Fall revisited, and a bit more on Winged Sumac

First let me demystify the Winged part of Winged Sumac.

Winged Sumac gets its name from the “wings” that grow along the shaft of its composite leaf.

Here in the closeup is one composite leaf.   For those who may not know, a composite leaf is made up of several leaflets attached to a central stem.  In this young specimen the stem is attached to the main stalk of the plant.

Notice the growth along the shaft?  Those are its wings!  😉


Now for a few more photos of Autumn before it is all gone for 2012

     This was taken at the end of the day with an overcast sky.

So beautiful!



Note:  Want to know more about Sumac?  Then check out these informative sites!

How we can utilize the plant…

And how nature and wildlife utilize use the plant…

*Fall is Not Easy: a colorful view of the farmlet

Here on the Farmlet it seems that every fall, just when we start getting some great color, the wind comes and takes it all away.  This fall was no exception and to make matters worse I find myself lame and on a walking stick.  And for those who are wondering, “YES, I am going to the Dr. tomorrow because it has been a week and I am not improving.”

However, wind and lame knee aside, I decided I would give it my best shot and get out to see if I could capture what remains!

Lil’ Bit tiptoeing through the wet leaves.

A festive chicken yard

The newly revamped front flower bed. 

NOTE:  It used to be harder to find native plants, shrubs, and perennials, but all of a sudden the deep South is “getting it.”  I am back in my element!  Not all is native, but the bulk of it will be when I am done!

*Winged Sumac 

This is something I have wanted in my garden for some time, but had not found a local source for it.  I don’t know how it got here perhaps a bird, or the tornado storm, but it is definitely a welcome native.  Do you know why she is called “winged?”

Notes from the USDA Native Plants Database:  “Sumac serves primarily as a winter emergency food for wildlife. Ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and about 300 species of songbirds include sumac fruit in their diet. It is also known to be important only in the winter diets of ruffed grouse and the sharp-tailed grouse. Fox squirrels and cottontail rabbits eat the sumac bark. White-tail deer like the fruit and stems.
Sumac also makes good ornamental plantings and hedges because of the brilliant red fall foliage.

One burnished tree. 

This one can be viewed closer by clicking on it.  😉


Happy Autumn!


(I had fun, even if the results are less than spectacular!)


  • Today’s title “Fall is Not Easy”  comes from a favorite children’s book I used to share with my little students during the season.  If you have little ones Pre-K to 3rd grades (+ or -)  then perhaps you would like to preview this entertaining book.  Look HERE
  • Why is Winged Sumac ‘winged?’  Have a look at the USDA Plant database PDF – HERE  and the site information HERE


In Awe of Autumn

We had visitors, best friends from sunny California who, thankfully, wanted to see and do it all here in our neck of the woods.   And so it was that we went out every day for a week to experience the loveliness first hand.  Of course this meant a lot of pictures!

I want to post them all, but to your relief I will hold back and try to post only the best.  Please take a moment to click each photo for a clearer look at each photograph!

Today I bring you Autumn’s splendor

On a walkway outside Cathedral Caverns


In front of a natural wall of rain soaked black limestone


A Young Maple Grove above Huntsville, Alabama

Monte Sano State Park


A small grouping of Staghorn Sumac* on the side of the road


The Autumn here is beautiful, but fleeting.  In one week a couple of frosty nights can bring it on in a matter of days, and just as quickly a bit of rain and wind can take it all away!

For us California Ex-pats, it is a stunning vision that we are just not used to seeing.  It saddens us that it is here for such a short time.  Thankfully, the color returns dependably each year, but sometimes, like this year, it is simply stunning!


*NOTE:  Poison Sumac has composite leaves with smooth edges, whereas the Staghorn Sumac has composite leaves with serrated (toothed) edges.  That said, if you are uncertain about the plant, then by all means be safe and don’t touch it!

Looking for Dryads

Although we are officially into the Autumn there are no real indications of it here on the Farmlet.  The weather has been in the mid to high 90’s all week and all of my world, both inside and out, is covered in a layer of dust.  The weather man forecasts a low with a cooling trend and rain for us this weekend and into next week.  I wait for its refreshing.

But for today I share with you a magical day when Autumn was truly spectacular.

Looking for Dryads

Home for the day Lynda watched the trees looking for Dryads.

Lynda waited patiently watching a most likely grove. Listening carefully she thought she heard laughter on the breeze…

She listened a long time.  Hiding, waiting, until finally her patience was rewarded.  The Dryad came spinning out of the trees in full, fall garb, and Lynda caught her on camera! Isn’t she lovely?

Originally photographed and written on 11 November 2008