Sunday, November 15, 2020

FIVE GOOD THINGS ABOUT FALL

RHYS BOWEN: I’m not a fan of fall. It reminds me that winter is on the way. Yuck. I don’t like cold, and I don’t like dark. Waking on dark mornings, having to take my evening walk at 4:30 with a long dark night ahead really depress me. I like sun streaming in through my windows as I write. I like looking out at my view and seeing sunshine. Definitely not a winter person. It’s very lucky I didn’t marry a Norwegian or Alaskan.


Luckily I married a fellow Englishperson who escaped from cold and dreary English winters just like me. We met in Australia, we moved to California. And now we escape from cold and dreary California to spend our winters in sunny Arizona. (We are still debating when we can make this move at the moment as Covid numbers are rising in AZ) 
 However, I am trying to be positive at the moment, so I’m writing this piece called FIVE GOOD THINGS ABOUT FALL. And it’s not going to be easy: 

1. Is obvious. I love the bright colors of changing leaves. I love the slanted sunlight that seems to make colors glow. I remember a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem that says “The glassblue days are those when every color glows.” He captures it exactly.

 2. The opportunity to have a fire in the fireplace. I love the smell of wood smoke and crackle of a real fire. Unfortunately. In recent years the coldest days have all been spare the air days too. I’m thinking it’s about time had had a gas fire installed. Or what about those electric fireplaces? Has anyone tried those? Do they look real and give off heat? 

3. Migrating birds have arrived in the wetlands where we walk every day. Lots of pelicans have come to take shelter for the winter. Various ducks—Buffleheads I can recognize but I’m not a birder (Hallie, I need you). I wish the pesky geese would migrate but they seem to stay put these days.


 4. Usually fall has the lure of upcoming holidays. I start shopping catalogues for Christmas presents. I start writing Christmas cards. I plan the meal for Thanksgiving. Alas not this year. My nearby daughter has volunteered to host a Thanksgiving meal on her patio, with some sort of protection from rain. She has a fire pit but I doubt it will give off enough warmth. I’ve offered to buy her one of those patio heaters. This will all work well unless it’s pouring with rain. Then not so much. My son has suggested we all get tested a few days before. That would work fine except that my son-in-law works at the veteran’s home and will be working right before Thanksgiving. My college granddaughters will be tested before they come home but then will definitely go and visit friends. So it’s iffy. 

5. Lastly fall means soups. Home made soup is our go-to lunch through the winter. Already we have made leek/potato, carrot with ginger and apple, curried parsnip. Next week will be broccoli/cauliflower with blue cheese and maybe asparagus. And next time we have a chicken it will be the classic chicken soup with lots of veggies. 

 So what do you like about fall? And do you have a favorite soup?

 

41 comments:

  1. Our youngest daughter would say the best thing about fall is pumpkin spice . . . but I am not particularly fond of pumpkin spice everything, so I’m choosing the beautiful fall leaves [which go away far too quickly] and the cooler weather.

    As for the soup, it’s a toss-up between potato and corn chowder. Potato/leek soup sounds just wonderful . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like wearing boots with skirts again (even though I haven't even once so far this year). And the long sunsets of fall can be spectacular, even though they come early. Having it cool enough to bake bread again is good, too.

    Stay safe, Rhys, and everyone. It's getting scary out there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fall is my least favourite season. Here, the colours of the leaves are fabulous but they are all fallen now. It is rather dreary but the sunrise is beautiful. As I need the light, I wait the rising of the sun to get up at this time of the year.
    I love hearing and watching the birds going south.
    I love to sit in front of the fireplace with a good book after a walk in the crisp cold weather .
    I love soup of any kind year round . I can't name one without having another and another coming to mind but I mostly eat them for supper as I prefer a light meal before going to bed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Rhys, your photos of birds and nature are truly fabulous!

    I love fall. New England is my region and I just love that the seasons change here, although I admit that there is melancholy when the leaves fall down, no question. But, I love walking outside when there is a nip in the air and everything feels crisp. I love the smell of wood fires and burning leaves. I love the sunrises and sunsets when the whole sky is brightly painted. I love the bright blue sky that you see in autumn and the way the stars sparkle in the clear night sky.

    My hall closet is bulging with every type of coat you can imagine, we have long johns of every material accumulated over winter holidays and birthdays since forever. The boots will come out and the sandals will be stored. We are ready for the cold and we are ready for the dark. I love to get up when it is dark out and the moon is still hanging over my neighbor's home while I make coffee in my kitchen. Bring on the snow. Bring on the dark and the cold. I am ready.

    Spring will come and so will summer. The trees will bud and flower and the smells will change. The days will be longer, the light will be different. The winter coats will be washed and put away. I'll sit in the sunshine in my green back yard and watch the flowers come up.

    There will be more soup on the table in fall, of course, and stews, too. Beef barley is my favorite, favorite soup. I also love Minestrone, Hungarian Mushroom, Sweet Potato and Apple soups and more.

    Rhys, stay safe over Thanksgiving. I do hope you get to see your family. We are staying at home, after all because of the spiking numbers everywhere. Maybe we'll skype a bit with the kids during the day to cheer us up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I lived in New England I’d be more in love with fall, Judy! Spectacular

      Delete
  5. I don't mind fall, but now that we're in Key West, it certainly doesn't feel like November! Apples are my favorite part of fall!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We're at the tail end of fall here, just the russet brown oak leaves still clinging to their branches and the ground an orange carpet of maple leaves. I'd be fine with coming winter if it weren't for ice. Windshields. Streets, Front walks.

    Soups! So many to choose from. Usually for me it begins with whatever I have left over, but if I'm starting from scratch, then a velvety butternut squash soup topped with toasted almond slivers, a dollop of sour cream or a swirl of heavy cream, and scallions. Hauling out my immersion blender, best kitchen tool EVER invented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’d love to taste your soups, Hallie. I bet they’d be delicious. And I’m so glad I don’t have to face ice!

      Delete
  7. My youngest grew up in Atlanta, where "fall" was a cooler version of summer, the native dogwood trees turning a vivid red in pine woods understory. She was mesmerized by the autumn foliage when we moved to Cincinnati. Fall is apples, kodachrome leaves, migrating birds, mums and asters. The slanting golden glow of sunlight in the afternoon. Hearty winter meals. Energizing, as the world shifts into forward after summer doldrums.

    Our Cincinnati house has a gas fireplace which we enjoy every evening all winter. It does throw a good amount of heat in a chilly room with three exterior walls.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh it’s gorgeous here in Massachusetts—the sky is perfectly blue and each individual tree is trying to out- color the other. Sweaters, yes, and no humidity. It’s even kind of fun that it is pitch dark at 430–no one is going anywhere anyway (if we’re lucky) and it’s even cozy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rhys, I think it's all those years of school starting in the fall, but autumn brings a promise of hopefulness every year--something new and exciting in the air. The crunch of leaves--maples vivid as sunshine outside a window, stars clear and crowding the sky--and, yes, summer's humidity is gone! Love soups, stews, a blanket to snuggle under as evening comes early--perfect for a movie and kettlecorn popcorn. Hot chocolate with whipped cream (and perhaps a slug of something else for the grownups).

    Wishing you all a safe Thanksgiving however you end up celebrating.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, where there are big hardwood forests and the trees just blaze in the fall. Here in Texas? Not so much. But autumn means the return of bearable temperatures, and the end of Daylight Savings Time, so my circadian rhythms can settle back to something more normal. The roses put out their second flush of blooms, and interesting birds appear in my back yard and they pass through on their migrations.

    I like Fall because it allows me to relax and breathe again. I love apples and sweaters, and all the autumn things. I have a nice fireplace, but I am torn about using it. I like natural things, but I don't want to shovel ashes. It has a built in gas jet but I hesitate to put in a gas log because they release even more hydrocarbons than the logs would. So it sits there, dark and cold. Maybe this winter I'll try it with wood and see how it goes.

    And soup? I like soup. The first cold, rainy weekend of the Fall is officially "Time to Make Chili" Day in Texas, and I have my ingredients at the ready. So far, no cold, rainy weekends. I've made a batch of Gotta-Go soup--like Hallie, it's soup from all the stuff I need to use up. I'm also fond of ham and bean soup, and Deb's minestrone, which shows up on my doorstep from time to time and is always delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I forgot ham and split pea with the ham bone after Christmas

      Delete
  11. I like the four seasons, and autumn is particularly gorgeous in upstate NY. This year the color has been extraordinary. And over. Almost all the leaves are gone except for those brown things that hang onto the oaks until spring. The birds have harvested all the red berries from the dogwoods, and the squirrels are busy planting walnut trees and transplanting tulip bulbs. I don't get the latter. Why not just leave them in the ground and dig one up for breakfast as needed?

    We are waiting for the first big snow, maybe the first of the week. Today is gray and very windy, gusts to 65 mph. So much for all those piles of leaves everyone raked yesterday. We have city leaf removal. They come by with blowers and clean up everything from the sidewalks to the street. Then a "leaf plow" pushes them into a big pile at the end of the street. Next comes this giant clam thing that picks them up and puts them in a truck, to be hauled away to wherever dead leaves go. Finally a street cleaner comes along and tidies up the leaf leavings. It's fun to watch and very efficient. The trick is to get it done after most of the leaves have fallen and before the first significant snow. I hold my breath each year, but the timing, although close some years, usually works out.

    Update on Pepper the Pandemic Puppy. Yesterday he managed to escape from his crate while I was in the shower, and to get back in it last night, even though the door was closed -- evidently not latched securely. What a clever boy! He's so adorable, and he really wants to meet Clem and Lottie. I think he thinks that together, the Pandemic Puppies can form a gang and rob banks and support us all in our dotage.

    Happy Almost Thanksgiving everyone. Two on a turkey works if you have freezer space. Trust me. I am a nurse. xo


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you would choose a poodle! They are super smart. My mum took her shower on Christmas morning to find her dog had tipped out the bag of Christmas gifts destined for my brother and only opened those to the other dogs

      Delete
  12. Fall is fabulous. The colors amazing! I love the change in the air. No matter where you live, fall air has a winey taste and feel. We're past our fall here in northern Maine and have moved on to the snow season. Soup weather has arrived. I've already made split pea, potato leek, and today, will make corn chowder. Yum for lunch with a warm baguette.

    Stay safe, everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love everything on your list, Rhys. Fall has always been my favorite season. I actually like the shorter days (I HATE daylight savings here in Texas in the summer--it just stays hot longer.) I love soups and stews and sweaters and our wood fires. We plumbed gas into our fireplace years ago so if it's not quite cold enough for logs, or we're just lazy, we just turn on the gas flame. I love crisp morning walks, the crystalline blue of the skies, and I like the soft, gray, rainy days, too, although they've been in short supply lately. Listing my favorite soups is a whole other post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I'm baking bread today. Hooray!!

      Delete
    2. Oh, and Rhys, your photos are beautiful.

      Delete
    3. We should share all of our favorite soup recipes in one place. Everyone has a favorite or two and that would be just amazing. Is there an easy way that we can do it?

      Delete
    4. Judy, I can do a blog post week after next. How about that?

      Delete
  14. I don't like leaving work when it's dark but I don't like summer heat either. I like the crispness of fall days and the first gentle rains that will, hopefully, foretell the end of fire season.

    Soups are fabulous but I prefer stew made from leftover Sunday pot roast dinner with biscuits. The biscuits do double duty as dessert with butter and strawberry jam or honey. I hated tomato soup as a child but now I will crave it on really cold days. I did buy a can of pumpkin yesterday thinking I might find a good quick bread recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I confess I dislike the whole pumpkin spice thing but adore pumpkin bread

      Delete
  15. I love fall, maybe because of my October birthday, warmer clothes, and gorgeous Midwest fall colors. The colors are completely over now, though, thanks to a big windstorm today taking down what few leaves were left after last week's windstorm. However, the wind has blown the sky free of the stormy clouds of a couple hours ago and left it my favorite crystal blue.

    Right now I'm on a no-yeast/no-sugar regimen, but once that's done I plan to start baking bread again, to go with lots of yummy soups. We are big soup people in cold weather: chili, turkey noodle, beef vegetable, mushroom, potato leek, Senate bean soup. And this year there will be lots of butternut squash, since my garden yielded a dozen volunteers, thanks to using compost that hadn't completely rotted. (We also ended up with volunteer tomatoes, a couple cantaloupes, and some mysterious little trees that turned out to be avocado!)

    We have a wonderful fireplace that burns wood, but doesn't pull the warm air out of the house as our old one did. This one has a locking glass door, so we get the warmth, the crackle, the beautiful flames, but not the cold rest of the house. I love it.

    Debs, I second the idea of a soup blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, I went back to yesterday's blog to see if I had missed any afternoon posts. SO, Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Ollie was a dragon-like puppet who sang the Nestle chocolate song. Hope you see this!

      Delete
    2. I did!

      There must have been more than one Nestle's commercial "spokespuppet". This is a Farfel Christmas one. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7uesjp

      Delete
  16. I’m in the minority: I hate fall. It just doesn’t agree with my body. When the weather gets cool enough to require sweaters or jackets, the aches and pains intensify. No matter how many layers of clothing I wear, I’m still not warm enough.

    I miss the extra daylight of Daylight Saving Time. Standard time limits the amount of time I have for walking outdoors. From dusk until morning I don’t see well outdoors. Between the poor vision from the earlier sunset and the achiness from the cold, fall and winter are seasons that I try to tolerate; they’re not enjoyable. I make soup all year round, so they are not soup seasons for me. It feels like I’m in some sort of part-time prison. It’s a little worse this year because the threat of Covid is keeping me home most of the time. Winter brings ice and snow that I need to remove(and I’m really not supposed to) and sidewalks that I hope to navigate safely. I’ve had more than one ice or snow related injury that required medical care.

    Fall IS pretty. I joke that the fall colors are God’s way of apologizing for the horrid weather that will follow!

    I don’t want to sound like a complete grump; there are many, many blessings in my life that I give thanks for every single day, all year round. My blessings are more meaningful to me than the inconveniences of seasons I don’t like!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've always loved fall. A lot of family birthdays are in the fall. I love the colors of the trees. The cooler weather. Some on the way now. Fall was always a beginning with the start of a new school year way back when.
    I usually make a pot of chili at some point. Other soups include Rhys's curried parsnip, pumpkin, and tortellini. Seafood gumbo is wonderful but I don't make it. I'd much rather someone else do the work!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Love the coolness of fall and all the lovely colors. Use to love fall hiking and camping with my Girl Scout Troop. Miss my barefoot-life though as sock season starts. Love all the fall holidays, baking, cooking.

    I love making soups. Have made Minestrone, Chicken Vegetable with Noodles, and Wedding soup so far this fall. Have never met a soup I didn't like. I can probably fill a soup blog with recipes. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rhys,

    your soups sound yummy and I usually do not like soups. I love carrot ginger soup though I have never tried it with apples. I had potato leek soup in Austria and loved it since then.

    I love the cold because it means sweater weather and I can get away with a few extra pounds. In the summer, I feel the need to lose weight that I do not need to lose because clothes are not as comfortable in the summer. For that reason, I prefer to buy clothes in the fall/winter instead of the summer.

    And I burn easily. I inherited the Celtic colouring so I burn very easily. I Always have to put on sunscreen.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have been absent from here for a few days or so, and I have to tell you, it affects my mood when I don't visit my Jungle Reds writers and friends. So, even though I'm coming in late today, I hope to get back on track here.

    I absolutely love fall. It's my favorite season with its cooler temps, variegated leaves, Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays, and a feeling of cozy. Of course, Thanksgiving will be nothing like in the past this year. My mother-in-law passed away in June, and so this is our first Thanksgiving in 44 years without her. But, there won't be a family gathering anyway due to COVID. My daughter just informed me last night that her father-in-law has it, not sure how he's doing. Her neighbor across the road had it, too. She does live in the country, so there is natural social distancing. However, she's still teaching pre-K and granddaughter is still going to on-site classes. We are playing it safe, and for the first time since I was a young adult, I won't be getting something ready, either a few dishes or the whole dinner, for a big Thanksgiving meal. I'm really okay with that. I believe that we all need to practice distancing if we are to get this pandemic under control.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kathy, hope you slide into the regular Jungle Reds track is easy. With all the isolation, I found that sliding off the track for the most ordinary things happens, makes me sad, restless, and inert. Looking forward to seeing you here tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm with you, Rhys, on the migrating birds. All kinds come to the Texas marshes, prairies, and coastline. Some stick around city neighborhoods and parks: ducks, egrets, and songbirds alike. I also look forward to the persimmons and pomegranates. Soup? Black bean, chili and beer stew when it's cold outside.

    ReplyDelete