Fall [not] in New England

Fall weather really hit hard and fast here in Portland, OR. One day it was 90 degrees and the next it was 65, overcast, and cool. Even a hint of cool weather can render me freezing. Last night I said to Mike, “Fall is here, honey. You know what that means! Constant complaining about being cold.” Lucky him, eh? This year I will try to curb it for his sake, but no promises. I really get cold.

Today marks the day I am no longer in denial about summer being over. For the first time since summer hit I put on shoes that were not sandals. It is a very sad day. What helps though, is that I am wearing my new back to school loafers and I am loving them. So if my little feet have to be all closed up in shoes at least they are super cute (and bonus: comfortable) ones.

My garden is starting to look a bit shabby. Pumpkin plants, when they are harvest ready as mine are now, look sparse and dry. The zucchini plants are about done and a similar thing is happening to them. The artichokes this year got aphids so I just let them flower and they are finally starting to wither as well. The tomato plants are still yielding fruit, but it seems like more tomatoes are starting to soften on the vines than not by the time I get out there to check on them. The wildflowers are trying to hang on, but are looking a bit ragged as well. The grapevine, acorn squash, buttercup squash, fennel, figs, and onions are all going strong.

I’m starting to think about really cooking again. Things like stews, roasted chicken, bread, and beans in the crock pot. It is also cool enough to clean my house and look forward to a candlelight, home cooked meal, and then a snuggle on the couch in front of the fire with my sweetie. And while I will miss not having it rain nearly every day for nine months, I am looking forward to the fall season which, having grown up in Massachusetts, is absolutely my favorite season.

I do everything I can to celebrate and usher in the fall season in an attempt to recreate the fall of my youth. There is really nothing like the crisp air, the apple picking, the hot toddies, the thick Irish knit sweaters, the cold nose, the warm mittens, the food, the farm stands, the bare trees exposing everything and giving a hint of the snow to come, the peace, and the beauty that is fall in New England.

This year in Portland we will be doing things like carving our own pumpkins with friends for Halloween – complete with a home cooked meal, some kind of mulled cider, and spice cake or cookies or apple pie (or maybe all three!). We will of course be having both Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving. And I will at some point take a drive south to wine country and visit my favorite nursery which has a small grove of trees in the valley whose leaves turn red and orange before they drop. There will also be lots of cooking. I’ll have to cram it all in before the rains come, but rest assured I will get my hit of the kind of fall season I miss and crave.

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