Saturday, October 3, 2020

Are You Ready For Fall

 DEBORAH CROMBIE: Okay, dear REDS and readers, somehow it got to be October. (I'm not sure quite how that happened, because my brain is telling me it's still March.) So who's got the fall spirit going? Porch decorations are going up like mad in my town. Here are my daughter's adorable pumpkins:

And here's another porch I spied on my walk this morning:

But I haven't quite gotten there yet myself. I bought a two mums a couple of weeks ago, but I think I've drowned them, so will have to see what I can do to spruce things up this weekend. Here's the most I've managed so far--I bowl of white mini-pumpkins on my dining room table:

The gorgeous vase is courtesy of my talented potter friend, Alex Macias. The dog is called Nigel.

I'm not even going to mention the dreaded pumpkin spice latte, except to say that I'm not usually a big fan of autumn-y candles, but I've been burning this one, which I got as a gift last year, and it smells divine.

Maybe I would like pumpkin bourbon, too...

Autumn has been my favorite season since I was a child. Nothing lifts my spirits like crisp, cool air, porcelain blue skies, the first hint of wood smoke in the air. I love the shorter days, and mornings that don't feel like steam baths. And if you want to see joy manifested, it's the German shepherds on our chilly morning walk.

We don't have a lot of color in the trees here, but fall is when the garden comes into its own again after a shriveled and scorched August. There are treasures everywhere, like this beauty berry,


 or this perfect St. Swithun's rose.

And even though I'm still pumpkin-less, I'm enjoying the bounty of my porch.

 Especially as it's cool enough to sit outside!!

So how are you all doing? Are you anticipating the season, in spite of all our worries? Tell us what you're doing to get in the mood for fall.

And if you need one more little boost, here's my lovely granddaughter at the Dallas Arboretum today, communing with the fall blooms!


 





64 comments:

  1. Your granddaughter is precious!

    I enjoy the cooler air and I like to see the leaves change color in the fall, but I don’t do a lot of fall decorating . . . a cute fabric pumpkin on the dining room table, a “ghost” child decoration in the living room, a bowl of candy for trick-or-treaters, and that’s about it . . . .

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  3. Hahahaaaa! I bought a pumpkin.

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  4. I'm not ready for it to be fall yet!!!!

    I've got the decorations I would normally take into the office in my work from home area, but I haven't been able to take the time to start putting them up yet. I'm looking forward to having them out.

    When I was out for a run last night, I saw some houses that already had Halloween stuff up, so they are definitely ready and well ahead of me.

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  5. Oh my, Wren is such a doll! And, I love the blue color of Katie’s house. Fall has always been my favorite season, too, and Halloween ­čÄâ is tied with Christmas for favorite holiday. I usually have my Halloween decorations up inside my house by now, but with all the furniture rearranging and papers sorting I’ve been (and still am) doing, not one decoration is out yet. I did manage to clear one of my foyer tables to hopefully decorate tomorrow. But, I doubt I’ll put as much out in Halloween decorations this year. Too much else is going on. I plan to get some pumpkins for the front porch next week.

    I do feel fall in the air, with the cooler temps helping that. I’m going to make chili today, which will start fall cooking for me. And, there are those lovely Halloween Oreos in the grocery now.

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    1. I've been thinking about chili, too, Kathy. Rick would be thrilled.

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  6. That is the sweetest picture! The dog on the table? Yikes. ;^)

    I'm not much for decorating for all, but I'm making stews and baked things to celebrate the season, not to mention having my space heater on in my office this morning!

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    1. for Fall, not for all...

      Also, you really can't beat a New England fall for crisp and pretty!

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  7. The dog ! Debs! I have the same dog! I will send a photo. How hilarious. Ours is in the library.

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    1. Oh! It's not a real dog? So funny. I couldn't tell.

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    2. Hank, that it too funny!! Send me a pic! He's a companion to our Nipper who on the writing table in the living room.

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    3. I used to have a dog named Nigel, but he was nothing like that. So cool that you two have twin dogs! And, Edith, Debs' dogs are both German Shepherds. If one of them got on the table, there's be no room for white pumpkins and pretty pottery!

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  8. Soups! That's how I know it's fall. I'm in the mood for them, printing recipes, gathering ingredients, simmering simmering simmering -- I made a white bean and cabbage and zucchini and tomato plus a little bacon soup that was fantastic, really a version of minestrone. And a soupy pasta dish: orzo with baby spinach, garlic, onion, chicken stock and fetah cheese. Both will go in permanent rotation. Esp the orzo

    Like Edith I'm not big on decorating but I did hang a ribbon with some little fake pumpkins dangling off it on my front door.

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    1. Hallie, I made a huge pot of minestrone last Saturday and we ate it all week. I'd love the orzo recipe. I make a white bean soup with spinach, orzo, sage, and polish sausage (optional.) Have I ever put that on the blog?

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  9. Deb, your daughter is such an amazing decorator--and Wren is adorable. The only thing we have is four mini pumpkins that volunteered in the compost heap. Oh, and I made Craig Claiborne's beef stew with cognac and mustard yesterday. We'll have that tonight!

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    1. That stew sounds so good. I think I may look for the recipe. I love a good stew!! We have intimate little dinner parties called "Scotch and Stew" beginning in the Fall. This year, they'll be fewer or none because no one's ready to sit in the dining room at some one else's house yet. Alas.

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    2. The stew sounds delish. I want that recipe, too.

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  10. Bulky cotton sweaters and after a summer of tuna, egg, or chicken salads, winter fare! Chicken parmesan, pot roast, and the first apples.

    Thinking ahead to paper white narcissus and one perfect amaryllis bulb.

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    1. Yes, I'm back into cotton hoodies, soups, braises, and have bought the first new season apples. I was craving them.

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  11. Debs, your daughter's house is the same color as our neighbor's--the only other blue house on this entire street besides ours. That particular shade really makes the Craftsman style look fresh, I think. And Wren! Oh, my, she's adorable.

    All summer long a group of our friends has met on Friday nights to have pizza outdoors at someone's home. Everyone picks up their own pie and brings their own drinks. We've only been able to meet them a couple times, but last night was the last time for outdoor eating, I think. It's turned chilly here. So it was also the first time I dug into my collection of wool sweaters, too. That's fall to me: snuggly warm clothing in jewel tones, and corduroy pants. And of course, soups, stews, and other comfort foods.

    I have a bunch of fake pumpkins I will start looking for this weekend to put out on the porch. My next book club in the Thursday before Halloween, and I promised everyone I would decorate for the Zoom call, so at least one room has to be Hallo-festive. But as we drove to our friends' last night we saw quite a number of homes already decorated, lots of skeletons and fake cobwebs.

    Roberta, how fun to have free mini pumpkins! I have volunteer butternut squash. No idea where it came from, but I'll have at least a dozen of them. So I see some yummy squash dishes in our future, especially butternut squash chili, yum.

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    1. Oooh, I actually got picky husband to eat both butternut and zucchini in the minestrone I made last week. Normally he won't eat any squash, except for Hallie's shrimp and zucchini pancakes.

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    2. Karen, Is the butternut squad chili your recipe? I'm definitely intrigued.

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    3. No, Deana, I found one online somewhere.

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  12. It's been frosting overnight, so the morning garden is wilting; the leaves are falling; and, last year on Thanksgiving next weekend (in Canada) we had a major snowstorm that took out power and trees. I'm getting ready for that eventuality while also glorying in the colours and the crispness of the season. Oh, and like Hallie -- butternut squash!

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  13. I think your granddaughter is the sweetest punkin! Up here in the woods I don't do any outside decorating and come to think of it I don't decorate for fall inside either. But I must agree that fall is probably my favorite time of year, especially after such a hot and humid summer. The color that surrounds here is almost at peak, so I'm told. Can't imagine it getting much better. Yesterday y son brought me a box of apples and a cider donut. Yep, it is definitely fall.

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    1. Trader Joe's has cider donuts. I think I may give into temptation when I shop tomorrow. Yum.

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  14. What great shots, your granddaughter is adorable!

    I do porch pumpkins when we grow them but this year we didn't arrive in time plant. I'm in Hallie's camp and making tons of soup since our days have gotten frosty already. Know what? I haven't seen acorn squash in the stores yet....hum. Is there a shortage? Anyone know?

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  15. Shalom Reds and friends.

    I share a small apartment with a roommate. He is a child at heart and loves Halloween. So, he has a Grim Reaper, whose eyes light up red and says something spooky if someone passes it. It stands in the corner of the living room and he turns the switch on at the end of October. There is also a cut out window between our kitchen and living room. I use it as an extension of my desk but Tom has a Doctor Death (black and white skull) with top hat and black robe hanging next to a white ghost with black eyes, nose and mouth. All three are set up in their spot year-round.

    I have a friend whose brother has a business selling hand-made wreaths for all the seasons but this time of year into December is their busiest. Years ago, when we first got to know each other, she had a miniature Christmas tree sent to me. I usually go online to look at their website, but everything is so pricy that I haven’t had to courage to buy anything.

    All the stores are selling chrysanthemums. Being a city kid, I had read The Chrysanthemums by Steinbeck before I knew what the plant even looked like. My favorite are a Japanese variety that produces daisy-like white flowers with yellow centers which bloom in late October into November. They are grown here as a perennial and I know all the spots around town where they are planted.

    I like fireplaces. However, the one public gas-fed faux fireplace was at one of the local Starbucks, but I’ve seen that since reopening from the pandemic closures, they have remodeled and walled them off. That’s all right; I’m boycotting the chain anyway.

    I follow college football a bit. However, this year I am completely ignorant of what might be happening in the sport. I haven’t followed any sports since baseball was all but shut down.

    Right outside our windows, are several mature oak trees and they have been shedding their acorns since summer. The squirrels have been feasting mightily for weeks now.

    I like sleeping with the windows open, however, the last two nights have been a little too chilly to leave them open. This past week, I helped my friend, Allan, who was my piano teacher for many years, to learn the Roger Williams arrangement of Autumn Leaves. It is a very technically difficult version.

    I, also, am stuck in March but fall is my favorite season.

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    1. Ooh, your apartment sounds dark!

      Fireplaces, yes. I've already had two fires this fall. What a shame that Starbucks got rid of theirs. Bummer.

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    2. I thought we might at least turn on the gas in our woodburning fireplace last night, but maybe tonight. And on Rick's to do list is fixing our gas fire pit on the patio. It's cool enough in the evenings now to enjoy it.

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    3. David, I saw lots of Halloween decorations when I drove around our town this morning.

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  16. I’m not a fan of fall, Debs. It means shorter days, dreary views and I love waking up to sunshine. I just feel I was cheated out of summer this year. Not a single beach or hike or travel. No swim club or any of the things I usually enjoy. But like Hallie I do adore good soups! But nothing pumpkin spice

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    1. Rhys, I think if we had pleasant summers, I wouldn't love fall so much. But it is just such a relief here. And I love the coziness of the shorter days.

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    2. The beaches are mostly empty now, you should take a nice beach hike. :)

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  17. I love Fall and it probably is my favorite season, although beautiful weather in any season can make one's heart sing!

    Debs, Wren is so lovely, sigh, she is just the sweetest looking child! I love the color of your daughter's house, too. It's so welcoming.

    We used to go all out for decorating on Halloween because it's my birthday and a fun holiday all together. I used to have costume parties with tons of friends featuring a huge pot of soup and appetizers and desserts. I always made a trifle and an apple pie, among other favorites. But many friends have moved on or passed on so we don't do that at all now. We just go out to dinner at a favorite restaurant.

    I think we will not decorate at all this year.

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    1. I love the color of my daughter's house, too! But they are moving in the spring. They're building a new house and I will be so sad to see them go... And to not be next door to Wren, although we are not seeing her too much these days, with the social distancing.

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  18. "Nothing lifts my spirits like crisp, cool air, porcelain blue skies, the first hint of wood smoke in the air. I love the shorter days, and mornings that don't feel like steam baths. And if you want to see joy manifested, it's the German shepherds on our chilly morning walk."

    You summed it up perfectly, Debs! My Standard Poodle loves the fall weather as much as your GSDs.

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    1. Cathy, they are always excited for their morning walk, but these days they are just beside themselves. Can't blame them!

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  19. Your granddaughter is so cute.
    We already had a couple of mornings with frost on the ground. The variety of Colors on the trees of my rural road is spectacular. I let the nature decorate for me. I can smell the fall, it has a special odor.
    Already made soups and I may cook a vegetarian chili this afternoon.

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    1. Yes, fall does have a special smell, an indefinable combination.

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  20. I grew up in Missouri, where the fall color is almost as spectacular as it is in New England, and the apple orchards produced tart, crisp Jonathans for my lunchbox. Fall tasted like apples to me.

    Here in Texas, it's a huge relief to get cooler weather. I've made a vow to get out and walk more. I've already cooked my first pot roast, and need to amass the ingredients for that first pot of chili.

    But the very best thing, for me, about these first cool days of Autumn are my roses. They go dormant in the summer heat, but have started blooming again, and when I step out my front door their fragrance fills the yard. Mornings like these are the reason I grow roses.

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    1. Yes, Gigi, all of mine are blooming, not just the St. Swithin's. Well, Gertrude hasn't put out a bloom yet, but finger's crossed.

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  21. Still in the 80s here in Portland, but the Maple leaves have turned and are falling. No trick-or-treating this year, and we don't have much in the way of indoor decoration until closer to Thanksgiving, so it's things as usual except our Chrysanthemums on the deck are in bloom.

    Not a big fan of pumpkin anything, some none of that. We had ribs last night, so still into Summer eating.

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  22. It has been noticeably cooler here the last week. So nice! I see Halloween decorations going up in the neighborhood. I haven't done a thing yet. I do have macrame' skeleton I hang on the front door, and ceramic pumpkins and ghosts I put out on the porch. Also a light up jack-o-lantern to plug in. I thought long and hard about trick or treat, maybe using a chute to deliver the goods. We decided against it. Little kids are plague carriers, as my son put it. I don't think we should encourage them to crowd too close together for the sake of candy. And in the excitement they're bound to.
    Isn't the color of beauty berry amazing! For years I assumed it was poisonous. My husband informs me it is all over the land he bought. Our local paper had recipes for beauty berry jam, among things.

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    1. Pat, really?? I had no idea you could make jam from beauty berry! I would hate to strip our bushes, however, as they feed many many birds in the season. One of our bushes is a white--a mutant--but the birds seem to like it just as well.

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  23. I'm still making salad dinners, it's still hot in Nor Cal but I'm intrigued by the butternut squash chili Karen mentioned. I need to decide if I want to dig out the Fall seasonal decorations. Still unpacking.....which is taking way too much time.

    Mom and I used to go to a pumpkin patch near the end of October for all kinds of squashes and gourds. I love the swan gourds, white pumpkins and pumpkins with these little bumpy blemishes all over them. Maybe I'll stop by and find something for my boss who invited me to stay at her house this week when I got evacuated. I still have a house and my evacuation order has been downgraded to a warning. Never thought I would like being downgraded but this "downgrade" is just fine. With red flag warnings off, I think I can go home today.

    Last year, at this time, the Kincaid fire was happening in my county, I was in Dallas, attending my first Bouchercon. It's been an interesting twelve months.

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    1. Deana, I'm so glad you've been downgraded and can go home. So scary.

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  24. Oh, I forgot.....seen in my grocery store yesterday.... Pumpkin Pie Spice Dessert Hummus. I kid you not and NO I did not purchase it.

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    1. Deana, that sounds like a crime against humanity. You should report them to the Hague.

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  25. I’m so glad I live in a world with Octobers—Anne of Gree Gables. Yes! Fall is my fave season! Thanks for the pretty post, Debs!

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    1. Jenn, it must be beginning to cool off in Phoenix, too. At least I hope so.

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  26. Wren is so adorable, Debs. I want one, too!


    Fall is one of my favorite seasons as well - it's both energizing and melancholy, all at the same time. Lots of new beginnings; school, college, theaters, the symphony (well, usually they're beginning now.) And at the same time, dying: leaves, flowers, the light.

    I'm enjoying the gorgeous colors we're having here in Maine. Due to the extreme drought in the southern part of the state, we're peaking a good week to ten days ahead of normal - which means it will be a long, bare slog until Christmas and snow. And I appreciate the drop in temperatures, since I've been walking the dog while the Maine Millennial recovers from shingles. Walking along a river with the trees aflame and the sky a crisp blue above is about as close as I'll get to heaven in this world.

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    1. Julia, you have captured it perfectly, "energizing and melancholy, all that same time." Maybe it's that contrast that makes me love it so much.

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  27. No fall here in central California! Our temperatures are over 100, low humidity and lots of fires. It cools off here in late November.

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  28. Debs, your granddaughter is adorable. I love the photos. Reminds me of when I visited relatives in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago. We saw fall decorations at restaurants and bookshops. That was quite a few years ago. We are having a heat wave here in California. Some years it feels like the autumn, Not so far this year, though it is still early October. I remember in 2001, in October? November? I could hear the crunch of the russet colored leaves. It was cooler and breezy. I am starting to gather books for Spooky October.

    Diana

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  29. Your photographs are lovely Deb. Your daughter's house is so pretty and welcoming. Your granddaughter is so cute and sweet. It is still hot in Arizona, but it normally cools down around Halloween. Looking forward to cooking soups and stews then.

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