I think if you asked 100 people on the street what their favorite season is, about 80% would say fall. Why is that? Is it just all the pretty colors? The nip in the air? Or does this time of year somehow hit an ancient chord with us, knowing that the harvest is in, the storage bins are full, and there is high hope that we will survive the winter (even if it is by running to the store)?

I have great memories of fall. I spent my Jr High/High School years in Northern California. In October, the walnut trees on our property would drop their nuts to the ground amid piles of leaves. We shipped walnuts to family all over the country and so one of my jobs was to pick up the nuts under the trees. I would plop down in the leaves with my 5 gallon bucket, the distinct tannic smell of walnut leaves rising up from the ground, the sun on my back, and work my way in a circle, searching through the leaves for the hidden nuts. It was like a late season easter egg hunt.

I remember one morning waiting for the school bus, the first frost of the season on the ground. A huge walnut tree attracted my attention as a leaf from the top of the tree dropped and hit other leaves on the way down. This in turn encouraged other leaves to fall, like organic dominos. The tree rained leaves until the bus arrived, and by the time I got home that afternoon, it was bare.

Part of the fun of moving to a new place is to experience the seasons with new eyes. The Inland Northwest, while not possessing the spectacular fall colors of the eastern U.S., still has a lot to offer. Aspens, maples, and my favorite, the Larch, all turn color in the fall.

The Larch, also called Tamarack, is a deciduous pine. That’s right. A pine tree that looses its needles in the fall and regrows them in the spring. You never know quite how many of them are around until they turn a beautiful golden color in the fall.

I had the opportunity to travel both to Walla Walla Washington in the southeast part of the state, and then down Interstate 5 to northern California to visit old friends this fall, so I got my full dose of color change in a variety of different ecosystems. And it gave me an excuse to take lots of pictures.

Hope you fell for fall this year too, and that your thanksgiving (my favorite holiday – yeah, I know – go figure) is wonderful.

I wonder if cat’s like the feel of dried leaves under their feet?

Butters says “I’m helpppping”.

The hills just south of Walla Walla.

My friend Tracy’s son Reece (age 3) on a visit to the pumpkin patch in northern California. He LOVED the tractors.

Next year, this will be my yard!

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2010, where we’re miles away from winter, busy raking leaves for the compost pile, and are thrilled with how long the fall season has lasted.