With snow scheduled to bring an end to autumn — at least temporarily — I decided to get up early to head to Jensen Lake for one more colorful sunny morning.

Alas, a deer hunt in Lebanon Hills Regional Park meant no trip to Jensen today. But Eagan’s Thomas Lake Park was not far away.

oaks at Thomas Lake Park

The morning was crisp after a thick frost, but the oak trees couldn’t be more beautiful.

oaks at Thomas Lake Park

A few were still green, but the rest are all shades of orange, red, and brown, reminding me of crayon names: maize, chestnut, copper, maroon, goldenrod, sepia, tan, yellow orange, orange yellow, mahogany, brick red, and even more colors that haven’t been turned into crayons yet.

oaks at Thomas Lake Park

I also have a memory of a color called “burnt umber,” but I must be combining “burnt sienna” and “raw umber.”

oaks at Thomas Lake Park

It was worth staying at work an hour later than normal to make up for such a gorgeous morning in the park.

oaks at Thomas Lake Park

> More photos from Thomas Lake Park

Haunted house full of goblins, ghosts and other ghouls

This paper haunted house is my favorite Halloween decoration. As a kid, I made sure it was taped to my bedroom door every year. It’s a spooky fun “I spy” game: count the number of green goblins, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, spiderwebs, owls, and eyes.

I couldn’t resist stopping on my way to work to take photos at Como Park. The trees were spectacular in the morning sunshine:

Como Park in sun

On the way home, I had to stop to admire the artistic clouds from the storms rolling through the Twin Cities:

Como Park with a storm rolling in

Our perennial garden has been full of bees, wasps and other insects for the last couple of weeks.

yellow jacket crawling on pearly everlasting

The pearly everlasting is especially enticing to this pair of paper wasps.

a yellow jacket head peering over pearly everlasting