Friday, September 10, 2021

Get Ready, Get Set, Fall!

 Julia Spencer-Fleming: Last March, I wrote about the things I love as the season slowly began its turn from winter to spring; I thought I should do the same thing for today, as those of us in the Northeast see autumn just over the horizon. I know you folks in Texas and the south are still sweltering, but close your eyes and whisper the magic words to yourself: "Pumpkin Spice."

1. Yeah, pumpkin spice. And apple cider. and, about a month from now when it goes below freezing overnight: warm stews and fresh baked bread. 

  

2. The humidity that felt like we were living in a swamp is gone! My older Shih Tzu Kinglsey can actual make it a full mile on our walk when it's not 86°F and 86% humidity. I don't have to wear my hair clipped up every day (although now it's down I realize I'm way overdue for a haircut.)


3. The glorious show the trees put on every year.  Yes, it's already begun here, with several maples in our area looking like the edge of their still-green leaves have been washed with a pale orange-red water color. It's a display that will grow and glow for the next five or six weeks; one of the best parts of the season.


4. Getting cozy at home. Soon I'll be bringing out the woolly throws and velvety blanket, and we'll wrap up in them to watch movies in front of the roaring woodstove. I'll put red and yellow and gold tablecloths down, and swap out some of the linen sofa pillows for plaid.


5. The outdoor work changes. Believe it or not, I kind of like getting the wood in.  Instead of pushing a lawnmower under a blazing sun, I roll my red wheelbarrow from the woodpile to the wood room, and get nice and warm from the exercise during the time of year when I appreciate it.


6. The local arts scene kicks in. Yes, even this fall, when we're still wearing masks indoors and socially distancing, the theaters, the symphony, and the local music venues are coming back to life. 


7. We see more of our friends! This may be Maine specific, or something people tend to do wherever winter is long and summer is short. When June arrives in Maine, everyone rushes outside to travel, camp, hike, sail, etc., etc. Then, when it cools down and the kids are back in school, we start socializing with each other again. Bonus: half my friends put together fairly sophisticated weather-deflecting area last fall, so we can sit outdoors in comfort well into the season.


8. Related: the tourists go home. We love you, thanks for visiting and spending your money, but as the old song goes, "How can I miss you when you won't go away?"


9. SWEATERS


10. Just... I love the change of seasons. I'm grateful to live in a place with four distinct times of year (and hey, with global warming, we may actually get three months of spring, summer, and fall instead of two!) I love the onset of summer, I love it's special joys, but when September turns the page, I'm ready for something new and different.


How about you, dear readers? What do you love about the fall? 

75 comments:

  1. I like most things about fall . . . Nature’s beautiful colors . . . piling up all the leaves so the Little Ones can jump in them . . . warm, comfy clothes . . . apple cider . . . . a fire in the fireplace . . . Little Ones in Halloween costumes . . . bread baking in the oven . . . .

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    1. You paint a wonderful picture of autumn's joys, Joan!

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  2. Love your photos and today's topic. I love living in a place where the seasons change. Although each season brings its great days and its horrors, I do love fall best. There is nothing like the cooler nights, crisp days and watching the leaves change. I, too will be bringing out the sweaters and the big, fluffy comforters, making soups and stews and an apple pie. Yes. It is good that seasons change.

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    1. Right? I have always loved visiting Hawai'i, and whenever we're there, I dream about what a delight it would be to live in the islands. But I know after a year or two, I would miss the turn of the wheel.

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  3. We still have late summer here on the tundra. That's warm days in the 70s, cool nights in the 50s, and enough rain to keep everything green and blooming and growing ... any one need some tomatoes?

    I've lived in Kansas and Missouri, Texas and Arizona and Oklahoma, Southern and Northern California. I believe upstate New York is my favorite, especially since retirement -- I don't have to go anywhere if it's snowing. California weather met my definition of perfect when I lived there. It has three seasons. Early spring, spring, and late spring. there are definite benefits to be had there. No AC required and very little heat, a Franklin stove in the fireplace keeping us warm most nights.

    We are fortunate to have resources here. Mr. Guck mows and trims. Erin PhD musicologist deals with the gardens. Ted plows the driveway as needed. Judy Next Door takes our wheelie bins to the curb. And Staci and Cheryl, RNs across the street, help me out as the neighborhood nurses. We examine, bandage, and call 911 as needed.

    OH wait, I got off topic there. Fall in New York and New England is indescribable, has to be experienced. IN addition to the maples turning every shade from pale orange to deep scarlet, there are the copper beeches, the golden oaks, and our dogwoods with their red berries, providing a banquet for every bird and squirrel and chipmunk in the area. Sleeping most of the year with windows open is best as the night start to get cold with curtains standing out in the wind, fresh air blowing thru those and all the crooks and crannies of a hundred year old house

    Every season is my favorite, but I admit cider season may be my favorite favorite.

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    1. And I forgot to mention the Burning Bushes. They will be the purest scarlet, just now starting to turn. And ours house cardinals all year round. Maybe camouflage?

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    2. Every fall when I go walking I admire those burning bushes. Have you noticed how cool their stems are? Like origami.

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    3. Burning bush is SO gorgeous. Unfortunately, it's another one of those Asian cultivars that threatens indigenous plant life by aggressively spreading. It's been banned in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, so those bushes you admire are criminals, Hallie! :-)

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  4. Yes, baking and getting cozy, and brisk air to breathe. And apple cider donuts from the local farm! Not looking forward to another COVID winter, though, nor the end of local tomatoes and eggs.

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    1. When Erin takes up the tomato plants, we gather all the green ones. They get put on the kitchen island to ripen, and so they do. We eat them until they are gone, freezing some to put in soups and stew through the winter.

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    2. We will miss the tomatoes too--they've been amazing this year! and the corn...

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    3. Yes so sad when the farmer's market shuts down.

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    4. That's what I do with the green tomatoes, too. They don't need to be on a windowsill, or in paper bags. My husband wouldn't believe me until last year, when a huge bowl of green tomatoes slowing ripened, one by one, and he couldn't tell the taste difference.

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    5. Agreed, as everyone knows my favorite lunch in all the world is a home grown tomato sandwich on Miracle Whip. (Okay, mayo is a close second.)

      But that's also the essence of seasons; that there's always some things we will miss as we turn to the new.

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  5. Julia,

    I would just like to point out that those two words you referred to as "magical" are in fact curse words. Instead of saying "Goddamit!" we should be walking around saying "Pumpkin Spice!" in its place. With a Captain Kirk-like recitation when he screamed "KHAAAAAN!".

    I don't know that I look forward to fall with any particular emphasis over another season with the exception that the oncoming fall means it will soon be time for Thanksgiving dinner. Halloween might be fun but you don't know how that's going to turn out again this year thanks to the current state of the world.

    I do like the curling up with blankets and watching movies (or reading) so I'm with you on that one.

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    1. Can you love pumpkin pie but not "pumpkin spice"? It's like I love real lemon but most "lemon-flavored" anything is... blech. I do hope we have Halloween - all the kiddoes can go trick or treating as surgeons.

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    2. Hallie, a definite yes on pumpkin pie, bleh on pumpkin spice anything!

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    3. Okay, guys, if I say, "Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove," does that make it any better?

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    4. Hold the nutmeg. Hold the clove. Add vanilla. Then ok.

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    5. "Give me a tuna sandwich on toast. Now hold the tuna..."

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  6. Living in a beautiful corner of the world, I like to observe the changes in nature at this time of the year while walking every day.
    Then, when I come in the warmth of my home, I like to have a hot beverage. A little later in fall, I love cocooning with a book near the fire.
    There are already two of my maples with coloured leaves, just a beginning.

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    1. Danielle, that sounds perfect! I love how many of us welcome fall because it's such good weather to snuggle up and read.

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  7. I love that moment when my doors open and close without sticking, and I can run my hand along our staircase bannister and it doesn't feel sticky/tacky. Begone humidity!! And boy have we had a moist summer - along with more rain than ANY time in recorded weather. Our leaves are just beginning to turn. And fall. It will also be nice to roast a chicken and not fret over adding more heat to my overheated house.

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    1. I've been thinking roast chicken too, Hallie. And turkey! I get what you say about the stair bannisters. Why do those get so sticky? No other wood in the house feels like that. And washing them doesn't help -- only removes more paint.

      Raising a glass to the prospect of a fall chicken dinner

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    2. Yessssss, roast chicken. In the hottest part of summer, the only oven I use is the toaster oven, so it will be lovely to go back to baking and roasting and braising!

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  8. Yes on the roast chicken, though I've made them anyway this summer. And the humidity--gah! I suppose you'd say we cheat though, since we head to Key West in late fall and miss the worst of the winter:)

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    1. Yes, you cheat, Lucy, but pictures of you wearing shorts and riding a bike in February give the rest of us hope that there will be warm weather again some day.

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  9. Singing my song, Julia. I love each season for different reasons. Our trees are a lot further along than yours. We've some full red maples now, and most have at least a tinge of red and orange on their edges. I'm longing for the full-on blaze of color that October brings and the scent of wood smoke in the air. We had our first stew on Tuesday. It seems, right.

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    1. How far up in Maine are you? Are you near Acadia or further north? I love to vacation in Maine. Good times!

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    2. Judy, I'm pretty sure Kait is a lot further north than Acadia, in Aroostook county, what we call "the crown of Maine." The weather there is always at least two weeks ahead of us in the south.

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    3. Hi Judy, I'm in the crown, as Julia said. In the St. John Valley where French is a common as English and right across the river from Claire, New Brunswick. It's a beautiful place.

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    4. That sounds like a place I must see, Kait. We used to talk about retiring to Maine, but grandsons in Delaware took that idea out of the running.

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    5. Kait, my husband and I have talked for years about a road trip to and around the Maritimes. Is the St. John Valley a place we should put on our list?

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    6. Karen, in case Kait doesn't see this, I'll say yes. Aroostook County is a uniquely beautiful (and huge!) part of Maine that far too few visitors see.

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  10. While I do love fall for all of the reasons of the season mentioned above, I wish this summer would linger a little longer--we had so many HOT and STICKY days here--it would be great to have some summery days with low humidity and cooler nights.

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    1. We're getting those now in southern Maine, Flora. Daytime highs in the mid to upper 70s most days, and most nights well into the 50s. To me, it's just about perfect.

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    2. Same here, Julia. Today is a perfect September day!

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  11. As an October kid, fall was always my favorite, because my birthday. And school started to end the boring summers spent babysitting my younger siblings while our mom worked full-time. I love the leaf colors, especially the red maples, oaks and sweetgums, and the purples of the asters and mums. Walking home from school kicking leaves, a great memory.

    When the weather gets cool my favorite colors come up of the sweater closet: deep reds, purples, midnight blue, forest and moss greens, cozy and easily accessorized with a neck-cozying scarf, of which I have collected many since I was 15.

    I like Jay's idea of using "pumpkin spice" as an expletive; you can keep it. Instead, we will have warmed cider with cinnamon, and lots of it. Sometimes with a slug of bourbon.

    But my very favorite thing when it gets chilly out is to light a fire, curl up under a blanket with a good book (aren't they all good?), and sip a cup of tea while I read. Perfection. After a satisfying dinner of a bowl of soup or chili.

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    1. Karen, there's nothing I could add to that perfect summary of the joys of autumn!

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  12. After a relentlessly hot and humid summer, the world is waking up: the school buses are rumbling by; anemones, the last of the perennials, are in bloom; we're devouring summer produce while the produce stand has the first of the local apples and orchard apple cider. Fall is anticipation and joy with my kids' birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Leaf-raking is the least onerous of the fall yard chores. As I weed and prune, I remember what worked (2021 was a fabulous year for daffodils and flowering trees) and what didn't (in a rainy summer, not much in the way of tomatoes). Yes, Fall is my favorite season despite temps pushing 90 by Sunday.

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    1. Margaret, you've made me add another thing to my gardening list: last spring, I decided I could use some more bulbs for a brighter show. I've never planted them before, because that was Ross's thing. Wish me luck!

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  13. I, too, love the fall. The surprise of mid-day heat after the cooler morning. The roundness of the light after the brightness of the summer sun. But no pumpkin spice for me, anywhere!

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    1. Amanda, what a lovely description of the light. I was trying to think of the quality I liked in autumn, and all i kept coming up with was, "I like it when it gets dark earlier." Which isn't true! But I love the changed quality of the sunlight in the late afternoon - long, mellow rays turning everything green to gold.

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    2. That's it exactly, Julia: long, mellow rays. So great. The shorter days? Not so great!

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    3. I live in the high peaks of the Adirondacks. After a (mostly) cool and rainy summer, we are currently cool and cloudy with occasional rain. I love fall and its beauties but it is fleeting here. If we have a rain in early to mid-October our leaves are generally stripped and then the landscape is dark and mostly colorless for 7 months until next May. I always tell myself it builds character.

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    4. Selden, I know that area. It's beautiful but, yeah, "character building" is a good description.

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  14. Fall has always seemed more of a beginning to me than an ending of anything and with low temperatures and humidity I feel charged with energy. Not that I do very much with it though. My Burning Bush has been turning color for quite some time as have the leaves on my blueberry bushes. As the odd leaf falls against my patio doors the cats love to try to "catch" them. You'd think they would get frustrated and give up after a while but they don't. Also with the lower humidity I can clean my carpets. I used to try to do that on a warm, breezy dry day so I can have all the windows open. If we had any days like that you'll have to remind me because I don't recall them at all.

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    1. We had some lovely days here in Maine, but I wouldn't describe any of them after mid-June as dry. In fact, I just noticed a patch of that powdery light mildew on a corner of one of my rugs! Definitely time to rent the fancy carpet cleaning machine at Hanneford and go to town.

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  15. I like the four seasons too. Love getting out the light jacket prepping for the heavy jacket. Love sweaters and being wrapped in a blanket. Fall temps are good excuses not to accept invitations to go out, when all you want to do is cuddle up with a hot beverage and a good book.

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    1. Fall reading is the best, Dru! And not just because so many big books tend to come out in September.

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  16. Yay for sweaters and that cool fall feeling! And we get to have chili and stew and oatmeal again . (Not together.). But… No pumpkin spice. No no no.

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    1. Hank, try pumpkin spice in your oatmeal! Not kidding - I use it in homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and it's great.

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    2. I buy pumpkin spice oatmeal. And if I can’t find it, I add the appropriate spices separately.

      DebRo

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    3. I’ll never understand what’s not to like about cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves — or any combination thereof.

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  17. We left the dining room window open last night. When I went down this morning...it was cold! Yes, actually cold. Yay for fall! What a pleasure, after a summer of relentless heat and humidity, here in NY surrounded by pavements and buildings and water. Hoping for a long car trip north, through autumn-brilliant countryside,in a few weeks.

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    1. That sounds lovely, Triss! And yes, I know the joy of the first cold morning after a long period of heat and humidity (which honestly seems worse in the northeast than it used to.)

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  18. I love everything you all have mentioned about autumn. I miss it terribly since I’ve lived in SoCal!

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    1. Lisa, my late father in law moved from Connecticut to Laguna Niguel and truly adapted to the SoCal lifestyle, which he loved. But he always visited us in new England in the fall because it was the one season he missed!

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  19. If circumstances would permit, I would live in a place where it’s comfortably warm all year round. Summer is my favorite season, followed by late spring. In fall and winter I just ache and ache, and am never warm enough. For me, it’s torture. I’ve never been able to understand why people like to throw on more and more layers of clothing. It takes forever to get ready to leave the house. To me, it’s wonderful and relaxing to feel the fresh air on my bare arms. I’m happy to eat soup and stews all year round; I don’t need cold weather for that. I drink hot coffee all year round. And then when the snow and ice come, they make me feel as though I’m trapped.

    I can’t wait for next summer.

    DebRo

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    1. Oh, Deb, you need to be in Arizona or southern California or Florida! I do know quite a few New Englanders who are happy to escape to warmer climes for the winter (like our Lucy) or for good, as several of my relatives have!

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  20. Fall has always been my favorite season. The heat of summer is leaving. The leaves are turning colors. A new school year is beginning. Even when we lived in El Paso we could escape to Cloudcroft or Ruidoso NM and enjoy the aspens turning gold. And cherry cider. Yum.

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    1. Oooh, cherry cider. That sounds delicious, Pat!

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  21. It's my favorite season, too. I've always been giddy at the first hint of crisp air and the smell of wood smoke. It's such a relief after huddling in our house through most of July and August, when even at night it's too hot to do anything outside. And then there's soup and stews and oatmeal to look forward to, and maybe a glass of red wine on the porch. The last few days it has dropped just below 70 at night, and only 90 in the daytime. Bliss!

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    1. Debs, you really need to visit me in Maine next summer. You, among us all, would appreciate our summer weather the most. :-)

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    2. She can stop to see me on the way, Julia. I’ll see your summer and raise you two springs

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  22. Yeah, we have two seasons in Phoenix - summer and hella hot summer. I am looking forward to the return of summer. LOL. FYI, it's 109 here today...so, yeah.
    Being a New Englander by birth, I do miss the seasons, especially fall, but that's why I go back so often to soak them up before I return to the land of shorts and T-shirts. Looking forward to some apple picking/pumpkin time in Oct! And, yes, sweaters!!!

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    1. We're going to want lots of pics of you wearing sweaters, Jenn!

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  23. What don't I love about fall? Sitting on the back screened-in porch with the hot weather gone and only cool, fresh air surrounding me. Seeing the beautiful fall colors, both on the trees and in decor. Getting out my Halloween decorations (which should start this weekend) and having so much fun with them. Fixing chili and vegetable soup and beef stew to warm the tummy and the soul. And, yes, pumpkin spice in a latte and bread and pie and candles. Ah, fall is a bliss (to borrow Debs' word) indeed.

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    1. Kathy, I was just looking through my freezer for tonight's dinner and I found a package of lamb stew meat left over from last spring. I thought... "Not yet. But soon, soon."

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  24. JULIA,

    Wonderful post! I love pumpkin spice and applie cider. Cozy sweaters. Cooler weather.

    Though apprehensive because it is alsi Fire season in California. I am still sick but wanted to chime in and say Hi.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I'm sorry to hear you're still under the weather! You have seen a doctor about this, yes?

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  25. Here in the Pacific Northwest we are eagerly awaiting our rains to start falling. It is so barren dry. We have a north facing deck & I watch how we have a little less sun on it every day.
    Apple season is a favorite time.

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    1. I bet you're particularly waiting for them this fall, Diane - I've heard about your unusual drought in the PNW.

      Apple season is glorious. I'm busy finishing up my week/prepping for some appearances, but after Sunday? I see an apple crisp in my future.

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