We have been having so much fun at our house lately....although the garage does still loom, full to the brim with our excess. We are going on leaf-kicking day trips on the weekends, starting to schedule those dinners with friends and field trips with local mamas that we mean to do. We have been eating baked potatoes, carmelized onions, sausages, roast chickens and mushrooms of every kind. This afternoon I put an apple cake in the oven impulsively after we got back from our afternoon walk.
We spent more money than I like to admit on the Goodwill run for procuring supplies but we are well into the process of Halloween costumes...a mixture of purchased and hacked together. We are talking to our family regularly, spending time reading long chapter books, eating outdoors, and taking all the weekly hikes we said we would when we moved to this amazing state.
Little Autumn Basics
- Harvesting something might be my number one essential. I always say I am part squirrel. Head outdoors for mushroom hunting, apple picking, nut gathering or pumpkin harvesting and kick a few leaves for extra credit. Breath deep, smell the fall air.
- Roasting things in the oven. It can be so many things or just one delicious meal. So many good options: parsnips tossed with thyme and oil, pumpkins whole in their shells, apples stuffed with nuts and cinnamon, a big juicy beef roast, a chicken from the farmer's market or a tray of oysters topped with butter and tarragon.
- Wearing plaid. I'm a Scot and a girl from the woods and a Northern soul....flannels are my favorite. My boys all have them and I have them and my patient husband finds he keeps getting them for gifts. They keep you warm, they can dress down and add a cozy charm to outings, work days and evening snuggles by the fire. Extra credit for plaid lined jackets and wool blankets in tartan shades.
- Seeing some colors. Go catch a brilliant maple show on a favorite local road, hike the mountains to see the aspens flare or just stay up in the cool of the evening to catch a spectacular autumn sunset. Wherever you are, even if maples and cool evenings aren't part of your world, there is "autumn color" in some form. I have to have pretty leaves...do your bit however you can.
- Thanksgiving. The origins are murky and the politics are sticky but beauty that is unquestionable remains. Family gathering is powerful and rhythmic and right, celebrating harvest and abundance and the gathering in of nature is a beautiful thing, offering gratitude to The Creator who sustains all things is peace-giving and honorable. Bring on the turkey!
- Boiling potpourri on the stove always ends up happening. I throw in whatever I have that smells cozy....bits of pine branch, cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peel, etc. Its fast and simple and makes me feel like housekeeper of the year and most festive girl in the neighborhood.
- Having cozy drinks is always in order in the autumn. I love fresh, raw cider, hard cider, mulled wine, hot cocoa (extra credit for cinnamon!) and chai tea myself.
- Extra sleeping always seems to be inevitable if-not perfectly appropriate. Snug naps after chilly-aired hikes, sleeping in with the one I love on cozy weekends, hitting the hay early when the dark and the fog push us indoors and make us snoozy...so many ways to get extra zzz's and wind down the way that nature pushes us this time of year.
- Taking long walks is rythmically autumnal to me. I grew up walking through the woods deer hunting with my papa in the fall, but it was also a time to go out for mushroom walks and follow-the-truck-down-a-two-track treks to find wild apples by the bushel. Everything in me wants to pack a napsack in fall and go stretch my legs...maybe all day! My husband grew up with trail hiking, following plotted state-park walks and looking for blazes and map following through the woods. We both like to get out and if you call it a walk I'm un-intimidated and if you call it a hike he's eager.