P81013I prefer to call it ‘autumn’. It sounds prettier. Perhaps it even sounds a bit more exotic, like something that happens in far away climates were the seasons are more distinct, and the weather gets a bit cooler this time of year.
‘Fall’ sounds more like a simple verb. It is merely what outdated leaves do when deciduous trees no longer have use for them. Many trees in mild climates do not even bother to indulge their foliage with a bit of color first.
Exotic places like Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Kentucky get autumn. Oklahoma, Oregon and Alaska get it as well, although it is commonly mistaken for fall because the deciduous foliage of most native specie turns brown in Oklahoma, and yellow in Oregon and Alaska, with significantly less of the oranges, reds and other bright colors that are so prominent in other regions.
Rather than complain about the minimal variety of color among out native specie, and how the best color is provided by very accommodating exotic specie that color well even in our locally mild weather, I prefer to brag about how excellent the weather is through our fall. Except for the longer and cooler nights, our fall is like an extension of summer. It is often referred to as Indian summer. While others share pictures of their colorful autumn foliage, I get to share pictures of fall roses that continue blooming until frost,or even right through winter. Yes, in some regards, fall can be better than autumn.
Then, this happened. While dahlia, zinnia, black-eyed Susan and even rose continue to bloom for those whom I would otherwise shame with my superior blooms, fall moved in, and is already defoliating a few trees! Sweetgum is starting to turn orange and red, but cottonwood, box elder, various willows and other riparian trees are beginning to defoliate without much color at all. This black oak is significantly farther along. At least it turned a nice rusty brown before defoliating.
How embarrassing! I can brag neither about extended bloom through a late fall, nor the bright foliar color of autumn!P81013+

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35 thoughts on “Fall

  1. For years I suffered what I liked to call “autumn envy.” It’s a condition common to people transplanted from vibrant autumn color to — well, to a lot of drying up and falling down. It’s going to be interesting to see what we get this year. So much rain means leaves still are green and firmly attached. A good cold front or a frost might lead to excitement.

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    1. Some of the best autumn color I have ever seen was out in the Mojave Desert. It was not much, but the bright yellow of the native cottonwoods really stood out in the otherwise empty desert. Also, the rusty orange black oaks in Yosemite would not be much to look at, but seem to be so colorful against all the pines and granite.

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  2. The leaves are just turning here and the blustery weather of the last few days has started our leaf fall. I mean to plan for a small acer in the garden so that I can enjoy a little more of the changing colours. But I don’t think I’m going to get anything in this winter. I’d also like a rowan tree. Thinking about all this because I’ve just read your redwood tree clearance post! I’m at the opposite end of the scale..

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    1. You mean that you prefer smaller trees? Are rowan trees necessarily small trees? I planted my first just two years ago. They are not available in nurseries here. I got mine from the Arbor Day Foundation. I do not know what to expect from them.

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      1. Rowans are on the lists for trees suitable for small gardens so I am hoping they don’t get too big. I am liking them for their berries. I prefer small trees in my garden but I do love oak trees.

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      2. They do not get too big, but they can be prolific with fruit. I do not know if that fruit would be mess if not harvested. Mine went into a forested parcel where the mess will not be a problem. I was intrigued with the fruit and what it can be used for.

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      3. Hmm. Good point. Mine would be right by the garden path. But I do have a good population of squirrels and birds who regularly enjoy the fruits of my labours! There is rowan jelly but I know I wouldn’t be harvesting the fruits.

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  3. Fall is what I think of as an American word for Autumn. This weekend we are experiencing high winds and today rain. I anticipate piles of leaves in the morning and as we have not had much in the way of cold weather yet I think those leaves will still be green. Not good.

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    1. I believe that is accurate. There is an article out there somewhere that describes the evolution of the two words, and how ‘fall’ became more popular in American English than in other English. ‘Fall’ is certainly more common here in California, where our language is notably more ‘relaxed’ than elsewhere. I believe that it is more common in New England and Appalachia, where local culture is much more experienced with it than we are. Yet, regardless of what the experts say, I still believe that ‘autumn’ sounds prettier.

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  4. I’ve never heard Pennsylvania referred to as exotic before. Now I feel all special, lol. I think the way we had such humid, rainy and warm weather well into October will make our fall show not as good this year.

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    1. That is what Okies said about Oklahoma. When I was a kid, Oklahoma was a magical place with rich red soil, black eyed peas and okra. I did not know where it was, but I knew it must be excellent. My great grandparents lived there. When I finally got to go, I found that everything I knew about it was completely true! However, the Okies were as fascinated with California as I was with Oklahoma. I know that when I finally get to Pennsylvania, that it will also be as magical as I always knew it to be, with colorful sugar maples, big silver maples, an ancient city that is more populous than San Jose, and rivers with funny names that meet at a Golden Triangle.

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      1. If you come in early spring, you get to see all the pretty flowering trees. In the fall, there is usually wonderful color, all up thru the mountains. If you come around my way, I’ll introduce you to Albert. 😜. Our mountains are really nice year round. I think it’s a pretty state, but then I’m a little prejudiced, cos I’ve lived here all my life.

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      2. California is an odd place (obviously) that has been influenced by many cultures as so many people migrated here in relative recent history. Although we do not think of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine as being from somewhere else, some are popular here. When we used to get too many eggs at the same time, and then none for a while, I pickled some in a manner similar to beet pickled eggs. I usually just pickled them plain, but the beet pickled eggs were so popular that I did some that way as well. (Beets did not always do so well in the garden.)

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      3. Picked beet eggs are wonderful! When my son was in the Air Force, stationed in Arizona, one thing he really missed was Lebanon bologna. I was flying out there to visit and I got a big chunk of it and froze it. By the time he picked me up at the airport, it was just thawing out. He shared some with another person in his unit who was also from PA. We all miss our foods we grew up with when we go away from home.

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      4. Lebanon bologna is another one that I heard of as being from Pennsylvania, but is commonly available in, of all places. Italian markets in San Jose. That might be because the stores that stock it are more Philadelphian than Italian, but I do not know what that entails.
        We all grew up with the fruit from the orchards. Many of us grow at least one apricot tree in our gardens, but then give all the fruit away because we got too much of it when we were kids. For some reason, we do not dislike the cherries as much. Prunes, almonds, walnuts were the other common orchard crops. peaches, nectarines, plums and figs grew in home gardens, as well as all the citrus. We tend to identify it with our local culture.

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      5. We do. My aunt lives in Tucson and has citrus trees in her yard, and that would be so nice. Fruit trees are iffy here due to late spring frosts, so most people don’t grow them themselves. But we have big orchards all around, who are better equipped with equipment etc to keep frost from hurting the trees. I remember smudge pots from childhood and don’t know what they use now for frost. Peaches, cherries and apples, lots of apples.

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      6. Hog maw is rare, but some people in Los Angeles know what it is. For some reason, those who I know who know of it are older black people who had never been to Pennsylvania. I think that wilted lettuce salad comparable to something from there as well. It is not exactly lettuce, but is spinach with hot bacon grease. I think it is supposed to be made with dandelions, but we do not grow those here. I think everyone has chow chow, which I think is from that region. Now, shoofly pie is something that I am not certain about. I thought it was from Oklahoma, but Okies who make it tell me it is from Pennsylvania. And of course there are all the elderberry products! You may not know it, but we have our own native specie of elderberry here. It is the blue elderberry. It is used just like your native black elderberry. It is how I win second place at the Jelly and Jam Competition at the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival every year! All the recipes that I know of for it are from there.

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      7. Chow chow yes, I think that is PA Dutch origin. Hog maw, there are many people even around here who won’t touch that stuff, but if the maw is cleaned right, it’s a very good thing. Congratulations on your winning jelly! I never had elderberries that I know of, and don’t know anything about them. I think shoe fly pie is Dutch too, and it is so good. Then we also have poh haus, or scrapple, which is good if fried crisp, with syrup. People away from here don’t know what that is, and don’t want any when they find out what all is in it. 😉

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      8. Chow chow had always been around, but I think it became popular when the Vietnamese kids arrived. I do not even know what traditional chow chow is anymore, although my recipe is very old and is probably accurate. Some of the varieties of vegetable are very different from what they used to be. For example, what used to be common bell pepper is not so common anymore, so we use different pepper. We also make it with scraps of cool season vegetables. (We do not have a long season to grow cool season vegetable here, but we get a bit.) Chopped peeled stems of broccoli, cauliflower, and related vegetables work nicely for California Vietnamese chow chow.
        Variants of scrapple are likely popular in many cultures, although I doubt that any others add maple to it. I am not certain about shoe fly or shoofly pie. What I know as such is sort of weird and gooey and . . . . well, weird. Okies seem to really like it. Elderberries are something I could have sworn were very Pennsylvania Dutch, although ours are a different species. Everything I know about them came from there!

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      9. Shoe fly pie doesn’t really require a lot of flies……there lots of molasses tho. Our typical chow chow doesn’t include winter veggies; more corn, carrots, different kinds of beans. It’s always interesting to me, to know about regional foods.

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  5. We are seeing just a few yellows and reds. Most of the time we only see a lot of brown, but there have been some spectacularly colorful autumns too. It’s always a surprise! Just like snow… it’s a novelty here and pleasing when we get a little!

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    1. That is where I first met blackjack oak! They were all brown, but a nice monochromatic autumnal brown. The maples and swetgums in the neighborhood really stood out against the brown There were also American sycamores that were quite different from our native California sycamores. I think they were yellower. Goodness, I could not get enough of the trees there!

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