I can actually say that this morning I feel that autumn has come. For the nature lover, autumn is a special time. Each day brings changes as autumn creeps slowly across the land. The careful observer cannot help but sense the beauties and mysteries that happen in Iowa this time of the year. Each activity, though small, is part of a larger story called autumn.

Already we are seeing flocks of blackbirds making their way south. Also it seems we are having more gusty winds from the north-west, which really makes our linden tree shed many of it’s leaves.

For some people, autumn is a sad time, a time of passing when the life of one year ends and another begins. But autumn should also be a glad time, a time of a good and bountiful harvest, the beauty of the changing colors, and the rush of activity as wildlife prepares for the bleak winter. It’s the activity and color that provide the most striking elements about the outdoors in autumn. Each person has his or her way of seeing beauty, but for most of us it seems to be the sense of color and activity. Some feelings seem to be pure observation but subconsciously really comes from being there. That is why I like living where there is the four seasons,

One thing I have noticed this year is the absence of the Monarch butterflies. Usually around this time of the year we see more Monarchs that we are seeing this year. They travel on wind currents and scientists’ think that may have something to do with it. In the fall they are floating on the Iowa wind and southward on flights that will take them home to hillsides in a region of Mexico. How they know where to migrate every year and how they travel so far on fragile wings are two mysteries of nature. Monarchs only travel during the day and when sunset is close they find a place to rest during the night. They especially like evergreen trees because of the thick foliage and one year we had them come by the thousands to spend the night in one of our evergreen trees-what a sight! Instead of thinking of the cold weather coming, just enjoy autumn.

Cooler weather calls for hearty meals and here is a recipe that is fork tender and richly flavored.


1-1/2 lbs. boneless

chuck, cut into 1-1/2″


2 Tablespoons vegetable


2 large baking potatoes,

cut into 1″ pieces

2 large onions, peeled

and chopped

4 large carrots, cut into

1″ inch pieces

1 large turnip, cut into 1″

pieces (optional)

3 Tablespoons flour

1 cup beef broth

1 cup of burgundy wine

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh basil,


1 lb. can tomatoes,

drained and chopped


Brown the beef in hot vegetable oil in a large stew pot. Add all the vegetables, except the tomatoes, and saut over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and vegetables and stir to coat. Add broth, wine and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally.

AUTUMN: “Loveliest time of a lovely year.”