Fall Finery and Vets Day

It's Tony's favorite season of the year and the memories of the fall of 2009 are vivid.

Fall Memories 2009

My favorite season of the year is past its half way point, so I wanted to share some memories of the season that is too quickly passing us by.

After a wet start to autumn, rains have all but shut off for the past 3 weeks as the fall dry season is indeed living up to its parched reputation. Careful if you are burning as the forests are primed for fires from any carelessly tossed match.

But so far on this Veterans Day, foresters tell me the woods are relatively quiet. A few small fires, likely deliberately set, did catch the attention of our cameras in Wayne County this morning. But Alan Sowards from the Milton forestry center says, “for the most part people are obeying the law and not burning.”

Remember if you must burn vegetation (never trash), the legal times run from 6 pm until 6 am in Kentucky and Ohio and from 4 pm until 7 am in West Virginia. Most cities prohibit all burning, so check with your local fire department before burning debris else you could be looking at a sizeable fine.

As for the leaves, they turned right on schedule this year thanks to early season frosts. Those September rains helped speed up the metamorphous too. The maple dazzled us with their outrageous oranges and the oaks calmed us with their mellow yellows. Trouble was the peak color held on only for 10 days and then quickly faded into a brown oblivion.

That meant plenty of good outdoor days for leaf raking. The kids too have had their time in the sun in recent weeks. I wonder if “Jumping into piles of leaves” might be added to the list of Olympic sports in time for the Vancouver games this February?

From the corn maize at the Carter Fairgrounds to the Lions Haunted Tunnel in Ironton, we were all reminded of what being a kid was all about. Trick or Treat nights featured warm breezes and fair skies, true "2 bag" weather.

On the farm, the autumn harvest started slowly but picked up steam as the bright and dry days of October made up for September’s downpours. Good crops of soybeans and corn in the Scioto bottomlands matched a healthy harvest of burly tobacco in the Bluegrass.

Hay farmers did better than a year ago, though for some it was just too wet to get a high nutrient cutting. Too bad because that hay will come in handy when it’s calving time in late winter and the weather has turned cold and damp in the cattle barns.

So savor the moment as we steamroll into a warm and bright weekend ahead because before too long the grey and drabness of November and the barrenness of the now balding trees will foretell of that first genuine hint of the winter ahead.

One final note, it has indeed been a nice and cool day to fly the red, white and blue as we thank our Veterans of Foreign Wars.

My dad was one of those soldiers who donned the Marine Corp fatigues in the Pacific campaign in the Great War. His stories of mortar fire and lightning bounce off the tanks gave me more than one bedtime thrill as a kid.  Dad saw combat at Guadalcanal and Pelilieu with the First Marine Corp Division. 

To all our Vets, thanks for being selfless in service to America.

I end this prose with a salute to the folks in Ceredo-Kenova who honor our Vets every year with a Saturday parade along Rt. 60.  That's me mugging with the Spring Valley Marching Timberwolve Color Guard last Saturday. Tom Chaffin's band has won many honors again this band season!

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