We are deep in the quiet winding down of Fall. Mornings are cool, afternoons dry and tinged with the barest hint of a crisp breeze, and evenings are chilly enough to enjoy a fire in the pit. Last night a friend came over for dinner, and Terry cut up the limbs that he’d cut off the backyard oak tree earlier in the summer. Those, with chunks of mesquite made a fragrant and toasty blaze that took the edge off the delicious bite in the air.
I’ve made my seasonal switch from iced to hot tea. The little stainless pot that Terry gave me for Christmas a few years back is on the counter, and inventory of loose teas made (plenty of Gunpowder Green and Lapsang Souchong. Short on the ordinary black tea, a whole unused can of Jasmine), and a pondering of the china teacups inherited from my great grandmother. Do I want to drink from a dainty Royal Dalton cup, or a big chunky mug? I reckon that depend on if I’m eating a little shortbread biscuit or a double handful of hearty oatmeal cookies, eh.
(rats, the coffee cup is empty…how’d that happen? RAMONE! Coffee, please!)
Fall and Winter beg for hearty things. Rich creamy stews and chunky casseroles. Terry’s new favorite: Beef and Stout Pie with Blue Cheese Crust, gleefully ripped from the Williams-Sonoma catalog last year. It is seriously delicious, if somewhat labor-intensive. The boys start clamoring for chili, pot roast, dense beefy meals with plenty of spice. That reminds me that I saw a recipe in the doctor’s office for a vegetable stew with tamale dumplings. Now, tamales are wonderful but kind of laborious, but I think they would make a stellar dumpling!
Clothes improve (in my opinion). Gone are the light and airy linens and cottons. Out come the denims and fleeces and covery-uppy things Women Of Size prefer to the over-exposure of tank tops and short pants. And boots. I love my boots. Purchased 15 years ago, and worn every year since. Comfortable, warm and excellent at eliminating the need for pantyhose. Anything that does that is a worthy thing indeed.
The trees are finally starting to change color. It happens late here, but we’ve had enough cool weather to encourage them to go on and do it, instead of waiting until December like they did last year. Red maples, russet dogwoods, gold hickories and sweetgums…brilliant sumac and sassafras line the country roads. I wish I could say it was all a mass of color, but pine trees and oaks dominate here, so it’s more like a mass of dark green with scattered splotches of bright color. Perhaps all the more beautiful for their scarcity. I wish there were a way to preserve the color. I’ve tried dry pressing them, wax dipping, glycerin, everytihg I could find. They are decidedly temporary tho. Perhpas God made them that way on purpose, so we would appreciate them that much more every fall.
There isn’t much I don’t like about Fall. I love the cool days and crisp nights. I love having to pile blankets on the bed at night, and put on the thick slippers and fuzzy bathrobe in the morning. The hot drinks, heart-warming stews, crackling fires. Warm clothes (it’s so much easier to put more on to warm up than it is to remove them to cool off!), cuddling up with someone on the couch, it’s all good.