The joys of autumn
Oct. 1, 2012
by Jenni Sebora

Fall came in for me like a flood. Actually, it is too bad we don’t have some rain-like conditions for many reasons, including enhancing the fall colors. Supposedly, the colors won’t be as vibrant this year due to the dry season.

Nonetheless, I can’t believe it is fall. Usually, by this time, I have cleaned out my garden, and put up my scarecrows and Halloween lights. I love holidays, but this year, I have not completed any of my fall to-do-list.

I have, however, picked the last of my tomatoes, and I had a big crop this year. The last few years, they have suffered. This summer, I completely moved my garden to a different spot for a different soil composition, and that seemed to do the trick, at least for the tomatoes.

My plants produced what seemed like a bazillion (as my kids said) little, yellow pear tomatoes. We have had them in chili, taco dishes, salsa, sandwiches, salads, salads, and more salads. They add a beautiful golden color to salads and dishes.

To go along with the habitat and nature changes are the wildlife transitions, as well.

We recently took in a monarch chrysalis, also known as a pupa. It was living on milkweed. We put it in a glass vase and watched it transform. It was amazing.

The pupa turns a black-jade color with gold markings, like a gold trim around the top. The chrysalis becomes clear just before it emerges into a butterfly. The wings are folded in the chrysalis. The monarch pumps its wings using fluid stored in its abdomen.

We observed the true miracle of nature as the monarch emerged. We watched as the beautiful butterfly pumped its wings for the first time. We took turns holding it.

After an hour or so we took it outside and released it in a field. We put it on a wildflower. It sat there as if it were sucking nectar. The monarch will most likely then make its way to Mexico. Truly amazing. How does it know the route? It must have a built-in GPS system.

If you ever get an opportunity to view this beautiful transformation, which truly is a miracle of nature, take the time to observe it with your children.

There are so many beautiful observations to make with the changes of the season. Fall is probably my favorite. The reaping of the harvests, the changing of the color guard to jewel tones, the migration of wildlife, and the changing of the climate to the crispness in the air; these are all autumnal changes to marvel at and enjoy with your children.

Enjoy the bounties of the season.

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