Recently while driving through the town of Dyersville, Iowa, I passed a home that had an elaborate Halloween display. Immediately, I turned around and parked the vehicle in order to spend some time photographing this carefully planned Zombie Zone. Even if you don't care for macabre images, this homeowner certainly created a detailed exhibit that includes the scenes in today's photos as well as many other elements that occupy the entire front yard, porch and facade. And, if you are in the area, drive by and take a look.
During October I posted outdoor scenes of Iowa that highlighted several aspects of autumn in these parts. So, with just a few days left in the month and Halloween drawing near, the next few posts will feature some of the images I captured of anything related to October 31. And, if you like cheap entertainment that is sure to make you laugh or sigh or shake your head, simply take a walk through the neighborhood or cruise through town looking for all sorts of corny, creepy or cute outdoor Halloween displays. Of course, most are visible during the day; however, with so many illuminated decorations on the market, be sure to enjoy all those ghosts, cats, monsters and more that light up the night.
Scenes like these are quite common but colorful and cheery nonetheless. Perhaps you have a similar autumn display just outside your door or carefully placed against a large tree on the lawn. And, if you enjoy these friendly fall figures and would like a short rhyme to share with your favorite youngsters, here's the verse:
Regarding a brightly colored, hardy fall flower, Chrysanthemums (mums) are at the top of the list. Just when most tender annuals begin to decline after a long, hot summer and a few autumn frosts, these beauties begin to work their magic with delightful blossoms in shades of red, yellow, orange, purple, pink and more. In addition to the outdoor display, mums are also great for use in any indoor arrangements, and with daily fresh water, they last forever!
Look for the little creature that landed among the blooms!
In Iowa during this time of the year many towns along the Mississippi River get an influx of leaf lookers who enjoy the delightful views of the foliage-filled bluffs and water below. Today's pictures are scenes from the NE Iowa town of Guttenberg where visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along a nearly 2-mile sidewalk on the banks of the river. In addition, this community offers numerous other recreational activities and is also home to the US Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam 10 and The Guttenberg Aquarium and Fish Management Station. Whether in small Iowa river towns or anywhere throughout the region, I hope you have an opportunity to explore the landscape and enjoy some of autumn's remaining splendor.
Regarding popular fall sports in Iowa, football is king. These photos show some local teenagers practicing for their upcoming Friday night battle; however, all ages, from late elementary through the college ranks, participate in this contact sport. In addition to the players, the marching band, cheerleaders, referees, fans, parents, sports reporters, concession-stand workers, grounds keepers and other members of the school and community all have a role in this weekly spectacle on the gridiron.
"In the entire circle of the year there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter, morning and evening -- no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air."
Despite numerous frosts and cool autumn temperatures, today's photos feature some delectable surprises that linger in the garden. In addition to tomatoes, recently my husband found a gorgeous red bell pepper that evidently had been hidden near the bottom of the plant and behind several leaves. Since we usually only get the green variety, we were thrilled and promptly roasted that red beauty and ate it for dinner. So, if you are considering what to prepare for dinner, perhaps you will want to take a quick tour of the garden to check for any unexpected treats. Happy hunting!
What a beautiful day to kayak on the Turkey River! With the temperature in the low-70s and fabulous foliage as a backdrop, these paddlers could not have picked a better time to float down this NE Iowa waterway. For me, the photographer, the only problem was getting the shot as I had to walk on to the bridge/highway (without any shoulder) and hope no vehicles approached. Well, after having to move for a couple trucks and waiting for just the right angle, I finally got a decent shot! Enjoy.
This time of year I am easily captivated by the many shades of orange, red, yellow, gold, green and brown as well as by all the items that adorn our landscape, including leaves, ornamental grasses, corn, hay bales, pumpkins and gourds. These photos feature some brightly colored varieties of gourds, most of which you have seen before but be sure to take a close look for something new. And, if you look carefully (or use the zoom function) on the upper left side of what looks like a pumpkin with warts, you will also notice another tiny yet peculiar detail as a black spider sits atop the gourd. A perfect addition to the photo!
Recently candidates for President of the USA discussed Big Bird and funding for programming for PBS; however, don't worry as what you see in today's photos are only gorgeous yellow leaves of Ash Trees! All kidding aside, for a brief four or five days we enjoyed the incredibly bright foliage of these trees before the leaves started to drop. Now, many folks are left with a layer of yellow, gold and light brown crispy leaves covering their yards. However, with a stiff breeze like we have today, most of those leaves are now on a neighbor's lawn, down the street, blown next to a home's foundation or any other place the wind carried them. All in all, enjoy these pictures and leave the raking for another day!
Currently Iowa farmers are busy harvesting grain and completing fall fieldwork, and for the men in today's photos the same is true. However, like several other folks involved with agriculture, they also have off-farm jobs that keep them occupied during the typical 9-5 workday. Therefore, the success of the operation truly relies on the team and the contributions each makes, including the guy who usually runs the combine, another who hauls grain to storage sites, someone to do fall tillage, everyone to assist with repairs and so on. Here's to all those men and women who work long hours to ensure the success of the family farm.
As I traveled to areas along the Mississippi River enjoying the colorful fall scenery, I also encountered these fearless workers who stood far above the river performing various tasks on the railroad bridge. Today's first photo is a nice shot of that particular bridge with bright foliage in the background...a decent shot of the landscape; however, the other pictures show what it is like to work on a narrow passage several feet above the water. Like many construction workers, these men are wearing orange t-shirts and hard hats, but , more importantly, they are also wearing safety harnesses designed to assist in the event of a fall. Obviously, this job is not for the faint of heart. May they be safe in their endeavors.