Okay. Leaves gone. Winter here. It's official. Our twin oaks stand like silent sentinels at the edge of our lawn. The sweet gum tree outside our kitchen (on left below) always holds onto some of its leaves into the new year.
We are enjoying the onset of fall here in Moline and its hard not to notice new views of the house in the midst of this colorful season. Even the "fancy" plastice lawn chairs on the catwalk look inviting! : )
The annual pool-closing ritual has been performed and the dearly departed artificial swimming hole has been laid to rest. After almost 20 years on the West Coast, and almost 5 years back in Western Illinois, I still am a little remorseful about the coming of winter. And, fall is a gentle reminder that I need to repair our snowblower!
I FINALLY replaced the bulb in this side yard lamp. It is activate by a solar cell at dusk. I have lots more little things to do to prepare for the coming of cold, but not enough spare time to do it!
These are the final day of open windows, something I miss during the winter when the furnace is active and during the summer when air-conditioning is required. In Southern California we were able to have windows open almost year round. Ah, the smell of fresh smog. I guess I don't really miss that. : )
The yellow tree was likely planted here for its ornamental properties, but now that its grown larger, it is really too close to the house. Sadly, I think I need to remove it.
Is this our final snowfall of the season? We hope so. The inch and a half we received last Saturday had all but melted away by Sunday. Spring seems to be here! However, we know only too well that there is still a chance of the white stuff through the beginning of April.
Our twin oaks still have a few fall leaves on them. The rest are on the yard...and the street. I spent part of the day today raking the rascals into a row by the curb. The city of Moline, Illinois provides a leaf vacuuming service, but unfortunately they don't drive those big trucks onto each lawn. Then again, do I really want giant tire ruts in the yard? I'm still thinking about that one.
In past years we have jumped on leaf removal too early. And that leads to what I call "repetitive leaf removal syndrome." This year we are taking a wait-and-see approach. If we wait, we'll see how many leaves will fall and blow into the neighbor's yards before we remove them in one or two giant raking operations.
Yes, while I crave a leaf-sweeping rig to tow behind my ancient riding mower, we are kicking it old-school with a rake in one hand and a cell phone to call for medical help in the other.
We arrived in Illinois in early March 2007, and the worst of winter had just past in the form of a late season blizzard. Not the Century blizzard of 1998, mind you, but nasty nonetheless. The mild weather seemed ideal for two people who had just spent eighteen years in Southern California basking (occasionally) on the beach and leaving our apartment windows open throughout the year. When we arrived, the weather here was...well...mild. A nice transition. The planets were aligned. Then it turned a bit cool. Then cooler. Then it snowed. The last gasp of the dying winter.
Cozy inside our Mid Century home (built, incidentally, by a heating and air-conditioning man) we enjoyed our brief encounter with Old Man Winter while warming our hands in front of a toasty living room fireplace. Then we took a few pictures of our first snowfall in our new home. Yes, this year's novelty will likely be next year's nuisance. You Midwestern readers were thinking that, so I thought I'd just say it out loud for everyone to hear. Over the many years were were gone, we missed all of the romantic aspects of winter...and none of the practical. However, winter here isn't what it was when I was a young lad clad in shiny Mid Century black rubber boots with snapping metal fasteners. Winters now are...mild, by comparison.
Soon, a note about trees budding, grass growing, flowers blooming, bugs bugging, and all that jazz.