Are you favoring the frosty fall foliage? Or, is the sweltering, sweaty summer solstice sun still sizzling in your soul?

We haven’t had a big temperature dip until recently. The edges of summer remain forever in our minds.

I often think about which season is my favorite when the big changes become obvious...you know the color schemes, temperature differences and the transition into darkness.

Admittingly, I am swaying more toward the fall season. Summer used to be my favorite until I became older and more sweaty. Spring is delightful for new life, but the edge of winter sneaks in to ruin the blooms. Winter is a definite NO! Too long, too cold and too dark.

Don’t get me started on the issue of daylight saving time! I have always been told that the time difference was for the farmers or that Benjamin Franklin started the whole deal. I also believed only the United States believed in this hokum.

No, the whole world does it to save energy.

According to National Geographic, November of 2019, the whole idea started as an idea of an entomologist named George Hudson from New Zealand in 1895. He wanted more time for bug hunting.

Then a fellow from England had the reasoning that we were wasting too much daylight during the working hours and needed to change the clocks. Winston Churchill liked the concept as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It was during World War I when the Germans decided to move the clocks to save energy. The rest of the world jumped right into the idea.

In 1918, Congress set the new law of daylight saving time into being. Because we were so dependent on coal for energy, the law proved true to saving energy. Now, there are many skeptics as to its benefit.

I do know it messes with my important sleep schedule. I don’t become a crabby ol’ gal, I just wander purposely looking for sunshine for my shoulders.

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We are lucky in our county to have so many beautiful colors this fall, presenting their resplendency at every turn.

The mixture of vibrant colors presents prismatic appearances everywhere. The trees are obvious. Finding the changeable shades of orange, yellow and red are undeniable.

But, the meadows, fields, hills and valleys are presenting such a variance of natural coloration creating a true palette for us to enjoy.

Have you noticed the crimson red colonies of shrubs along the roadsides? Those are sumac, or prairie flame leaf. They are just beautiful this time of year.

There are several varieties of sumacs, but the short growing shrubs are called smooth sumac. They are a native plant of North America and grow in groups normally where the soil is poor.

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Bees enjoy the white summer flowers. The autumn hairy, berry clusters resemble milo, to me. Birds like the individual little fruit, called drupes (something new I learned today).

I did read and research about these berries from “The American Indian Health and Proper Diet” site: aihd/foods/smooth-sumac.

Apparently, you can eat the berries dried or raw, but it is best known for a sour beverage that tastes like lemonade… or sumac-ade.

The Native Americans had approximately 19 other uses for this beautiful fall shrub.

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My neighbors have some brilliantly colored trees that present themselves every fall. Nearby is a pond that collects birds of many species.

The other morning as I stood quietly noticing nature, three Canada geese arrived honking loudly in chorus, greeting the morning’s arrival. Soon a belted kingfisher added its beauty to the scene calling raucously and then diving into the water for an easy meal.

Later that afternoon, those birds were replaced by a great blue heron and a grebe, both looking for an evening repast.

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I previously wrote about the tiger swallowtail caterpillars found on my dill and parsley plants earlier this month. They were very, very small at the time with a life-expectancy of nill, I expected.

Well, while walking with my dog and yanking very frozen tomato and pepper plants, I meandered through some weeds and dried zinnia plants to the parsley department. It was quite green and alive… so were the caterpillars. Most were two inches in length and very cold.

Was I to leave them to the elements and have the little dears become cater-sicles? Not in my heart and mind!

I also believed that my grandson could take them to his preschool class. He dislikes ALL insects and spiders. He did hold a caterpillar in his hand until his hand’s warmth brought it to the crawling stage. “Take it! Take it!” he screamed. I’m not sure his teacher wants them though.

My indoor caterpillars are flourishing and eating (and pooping) quite regularly, having to add more dill and parsley daily.

I shall keep you updated.

Beth Conner is a Miami County resident, teacher and outdoor enthusiast. She can be reached at bethconner2019@gmail.com.

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