That's just the nature of things 'round here.
While I was saddened by the loss of autumn's colors, I paused and took a minute to ponder the things I was thankful for.
The trees were bare, but the forest floor was covered. The predominant hues in the forest were brown and grey.
There was occasionally a hint of blue in the sky.
Summer's flowers had faded and dotted the landscape with puffs of white. I was grateful for the seeds that will bring next year's blooms.
I appreciated the fact that while the frost had ended the growing season outside; inside a few grow lights helped extend the lives of a several potted flowers.
Although they drove me crazy, I appreciated my walking partners. If anything, they certainly made each trek an adventure.
I was grateful that Sherman was still hanging on. Loss of eyesight and balance had robbed him of the chance to wander around outside. However, he had a good appetite and could still amble in and out of the doggie door.
I was thankful for the abundance of wildlife in the area. They are always interesting even if they were raiding the bird feeders nightly.
I was thankful for trail cameras that got the shots that I couldn't. From action shots to silly deer selfies, they never failed to amaze me.
While I was not so grateful to know that there were coyotes afoot, I was thankful that I have never met them in person.
I was thankful for the completion of our porch project. While I liked being outdoors, at certain times it was nice to observe the weather from behind a wall of windows.
I appreciated that I was able to obtain a microscope. I was thankful that the device has opened a new world to view and explore.
I was deeply grateful that after some serious health scares both parents were able to return home after hospital stays. I was also eternally indebted to friends and family members help and support through those trials.
As Thanksgivings come and go, it was often easy to forget the blessings I had received every day. However, after just a few steps into the woods, I was reminded of how naturally grateful I am.
That's just the nature of things 'round here.
I was able to eke out some time for a calendar this year. However, changes are afoot. Instead of seasonal photos, the calendar features mostly hummingbirds, butterflies and flowers.
I am printing through a big box retailer and the cost is $13 per calendar. Mailing costs have increased because the calendars are spiral bound and must be mailed as a package at around $7 per calendar.
I am planning to place an order by Nov. 20. I can place orders after that, but I am not sure they will make it by Christmas.
Previous orders from the site have been taking 10 days to get to me. Orders will need to be prepaid.
Payment must be received before an order can be processed. Checks can be made to Anna Applegate, 130 Sawtown Road, Oil City, 16301.
People may also email email@example.com for a PayPal address.
Thanks everyone for your support.
As fall saunters on, the region's deer got revved up for rut - their mating season. Area hunters have spent hundreds, even thousands on equipment to help bag "the big one." Meanwhile, area drivers hit the brakes and sometimes hit the deer.
Sadly, I was in the latter category earlier this month. There was a herd of doe on both sides of the road. I slowed down and braked hard, but the inevitable happened. Luckily, I had decreased my speed enough, that my car was still drivable. I believed the doe escaped bruised, but alive.
However, I wasn't alone. In the same week, at least two Facebook friends had the same or worse experience than I did. Judging by the many deceased deer along the roadsides I traveled, it just seemed as though this year the deer were everywhere. While the region was overrun with deer, there appeared to be a rental car shortage. In fact, when I went to get a rental car, they were few and far between. The deficit was no doubt due to the rise in deer-damaged vehicles needing repairs.
Nothing appeared to show the increased presence of deer more than the trail cameras. The apple tree in the backyard was favorite haunt. The traffic was so high that parts of the yard were transformed from grass to mud.
My parents' front yard was a busy place as well. Their oak tree, like others in the area, had a massive crop of acorns. The acorn clean-up crew appeared pretty much daily and sometimes nightly.
Included in the neighborhood herd were this year's fawns. It was hard to believe that they still had their spots at the beginning of September. Now they sported the darker grey coats of winter.
There were some bucks still wearing velvet in mid-September.
However, by October the boney antlers poked through.
As October rolled on, the cameras in the backyard showed the does under the apple tree were not alone. Several bucks, both large and small, were pictured stalking the girls. There were also several blurry pictures of the bucks literally chasing the does around the tree. Most of this activity happened in the dark.
While normally, my white-knuckle driving was saved for winter weather, this year I have gripped the steering wheel to try to avoid the storm of deer hitting the highways.
When driving a rental car, the driver of the truck in front of me was flashing their lights abnormally.
There on the four lanes by the Sheetz in Reno was a very large buck in the middle lane waiting for traffic to clear. Additionally, the day I received my SUV back from the repair shop I had another close call. I saw a small spike buck in the area where I had the first accident. This time I slowed to a stop and, sure enough, he ran across the road in front of me.
As the bucks chase the does and the hunters chase the deer, their movements will undoubtedly increase. Unfortunately, some will cross paths with area motorists and things won't end well. That's just the nature of things 'round here.
"The Nature of Things" features the writings and photographs of Anna Applegate, who is a lifelong resident of Pinegrove Township, Venango County. She is a graduate of Cranberry High School and Clarion University. After a 15-year career in the local news industry, she made a change and now works at a steel finishing plant in Sandycreek Township. She is a avid lover of animals and nature, and a gifted photographer.