Approaching Autumn Equinox in Austin

Autumn Equinox 2018 approaches; time for a pulse check. What’s unfolding with the living world where I am?

Daylight hours are noticeably decreasing. In summer months I can see sunlight beginning to peak over the horizon when I arrive for my shifts around 6:30a, but now it’s still twilight when I walk in to the hospital in the morning.

My family and many others are adjusting to the people and rhythms of a new school year. Homework must be done, lunches must be packed the nights before, and busses and carpools must be met the morning of each school day. There’re backpacks to pack and school clothes to wash. There are practices and back-to-school nights to attend and forms to fill out. *So many* sign-ups and forms.

The 16-day streak of triple digit temperatures that we experienced around the time of Summer Thermistice has subsided, bless it. High temperatures are in the 80s F this week, and September storms, which have the potential to swell into Floodmakers this time of year, have arrived. We’ve received a couple of inches of rain over the past week, and it shows with our plant neighbors. They’re all so green and refreshed!

Silverleaf nightshade, frogfruit, purple bindweed, and rain lilies are in bloom:

Silverleaf nightshade (Balcones District Park)

Frogfruit (neighbor’s yard)

Purple bindweed (another neighbor’s yard)

Rain lilies pushing up through the rocky soil of the Edwards Plateau (Schroeter Park, Mesa Woods)

Pecans are still green, but prickly pear, American beautyberry and Texas persimmon fruits are ripening:

Prickly pear (Schroeter Park, Mesa Woods)

American beautyberry

Texas persimmon (Schroeter Park, Mesa Woods)

Tx persimmon fruits have large seeds, but their flavor is really a treat: sweet and raisiny, like the sweetness of last spring condensed and simmered down all summer into richness. Bet it would make an amazing jam. Scat signs say that foxes living in a nearby park really enjoy it, too.

Fungus folks are of course loving the recent rains:

Poe and I so appreciate that it’s now cool enough to weed walk in the middle of the day.

It’s the beginning of our second planting season here in Central Texas. Autumn Equinox is a good time to start cool weather plants like kale, broccoli, parsley, and cilantro.

Lasagne composting in progress. Saving that bare spot in my herb box for parsley.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are beginning to migrate south for winter. They’ll fill up on nectar from tubular red flowers like salvia and Turk’s cap and on sugar water from feeders before they go. Monarchs will begin migrating south soon, too. Toads are out hunting at night and snails are actively foraging this time of year.

Autumn Equinox in Austin

Themes: rain, creeks, floods, Waters of the World, education, second planting, second flowering, cooling, migration

Correspondences:

Direction: West
Time: Twilight
Colors: greens, purples, browns
Plants: purple bindweed, beautyberry, rain lily, Texas persimmon
Animals: toads, snails, migratory insects and birds

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