Opening the door to let the dogs out, a crisp breeze of autumnal air freshened my face today. Which was delightful. It carried on it the scent of orchards miles away, crisping leaves on proud branches, and the suggestion of maple syrup, pumpkin bread and pie, apple crisp, and savory stews.
Notice the word "crisp" keeps popping up.
Autumn is my favored season, next to spring. My inner gardening gnome is satisfied in the spring, with the smell of new, wet mud and budding life. But fall...you'll find me writing odes to fall, next.
A few novel things I've noticed this fall, while down with my seasonal bout of illness:
Pumpkin ice cream. Now, I've had pumpkin ice cream, and it is really good, but for me, it also leaves me wanting what I really want if I have pumpkin ice cream: some really good pumpkin pie. When I saw a fall dessert on Martha Stewart's website suggested as accompanied with caramel ice cream, I thought, "Ahhh...now THAT's the ticket." Things that are maple or caramel flavored are probably the best culinary accessory to your homespun desserts. Unless your miles away from pumpkin pie, and then I suppose it will do.
Martha Stewart's website. Boy oh boy, is that woman, and her huge conglomeration, worth it. No-sew costumes? Check. Cute Halloween crafts and decoration ideas? Check. The world's best recipes for autumn desserts? Check check check. My cooking horizons really opened up when I decided to brave Martha Stewart recipes. They've changed my recipe box for good, and for better. This year's screaming siren? The chocolate pumpkin swirl brownies. I haven't tried them yet, but they're one of those paradigm up-ending recipes that I will never escape until I give in to the call of the siren and plunge myself headlong into clouds of flour, baking chocolate, and mirth.
And lest we forget: it's time to bring out the sweaters, mittens, and scarves. I love sweaters, mittens, and scarves. Gloves are okay. Mittens are the...mittens are to gloves as mocha is to coffee. Mittens are to gloves..as half and half is to powdered creamer. You get the idea. Now, I've accumulated a lot of hats, because usually every fall I get into a crocheting phase. But now's a good time to browse stores' offerings of tights, thick socks, and every branch of woolenwear. New textures or colors of yarn, too. Getting a new scarf or hat for fall is as invigorating as a suit of armor to a knight. I don't know where these ridiculous comparisons keep emerging from. Probably the Augmentin.
Now is the time to reflect on novels you've been meaning to read, too. There are inevitably the rainy, cold Saturdays ahead when raking or frolicking in the seasonal crispness is out of the question. Having lots of brown sugar, soup stock, and that sort of thing on hand doesn't hurt this time of year. But unless you're an absolute sports nutter, most people can't watch football all day all weekend. Well okay thousands of people manage it, but the point is, find a good long novel to curl up with under an afghan.
As soon as the bronchial pestilence subsides, I'm also heading straight for Boyd's Orchard, which yields a - wait for it - here it comes, seasonal pun - cornucopia of pumpkins, cider, homemade doughnuts, and apples.
Start thinking about Halloween, too. I've been threatening to take the dogs trick or dog treating, dressed as Darth Vader and Princess Leia. All I've gotten so far is laughs - well, snorts. But I would love dogs showing up on my porch in costume.
Then again, I'm not usual. Or in my right mind.