Saturday, August 7, 2010
It feels like fall this morning.
I start out while the others are still asleep or reading their newspapers.
When I clip into the pedals the air has a chill.
I wear a jacket.
On the dusky road I startle up wild turkeys.
I see starlings gathering for fall migration.
Even a single maple leaf begins to color.
By the side of the road I find a touch-me-not.
The last time I saw these flowers was when I took KC to her first day of college in North Carolina.
We found the plump seed pods and jumped when they burst at a touch.
As I kneel in the damp grass to take pictures I notice a tiny snail clinging to a leaf.
I remember at the beginning of this bike trip when Al and I biked together - we found a snail and laughed about how we were snails.
Now she bikes like the wind.
The bright red sumac berries are ripe for the migrating birds.
And the hay in the field may be ready for the third cutting.
Do they do three cuttings in Canada?
My Dad always loved fall.
I thought it was an old person thing.
Everyone knew spring and summer were the best seasons.
Now I like fall.
Speaking of old - my old bike is having trouble getting up this hill.
Oops. Flat tire.
Luckily Karen pulls up in minutes with the white van and rescues me.
(No. I've never gotten the hang of changing a flat. My bad.)
I see teasel growing spikily by the road.
In Wyoming the bloom was white.
Here it blooms like Indiana in purple.
I read that pioneer girls teased their hair with this plant.
I stop at a country store for a snack and see Jeff in this blinding bike jersey.
And where there's Jeff, I know there will be Alex.
They are two of our fastest bikers now.
I offer to buy Al a treat at the store.
She has trouble making up her mind.
They bike on ahead, but I see them briefly at the next SAG stop.
Everyone is excited about the biscotti provided by Canada Mark's wife.
I turn the corner and a small church catches my eye.
Look at the details on that steeple!
And the beautiful entry.
Do we build things with such attention to detail anymore?
Back on the road, more reminders of fall - the pagoda-like goldenrods...
Mountain ash trees ripe for the cedar waxwings.
I tried to grow these once.
They don't like Indiana.
I begin to see miles of crops growing under nets - is it for shade or to protect the fruits from birds?
Are they strawberries?
No, says Dericka, it's ginseng.
Normally it grows on the forest floor.
And what's that tall leafy crop behind Jim and Allison?
Such a delicate flower...
Who knew they grew tobacco in Ontario?
One thing I like here in Canada are the hedgerows.
Between the fields and the roads grow these wild jumbles of plants full of shelter and berries for the birds.
We've given up hedgerows in America so we can plant every inch of ground with crop.
The fields of America have no birdsong.
I stop at the House farmer's market to admire their veggies.
Fresh watermelons from Canada!
I wouldn't think they'd have a long enough growing season for watermelons.
Dare I eat a peach?
What I really want is a homemade cherry pie.
But I can't carry it on my bike.
The next shop is even more interesting - the Ginseng shop.
They sell ginseng every way you can imagine...
by the root...
as a powder...
And even ginseng candy.
I ask Paul what ginseng is supposed to do for you.
He says it will make you stronger, give you more energy.
He gives me a free piece of ginseng candy.
I tell him if it make me a better biker I'll come back for more.
It's so interesting approaching these small towns.
I never know what to expect.
Brantford, our home for the night, has beautiful flowers filling their medians.
But I never find out why they are tearing down half their downtown,
They have a lovely Catholic church.
Several of our bikers go to Saturday mass this afternoon.
Husband Tom goes to mass in local churches when we are on vacation.
There's Alex at mechanics - our daily bike repair clinic.
Looks like she needs a new chain and maybe a cog set.
Dang. I'm spending so much money on her.
And she doesn't even ride with me anymore.
And there I find the homemade cherry pie Alex has bought me at the farmers market.
Thank you, Alex.