Autumn Maples in All of Their Splendor

September-October 2020 – Leelanau County, Michigan.

Written by Jim

Knowing we had a lot of things to do to wrap up our summer in Leelanau, we set a mid-October departure date. Not only would that allow us the time to finish up our projects, but it would provide us the treat of seeing our trees in all of their autumn splendor. Hopefully we wouldn’t push it too far to where we had to descend our steep driveway in the snow!

One of our projects was to take down four dead trees that could have posed a problem over the winter. The last thing we wanted was to arrive in the spring to a tree across the driveway.

We will have plenty of campfire wood next year!

Diana built a compost bin and has been filling it for the last month or so.

We should end up with some good mulch from this!

We also found time for friends and family. Lane & Patti and Rod & Mary joined us for happy hour, and Diana’s cousin Debbie came up for a weekend. Diana’s cousin Jerry has visited three times over the summer and cousin Reed visited twice. Our friend Tim also visited while he was in the area on vacation from California. We failed to get photos every time!

Also, our friends Terry and Diane came up from Grand Rapids and were our inaugural RV guests for a night! We had a great visit with them.

One of the interesting discoveries on our property was an old split rail and barbed wire fence that runs ten feet inside the west property line. We did some research and found out who owned the property in 1870…the earliest we could find. That family continued to keep the property into the 1970’s, making it a centennial farm. There were two other owners between them and us.

The fence is much older than 1970, and we have made contact with the family who originally owned it. More on that in another post. We are most interested with who may have put up the fence and also who planted the apple trees. A few of those are still producing fruit, despite their advanced age.

Most of the fence had fallen down, so we are installing metal posts on the hidden side to keep it off the ground so it won’t rot as fast. It’s not intended to act as a barrier; it’s more for asthetics and history.

We also walked the wooded property behind ours, just to see what was back there. To our surprise, there were several 100 foot tall Eastern Hemlock trees…none of which we have on our land.

There were also massive decaying stumps that we can only guess were from the old growth forest that once covered this area.

The parcel was so rutted with ravines, they probably never attempted to farm it…which would account for how the second growth Hemlocks got so tall. We found coyote scat, but no evidence of the bears that have been seen nearby.

It wasn’t long and Leelanau’s leaves started changing color.

We were hearing from the locals that it was the prettiest fall they had seen in a long time.

The trees were ablaze with autumn hues

Scenes like this, no matter which direction we looked!

Even the sky got in on the action. 🙂

A caramel apple, cinnamon donut and some hot apple cider would complete this scene.

Here is the view looking down our road towards Grand Traverse Bay. The bay can be seen in the distance, along with the bay’s eastern shore near the tip of Torch Lake. A mere 15 miles as the crow flies; it takes an hour to drive the 46 miles around the bottom of the bay to get there.

And with that, we bid adieu to Leelanau for the winter! Our cottage is staked out, plans are drawn and we hope to start our build in the spring. We are currently in Alabama, and we are headed to warmer latitudes to sink our toes into the sand…and to check out some cool rocket launches to share with you. Until then, safe and happy travels to all!

31 thoughts on “Autumn Maples in All of Their Splendor”

      1. I did miss seeing the fall colors this year 😢 but not the cold temperatures that everyone in the midwest have been having. Last October when I left Wisconsin it was in a blizzard. The temperatures have still been in the 80s most days here yet. Safe travels to you guys.

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      2. Those autumn colors and cool temps seem like a different world, now that we have landed in Melbourne, Rick. We sure will miss seeing you and Linda this year!

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  1. That’s pretty cool you have some history to your piece of paradise. Those fall colours are spectacular. Going to miss going south this winter.
    Safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Although I love the golden fall aspen, there is nothing like a mid-west fall of assorted blazing colors. Beautiful place. How fun to learn the history of your land, and find physical pieces as well. Think you headed south just in time. Out here in the west a cold storm has dropped snow at elevation.

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      1. It will be so neat if you can find out how old the apple trees are. That’s great that they are still producing and they are tasty. Nothing like a fresh apple in the fall. Something I miss being in the desert.

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  3. BEAUTIFUL!!!! We’re sure glad you stayed long enough to share the wonderful fall colors with us:o)) Still hot down here… Safe travels and happy trails……….

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    1. Our pleasure, Nancy and Bill! The cabin will be a bit more involved next year, so we might get to show you bare trees on each side of the summer! We did cross the Florida line today and we are near Talahassee. We hope to meet up with you two this winter for a little social distanced get together!

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    1. There is a clue to how old that wire is, as we have an 80 or so year old tree that has grown around it. It comes nearly through the center on both sides. We had to cut down another one about the same size in the same tree row and counted the rings. So that puts the fence back to at least 1940. It could even be older than that, Debbie.

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  4. Very idyllic. Reminds me of places I went to around Georgian Bay when I used to live in southern Ontario. Being mobile, winters are not an obstacle anymore. Just leave…LOL

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    1. That is the benefit of owning an RV! I feel bad for our Canadian friends who aren’t able to cross the border this year. Our park in Florida is going to seem empty without them.

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  5. You’re going to have such fun continuing to gather the history of your property and you give it new life. Love the old fence and glad you’re able to save some of it. Oh the stories it could tell 🙂 Those colors are incredible and that first pic especially beautiful. Your barn fits perfectly with it’s surroundings. Glad you’re safely back in Florida!

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    1. The first autumn color one? That was Diana’s, and was taken at sunrise. You can see the sky was pink and the trees were just irridescent! We probably looked like Tessa doing zoomies, as we were spinning circles taking photos that morning. 🐶

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  6. Aren’t you proud your house stands on historical grounds with historic apples to boot!
    Love all the fall colors, Im sure the wait was worth enjoying and knowing what to expect some Fall colors in the future.
    That picture of the barn with the orange flaming leaves is the bomb!

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