October Photo Challenge Day 2: FALL LEAVES

Today’s October Photo Challenge assignment seemed simple enough:  FALL LEAVES. There was just one little problem. I live in New Orleans, which means that temperatures even approaching something fall-like are several weeks away and our leaves haven’t even thought about turning beautiful shades of yellow, red, and orange. Awwww, who am I kidding? By the time November arrives, our leaves are so exhausted from enduring the long months of unbearable summer heat they just give up, turn brown, and drop to the ground. That’s ok. My human mommy/blogging assistant had a plan. We would go to our neighborhood nursery and take photos in front of the lovely display of crotons that are strategically placed to make shoppers think that temperatures are falling. Then along came a tropical wave, which crossed the Gulf of Mexico and planted itself right on top of our fair city. The nonstop rain caused flood warnings and impassable streets throughout the day. So we resorted to Plan B. Take a close look over my shoulder. Do you see them? They’re there. Yep, right there in that seasonal arrangement. Fall leaves!

Wish me luck with tomorrow’s assignment. We may be digging through some vintage shots to get a NIGHT SKY photo if this rain doesn’t let up. 😉

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Why I Love Fall

Fall leaves thek9harperlee

I absolutely and positively love fall. Cooler temperatures mean longer and more frequent walks. Crisp days are perfect for lounging on the lawn. Tiny sticks start to fall from the trees like manna from heaven. But do you know my favorite thing about fall?

Love fall 2 thek9harperlee

The arrival of autumn marks the end of the dreaded driveway bath. A couple of weeks ago, I endured what I hope will be my final humiliation . . . at least for several months to come.

Love fall 3 thek9harperlee

Yes, friends, I put on a brave face. I held my head high, drenched and dripping, as people and dogs walked by . . . and gawked.

Love fall 1 thek9harperlee

I’ll admit that I even fantasized, briefly, about subjecting my humans to such treatment. How would they like it if I paraded them on the driveway . . . wet and naked . . . for all the world to see?

Love fall 4 thek9harperlee

I suspect that my human mommy read my mind, and then she did this to me.

Love fall 6 thek9harperlee

But as I began to air dry, I realized that things were looking up for me. Fall was knocking on the door, ready to rescue me from the dreaded driveway bath and its accompanying humiliation.

Love fall 7 thek9harperlee

I hear that my next bath will be courtesy of the PetSmart groomers. We call that “going to the spa.” I think a spa bath is far more my speed, don’t you? Thank you, fall. I love you!


Our First Fall Fire (aka The Great Stick Sacrifice)

Fire Pit 1 thek9harperlee

Last evening, my humans and I enjoyed our first fire pit blaze of the fall. It was magical . . . at first. Flames flickered through the air as we sat beside the warm glow of embers. Burning wood popped and cracked as we sniffed the autumnal air (well, I did most of the sniffing).

Fire Pit 2 thek9harperlee

And then the most horrifying realization came to me: Those were my sticks burning in that fire pit. My humans had sacrificed my beautiful and oh-so-tasty sticks to their fire pit god. Just two days earlier, I had walked around my yard supervising my humans as they carefully collected a wheelbarrow full of sticks and then placed them in a nice little pile . . . just for me . . . I mean specifically for my chewing pleasure. Right? Apparently, I was wrong.

Fire Pit 5 thek9harperlee

Well as fast as my humans could toss my sticks into that burning pit, I started pulling them from the stick pile and carrying them to safety.

Fire Pit 3 thek9harperlee

I am pleased to report that I managed to sneak at least a few of my sticks from the pile . . . saving them from an almost certain fiery death at the hands of my humans. We won’t discuss the fate that those same sticks met between my jaws.

Fire Pit 4 thek9harperlee

I am also pleased to report that my humans and I have reached an understanding. No more sacrificing my sticks to their fire pit god. That’s good news to me, because I rather enjoy our fall fires.

Footnote thek9harperlee

Footnote: I know it appears in the photo above that our scarecrow has been sacrificed to the fire pit god. I can assure you that this is not the case. He was at a very safe distance and is currently keeping the crows away. Thankfully, he has no power to repel squirrels.

Also, my human mommy/blogging assistant “got a little off track” with my blogging. (Those are her sugar-coated words. Just between us, she has been completely dreadful at updating you on my adventures and keeping me up-to-date on yours.) She promises that with this post she is now “back on the rails.” I plan to hold her feet to the fire . . . a fire built without any of my precious sticks.


The Great Outdoors

Greenwood 6 thek9harperlee

We have had a string of perfectly beautiful autumn days, which means that my humans and I have spent a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors. Last week, my mommy and I visited BREC’s Greenwood Community Park just north of Baton Rouge.

Greenwood 7 thek9harperlee

The centerpiece of Greenwood Community Park is a gorgeous 18-acre lake where humans can enjoy fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. Unfortunately, puppy dogs cannot enjoy swimming because all of our parks require dogs to be on leashes (with the exception of our dog parks), and I believe in abiding by the rules.

Greenwood 2 thek9harperlee

This was my first visit to Greenwood Community Park. My humans were there a couple of years ago for the third segment of a kayaking class offered through BREC, our community parks and recreation department. The class hooked them on kayaking. They’ve even kayaked on the open Caribbean Sea. They were a little over-confident in their kayaking skills, and the tide nearly carried them off into the sunset. But I digress.

Greenwood 3 thek9harperlee

During World War II, the Greenwood park area was an ammunition depot. Bombs and ammunition used in aircraft were stored there, and pilots trained at nearby Harding Army Air Field. The air field is now the site of Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.

Greenwood 1 thek9harperlee

ExxonMobil Cypress Bayou Trail surrounds the lake, and signage along the way tells visitors all about the park’s WWII history. Naturally, my mommy had to stop and read every single sign. That was alright with me. There were lots and lots of smells along the trail, and I was happy to stop and enjoy as much as I could.

Greenwood 5 thek9harperlee

I know that our perfect autumn days will soon come to an end. Chilly temperatures and drizzly gray skies will move in. But I will have glorious memories of the days that I spent with my humans enjoying Mother Nature’s magnificence in the great outdoors.


Fall, Finally

Finally Fall 1 thek9harperlee

Fall finally arrived at my house yesterday morning, and I could not be happier. At last we get to enjoy cool temperatures, low humidity, and more time outside. People and pets in my neighborhood are venturing out from their air-conditioned bunkers, and life is slowly but surely returning to South Louisiana. Plus, we’ve dodged what looks like it will be the last tropical threat of the year. Hip hip hooray! Life is good. To celebrate our first finally-feels-like-fall day, my human mommy and I started the morning with a very special walk. I’d love to tell you about it now, but you’re going to have to wait until Friday. I can, however, tell you how we spent the rest of our day. After we got home from our special walk, Mommy took off–without me–in my chariot. When she returned home, the entire back of my chariot was filled with fall plants. It’s a good thing I didn’t go with her, because there wouldn’t have been anyplace for me to sit. We then spent the rest of the day outside, pulling old and tired summer plants out of pots and replacing them with beautiful mums, ornamental kale and peppers, herbs, ferns, and a croton. I was right by my mommy’s side the whole time she was playing in the dirt, and it was glorious.

Finally Fall 3 thek9harperlee

Except for one thing: It appears as if we have been invaded by scarecrows. I’m not really sure what to think about this development. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that scarecrows have surrounded my house. This little one is standing guard by my breezeway door.

Finally Fall 4 thek9harperlee

And she must have called this guy in for backup, because he’s positioned just a few feet away by the garage. I had no idea that crows were such an issue around my house, but apparently they are.

Finally Fall 7 thek9harperlee

Because this little lady is guarding the back of my house. As alarming as the scarecrow invasion is, I must admit that thy seem to be doing their jobs. I did not see one single crow anywhere near my house all day long.

Finally Fall 5 thek9harperlee

It’s too bad those scarecrows aren’t as successful at keeping the mosquitos away. Look at that pesky thing on the tip of my nose. Someone needs to tell him that summer is over, fall is finally here, and it’s time for Mr. Mosquito and all is little friends to move on!


The Shadows Say Fall, But . . .

Shadows thek9harperlee

Almost everything is telling me that it is fall (or, as my international friends call it, autumn). The shadows are getting longer and longer. The college football season started this past weekend. The children in my neighborhood began a new school year three weeks ago. Halloween costumes are already on display at my local PetSmart. And yesterday I celebrated Labor Day with my humans. Labor Day is kind of a big deal in the United States. There’s a whole lot of history behind it, but all you really need to know is that it’s observed on the first Monday in September and it symbolizes the end of summer.

Still Hot thek9harperlee

Well, I think someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that it is time for her to turn summer and its miserable heat and humidity off. Now, please, ma’am. We have had enough. I said enough! I know that I really shouldn’t complain. Until the last few weeks, we have had a relatively decent summer . . . for us, anyway . . . and we haven’t had a tropical storm yet this year (still keeping all twenty toes crossed on that one). But it is just too darn hot to do much of anything. So, Mother Nature, I am asking you just as nicely as I can (I would beg, but Mommy says I shouldn’t do that): Please, please, please check your calendar and look at the shadows. They will both tell you that fall is here, so it would be really, really, really nice if you could send us some weather to match. Thank you.


Black and White Sunday: Looking Like Fall

B&W 8-25-13 thek9harperlee

Black and White Sunday thek9harperlee

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