowed to go back. After doing a little research into when was a good time to go, we determined today was the day, and we scheduled our arrival for an hour before sunset.

Even though we did far more driving to get to Medaryville, Indiana, than we did walking once we got there, it was worth it! Tens of thousands of sandhill cranes use this spot each fall as a layover on their way south to Florida. We saw wave after wave, hundreds and hundreds, of cranes land in the open field as the sun set.

It was unforgettable.

Day Three Hundred Thirteen

The University of Chicago and the Robie House

What a great day for a walk today! The sun was shining brightly, and the few clouds in the sky were puffy and white. Even the temperatures were comfortable. My husband, daughter, youngest son, and I left early for a swim meet at the University of Chicago, so that we could take a walk around campus.

U of C 1Unfortunately, I forgot my camera but thankfully was still able to document the colorful ivy-covered halls, churches, and Gothic buildings with my phone.

U of C 2In our wanderings, we also walked past Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. I have always loved this house.

IMG_20131109_123454By this point, I really wished that I hadn’t forgotten my camera, but with all of the interesting architecture and colors to see, we still had a great walk!

Day Three Hundred Twelve

Walking in Two Parts

IMG_1838

After feeling guilty for skipping my walk on Day 310, I added a walk today by leaving the car at home and picking up my son after school on foot. He had a half-day today so the noontime sun shone brightly on the neighborhood, still cloaked in color. It was lovely.

Later, we headed to Hickory Creek, one of the preserves in the Will County Forest Preserve. We split our time walking on one of the unpaved trails and a paved trail. Although some of the trees were past their peak, there was still plenty of color, and we had a great walk.

Hickory Creek FallMy son really seemed to enjoy spending his afternoon off of school walking. So did I.

Day Three Hundred Eleven

More Color

I don’t want to keep repeating myself, but I can’t help it; the colors around here are gorgeous. They have sucked me in. I’m trying not to think about the approaching day that they will all have turned brown, and we will rake them up, blue-bin them, and send them to a yard-waste landfill.

For the time-being, the only thing to do is to go out walking and enjoy their beauty.

I started out by heading to the same colorful bush that I photographed two days ago. Today though, I decided to play around a bit with my aperture settings. The picture on the left is set at F5; the picture on the right is set at F29. I don’t know enough about photography to argue with the pros, but these too pictures look almost exactly the same to me. (I like both of them–but I’ve always been a fan of pink and orange.)

Fall 1I continued walking around town noticing color everywhere. While skulking about along lot lines and gardens, I found a sheltered daisy hanging on to summer!Fall 3But my favorite today has to be the tiny bushes near the train station in town. The different shades of purple, pink, and white, were just so pretty. I didn’t even stop to think what people in town would think of me as I climbed back behind the bike rack to get close to these colors. Fall 2 It was worth it.