Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Autumn in my Minnesota backyard October 15, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Looking up at trees in view of my backyard, from our solo maple, to the neighbor’s tree to the woods behind our garage.

AS I WRITE, a grey-haired man leans into the fierce wind as he walks his black lab along the sidewalk across the street. In the distance, a block away, I note a fiery red maple blazing color into the cityscape. Soon, though, my neighborhood will be devoid of color, trees stripped of leaves, as autumn shifts ever closer to winter.

A leaf on a perennial in my yard.

These days, more than ever, I am cognizant of autumn’s departure, of what I anticipate to be an especially long winter ahead with COVID-19.

Our neighbor’s beautiful backyard maple set against a cobalt sky. The tree is mostly bare now.

But for now, I want to take you into my backyard, to scenes I photographed within the past 10 days. My yard presents a microcosm of autumn in southern Minnesota. Colorful. Ever-changing. Cobalt skies one day, grey skies the next.

I’ve been bagging leaves in our yard to take to the city compost pile.

Tuesday and Wednesday I worked in my yard, emptying pots of flowers, raking and bagging leaves, all those seasonal tasks I’ve put off. As I age, I find I don’t enjoy this work as much. I’d rather do fun activities like hike and spend time with my grandchildren.

When I took this photo within the past 10 days, leaves on our maple were still green. Now they’ve turned yellow and mostly fallen off. That’s the wooded hillside adjoining our property.

We have only one tree, a maple, on our property. But woods abut our yard. And leaves from neighbors’ trees don’t understand boundaries.

Time to put away the tabletop fountain on the patio.

The clock is ticking to complete autumn yard work before the first snowfall. To then stash away the rakes and pull out the snow shovels. And, for Randy, to drain gas from the lawnmower and check the snowblower.

Maple leaves blanket the lawn.

But for now, I want to savor these final days of autumn. To appreciate the colors of autumn leaves clinging stubbornly to branches, to walk across the lawn, leaves crackling underfoot.

The colorful wooded hillside behind our garage. What I most dislike about this scene in winter is that I can see the “tornado trees,” the trees broken by a tornado which went through our city and neighborhood two years ago in September.

For soon enough, winter will overtake the Minnesota landscape, defining our days.

The last of the wildflowers blooming in my backyard.

As we await the arrival of spring and the cycle of seasons continues.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Autumn in my Minnesota backyard”

  1. valeriebollinger Says:

    Good for you for getting some yard work done…our lawn is the collection sight of all leaves blown in by the wind from neighbors trees. It is full up with leaves…and we have work to do!

  2. I still cannot believe it is Fall and soon experiencing the Winter months. Mister is still mowing 2 maybe 3 times a week and is looking forward to once a week in another month or so. We have fruits and veggies coming up in the garden right now and soon a few of the trees in our yard will start blooming out. It took us about 2 years to get use to the fauna and flora cycle here. Beautiful photos 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  3. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    You captured it perfectly, especially Tues. and Wed. My flowers did well this year, don’t want to let them go!

  4. Gunny Says:

    I cringe at the site of leaf bags! Ya’ll are picking up leaves this Autumn or Fall. However, in mid-Texas, “Fall” is in the Spring. I have ONE Oak tree that loses leaves in the “Fall” that is in the front of the house. All the rest (a bunch of them) on the side and back of the house, lose their leaves in the spring. One year, the trees were very prolific and I took 8 full size pickup loads to the recycling center.

    • We actually pulled these leaf bags from the city compost pile last fall because we didn’t have any. Way easier than trying to use plastic garbage bags. I think the rest of the leaves will just stay on our lawn. Parts of Minnesota saw snow today, including at our eldest daughter’s home 35 minutes to the north.

  5. You captured some beautiful fall photo’s without having to leave your yard, I love that. Enjoy this season as it’s soon to be gone…too soon. I think Fall is our most wonderful but shortest month.

  6. Lovely photos, Audrey. ❤

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