Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Sunday Afternoon in October

With autumn in full swing, people the world over that live in climates that experience the change in seasons are taking to the outdoors on foot. We know these wonderful days are numbered and we'll be soon be shivering at the thought of being out and about for any length of time, so we take advantage of the warm afternoons.

Yolanda Elizabet took us on a charming walk through her Netherlands countryside. Jodi shared the beauty of the Nova Scotia bay area. We're going on a walk today, too. It's a perfect day for spending in the woods, so that's where we'll start.

Due to the hot, dry summer we had, we're told we won't see the brilliant reds and oranges as the leaves change color, or at least not as much as usual. Where we live, the peak of color is generally around Romie's birthday (October 10th), but we haven't reached that point yet, so I'm still hoping we'll see some of the reddish-yellows that I love so much.

On the way to Kara and Adam's house, there is a well-known nesting area for Bald Eagles along the Auglaize River. We've been by it many times before and have seen their heads peeking out of the top of the huge nest. Romie and Kara have both seen the eagles soaring nearby, but I have yet to witness that.

We parked the car just off the road and headed back the lane towards the nesting tree. On the way, we noticed a huge plot of Common Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum).
I've always loved their dried flower form and florists use it in arrangements, especially this time of year.

As we walked a little further, I saw a young one just blooming. I don't know if I've ever stopped to notice the actual pale lavender flower before, only the mature brown ones.

When we got to the nest, I was hoping we'd see an eagle, of course, but we didn't. The huge nest is made of lots and lots of tree branches and twigs. Although it was high up in a very tall tree and hard to really guesstimate a size, I'd put it at about three feet deep and a little bit wider. Big birds need big places to sleep! I've read that an eagle's nest can support the weight of a human being.

We continued to walk back through the woods until we got to the river bank. There is some backwater of the Auglaize River that flows by here and it was a very peaceful place. Due to flooding earlier in the summer, there were lots of large tree branches piled up on the banks, but it's been a long time since we had that much rain and the river level is quite low now.

I was amazed at how many beautiful wildflowers were blooming this late in the season. Some I expected to see, but there were some surprises as well.

There was the goldenrod . . .

The New England asters . . .

Some late-blooming chicory . . .

. . . wild morning glories . . .

. . . and surprise! Violets!

We did see a few red leaves here and there.

Romie found a dark blue bottle for my future blue bottle bush and I found a nice-sized flattish rock that we'll take home to use by the pond we put in earlier in the summer. We could have spent a lot more time here, but we had more walking to do in another place, so we took our treasures and got back in the car to go pick up Adam and Kara. They wanted to go on the next part of our walk with us.

In our corner of Ohio, like a lot of the midwest, this time of year you'll see crops in the process of being harvested. Most of the soybean fields have already been taken off and some of the corn fields.

But there's one corn field near Napoleon that's still standing - except for zig-zagging paths that have been cleared all through it. Paths made for walking. And walking. And walking.

We came to find our way through a corn maze!

Kara and Adam had come here two years before and maneuvered their way through the maze that was the shape of the Chevy truck insignia. We'd never done one before. This year's maze was in the shape of a Jack-O-Lantern.

We decided to break up into teams. Kara and I challenged Adam and Romie to see who could find their way out of the maze first. The guys were certain it would be them. I wasn't sure. Romie has a hard time reading a map and Kara gets her abilities in that department from her dad, so both Adam and I were at an equal disadvantage. Not that neither of us hasn't gotten lost before either!

We were given sheets of paper that had trivia questions to answer at each of 10 stations throughout the maze. Whatever answer we chose told us whether we should go left or right. The only problem with that was that sometimes there was a center direction to go as well, plus left or right depended on which direction you approached the station. In other words, the clues were pretty much useless!

Kara and I were pathetic. At one point, Kara noticed a woolly worm in the path and she kindly moved it to the side of the path so it wouldn't get trampled. We must have passed that thing five times, which told us we were going in circles, even though we swore we had taken a different direction each time we went past it. The thing is, we also saw Romie and Adam ahead of us or behind us about the same number of times.

In the center of the maze, there was a tower where an aide was stationed as a help to those who couldn't find their way out, although we never saw or heard him helping anyone while we were there. That wouldn't be any fun now, would it? If you passed the tower, you could go up into it, too. We got close, but never made it to the entrance to the tower before we eventually found our way out.

We kind of thought maybe Adam and Romie would be waiting for us when we exited, but they weren't. We decided to go back in and climb the tower to see if we could see them. I wrote down the number of right and left turns it would take to get to the tower and Kara and I were off again. We got there quickly and looked out over the maze.

There they were!

We watched as they made their way out of the maze, then we joined them. I had noted the time we finished and we had completed the maze in 1:10, while Romie and Adam took 1:30. But we all won, because we had so much fun!

There were other things on location that were fun for kids and big people to do, like a zip line, a straw bale mini-maze you had to crawl through, a haunted maze, and a couple of slides, one of which Kara and I went down.
You could also purchase pumpkins and gourds that had been grown on the farm.

We'd had enough walking for one day, so we took a few other pictures, then called it a day.

A perfect fall day.


Cindy Garber Iverson said...

What a very fun day and a really fun post to read! I'm so glad you shared. Autumn is such a fun time for outdoor activities like this. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Don't you just love autumn? This sounds like fun. We have several corn mazes close by but have never done them.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It sounds like you had a marvelous day out. I especially liked the photo of the teasel with the blue sky as background.

Happy Fall...Lisa at Greenbow

Hollie said...

I enjoyed the virtual tour, the pictures of the flowers, many of which I see around my place, and I liked your description of the maze. One of our local farmers has been fixing a "maize" the past few years, but I have yet to try it out. Maybe next Fall I'll take the plunge.
Best wishes,

Connie said...

What a fun way to spend an autumn afernoon! We have teasel and chicory growing wild here in abundance. I especially like it when the chicory and Queen Anne's Lace bloom together... a beautiful combination.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Well Kylee, this was fun. Such a lovely walk on a perfect autumn day and at the end a corn maze. I'd never been in one so this was great fun too. BTW I got out earlier than you and Kara but that's because I can read a map pretty well. giggle

Muum said...

Thanks for a nice walk! I've never tried one of those corn mazes.

Barbara said...

I did enjoy my walk with you today. Very different to the walk I posted this week (come and join me) As you know I have been to your part of the world so it was good to see what is happening just now.
Because we have had such a wet summer after a warm Spring we are apparently going to hav e great Autumncolours but not for a couple of weeks yet.
We have corn mazes here also.
Ut was almost as good as b eing there.

kate smudges said...

The corn maze looks like it was great fun. You all look so wonderful in the photograph on the hay bales. The wild morning glory caught my eye. I would love to come across one of those on a walk.

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