Autumn Gold

comments (22) October 15th, 2010

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cookinwithherbs susan belsinger, contributor
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Quaking aspens, golden against a Colorado blue sky. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
Bright yellow-gold tansy grows wild in the Rockies.
Sunny blooms of Helianthus are found from the Ozarks to the Rockies.
You have to travel to the Rocky Mountains to see stands of golden aspens in the fall.
The golden leaves and white bark of the Quaking aspens stands out against the mountainsides of bristlecone pine trees. 
Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings have gardens that display and feature native plants and their uses.
Pear tree hanging heavy with tree-ripened golden fruit. 
It is pear and apple-pickin time across the nation.
A bucketful of just-picked pears is ready for crumble, pie, sauce, wine or preserving in your favorite way.
The fall garden slowly turns from green to gold--even in the grape vineyard.
Quaking aspens, golden against a Colorado blue sky. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.Click To Enlarge

Quaking aspens, golden against a Colorado blue sky. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.

Photo: Susan Belsinger

All across the country, the earth is adorned with many hues of gold. Recently, I returned from a road trip that took me from the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas to the Rockies in Colorado, and back. We went through miles and miles of Kansas, prairie and grasslands on the way out and we went through part of Kansas and mostly Oklahoma on the return trip. We drove through thousands of acres of farmland—most of them growing milo (more on this later), corn, soybeans, hay and wheat—at least that is what we saw from the road. The roadside hosted sunny golden-yellow sunflowers and Jerusalem artichokes along fences.

We stayed with my traveling companion, Tina Marie Wilcox’s folks in Goldfield, Colorado at 10,000+ feet. The mountain out the front window was called Bull Mountain and out the back was Battle Mountain. Bull Mountain was covered in huge bristlecone pines and other coniferous trees and golden aspens shone brightly amongst them. They are appropriately called quaking aspens and their leaves rustle with the smallest amount of wind which causes them to shimmer; I never saw them completely still the whole stay.

Battle Mountain was another kind of gold—as in “there is gold in them thar’ hills”. Both of Tina’s folks—John and Lois Wilcox were employed at the mine before retiring to their mountain home—and I learned more about mining for gold then I imagined possible. John is a wealth of information and we drove up to look at the mining operation, which is fascinating; I was most amazed and glad to see how the mine reclaims and puts the mountains back. 

Hiking around the neighborhood, we saw the last of summer in the yards and gardens. It was in the mid-thirties at night when we were there, however we still saw herb plants like yarrow, many varieties of artemesia, primrose, monarda, thistle, as well as bright gold tansy and sunflowers. Folks in the Rocky Mountains live with a very short growing season and variable weather with wind and hail; I believe it must be a challenge to garden there.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Garden of the Gods (talk about red rock!) and the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings which had a really attractive and informative display of many native herbs, wildflowers, shrubs and trees. Their signage explained how the plants were used in the past and how they are used today.

En route back to the Ozarks, we made a trip to see some herb buddies in Oklahoma. We actually saw three rainbows while we were there which certainly would indicate a special place. Kay and Bob Whitlock grow Riesling grapes and sell them to a local wine maker. We happily sampled the fruity, slightly sweet wine and heartily gave it our thumbs up. In the rows of green-turning-gold grapevines was a golden pear tree laden with luscious golden-ripe fruit. We harvested a bucketful in no time flat and were given some to take home, along with a few bottles of wine made from the fruit of their vines. Kay has crates of the pears in their cold cellar where she is preparing to make her own pear wine. Inspired by the golden gifts, here is a Pear and Cranberry Crumble for you to try.

The Ozarks were turning orange, gold and russet when we returned, and now back in Maryland, the leaves are falling fast. The earth is covered in her many-hued autumn raiment—today I scuffled through fallen leaves—gold underfoot.

posted in: herbs, grapes, autumn, pears, rocky mountains, golden leaves

Comments (22)

coreybaldwin7 writes: Really effective
Posted: 4:12 am on October 29th
georgeshort7 writes: I like your efforts
Posted: 2:20 am on October 28th
hectorkim54 writes: Awesome
Posted: 1:35 am on October 22nd
markfreeman87 writes: Endclass
Posted: 4:32 am on October 21st
stephenstone15 writes: Great look
Posted: 3:33 am on October 18th
Ednajooper writes: Wow! its nice thanks for share it
Posted: 4:26 am on September 15th
stephengreen44 writes: Brilliant
Posted: 5:13 am on September 5th
samdavis54 writes: Great look
Posted: 11:59 pm on August 29th
brownwillis writes: looking very nice
Posted: 5:23 am on August 17th
earlray26 writes: I love it.
Posted: 1:36 am on August 2nd
fredlane10 writes: nice natural seen
Posted: 11:21 pm on June 22nd
SandyRol writes: Fresh Place
Posted: 12:22 am on May 20th
billblair10 writes: This is the right choice for me.
Posted: 10:48 pm on April 6th
willisrose writes: I like it.
Posted: 1:21 am on February 29th
JudithGeiger writes: nice pic
Posted: 2:25 am on November 23rd
RobertGibsonn writes: save trees
Posted: 3:09 am on October 26th
katiescott writes: Place is looking so nice.
Posted: 11:43 pm on October 20th
SoniaGupt writes: Nice
Posted: 1:27 am on April 18th
jamiekrover writes: Thanks for sharing great knowledge with us
Posted: 6:56 am on March 12th
jamiekrover writes: love golden leaves
Posted: 6:55 am on March 12th
jamescolison writes: very nice scene loved them
Posted: 5:55 am on March 4th
gertcoleman writes: What a beautiful piece! I felt as though I were on the road with you enjoying the golden leaves and wonderful company. Kay's pear wine sounds delicious!
Posted: 5:28 pm on October 17th
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