Hello Autumn

Autumn is a season filled with change, days become shorter and although it is often warm and sunny during the daylight hours, evenings can get a bit chilly.  Corn is one of the major crops you will see swaying in the fields waiting to be harvested; and this is the season when animals prepare to hibernate by storing fat that will sustain them through the winter months.

Whether you refer to this time of the year as “Fall” or “Autumn” it conjures up the same visions of trees changing into beautiful shades of red, gold, yellow, brown, green, and orange and the fallen leaves will soon be covering your yard (or your neighbors).  On the way are cool and crisp nights, bonfires, camping, hot cocoa, pumpkins (and all the wonderfully fabulous drinks and dishes made with them), and fires in the fireplace.

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Not only is Autumn my favorite time of the year, but it is also the start of all the really neat festivals in my neck of the woods; and, October is usually the start of my Christmas shopping frenzy.  I begin thinking about my Thanksgiving menu and pulling the seasonal decorations out of the attic.  This is the time year when I reminisce about seasons from long ago and all the big family meals we would have together when we traveled near and far to spend the holidays together.

New Seasons, New Beginnings

This year I have a new man in my life to share the holidays, the laughter, and adventures…my fourth grandchild Baby “X.”  He is only seven weeks old and has already added so much joy to our home and family.  He is beginning to respond to the googly faces Nona does for him and the raspberry kisses lovingly shared.  I am blessed to have two of my three children and their family living near and life would be complete if my eldest and his family could be closer.

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As we ready for the cooler days and chilly nights, below are some Autumn fun facts and trivia for you to enjoy and share.

  • Maples, Oaks, Elms, Birch & Ash trees are just a few of the trees that give spectacular colors during the autumn season.
  • September, October, and November are the best months for “Fall planting.”
  • The pumpkin is a member of the gourd family.
  • The Autumn/Fall season runs from September 21st through November 21st.
  • Why is the season called “Fall”? What happens in the natural world during this season? The leaves on many trees die and fall to the ground. About five hundred (500) years ago, when Middle English was spoken, expressions like “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year” were quite common, and the season name “Fall” comes from them.
  • Autumn marks the end of baseball season and the start of football.
  • In Greek mythology this was supposed to be the time when Persephone rejoined Hades in the underworld.
  • The Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival around this time of the year with particular emphasis on being thankful for the success of the summer harvest.
  • One of the visible signs of fall is the changing color of the leaves. This happens because photosynthesis stops during this period so leaves do not stay green.
  • Favorite fall fruit and vegetables include apples, spinach, squash, bell peppers and, of course, pumpkin.
  • The custom of bobbing for apples originates from Roman times.
  • Evergreen trees remain green through the winter because they have waxy leaves which do not freeze.
  • Autumn’s full mood is called, The Harvest Moon. Long ago farmers would take advantage of the Harvest Moon’s light to “harvest” their crops because in late summer and early autumn many crops would ripen all at once. This made farmers have to stay in the fields long after sundown to harvest them and the moonlight became essential to their harvest.

Below are links to some area festivals and other fun things to do in the Fall in major cities.

Cincinnati         Seattle               Tampa          Atlanta            Dallas

Birmingham      Nashville           Miami           Los Angeles    Cleveland

Charlotte           Indianapolis     Knoxville       Sioux Falls      Rapid City

Fargo                 Boise                Little Rock    Wichita            Denver

Portland            Billings             Philly              Charleston      Grand Rapids

 

Things I Like About The Autumn Season

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Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

It is Autumn and my favorite time of the year.  Even though the days are still warm, there is no reason we cannot start to enjoy the pleasures of “Fall.”  By that I mean….it is time to break out the pumpkin recipes.  Here’s a tasty one to jump-start the last quarter of the year.

pumpkin milkshake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla reduced-fat ice cream (such as Healthy Choice), softened
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 3 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

Preparation:

  • Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
  • Pour 3/4 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 glasses.
  • Top each with about 2 teaspoons whipped topping; sprinkle with the extra pumpkin-pie spice, if desired.

Brr…freezing winds are a blowin’

I don’t think I am ready for winter quite yet.  I woke this morning with rain bouncing off my window; rain and wind which I knew was bringing with them the cold weather.  (Thought: does the word “cold” have a double meaning?  Meaning, when its cold outside you catch a cold?  Works for me.)

Slowly, I inched my way out of bed and quickly put on my fuzzy robe and since our youngest “Z”, Zoey decided to work her way through her teething phase by chewing on my slippers, socks are now my only option.

I started my usual morning ritual of putting the coffee on and taking the dogs out for “their” morning ritual.  Nope, not today; they were having none of that cold wind and rain.  This will be an eventful day, trying to coax the three of them outdoors for their “breaks”.

We have had to crank on the heat this week and our household occupants have already experienced aches and pains, stuffy heads and tight chests, cold hands and body chills, coughing, sneezing and all the other fun stuff that blows in with cold weather.  The search for warm blankets has begun and hot-soothing baths are part of our nightly routines.  It is time to break out the heavy coats and start the seasonal search for the “other” glove.

Don’t let me mislead you, I love all of the seasons and the distinct changes that come with each, it’s just that I’m not ready to let go of summer.  Oh well, I guess I should schedule service for the fireplace and have the wood delivered.

Autumn leaves falling.  The leaves started falling off the trees in our yard about two weeks ago and we started thinking it was time to rake and bag the signs of winter.  However, with the windy days we’ve had (and we all know that it is next to impossible to rake leaves in the wind) the task was delayed.  I woke over the weekend after a  night of gusty winds to find that all of the leaves were miraculously gone.  Did the night nomes visit our yard and remove the leaves?  No, not this time.  Just like last year, I waited long enough to rake that the wind took care of them for us and blew them into our neighbors yards.  Not to worry though, if they wait long enough the leaves will proceed down the street until the street sweeper comes to claim them.

This is what the Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting for the 2011-2012 winter season.  The Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting “clime and punishment,” a season of unusually cold and stormy weather. For some parts of the country, that means a frigid climate; while for others, it will mean lots of rain and snow.

The upcoming winter looks to be cold to very cold for the Northern Plains, parts of the Northern Rockies, and the western Great Lakes. In contrast, above-normal temperatures are expected across most of the southern and eastern U.S. Near-normal temperatures are expected in the Midwest and Far West, and in southern Florida.

A very active storm track will bring much heavier-than-normal precipitation from the Southern Plains through Tennessee into Ohio, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast. Because of above normal temperatures, much of the precipitation will likely be rain or mixed precipitation, although, during February, some potent East Coast storms could leave heavy snow, albeit of a wet and slushy consistency.

An active Pacific Storm track will guide storm systems into the Pacific Northwest, giving it a wetter-than-normal winter.

Drier-than-normal weather will occur in the Southwest and Southeast corners of the nation.

SO…there it is “heavier-than-normal precipitation” (also known as SNOW) for my area this winter…grrreat.  I guess I should close this story for now and go start looking for the snow shovels and stocking up on salt for the driveway.