Monday, December 21, 2020

Just A Little Off The Top

By now the storm is old news but this is the first day that we have full internet service.  Our feelings of isolation were quite severe.  Our nearest road is nearly one quarter mile away with our snow removal machines rendered useless by the depth of the snow.  The old reliable snow pusher cleared a path from the kitchen door to the generator.  Its air intakes and exhaust were at the top of the must do list.  Next a narrow path was opened down each side of the car.  Finally Ben and his mighty truck arrived.  It took him some time but soon enough we could reach the road.

Similar narrow paths freed the truck.  Peering through a small area of cleared windshield, I  put the truck in 4 wheel drive and blasted free from the deep snow between the truck and the plowed ground.  While I continued to plow, Becky cleared off the truck hood.  The hand snow pusher rather easily cleared the roof of the truck.  Our garden tractor converted to snow plow has no space in the shed.  It was no small task to change that huge round white lump into a useable plow.


With open ground cleared by the plow truck, my snow blower was able to open more ground near the car.  A major concern here is where do we put the snow following the next storm so the cleared area is rather large.  We did not see any of our deer until yesterday when four appeared in the front lawn.  They pushed along in belly deep snow making slow progress.  Then one of this year's fawns decided it was time to use a series of jumps to more quickly move to the apple trees.  The rest quickly followed but food was hard to find.  On the other side of the house we always clear an unnecessarily large patch of lawn.  Prior to yesterday's dusting of new snow, a sizeable group of slate gray juncos eagerly fed on the cleared ground.  Later in the day this deer found relatively easy access to grass.  This morning deer could be seen in the darkness before sunrise right outside the kitchen window.  Our feelings of isolation are gone.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Mud Bubbles

Last night the sky was clear, the moon was bright and a heavy frost covered everything.  Morning's bright sun pulled Amy and Becky outside for a walk about.  They found themselves down by the road.  Our driveway there catches moisture from both directions.  Rain water washes down the driveway picking up and carrying the clay fines that are intended to cement the surface in place.  These fines are  trapped between the road and the higher driveway creating a muddy mess when wet.

There is a thin layer of water covering this ground  and sharp eyed Becky spotted tiny bubbles.  I have never seen anything like this and considerable time was spent peering into the mud and exploding bubbles with finger tips.  This type of activity may explain why few people make the trip up our hill.  Just how crazy we are is an obvious but unanswered question.

This close up is intended to show a bubble coated with fine clay.  If you click on a picture it will be enlarged. 

A careful look will reveal floating fines that coated a now popped bubble.  We watched in wonder as the breeze moved these masses about without breaking them up.  It reminded us that wet clay sticks to both shoes and shovels as well as itself.  The pink color is the reflection of Amy's "I am not a deer" hat on the surface of the shallow water.

This photo shows both a cluster of bubbles and the reflected color of Amy's hat.

 This magic soon disappeared as the sun warmed everything and the breeze stiffened at times.  In my seventy-six years of tramping about outside, I have never before seen anything like these mud bubbles.  Had I been here alone, I would have never seen them.  Becky has always had an eye for seeing the unusual even if it is small and easily overlooked.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Home For Thanksgiving

If the first three pictures look familiar, it is because they were previously posted in July of this year.  At that time three mature hens brought their chicks close to the house where the meadow grass was short.  The young were within mother's sight and food was easy to find.  The pictured group were taking dust baths at the end of a path under construction.  They were very close to the house.

Here mom and the babies are moving away from the house while still finding food to eat.

One of the hens used our stone wall still under construction to give her chicks flying lessons.  They would walk up the wall to the highest point, flap their wings as instructed and launch themselves into the air.

This picture was taken this morning.  Recently the turkeys have been seldom seen here, but this morning a group numbering more than thirty returned for a visit.  It was a genuine mood booster to see these resident birds gathered together.  

 Now I realize that thirty is much too large a group for a Thanksgiving get together this year.  Clearly these turkeys did not read the governor's memo.  For them there is safety in grouping together and this place is their home.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Promise For Spring

Trailing Arbutus has been at the top of our "It's Special" list for many years.  Becky still remembers a childhood experience with the scent of its flowers.  Everyone has written that Trailing Arbutus is impossible to transplant but in this picture you can see the current status of four plants that we moved here years ago.  Evergreen plants face increased risks at snow melt as there are few green plants for wild animals to eat them.  The dry stone short wall surrounding these plants is part of our system to keep the rabbits and woodchucks on the outside.  To date it has been completely effective.

We have found that the ground under White Pine trees supports impressive Arbutus growth.  In this location several young Oak trees grew close by.  With the passage of many years, these Oaks are now quite sizeable as is the depth of their fallen leaves.  These Arbutus leaves were hidden from view by the fallen leaves before we cleared the area.  We believe that Arbutus leaves need light even in the dead of winter so the blanket of Oak leaves was carefully removed by hand.


It came as a surprise to us that many plants form their flower buds during the Fall season.  Here again protection is needed to keep the animals away.  This photograph reveals the location of at least six bud clusters.  Spring will find two supposedly rational adults well into their seventh decade on hands and knees so that their noses can be brought close to these unbelievably sweet scented flowers.  Getting down to the ground is handled with some ease but returning to a standing position is increasingly more difficult each year.  So far it has been unnecessary to bring lunch to a stranded sniffer.

This rather huge bud cluster clearly deserves a photograph.  Its location is well within the range of our noses.  Finding a clear spot to place a supporting hand is becoming increasingly difficult but to date no one has fallen forward into the jumble of plants.

With the protective wire cage in place, these plants are safe from foragers.  The wall stones prevent a persistent snout from simply pushing the cage aside.  When we built the cage we knew that someday the treasured plants would reach the edge of protection.  Our plans remain to try to root cuttings taken from the edge of protection.  There is nothing to lose since those newly exposed plant parts are sure to be nibbled away.  This is the time of year when I steel my resolve to survive yet another winter so that I can once again drink in the unforgettably sweet scent of Trailing Arbutus flowers.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Morning Inspection

November days that begin with hard frost covered ground and feature lunchtime temperatures above 70 are rare.  We have experienced several consecutive days like that.  Going into the garden to rescue planting beds seemed like appropriate use of these days.  This wall is facing south and the bed in front of it was a mess.  Our Clara Curtis chrysanthemums had a spectacular year and now seemed like a good time to cut them back.  They prefer to grow on the stone path side of the walkway for reasons that escape us.  Garden soil washes into the stone path supporting the formation of a rich compost filled mixture that many plants prefer.  This path was almost completely blocked when work began.  Many Goldenrod plants still remain with our goal of their complete removal still ahead of us.

Looking in the other direction points out the need for additional work on the other side of the path.  Fuzzy topped Goldenrod plants are numerous.  Complete removal requires a fair amount of force on the spade.  Our goal is to totally remove the wandering root mass of each plant.  Time spent here now will put us in good shape when winter ends.

 Yesterday Ed, Amy and I spent a couple of hours  together happily working to clear goldenrod and other unwanted growth to reveal the planting bed and path on the west and south side of the stone square. 

It was early this morning when I stood in the doorway to the bedroom to admire our work and noticed two female deer in the garden. The smallest of the does  was slowly checking out the newly cleared area on the far side of the stone square.  The large doe was on the grassy area between the house and the garden.  I watched as they inspected everywhere we had working in the garden yesterday.  I don't think they missed a spot.

 The best part was when the large deer stepped up onto the patio and sniffed all around. I have seen a buck sniff the ground, but we all know what he is looking for. I have never seen a doe sniff the ground like this.  The big doe sniffed  every stone. Then I watched her sniff the chair.  She sniffed the legs of the chair and the seat where Amy had been sitting.  I don't know how long she did this but it seemed like a very long time.   Amy did a little smudging with juniper and lavender while sitting in that chair.  I have to wonder if the deer was attracted to that lingering scent or if the scent that the three of us left behind was what she found so captivating.  Perhaps she was just checking out the renovations on the most popular deer dining area in the valley!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Fantastic November Days

Cold wet days have kept me inside for weeks.  Twice snow covered the ground and that is no longer seen as a reason to play outside.  These clear warm days pulled me outside to tend to necessary road work.  Traffic on the path to the mail box created a shallow ditch that drained road runoff following rain.  If left as it was, the channel would be filled with solid ice for most of the winter presenting challenges to both mail pickup and snow removal.  The past three days saw wagon loads of wet fine gravel filling in the waterway.

Any country boy knows that dry sand cannot be packed firm.  Adding water to a load of fine gravel has two benefits.  With the consistency of mortar, it is easy to work the fill into a smooth neat surface.  Driving on the patch packs it down as hard as cement.  Today's fill is in the foreground still holding considerable water.  Given a little time and wheel traffic, it will look as smooth as the previously placed fill.

The last glacier formed interesting features on our acres that were largely useless for farming.  This area is shaped like a cone.  Observation of the mixed deposits here suggests that a stream of water poured over the high edge of the ice and fell into a pool of standing water.  Various visually different deposits lie on a slope rather than in a horizontal bed.  This spot is largely clear of huge rocks but a good sized one can be seen to the left of the tractor.

I have been removing material from here for years.  This area has been a favorite digging spot because its slope is manageable.  Fallen leaves hide the enormity of the hole created here by shoveling by hand.  A substantial slide moved a sizeable chunk held together by small tree roots.  Fortunately this occurred in my absence.  I will remove its edges to reveal the fine deposits now hidden from my shovel.

Becky took this sunset picture.  It captures the remote and private nature of our land.  A careful look will reveal three deer eating close to the house.  They are here much of the time.  This morning one slept close to the kitchen window enabling me to see its frosty breath as it exhaled.  We really enjoy our peaceful existence here living in a nature preserve.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Better Late Than Never

At this point it's not easy to find beautiful flowers hiding among the fallen leaves.  However my Fragrant Lady's tresses, Spiranthes odorata, did not disappoint.  Granted they were a bit earlier and a little larger last year, but this is 2020.  I am thrilled to just see these lovely little native orchids again.

The individual flowers are small, about one-half  an inch in length.  I love the way they spiral up the stem opening from the bottom to the top.  I wish I could tell you that I got a whiff of the fragrance, but the stems are short this year and I was lucky to get close enough to the ground the take the pictures.  Because we keep a cage around these flowers the wind and falling oak leaves have already mulched these plants.  So far they seem to ignore the cold so I still hold out hope that there will be flowers into November.  Whatever happens it sure made me happy to see my lovely orchids today.  It is only right I should share their beauty!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Buck Rub

We have occasionally seen a young buck mixed in with the does and their fawns that seem to live here.  This buck is protected by NYS game laws which require at least three protrusions all of which must exceed one inch in length before it can be hunted.  This young stud only carries four points in total on both antlers so he is safe from hunters unless they are children.  Initially the antlers are covered with super soft appearing velvet.  When the antlers firm up the velvet must be removed by rubbing against small tree trunks.  Tree bark is removed in the process.  The tree in the right foreground carries the healed scab from an older rub.  Our authorized hunters were pleased to find this unmistakable sign of the presence of a male deer.  Perhaps a larger older male will take his gathering of potential mothers.


While tramping around looking for the buck rub, we brushed against Witch-Hazel branches.  The late in the year occurrence of flowers is this plants claim to fame.  We would like to have one of these trees under cultivation but digging a tree in our stony ground would likely kill the tree and injure us.  These specimens will be left to grow where they were planted.  It appears that last night's hard frost took most of the shine off of these flowers.

This moss is an absolute marvel.  How it can appear this bright at this time of year is a question without an answer known to us.  We purchased a moss book in an attempt to learn the names of the many mosses that grow here but we made absolutely no headway.  Moss names are incredibly long with the words providing no clue about the name.  So we are limited to simply expressing our appreciation of their bright color on a cold day.

Princess Pine is in a different class name wise.  Its growth visually resembles a small pine tree.  How could any plant so demure not be called a princess?   We would like to transplant this species but all we can find on that subject is descriptions that say transplanting is difficult with no explanation of why that is the case.  We suspect the the long somewhat deeply placed horizontal rhizomes connect with a mother root.  Without a connection to the vertical root, the plant piece may well perish.  To date we only visit this plant where it grows.


Back at the garden, we found this Gloriosa daisy flowering way out of season.  We found it to be a promise of what is to come after we both survive another winter.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Three Design Flaws

Our claim of design flaws focuses on the seat not the sitter.  We have purchased nearly one dozen Ames Lawn Buddy carts.  They are claimed to be used by adults but several have broken leaving them completely useless and the dignity of the gardener damaged.  This photo was not intended to show improper use but it does.  Behind the sitter a hinge pin can be seen.  Located on each side they are intended to keep the lid in line with the base.  If the weight of the person was closer to the other end, the stress on the hinges would be greatly reduced.  Sitting on the end as shown can place great strain on the hinges.  We have broken more than one.  When that occurs for most people I'm sure  the entire unit is trash.  I do not give up so easily!


The raised lid illustrates our correction of a design flaw in the lid itself.  The lid consists of two thin plastic casting that are glued at the edge.  Little imagination is required to see that the lid pieces will quickly separate.  If entry holes are drilled close to the bottom's edges, expanding spray foam can fill the nonsupporting voids.  With the two pieces connected, the side seams are less likely to split open.  If the foam is introduced after the split, duct tape can help connect the lid pieces.  We have experienced success if the alteration is completed before the new cart is pressed into service.

 This picture shows what may be the most serious design flaw and our correction.  As delivered, there were two small protrusions that mate with matching indentations in the lid.  One remains in place near the top of the photo and a ragged hole marks the location of the broken one near the bottom.  When both are in place, four points of support keep the lid aligned with the base.  With one broken, the lid will move to the side occasionally dumping the gardener into the tool storage cavity.   When that happens it is not a pretty sight and getting upright is not easy.  Becky hates it when that happens to her!

The wooden H is our latest attempt to save an otherwise useful garden tool.  Three sheet metal screws tightly fasten the side of the cart to each wooden support.  Actual use of the corrected cart has yet to happen but so far the seat seems sound.  The cross piece is essential in spreading the load to both sides but it negatively impacts access to the tool storage area.  That is a small price to pay if this modification prevents the eager weeder from being unceremoniously thrown to the ground or worse.  

Our first purchased cart came with a lift out tool caddy that is no longer supplied.  A redesign of that feature could include overhanging edges that were in firm contact with the outside edge of the cart. Ames Tool Company is welcome to incorporate any of these modifications into the future production of a better garden cart.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Clear Skies

Three days ago this hillside in late afternoon sunlight was stunning but no camera was available.  Clear skies have returned but the leaf color has moved closer to being past with little red now evident.  Between the green groomed field and the hillside is a narrow path where the grass is kept cut.  That path marks the end of our land.  The background wilderness is owned by someone else while the view is ours to enjoy. 

 This back meadow was recently given its final mowing of the season.  We stopped mowing here in early July expecting that the milkweed would regrow and nourish another generation of Monarch butterflies.  For some reason that did not happen this year.  It might be the result of the record breaking heat accompanied by totally inadequate rainfall.  It might also be the result of several years of mowing here.  We want this spot to look like a farmer still lives here.  We have other areas where the plants grow with no interference from us.  The Milkweed growing in those spots should naturally meet the needs of the butterflies.  Sharp eyes might find the two narrow paths that diagonally cross this field.  Since we have yet to see animals crossing here, we do not know if the paths are the result of our deer herd or our neighbor's horses that also graze here.  The Red Maple centered in the background still holds two of its five original trunks.  Imagine the display we formerly saw before the trunks began breaking off.  We are grateful that some of this splendid tree remains.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

All In

This is the last of our five named garlic varieties to be planted.  Several years ago it was discovered at a new plant and vegetable stand near Canadarago Lake.  Richfield Springs is an easier name and that is the one we use.  The garlic epidemic was raging at the time and this otherwise desirable variety has long been a problem.  Once again the cloves separated from the bulbs were impressively sized and firm.  Green tips are new to us but so many of the cloves displayed them that they had to be planted.  The golden tip in the picture  appeared on this single bulb.  We chose not to plant this one.  Twenty of the cloves showing green were planted in the last two rows of the bed.  With this written record we can make an informed decision about this variety at harvest time.  The green may just be the result of a strong desire to get growing.

Quack grass is our other unsolvable problem.  It is widespread in our former pastures that we mow for lawns.  Hours are spent trying to remove it from the planting beds but it always returns.  Our neighbor had established a beautiful garden that included a raised water feature.  He made a considerable effort to remove this invasive weeds return from his garden.  Not all of the long horizontal root pieces were pulled out so the new green leaf tips quickly returned.  His water pond liner wound up roadside and the garden was flattened and made lawn.  We haven't quit yet but planting beds have been lost to this pest.

A Cobra Head hand cultivator is our primary garden tool.  Even old arms can pull it through the soil removing weeds in the process.  Still hidden roots sometimes remain with new growth quickly reappearing.  These two impressively long pieces were today removed from ground that we had just recently weeded. A smaller piece was also removed from the new garlic bed where we had been persistent and diligent in our attempts to remove this pest.

 This closeup shows the return power of this plant.  I falsely believe that even the scent from a broken root can regrow.  Further attempts to remove this pest from the now planted garlic bed will likely disturb the cloves so we will simply break off any green leaves that push their way out of the ground.  Yesterday the peeled but unplanted cloves were an ingredient in  Garlic chicken for dinner.  It was fantastic and the leftovers will be even better.  Is their a better way to spend these clear October days? 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Crud Alert

One hundred eighty garlic cloves were peeled in preparation for planting before we discovered a problem.  In the past, the diseased growth usually appeared on surfaces at the other end of the clove as a brown spot.  This hole at the root end of the clove was easily seen resulting in removal from the to be planted group.  This picture made clear disease issues not detected by the naked eye.  The decision not to plant this one is not to avoid an empty place in the planted group but to keep this poison out of our soil.  Overall, our garlic appeared to be in excellent condition especially when compared to the more common infestation of years past.  We considered discontinuing soaking and peeling but in the end it continued.  It turns out that was a lucky but excellent decision.  This clove is a White Bishop variety.

This White Bishop clove escaped elimination at peeling.  The cataract removed sharp Becky eyes raised concern and removal from the to be planted pile.  Since all root and later leaf growth springs from this area at the base, we cannot be certain that there are disease issues with this clove.  It seems that focusing on unhealthy issues can make one a little crazy.  My aged eyes would have placed this clove in the to plant group and that might have been a sound decision.

Our original planting stock for this variety was purchased from local legend Charlie Bishop.  He planted a large section of river bottom land with garlic and traveled about the area selling his product.  One year we saw him at the Saugerties Garlic Festival.  Many pickup trucks there were parked in a circle with the tailgates facing the center of the group.  Most of the growers were standing around waiting for a prospective customer to examine their garlic.  Charlie was standing on a box loudly speaking like a carnival barker about how he grew his prized garlic in river bottom land directly adjacent to the mighty Susquehanna River.  Needless to say he sold far more product than the others.


This Purple Stripe clove was judged to be free of disease and therefore it could have been planted.  It was not planted.  This illustrates the unexpected issues following a sharp focus on disease.  Last year's harvest found empty spaces where Purple Stripe cloves had been planted.  We had no idea the cause of the failed plants.  At this point sixty cloves of this variety are in the ground.  This blog post is intended to provide a record of events available for future inspection.  At this point all have been planted.  Perhaps next year we will need to take a closer look at this variety when selecting planting stock as a result of its condition at harvest.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Sixty More Planted

There has been serious disease on garlic bulbs recently.  Fellow blogger Daphne posted a process intended to clear the cloves of the disease.  An overnight soak in one quart of water containing one teaspoon of baking soda was followed by a rinse and peeling of the cloves.  Then a three minute soak in vodka was followed by a rinse and immediate planting.  We spent just over one hour carefully peeling sixty cloves.  Great tenderness is required to prevent injury to the cloves.  Scissors are used to cut a small nick at the top of each clove  staying clear of the clove flesh.  Using that as a starting point, the clove wrappers are removed.  On occasion blue smoke and street talk fills the air.

 The forty cloves are from a variety named for its source Helen.  Sadly, she has joined the great majority but she was a powerful positive influence on both of us.  Attitude is everything and her constant expression of positivity still has its effect on us.  The twenty cloves are Purple Stripe that we use as a spacer between our major varieties.

Just a short time ago we planted three beds with eight hundred ten cloves.  Now we plant one bed with two hundred twenty cloves.  We now have only five varieties compared with the more than thirty formerly planted.  That still sounds like way too much garlic for an elderly couple but we need next year's seed in addition to what we eat or give away.  At this point we have one hundred twenty planted with one hundred still to go.

Garlic exists in two distinct forms soft neck and hard neck.  Soft neck is preferred for braiding but it does not do well in our rather cold climate.  We have planted only hard neck for decades.  Our main crop consists of four different varieties all carrying local names.  These are all of the Porcelain type and display larger cloves but fewer cloves per bulb.  Helen's seed this year all came from bulbs having exactly four cloves.  Our marker variety is a Purple Stripe type featuring smaller cloves but beautiful purple bulbs.

So far this year we have encountered no brown spots indicating the presence of disease.  This is a first for us in many many years.  We did have eight plants that displayed ground level rot at harvest so our concern about illness persists.  The peel and soak is time consuming  and tedious but we will likely continue it for the remaining seed stock this year.  Planting next year's garden at this time of falling leaves and cold nights lifts our spirits.  We are well aware of what is coming our way but the first crop of 2021 is in the ground.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Sixty Planted

Today the first sixty garlic cloves were planted.  Usually their planting date corresponds with my Father's mid October birthday but with the early heavy frosts it just seemed right to get the cloves into the ground.  Susquehanna White and Guilford Purple Stripe were the chosen varieties.  These varieties will not be found in any catalog as they are locally grown and named.  We discovered Susquehanna White at a hidden from the road organic garden stand.  A more perfect spot could not be found.  A south facing slope gently rolled down toward the D&H Railroad main line and the mighty Susquehanna River.  I have never before been envious of a garden location.  Guilford Purple Stripe was grown by a retired pharmacist that lived in Guilford.  It has a different growth habit than the rest of our varieties and is used to visually separate the other varieties.  Four by ten and two by ten is the general planting scheme.

This shows the remainder of the bed that will be planted over the next several days.  Another section of fence that is rotated 90 degrees was placed over the two pieces shown.  Since it was needed to close in the garden it is now tied to the fence posts.  All of our beds are five feet wide and our method of push a hole then skip two before pushing the next hole gives us ten plants per row.  The spacing for the rows is push a hole then skip four before pushing the next hole yielding twenty-two rows. 

This unknown to us Aster was just discovered growing near the Arbutus plants.  We plan to carefully dig it from the ground and move it into a garden spot.  Transplanting at this time of year is not usually done since Fall planting frequently results in frost heaved plants.  We must remember to cover it with a cage since the deer eat garden grown Asters to the ground.  The unusual color of the flowers is what drew me to this plant.  Asters are a huge family of native plants and we will try to find the name of this one.  Ed's Delight may have to suffice.

This is our second group of transplanted Arbutus.  We have found that the soil under White Pine trees suits Arbutus.  This is the time of year when the evergreen tree sheds its needles.  New growth pushes the old needles away so the tree always looks green.  Many of these fallen needles will be hand picked so that the Arbutus leaves receive enough sunlight all the winter.  I never realized that native plant gardening required so much work.

 This native New England Aster consists of but a single stalk.  The recent frosts ended many of the Goldenrod flowers leaving asters as the food source for late Monarch butterflies.  Deer left this wild plant alone but heavily feed on the same variety placed in my gardens.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Vivid Fall Colors

Having just had my cataracts removed, I am positively giddy over the fall colors this year.  Everywhere I look the landscape is gorgeous and filled with color.  We knew it was beautiful at home, but since the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence a road trip seemed in order.  This clump of Sumac is red enough to knock your socks off.  There is even a small patch of purple New England asters on the left.

From a distance Ed thought he had spotted Poison ivy.  In the fall it is a bright red vine even in the shade, but this one turned out to be Virginia Creeper.  Many trees' leaves are still green or like the ones in this picture that are beginning to turn bright yellow.

The color of the red and yellow in this hedgerow of trees caused a little bit of a seat belt check when they came into view.   All of the trees appear to be the same height, but their  shapes are slightly different.  As for the vivid difference in color I have to say I could hardly believe what I was seeing.  Please note none of the color has been altered in any way in these pictures.

 We had a delightful drive.  Ed even picked up three bags of leaves to take home to use as mulch in our garden.

There is nothing like the beauty of Autumn in this part of New York.  Back in our own driveway I had to take a picture of these beautiful asters with milkweed fluff caught in their petals.  You can't beat the Susquehanna and Unadilla River Valleys  for a place to look at Autumn color.  But be warned I had friends who visited these valleys in the fall who loved it so much they moved here to stay.  I've known for years that it works for me.