October is a tantalizingly delicious month, don’t you think? The hot weather of the summer is gone, the bugs have been frozen (at last, no chigger bites to go to bed with!) and the evenings smell like wood smoke and harvest dust.
I love all that. Lots of other things, too.
1. Hot soups. Garlic piperade. Chicken and noodle. Spicy chili served with homemade cinnamon rolls. Vegetable Boeuf (I do prefer the French spelling). It doesn’t really matter what it is. It’s hot and simmering on the stove all afternoon, and filling the house with the promise of comfort in a steaming bowl.
2. Dark evenings. During the summertime, we rarely come inside before 9:00, when the sun finally begins to set, and we’ve squeezed all we can out of every hour. Now I can shut the chickens in before 7:00 because it’s getting dark. The pigs get their evening snack then, too, and then they are good to go. We have more time inside in the evenings, to watch movies, play games, read together, and eat homemade cinnamon rolls. And slurp hot soup.
3. The color! I’m a terrible driver this time of year. I’ll just admit that right now. I don’t text while driving, oh no. I drink in all that color. It’s intoxicating. The sumacs are brilliant red; the cottonwood trees are deep yellow leaning towards orange; the sugar maples are enough to make you gasp. With delight, that is.
4. The smell of wood smoke. I just love that smell. It just makes it worth it to walk out the door and do chores in the cold frosty morning air. And it hints at a warm, cozy home to return to.
5. Sweaters. Jackets. Wool caps. Yup. So I can pack away the shorts and the tank tops and the flimsy summer sundresses. Instead I pull out bulky wool sweaters, corduroy pants, down jackets and my favorite black suede gloves and that leads to . . .
6. Homemade honey cinnamon rolls. Also, celebratory coconut cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Need I say more? Warm zucchini bread for breakfast, schmeared with butter. Melting. Oh baby. Now that I’m wearing 32 layers every day, who’s gonna know how many of these I eat? 😉
7. My book stack. I have this stack of books, you see. During the summertime and harvest, it only gets a wistful glance from me, a longing touch now and then. But once these long evenings set in, I can spend more time reading. Which. I. Love.
8. Movies. Several movies that we missed seeing in the theatre are now out on DVD, so we schedule our movie nights carefully, to make sure that we can enjoy them when everybody’s home. We have a list on the refrigerator of movies that we want to watch together: many old musicals that Amalia and Mack haven’t seen, and others, too. We have a homely t.v. area set up in our basement with ugly overstuffed couches and a dog hair-covered rug, and lots of pillows and blankets. Just enough lamplight for Amalia and me to knit by. It’s incredibly ugly but it’s so COZY.
9. Pumpkins. At the farmer’s market, at the hardware store, at the garden center, they are everywhere! I grew a few pumpkin plants this summer (you know about my squash-growing failures) and I ended up with one pumpkin. It’s a nice one, but it was a bit lonely, so we stopped at a farm stand yesterday, Amalia and I, and picked up a few more. I like to buy a supply of little pie pumpkins to use throughout the winter, and of course a few big ones for decorating and cutting into jack-o-lanterns. (Consumer tip: after Halloween, the price of pumpkins goes way down, and you can really snag a bargain if you keep your eyes open. They make great decor until it’s time to put up the Christmas finery. I bought a bunch of pumpkins last year for our first annual Thanksgiving Pumpkin Shooting Event for $1.00 each. Score!)
10. Putting the garden to bed. I love this event that the kids and I do together every fall. We pull down the tomato cages and stack them all up; we burn the tomato vines and roast hot dogs at the fire; we let the chickens into the garden to eat all the bitty cherry tomatoes that litter the ground. The best kind of garden fun, and afterwards there are the dreams of next year’s garden to indulge in.
And no, it’s not too early for that, Gentle Reader. The very idea.
11. Planning next year’s garden! This, for me, is generally on-going. When the cabbages, for example, prove to be too troublesome, I make a mental note: not quite so much cabbage next year. Plant more carrots! Less licorice basil! Et al. This time of year, though, instead of just making mental notes, I begin to make actual, physical notes to myself. I begin to check out the seed catalogs and dream about next year’s garden layout. Yep. It’s a disease, folks, but I’m not looking for the cure.
12. The sky. There are no bulky mountains to obscure our view of the sky here in Nebraska, and the sky is absolutely glorious in October. It can be terrifying and lovely at the same time, but it always worth sitting down for a moment in the midst of the day and admiring it. Now and then (not often enough!) I lie on the grass and just study the clouds. So much detail and such lovely changing values and color.
13. Gearing up for melodrama. We do a musical melodrama every year with an awesome group of homeschooled students, and we’re gearing up for that. Amalia’s doing costume research for me; I’m practicing music and planning olios; Bryan is beginning to plan his building projects. We are reading scripts and making rehearsal schedules. The box of scripts will come down the driveway in the big brown truck one of these days. We’re all a bit giddy about it. 🙂
To put it mildly.
14. Home. Something about cold weather makes me so much more thankful for the home that God has given us. During the summer, I’m a bit of a gypsy–chigger-bitten, sun-tanned, as I prefer to live outside at that time. If I could get away with it, I’d string up a hammock in the hoop house and that way I’d never have to come into the house. But that all changes in October. And probably it’s a good thing that it does!
There is cleaning to be done, after all, and de-cluttering (oh my) and a few touch-up jobs that are screaming for attention. So we putter about and tend to these things, because it’s October and we can do such things.
God is good. Life, though it always seems to have its share of hard things, is good. Summer gives way to fall, and one day soon fall will retire and let the icy blast of winter have its way. And on and on it goes. Enjoy the fall, my friends!
- Candied Ginger Root: Easy-to-make, wildly nutritious indulgence!
- I learn something new about chickens and race horses