I have two methods, only one of which may be useful to you: (1) I live at the base of a mountain and watch for the first snow to show on the peak (11,000+), and (2) I watch the nighttime temperature lows which right now are in the mid-fifties....a sure sign the cooling has started. Of course the leaves changing color is a sure sign of Fall, but usually we see snow on the peaks as summer ends here.
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I agree with you, especially about the short daylight. I can't drive very well after dark, so getting home from work in winter is a nightmare for me. Our seasons have shifted, so now it doesn't really get shirt-sleeve time until the middle of June.
Yes, they are blooming here now, too, a little before my Jerusalem Artichoke.
Oops! I could surely have mentioned the swallows' departure, along with the departure of the hummingbirds! I will watch to see here, if those herald the end of summer or an end to fall.
Everything has its trade offs. Topical? Yes, but hurricanes too. I like having distinct seasons (having grown up in Maine.) Our trade off is living on an earthquake fault line!
I'm the exact same way, Brian! Any sign of Fall shifts my cravings.
I'm in Michigan so we get traditional four seasons. But to live in the New England area during Fall must be like a dream! I hope to see it someday.