Field corn and pumpkins.
The corn was in the neighboring field, and
the pumpkins were ones that we grew.
(Taken on October 8, 2007.)
I always enjoy seeing how happy the girls are when they are picking things that they planted.
Sophia with a pumpkin she picked in the field.
(Taken on October 3, 2009.)
When we're outside in the evening, it seems like the colors of the sunsets are more brilliant and have so many more shades of color than any other time of the year.
One of the pretty sunsets taken during autumn.
(Taken on September 22, 2011.)
The girls are always finding interesting things when they are outside in the fall - feathers, stones, and woolly bear caterpillars.
Sophia and Olivia holding woolly bear caterpillars.
(Taken on September 25, 2011.)
Beautiful orange leaves in the fall.
(Taken on October 18, 2007.)
One of the things we always make sure we do each fall is open each of the milkweed pods and let the seeds float away. In that way, more milkweed plants grow in the spring. Because we started doing this many years ago, we now have milkweed growing throughout the farm...not just in one spot.
The girls were determined to open each milkweed pod.
They are 4 and 6 years old here, and
on the nature trail in the west pasture.
(Taken on September 29, 2007.)
Autumn also means coming indoors at times, and celebrating the holidays with family. Since the girls were young, I would bring them to my mom and dad's home to have a special pre-Halloween lunch.
Sophia and Olivia with my mom and dad
(their Papa and Nana) for a pre-Halloween lunch.
(Taken on October 28, 2009.)
My sister and brother plus their families as well as my family and I would meet on Halloween to enjoy dinner with my mom and dad. This was a time to have a meal together and show the children's costumes to my mom and dad.
They always enjoyed seeing their grandchildren dressed up. I think it reminded them of when my sister, brother, and I were kids and we would have fun dressing up after a special dinner and go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.
Sophia and Olivia with Papa and Nana.
This was the last Halloween we spent together as a family.
In 2011, Papa was in the nursing home because of Alzheimer's Disease; and
Nana had just returned home the day before after being
hospitalized due to complications from diabetes.
(Taken on October 31, 2010.)
This year, autumn will be bittersweet...and a difficult one for me. During September, October, and November 2011, my dad's health declined greatly and there are several dates that stand out vividly in my mind as challenging ones:
=> the day I had to tell my mom that my dad's needs exceeded what she or any health aide could provide at home for him;
=> bringing my dad to the nursing home - and the emotional ride there and admittance process;
=> the day my dad was hospitalized for two weeks;
=> the day he no longer knew who I was; and
=> the day we were told my dad needed to go on hospice care.
These days will be made slightly easier by spending time outside...connecting with nature...and appreciating the beauty that surrounds me.
Olivia climbing on the rocks that lined
a road in a park by the St. Croix River.
(Taken on October 7, 2010.)
These were things that my parents -- especially my dad -- valued. I know his love for nature, birds, and wildlife was passed onto me...and now I, in turn, can pass that same care for the environment onto Sophia and Olivia.