Thursday, November 10, 2011

Colors of November

We've had some mild weather here in Southeast Michigan for the past week or so (until today, anyway--it's still only 39 degrees and it's nearly noon).  We decided to take advantage of the last warm afternoon and go for a walk in the woods near our home.

It was 63 when we left the house, balmy by November standards.  The woods were pretty much bare, and the trail was covered with a deep blanket of leaves.  As we walked, wood frogs leaped from the cover of leaves, escaping our boots.  These frogs actually freeze during the winter, burrowing just under the leaf litter to hibernate.  Perhaps they were taking advantage of the warm weather to hunt for bugs.  Spring peepers could be heard throughout the woods.

Wood frog

The colors in November are subtle here, the blazing trees now mostly bare.  But color there is, if you look carefully. This leaf still holds the remnants of an earlier shower.

Big tooth aspen leaf

November challenges us to find beauty in patterns, too, like this fungus growing on the side of a downed tree.

Turkey tail fungus

 Grasses give a splash of color and texture as they die back for winter.

This fern frond stood out against a backdrop of dead leaves, moss and pine needles.

Milkweed was exploding across the small meadow, and the air smelled of dried goldenrod.

Common milkweed

This late in the season much of the color that remains is low to the ground, like this tiny oak sapling.  The fuchsia of its veins is startling in this dull landscape.

Mosses drape themselves over every available surface, enjoying the damp, cool weather.  There are
12,000 species of moss, so I am not going to try to id this!

 A white oak leaf rests on a dead log.

Lisa found this leaf, one of the last blazes of color in the woods.  We couldn't find the tree it came from, so it must have blown in from elsewhere.  I couldn't resist putting it on a background of moss, a harbinger of the coming holidays.


  1. Lovely image heavy post. You take great photos, Marie and I enjoyed reading your blog. I love the frog photo and silly me, I thought spring peepers just peeped in the spring!

  2. I hadn't a clue that was called Turkey Tail Fungus - but now that I know, yes, that's exactly what it looks like!

    Congrats on becoming publishers. Thank you for the info, but for a variety of reasons too complicated for here, I can't go that route. But do drop a comment any time and mention what you offer!!!!!

  3. @ Anon: Yes, peepers peep in spring and fall, just like the Red-winged blackbirds sometimes sing their territorial song in autumn. Someone told me it has to do with the length of the day, and that they don't know if it's spring or fall. And Kittie, I am so far behind reading your blog! We have been swamped with shows and books and murals that I am happy to get a post up once a week! Glad you are well and hope to get caught up soon.

  4. I really admire your photography. Stunning, always a pleasure to see. I like the white oak leaf on long.