Summer Turns Into Fall

As summer turns into fall, the cars start drifting by looking out at the fields and hills. Some come admiring the colors. Others come to gather walnuts. Others are scouting out the deer.

Few cars stop to let the people out. That’s a shame. Summer turns into fall in small ways. Those riding by catch only glimpses as one smear of yellow seems like another.

Along my Ozark road summer turns into fall gradually or seems to. Walking along the road lets me see the changes.

Jerusalem artichokes bloom as summer turns into fall

Jerusalem artichokes are among the last sunflower to bloom in the Ozarks. Their stems can reach eight feet high, but are blown over by the wind. Even the wild ones can have artichokes on their roots, if they grow in rich soil.

Throughout the summer sunflowers blaze from early Black Eyed Susans into Brown Eyed Susans into a half dozen other sunflowers. White daisy fleabanes cast their small white heads around the yellows.

Finally the Jerusalem artichokes open their orange yellow flowers. Yet they are already competing with goldenrod and Drummond asters; both are fall flowers.

Summer turns into fall with yellow goldenrods, blue asters, white heath asters and pink tall thistles. The sunflowers disappear leaving fall flowers controlling the road.

Overhead poison ivy and Virginia creeper are wreathing the tree limbs with red. The dogwoods are turning dark reddish purple on the hillsides.

summer turns into fall when the dogwoods turn color

Dogwoods are one of the earliest trees to turn color in the Ozarks. Those in the woods stay purple. Trees in the sun are a rich reddish purple. Close up the leaves set off the scarlet berries.

Squirrels are busy now. Black walnuts are their prizes. They snag these and carry them away.

Hickories are dropping their nuts. Acorns are ripening on the oaks.

Several grasses are seeding bringing wild turkeys out into the pastures. Although the river oats line parts of the road, the turkeys stay away. They are much too wary to risk the cars.

Deer are different. They graze along the road leaping over fences and bounding off when cars come by. Fawns are known now only by their small size and staying with their mothers.

tom turkeys forage as summer turns into fall

Tom turkeys group together in the fall. They spend lots of time feeding on bugs and grass seeds in the pastures.

This year the road has huge stretches of giant ragweed. Birds are delighted with the seed bounty. They hang on the stouter stems picking the seeds, flitting away with flashes of color when approached.

My Ozark Home by Karen GoatKeeper

For 25 years I’ve watched summer turning into fall here in the Ozarks. “My Ozark Home” is a look at what I’ve seen.

Summer turns into fall here in the Ozarks in much the same way every year. Yet each year is unique. Walking the road is how I see this.

My Ozark Home” is available as a pdf now. The print book will be available by the end of September.