Late autumn leaf rain in the Ozarks isn’t what you think of when you hear the word rain. It isn’t water.
Frost arrives and the leaves turn color. This year many of them turned brown. Some turned yellow, purple or orange.
Regular rain did go through when the color was peaking on the hills. Heavy stratus clouds blanketed the sky and kept the days dim dulling the colors.
Peak color often holds for several days. It did hold this year for two or three dull days.
Finally the clouds moved on one afternoon letting the sunlight make the hill colors glow. Wind made some leaves fall.
The next morning was about twenty degrees. This is frost flower temperature.
These delicate ice curls only happen one or two mornings each year. I go up on the hill to where the dittany grows to look for them.
As I crossed the bridge, I found I was in the middle of the autumn leaf rain. Every tree was raining its leaves.
Most deciduous trees have s special layer form between their leaves and stems when the leaves change color. This double layer of cells is where the leaf will break free when it falls.
Like the color change, temperature determines when most leaves fall. A deep killing frost like twenty degrees does it.
Under foot the ground was paved with color. Leaves drifted down on the wind making me look for birds and finding only leaves.
The pastures were white with frost. Birds were everywhere. The juncos or snowbirds and sparrows have arrived for the winter. They are eating seeds on the various plants such as giant ragweed, daisy fleabane and grasses.
The hillside hadn’t gotten cold enough for frost flowers. The dittany even had green leaves on its stems. The trees were the attraction with their autumn leaf rain.
Admire the Ozark hills more in “My Ozark Home.”