Ten Things I Love About Autumn

I’m looking out my office window at tall trees with a combination of green, orange, and brown leaves against the backdrop of a medium blue sky.  There are no clouds in my view.  The leaves are swaying gently with the breeze as it ruffles them, waking them up to the mid afternoon sunshine.  It’s beautiful, and I love it, but I’m not outside in it.  Oh well.

Autumn just gets my attention.  it makes me sit up and take notice at my surroundings, at the landscapes, at the reflection of leaves on lakes.  Since I’m a list maker, I’m making a list.  Ten Things I Love About Autumn:

  1. The cooler temperatures.  I could never tire of 70ish degree days and 50’s at night.  It’s fantastic weather to sleep with and to get outside to work or play, or to just have a picnic!
  2. The colors.  Autumn’s palette is amazing in its richness of reds, browns, golds, yellows, and greens.  They all combine and enhance each other in such a way that I just want to stare at it for hours.
  3. The smells.  When I think of autumn smells, I think of the inside kind.  Kitchens filled with fragrant spices baking in the oven.  Potpourris made from summer’s bounty, dried and serenading my senses as I walk by.
  4. Candles.  This is the time of year I’m most inclined to light a candle scented with fruits and spices.  I love walking into a shop that has candles burning and warm apple cider ready to pamper their clients.  I usually don’t burn candles at home, not since I caught my cat on fire.  But that’s a story for another day.  (Kitty was fine.)
  5. Country markets.  I stopped by our local market the other day.  Hundreds of mums of all colors and sizes were outside, making the parking lot a feast for the eyes.  It was so colorful and bright, there was no way I could be sad surrounded by so many lovely flowers.
  6. Pumpkins.  They decorate the markets, their deep orange color contrasting with the bright yellow mums.  They grace doorsteps and front porches, inviting everyone to come inside and have a bit of hot chocolate.
  7. Dried corn stalks.  These remind me of growing up on a farm.  The corn would dry in the fields until it was dry enough to pick.  Wind would make the stalks crackle and bend, and sometimes break.  I love seeing them gathered together as decorations in doorways and porches, with pumpkins at their feet.
  8. Saving on utility costs.  Yes, that’s the practical side of me.  On these lovely days it’s warm enough to not need heat, but cool enough to not need air conditioning.  If it doesn’t get too chilly at night, bundling up with blankets is all I need. Not only is it easier on my pocketbook, I feel like I’m doing something good for the environment by letting Mother Nature take care of the heating and cooling.
  9. Sleeping.  These cool nights help me to sleep better than I do all year.  Not too hot, not too cold, just right.
  10. Thanksgiving.  The fourth Thursday in November we give thanks for the harvest and all the blessings God has given us.  Families usually come together to have a great feast and enjoy each other’s company.  Even without a large family, there’s something special about this day and being grateful for God’s blessings and grace.

I hope your autumn is beautiful and filled with spice!  What’s your favorite thing about autumn?

Autumn Comforts

20120717 Patchwork quilt-2Autumn is becoming a little crisper as October progresses.  We’re having beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s now, with a frost advisory in effect for this weekend.  It’s time to bring out the Autumn Comforts.

I love autumn.  It’s my favorite time of year and I could go on and on about it.  It’s probably the only time of year I get a little domesticated and bring out all those things that make this time of year a little comfier, a little more homey.

A quilt is the first thing that gets brought out of storage when the leaves begin turning colors.  Growing up, there was always a quilt on my bed made by my grandmother or mother.  The oldest ones were all done by hand, from the first seam to the final quilting, and were mostly made from leftover scraps of material of clothing they had worn or made.  It was not uncommon to find a mix of textures within the quilt, like denim, flannel, and cotton.  I remember one in particular that was made all in flannel.  Wrapping myself in that quilt made me feel so warm and safe.  I felt like I was the luckiest girl on earth to have it gracing my bed.

hot-chocolateChilly nights sitting around watching TV call for a cup of hot chocolate.  And if marshmallows are in it, even better!  When I was a kid, we made it from scratch with a mixture of cocoa and sugar, but now I gravitate toward the sugar-free instant variety.  It’s still good.  Hot and chocolatey, it warms the belly and feels like a comfort.

While I’m wrapped up in a quilt, drinking hot chocolate, and watching TV, I’ve usually got my hands busy with something, and a lot of times that is crochet or knitting.  Scarves are my specialty (they’re easy).  My preference is to make something without a pattern, all one kind of stitch so I don’t have to think about it.  I’ve lost count of the scarves I’ve made over the years.  Some I’ve sold, but knitting-blogmost I gave away.  There are many acrylic yarns I like for their softness and ease of washing, but there’s also nothing like having a scarf made of alpaca yarn wrapped around my neck.  And it keeps the chill from sneaking inside my coat on a windy day.

When I’m thinking of Autumn Comfort, nothing speaks to me more about that than food.  Cold air outside and a warm kitchen inside is one of the ultimate comforts.  The blend of spices from pumpkin pie filling every crevice and corner of the house.  The aroma of beef stew with carrots, potatoes, and onions simmering quietly in the slow cooker.  It is so soothing to the senses.  And who wouldn’t feel comforted by the decadent scent of banana bread with walnuts, freshly baked and cooling on the rack.

No home would be complete without a stack of books waiting to be read while image-2-817x10241the wind blows through the drying leaves outside.  Many an hour I’ve spent lost in another time and place through words on a page.  Whether it be romance, mystery, or a little chick lit, it’s all good to me.  I would put on my thickest, softest socks, snuggle under the quilt, and escape within the pages.  Comfort at its most luxurious.

Autumn is the time I treasure for surrounding myself with all things that bring me comfort.  What brings you comfort during autumn?

 

 

It’s Weenie Weather!

 Say what you will about summer barbecues, picnics, and cookouts, but there’s no better time to roast weenies than right now in autumn!

The leaves are just beginning to change into their autumn best here in southeastern Ohio.  We’ve been enjoying temperatures in the low to mid 70’s with plenty of sunshine.  Evenings and nights are falling into the 50’s and 40’s.  There’s a crispness in the air that only autumn embraces correctly.  It’s the perfect time for roasting hot dogs over an open fire!

I have always loved a good old fashioned weenie roast!  Memories of childhood and my dad going to the woods to find the perfect roasting sticks.  He would sharpen the ends just enough so the wiener would glide on smoothly.  It had to be a special wood; not any stick would do, and I wish I had paid more attention to what he chose.  But they worked wonderfully!  Nothing fancy.  A couple bales of straw to sit on, or lawn chairs.  My brothers and I would hold our hot dogs over the open fire and watch carefully as they cooked to a darkened brown.  Unless we caught one on fire, then someone was going to be eating a burned hot dog, but no one cared.

Home canned ketchup and mustard were the only add ons to our dog and bun.  Sometimes, we didn’t even have a bun and used a slice of mom’s homemade bread to wrap around it.  No matter what kind of bread, I was sure they were the best hot dogs I had ever eaten.  Mostly, because family was gathered together and sometimes there would be a little laughter, especially if some poor hot dog fell off its stick and became a burnt offering in the ashes.

Drinks were usually Kool-Aid and apple cider.  I didn’t like the cider but I loved the idea of it gracing a weenie roast.  Dessert was S’mores.  Oh my gosh, what gooey wonderfulness of hot roasted marshmallows on melting chocolate between two graham crackers!  I had never tasted anything more decadent!

The smell of wood smoke is filling my neighborhood this evening, stirring up memories of weenies, flannel shirts and corduroys, and the sound of laughter around an open fire.  The smells of autumn; changing leaves and ripening field corn, final cuts of hay in the hay mow.  The sounds of night in the country,  field mice scurrying through corn husks, barn owls hooting, cattle settling in the field for the night, and the occasional bat swooping around the barn.  

It was simpler times when I was too young to worry about paying bills and keeping gas in a car.  There was one black rotary phone in the house, and one black and white TV that got three channels.  Our family had meals together and worked hard in between.  There was no time to get into trouble.  And it was good.

The picture above was taken at our church weenie roast last year.  It’s a celebration of autumn and pastor appreciation week where church family gathers together, laughter happens, and great food is shared.  I think it’s becoming a tradition, and that’s a wonderful thing.