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Last of the Summer Smiles

Updated on August 6, 2015

Bracken standing tall

Bracken still stands shoulder high.Photograph by D.A.L.
Bracken still stands shoulder high.Photograph by D.A.L.
Oak tree its shaped designed by the relentless winds. Photograph by D.A.L.
Oak tree its shaped designed by the relentless winds. Photograph by D.A.L.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman.

As summer slides inevitably into Autumn the bracken still stands shoulder high, but has been kissed by the first bronze of autumn. From this moment onwards the fronds will grow browner by the day. The brambles are heavy with fruit which attracts hordes of foragers who will turn their gatherings into countless jars of jam and other culinary delights.

Even though September is still in its infancy here in Lancashire we have seen the day light of summer diminish by at least an hour and a half since the end of July. Walking through a ribbon of gentle high sided vegetation along a pathway, created by the passage of countless feet, I came upon a gnarled oak tree, its height restricted and shaped by the unremitting winds of winter, yet still it epitomises endurance and permanence, had little birds about its branches, and moss at its feet.

The grassland is still tenanted by knapweed whose purple-blue flowers tint the localities with their colour which seem seem to be a magnet for butterflies. A plethora of yellow rattle seedvessels have taken the place of the pretty yellow flowers, that only a few short weeks ago created a golden zone in the grassland, at the height of summer. looking among the seed vessels I happened upon a spider, whose webbing was covering some of the pods. { see photograph} Inside the webbing the area was covered with young spiderlings.

Yellow Rattle and the spiders home

Yellow rattle in flower, with clover. Photograph by D.A.L.
Yellow rattle in flower, with clover. Photograph by D.A.L.
The tent like webbing of this spider covered the seed pods of yellow rattle. Photograph by D.A.L.
The tent like webbing of this spider covered the seed pods of yellow rattle. Photograph by D.A.L.
The seed vessels of yellow rattle were abundant. Photograph by D.A.L.
The seed vessels of yellow rattle were abundant. Photograph by D.A.L.

Industrious bees

Industrious bees still hummed around the clover and other late flowering species competing with the harmless hoverflies for the available nectar. many of the thistle heads are now as white as snow as their downy plumes await the time nature has deemed they should be carried away by the wind. Many of the summer flowers have had a final flourish in an attempt to defy the waning year. However, many others have met their demise and will not be seen again until next summer.

Insects abound

Hoverflies on cat'sear. Photograph by D.A.L.
Hoverflies on cat'sear. Photograph by D.A.L.
Gate keeper butterfly enjoying the mellow spell. Photograph by D.A.L.
Gate keeper butterfly enjoying the mellow spell. Photograph by D.A.L.
Bumble bees like to visit the thistle like flowers of knapweed. Photograph by D.A.L.
Bumble bees like to visit the thistle like flowers of knapweed. Photograph by D.A.L.

Jays and small birds

Jays are about the oaks, seeking out the acorns that will be ripe for the taking during late autumn. They, along with other woodland creatures will horde the acorns when the time is right. They will be a reliable food source during the months that nature's larder is empty.

As my pathway entered upon arable land I observed mixed flocks of small birds flitting over the hedgerow that bordered the newly created stubble. The stubble is a haven for these roaming flocks which comprised of sparrows, finches, and tits. They will feed on any seed neglected by the blades of the combine harvester and on the weed seeds that are prominent among the stiff short stalks that remain. However, they will have to take advantage of this quickly, for in these days of intensive farming, the stubble is made brown by the churning plough's blades within weeks or even days. It was once the case that the stubble field was left unmolested throughout the winter.

I was entertained by a small flock of long-tailed tits as they played follow my leader flitting from one part of the hedgerow to another. Their sibilious chatter emitting from these flying "feather dusters". Many adult birds are looking a bit bedraggled after raising broods, however, after gorging themselves on the fruits of autumn, they will build themselves up for the coming winter or for their flights to sunnier climes. I noted the buzzard soaring on the thermals, their large wings only giving occasional flaps, these rugged birds are well able to stand the rigours of winter.

Here in this mellow September sunshine, winter seems so deceivingly far away. Returning to my garden I savoured the suns mellow warmth among the English marigold, fuchsias and other garden beauties that still flourish in their sheltered aspect. The garden flowers have given me a lot of pleasure throughout the year along with their associated insects, both friend and foe. Moments like these are to be savoured in the twilight of the year, we must enjoy the last of the summer's smiles, for the capricious weather here in Lancashire could greet us tomorrow with grey skies, winds and rain.

Some of the Garden Flowers That Attract Insects.

Helenium blooms attract a wide range of insects.Photograph by D.A.L.
Helenium blooms attract a wide range of insects.Photograph by D.A.L.
Photograph by D.A.L. Fuschia flower well into Autumn.
Photograph by D.A.L. Fuschia flower well into Autumn.
Hoverflies help to pollinate flowers. Photograph by D.A.L.
Hoverflies help to pollinate flowers. Photograph by D.A.L.
Fuschia "swing time" produces large flowers. Photograph by D.A.L.
Fuschia "swing time" produces large flowers. Photograph by D.A.L.
These attractive lily beetles can cause serious damage to the foliage oflily plants. Photograph by D.A.L.
These attractive lily beetles can cause serious damage to the foliage oflily plants. Photograph by D.A.L.
This large species of hoverfly feeding on the English Marigold. photograph by D.A.L.
This large species of hoverfly feeding on the English Marigold. photograph by D.A.L.

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    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      jseven nice to meet you. Thank you for your kind and appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.

    • jseven profile image

      jseven 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      What a beautiful hub! Love the pics and info. :)

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Thank you to everybody who have taken the time to leave a comment on LAST OF THE SUMMER SMILES, They are appreciated.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      agvulpes nice to meet you. Thank you for your visit and for leaving your appreciated comments.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Wow great photos great prose. But my special personal choice are the Fuschia photos. Marked up awesome :-)

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi, the pleasure was mine, welcoming you. Thank you "neighbour" for visiting and for your kind comments.Best wishes to you.

    • WordCustard profile image

      WordCustard 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Thank you for the welcome. You have some truly beautiful Hubs that I will enjoy reading, knowing myself how lovely the Lancashire countryside can be. In global terms we are practically next door neighbours in any case! :)

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi,2uesday thank you for your kind and appreciated comments. Yes your right winter is almost upon us. Hope your allotment has provided you with rewards this year!. Best wishes to you.

      iantoPF, hello my friend ,compliments indeed! from an accomplished writer such as your self they are more rewarding. Best wishes to you.

    • iantoPF profile image

      Peter Freeman 

      8 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      I'm laways stunned by your photography. This is marvelous. Your prose is poetic in it's descriptions. You have amazing talents my friend.

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 

      8 years ago

      Thank you, for another wonderful hub about the English countryside, reading this and looking at the photos was like a breath of fresh air. Lots of wet days here and the evenings are certainly 'drawing in'. Thank you - for this countryside walk hub.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi sofs, thank so much for your encouraging and appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.

      Hi,PegCole 17, thank you too, for your kind and appreciated comments. It is a hard season for birds raising young. The autumn is the time they will regain their weight and change their plumage in readiness for the coming winter. By spring they will have acquired the courting plumage and the whole process will begin again. Best wishes to you.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Gorgeous imagery and beautifully written D.A.L. I'm glad to have found your site and look forward to seeing more of your work.

      Thanks for noting that "Many adult birds are looking a bit bedraggled after raising broods". I was so worried about a bedraggled bird I saw at my feeder recently. Looked the worse for wear. Hoping he'll fatten up soon.

    • sofs profile image

      Sophie 

      8 years ago

      D.A.L. Breathing taking pictures and words that capture a thousand images. You have preserved the last of summer's smiles for eternity!

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Eiddwen , nice to meet you thank you for reading and for leaving your kind comments. Best wishes to you.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      8 years ago from Wales

      Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful hub. I am now looking forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Juliette, I wish you had your camera to hand as well, that would have been some picture to see. Thank you for reading and for your appreciated comments.

      Hi Carol nice to hear from you, thank you so much for your appreciated comments.

      Silvergenes, Hi, thank you for reading ,too, I am humbled by your comments thank you so much.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for this enchanting look at the shifting seasons. Your photographs are lovely and the poetic words make me feel as if I've just been reading a lovely old 'book of days'.

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      What a lovely hub to slip into fall with. As always beautiful pictures and the details of your walks that I have come to expect from your hubs.

    • Juliette Morgan profile image

      Juliette Morgan 

      8 years ago

      Hi lovely photos - wish I'd had my camera to hand last night, early evening we had a set of badgers round in our garden, including 3 babies - was enthralling to watch. Wish I had green fingers like you too!!

    • Juliette Morgan profile image

      Juliette Morgan 

      8 years ago

      Hi lovely photos - wish I'd had my camera to hand last night, early evening we had a set of badgers round in our garden, including 3 babies - was enthralling to watch. Wish I had green fingers like you too!!

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi, B, sorry to hear about your recent stress and loss of your work.Fuschias will flower until the frost kills them. Kept indoors in good light they will continue to flower almost up to Christmas. Question 2--fronds are the foliage of ferns and bracken is a fern. Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to comment. L and best wishes to you.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 

      8 years ago

      p.s. just a question to help me with my hub, how long do you expect fuschia to be around ..... what month will they no longer flower.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 

      8 years ago

      Hi, love butterflies, don't like wasps.... love your photos. I recently lost my job after lots of stress, so have not been in the poetry mood for a while, however i am bouncing back, and rejoicing in the fact i have more time to write etc..... i love the fuschia... the colours are lovely. Also loved your opening sentence... it is so poetic, what are fronds?

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi equealla, thank you for reading and for your appreciated comments. Hope your spring brings you lots of luck and encouragement. Best wishes to you.

      timorous thank you, too, for reading and leaving your kind and welcome comments. Thankfully we do not get pestered with mosquitos here in Lancashire and I am glad they are now dwindling for you. Best wishes to you.

    • timorous profile image

      Tim Nichol 

      8 years ago from Me to You

      Hi D.A.L. Your prose paints a picture just as beautiful as these photos. Well done.

      It's kind of sad to see the colourful flowers and the long summer days coming to an end. Mind you, I'll be glad to do without the mosquitos. Good thing their numbers and agressiveness have dwindled around here.

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 

      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      The photographs are breathtakingly beautiful, as always. You are so right the winter is deceivingly "far" away, if the lush green and flowers are obseved. Here we have the spring air bringing life to our Africa.

      Looking forward to share your experience of winter this year.

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