Fall Foliage … and More!


October is the month when fall foliage is at its peak in Southeast Michigan – a glorious sight to see! There’s something about taking a walk on a brilliant, sunny October day that is soothing to the soul, drinking in the rich hues of the golden yellow, burnt orange and deep red leaves.

In the front yard of my daughter’s Bay City home stands a giant, almost majestic maple tree. It really is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen in the fall when its leaves turn brilliant red. I have spent a few crisp autumn afternoons there raking up the leaves and watching my grandson jump and bury himself in the huge piles, laughing and giggling with joy.

Why do the leaves change colors in the fall? Well, according to travel-mi.com, tree leaves have orange and yellow pigments called carotenoids. During the warmer months, these colors are masked by all the chlorophyll active inside the leaves. As temperatures begin to drop in the fall, chlorophyll production is reduced so the reds, yellows and oranges take the place of green.

There are so many other fall activities to enjoy this month. And it isn’t fall to me without an annual trek to the orchard to pick some juicy red apples and, of course, drink cider with a freshly-made, sugary doughnut (or maybe two). This year, I plan to visit Porter’s Orchard in Goodrich, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The century-old orchard is well known for its award-winning (refreshingly delicious) apple cider. Porter’s has many activities for kids and you can get lost in the 14-acre corn maize, another autumn favorite.

It wouldn’t be fall without a trip to a local pumpkin patch in search of the perfect one for carving – my favorite is Starr’s Farm in Linden. They offer a great selection of pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and colors. (I love the white and green varieties.) Eichelberg Farm, also in Linden, is well known for its long-stemmed pumpkins, bringing visitors from all over.

No one is ever too old to carve pumpkins and it is one of my family’s favorite October activities. The grandkids try to outdo each other and carve the scariest pumpkin face. Of course, what I like best is roasting the pumpkin seeds, which we all enjoy munching. We have come up with a few creative seasonings, such as adding chili or garlic powder and paprika. Delicious! I think I might try “everything” seasoning this year for something different. Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber and nutrients including magnesium, zinc and iron.

October ends with the celebration of Halloween and all the traditions it brings: trick-or-treating, costume parties – and the most important part – candy. It was no surprise to me that Reese’s peanut butter cups top the list of most popular Halloween treats. I know that candy corn isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I happen to like it. The grand kids enjoy candy corn when I mix a bag of it with a jar of salted, dry-roasted peanuts. It tastes just like a PayDay candy bar!

With all of the negativity and changes that have been going on in the world, it is nice to have a month of fall festivities, glorious fall color and simple, fun things to do that put a smile on your face. Enjoy your special October moments!


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