Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Glorious autumn in my Minnesota backyard October 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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I SHOULD HAVE RAKED leaves this week. Should have.

A view of my backyard taken from the back steps shows the one maple tree that has dropped all those leaves.

A view of my backyard taken from the back steps shows the one maple tree that has dropped all those leaves.

But I couldn’t. Couldn’t because there’s something wonderful about stepping out the kitchen door into a backyard blanketed by golden maple leaves.

Focusing up at the leaves still clinging to the maple.

Focusing up at the leaves still clinging to the maple.

Wonderment of color and earthy scent and crackle of dried leaves underfoot.

Garden art given to me by my mom several years ago.

Garden art given to me by my mom several years ago is surrounded by fallen leaves.

Oh, how I love this season, this Autumn.

Garden art still staked outdoors copies the hues of leaves and sky.

Garden art still staked outdoors copies the hues of leaves and sky.

The hues and scents and crispness endear me to October.

Posing Grant Wood style after raking leaves.

Posing Grant Wood style after raking leaves. The ground is once again strewn with a layer of leaves.

I thrilled in watching cousins—my two great nephews and a great niece—gather leaves by rake, hand and wheelbarrow into a pile for hiding and jumping.

My great nephew, who just moved to rural Faribault from Utah, didn't quite know what to think of being placed atop a leaf pile.

My great nephew, who just moved to rural Faribault from Utah, didn’t quite know what to think of being placed atop a leaf pile.

Oh, to be a kid again.

The monster leaf on the left measures nine inches across, here compared to a more normal-sized maple leaf.

The monster leaf on the left measures nine inches across, here compared to a more normal-sized maple leaf.

I marveled, along with Deb visiting from the Iron Range, at the nine-inch span of a leaf dropped by the backyard maple. Neither of us had ever seen a maple leaf so large. She took it back home to show her husband, who’s never traveled south of Minneapolis.

I'm in no hurry to rake the leaves in my backyard. This fountain rests on a patio table.

I’m in no hurry to rake the leaves in my backyard. This fountain rests on a patio table.

Autumn is too fleeting to rake her leaves in, to bag and haul them away in unwelcome dismissal.

I'm still hanging laundry outside and will do so until the snow flies. I noticed how this kitchen towel mimics the hues of autumn.

I’m still hanging laundry outside and will do so until the snow flies. I noticed how this kitchen towel mimics the hues of autumn.

I don’t want this glorious season to depart, so why would I hasten Autumn along?

Flower pots are stacked, waiting to be stashed inside the garage.

Flower pots are stacked, waiting to be stashed inside the garage.

Being a life-long Minnesotan, though, I understand the need to prepare for Winter. And I’ve started. Yes, I have. I’ve emptied flower pots of dead plants. I’ve yanked zinnias from the ground. I’ve hauled fern and cactus indoors.

Every day more leaves drop from my backyard maple. I know I will wake up one morning soon and  the branches will be bare.

Every day more leaves drop from my backyard maple. I know I will wake up one morning soon and the branches will be bare.

The leaves, though, will stay for awhile longer.

A garden art angel I have yet to move indoors.

A garden angel I have yet to move indoors.

Oh, how I love this blessed season of Autumn.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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27 Responses to “Glorious autumn in my Minnesota backyard”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Raking leaves is one task that we don’t do……living on a ridge, they all just blow into the valley!!!!! Yard clean-up is “spotty” at best….sort of ‘hit and miss’ as the spirit moves (and the north winds come and go!!). Happy Autumn!!!!!

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I am wondering what our yard will look like when I get home. Usually I don’t even have to rake—the leaves blow away but we will see! I do love the leaves but not a huge fan of knowing what follows the leaves falling. You know. That four letter word. The pictures of the kids enjoying the leaves —priceless.

  3. Thread crazy Says:

    Those gorgeous leaves brings back to mind the many many leaves I raked as a child and then jumped into them! What a thrill to see those leaves go flying. Enjoy the autumn, as God blesses us with his wonderful array of colors!

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    We have an Aspen, a Maple and some other tree that has ginormous leaves – all shed at different times. In the spring they also drop various things at different times. It is a constant battle with a brief reprieve during July and August. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for our pond that is directly underneath all this falling chaff. There is constant maintenance to be done. I, too, like to enjoy the color even after the leaves hit the ground. Leaf cleanup in the Fall happens 3-4 times :-/ In fact, I believe round 2 is taking place tomorrow.

  5. Congratulations “Best Blogger”! By SouthernMinn Scene magazine

  6. lanae Says:

    Dale just chops them up with the lawn mower. I leave my little fairy (last picture) outside all year, just so I have something to cheer me up when I look out the window. My man even took care of my 2 fountains this fall while I made horseradish.

  7. I love that you’ve gone into your own backyard to find the beauty of autumn here. That shot of the pots waiting to be put away and the shot of the little boy on the leaf pile are my favorites. Just as I like writing that elevates the everyday into something wonderful, these photos do the same.

  8. Rachel Says:

    Hi Audrey!

    I found you over at Jackie’s blog and thought I would stop by and say hi. Your photos are so lovely. I just love maples. We live in the city, but we have gorgeous tree lined streets. We have had the most beautiful fall this year. I’m going to sign up for you e-mail list. I look forward to getting to know you better. Have a beautiful weekend!

    • Welcome to the Readership of Minnesota Prairie Roots, Rachel. I’m delighted to have you and especially happy to hear that you found me via Jackie. Love Jackie and her blog. She’s one of those bloggy friends who became a real-life friend.

      You have a wonderful weekend, too. Looks like is should be gorgeous.

  9. Deanna Says:

    Especially love the “great nephew” top-angle shot.

  10. Jackie Says:

    Your back yard is so pretty with all those Maple leaves. I have Trimmed & cleaned my garden, I like to do it in the fall instead of spring like some do. I think we have a few more weeks of fall…enjoy 🙂

  11. Don Singsaas Says:

    We went through the raking of leaves and putting away all the summer flower pots, deck furniture and outdoor knick-knacks 3 weeks ago. Even though autumn is my favorite time of year it is always sad dealing with the end of summer chores. I still need to get the snow tires on as the ground is white with more snow falling as I type. I miss the smell of burning leaves and wonder if that is still common there?

    • I’m not ready for snow yet.

      Some people in town burn leaves, but they’re not supposed to do so. I would expect that on farms, you will still find plenty of leaf burning. I have fond memories of that from growing up on the farm.

  12. susan Says:

    Personally, I always thought it silly to rake before every last leaf has fallen. I’m with you – I love the way it looks and feels. And I agree, there is just something so wonderful, magical, delicious about autumn.

    • I believe every last leaf has now fallen from my backyard maple. So, during breaks from a house project, my husband and I hauled a pick-up full of leaves to the compost pile. I’ve never seen so many people there, plus kids climbing atop the mountain of leaves.

      I like your description of autumn as “delicious.”

  13. hotlyspiced Says:

    You have such a lovely big backyard. I love that verse from the Bible. However, we don’t experience much in the way of seasons here in Sydney. While the temperature certainly changes, the changes in the landscape are fairly minimal. We don’t have a lot of deciduous trees so as they don’t lose their leaves, there’s no change in colour. I love how in Autumn, the colours in your world certainly change. The orange tones are gorgeous xx


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