Waiting for a windfall

The leaves are long gone, but dozens of sweet juicy persimmons hang tantalizingly in the tree’s branches. Some raccoons will climb to get the lower hanging fruit. The rest will just wait for the wind to do the work for them.

mmmm
Sweet autumn treats could be a windfall for some lucky raccoon. These are the same fruits that produce the “magic” seeds that are used in folkways winter predictions. 

Late summer color 2012

A wave of late summer cold fronts and the remnants of a hurricane provided enough water to power a last pre-autumn burst of native color here in the Ouachita Mountains.

NECTAR DANCE — Hummingbirds maneuver for a spot at the feeder in a cloudless late summer sky.
SUNRISE — Sometimes a sunrise is worth abandoning the morning java and running out of the house into the street to get a better shot. This taken Sept. 14.
IN THE PURPLE — French mulberries in their full late summer livery.
IN THE GARDEN — The white blooms and green foliage are a nice background for a gulf fritillery butterfly.
PERSIMMONS — Persimmon tree manages to produce its pale orange bounty despite a summer of drought.
SUNFLOWER — The return of rain has allowed some summer wildflowers to produce another flush of blooms.
GROUND HUGGER — A cluster of tiny pink flowers, maybe a type of vetch, stick close to the ground.
BLUES — A spike of blue flowers reaches toward the blue sky.
SIPPING STOP — Fiery skipper sips nectar from the garden.

*Not being insect or flower experts, if anything here is misidentified please let us know!

After the rain

Rain has returned to the Ouachitas, and even the trees look happier and plumper for the moisture that’s soaking into the soil. Arkansas is far from being out of danger, with rainfall for most of the state is running 12 to 16 inches below normal. However, the rain has given the state’s firefighters a much-needed break from wildfires and the rest of us a much-needed break from 100-degree temperatures.

STRING OF PEARLS — The white waterbirds in flight through the valley after the passage of a thunderstorm.  They were large and long-necked like herons, but am unsure whether herons flock in flight this way.
WATER! — Fog rises from the valley after a thunderstorm dropped about a quarter-inch of rain before sunset.

The rain was too late to stop this tree from shutting down and losing its crown. Compare the shot below to one from an earlier post on July 1.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE — This oak had begun its shutdown a couple of weeks ago and had completely shed its leaves by July 9. If the rain continues steadily, the tree may re-leaf. Some of the hickories have been shedding their nuts and persimmons have dropped unripe fruit to conserve as much water and energy as possible.