September days are coming to a close and fall will definitely be more “officially” on its way. Pumpkin season is upon us and soon it will be Halloween!
I had the windows opened yesterday and when I went to close them in the evening I could smell the first outdoor scent of a fire. It hung in the crisp air and held all the promise of Autumn. I love that smell.
When I was little, I can remember going to visit my grandparents (I was very blessed as I lived near both sets and got to see them often), on the way, there is a dip in the road and you are in a miniature valley. On the hill above stood an old farmhouse, the air would be chilly but still warm in the sun and on Sundays, when you drove past, the smell of burning leaves intertwined with the scent of a ham baking for their dinner, hung in the afternoon air. I love that smell. The air in your nostrils was just permeated with the sweet aroma of ham against the rough almost throat burning taste of leaves in the air and it was intoxicating.
It made me think of a John Updike poem I like:
“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.”
I met my husband last week after work and walking away from his building we passed the most delightful apple tree near the gates. Its branches were laden with fruit ripe for the picking. Their juicy ruby red skins glittered in the afternoon sun. I wanted to jump the small hedge in front of the tree and start picking apples. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything to carry them in, for once I was unprepared. My husband handed me his phone and I attempted to photograph my discovery in the blustery weather.
It brought me back to being little. I grew up on a farm and during this time of year my dad would come home with bushels of apples and my parents would start making the most delicious applesauce. My sister and I would sit at the counter and watch my dad run the cooked apples through a food mill and see the now smooth mixture plip-plop into the pot below. Seasoned with sugar and cinnamon, we would live off of this, it was one of our favorite breakfasts!
My mom would portion off some of the plain apple mixture for herself and start to make her apple butter for the winter. She would sterilize her jars and our job was to hand her the lids to screw on over this rich cinnamony reddish-brown spread that tasted like heaven on biscuits or toast. We would have it all winter long to enjoy and she always made enough to give away as gifts as well.
This apple tree reminded me of being little, when your world was so simple and there was nothing better in the universe than to wake up to a bowl of fresh applesauce on a cool morning, your dangling legs swinging back and forth off the chair at the counter, watching the sun creep over the orchard from the kitchen window. I think there still might be nothing better in the world, than to wake up to your favorite comforts in a cozy home filled with love.
As Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”
Yesterday, was the perfect farmer’s market day! The sky was an azure blue, filled with puffy little clouds and the air was fresh and crispy. It made me long for home, to jump into the car with my family and head up to the farmer’s market in Asheville. There is a major market there that overlooks the Biltmore House, it is my favorite market in the city.
The long rows of sheds are filled to the brim with delights. Jars of honey glisten in the golden sun, cured hams hang from poles in their cotton sacks, baskets and crates overflow with seasonal vegetables and fruit, jars of homemade jams and jellies stacked up on tables and right about now the pumpkins would be out for sale. For someone who is not familiar with Southern food culture, it is quite an experience.
There is this wonderful smell in the air of warm hay, soil, vegetables, peanuts being boiled and apples just picked from the orchards being dipped in rich oozing caramel, all intermixed with the coolness in the air and the warmth of the people around you.
Yesterday, would have been a good market day if the weather in Asheville was like it was here. To just stroll through the sheds and stock up on apple butter and fresh honey and a few pieces of country ham, to sizzle up on Sunday morning with grits and fresh buttermilk biscuits.
I woke up this morning to sunlight beaming through the space between the window frame and the shade. I drew the curtain to the side and peeked out to see the sun lighting up the trees across the street, like they were on fire. The leaves are just turning that pumpkiny orange, but green is still peeking through.
The dew on the grass just glistened like diamonds in this morning’s sun. You can tell that the sun has changed, it is moving into “Winter Sun” mode. The quality of the color of light is becoming more white, more lemony.
I heard geese for the first time this season yesterday evening. Their honking announced their arrival long before I could see them. They flew over the cottage in their “V” formation heading to the pond on the common. The ducks will have to make room for them now.
I was catching up with some of my Blog reading this morning and when I went to Jennifer Murphy’s Blog, “andothersillythings“, I saw this adorable picture staring back at me and I fell in love! It is getting cooler, but there have been a few days when I am not sure if the weather can make up its mind to completely turn to Fall or to just try and squeeze the last few drops of sunshine and warmth out of Summer.
Yesterday was officially the 1st day of Fall, so we should definitely be heading into the glorious land of crispy leaves crunching under foot, warm cinnamon apple pies and bundling up under the covers.
If you have not heard of Jennifer Murphy, she is a very talented artist and makes the sweetest designs. I loved the collections she did for Seasons of Cannon Falls, I have a few pieces from the series, one of my favorite being a little elephant named “Ellie”.
I have always had a thing for imagining animals as humans, dressing them up like that and giving them human personalities and traits. Her pieces just bring these little creatures to life. They have so much personality, with a vintage feel and they are whimsical and cute! As she says, “Everyone needs a little dose of cute these days!” Isn’t that the truth!
A few years ago, she was on the Martha Stewart show, and did a tutorial on how to make felt pumpkin people, I have included the link below in case you feel the need for a little dose of cute too! Click here to go to Martha’s website with directions and a How-To video.
(the images used are copyrighted to Jennifer Murphy and The Martha Stewart Show)
We couldn’t help ourselves, still ooohing and ahhing over Saturday night’s dinner, we did it again and this time it was even better than before, if that is possible? My husband pan fried the bread to perfection!
We dove in as soon as they were ready and with olive oil and tomato juices running down our chins we toasted the last pink light of sunset.
Darkness is coming more quickly now, no more natural light till 9pm, soon it will be hot chocolate, hats & scarfs, and cozy candles lit everywhere weather. Autumn is here.
The pumpkins are out at the market and yesterday while picking up more tomato salad supplies, I spied a gorgeous fat pumpkin with a perfect squat little stem. As I walked by he just so happened to leap into my arms and come home with me. He is now adorning my hearth. My first Fall treasure.
My husband surprised me and took me to the movies on this cloudy fall day we are having here. We saw “Julie & Julia” and we laughed, cried, and left feeling the great need to run for the station and get on the first Eurostar to Paris, so we could be eating in on of our favorite hangouts before midnight.
Alas, we have settled for delicious pan fried bread overflowing with a fresh tomato and basil salad we came home and whipped up, all inspired by this sumptuous movie! If you have not seen it, you must, what an absolute treat! Meryl Streep has Julia Child pegged!
I have always been a fan of Julia Child, her humor and passion for food was a delight to see onscreen. I used to watch her cooking show with Jacques Pepin when I was in College, that was the highlight of my Saturday morning.
She inspired so many people and in cooking with her you seem to aspire to great things as well, Paris comes alive in your kitchen and before you know it you can imagine bustling down the Rue Mouffetard and stuffing your basket with bread and vegetables, inhaling the scent of chickens roasting and the scrumptious potatoes underneath them being cooked in the dripping chicken fat. In France it is so easy to live off the markets, you hardly ever need to step inside a grocery store.
The markets are so tangible and alive the best of Paris at your feet and fingertips. I must stop talking of food as I am getting hungry again for the taste of baguettes and warm oozing Brie with apricots spilling over the top, a candlelit table, a glass of good wine and more importantly, good company, what more could you want? Bon Appetit!
Who doesn’t like creme brulee? This recipe from the Susan Branch website looks heavenly. It would be like putting the best of fall in your mouth and a new twist on the classic pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie, that was my Birthday “cake” this year.
Just like Mrs. Branch, I would LOVE it chilled first too (as that is my favorite way to eat creme brulee)! Then make a hot crunchy bubbly brown sugar topping to crack your spoon through. For me that is the best part, the glass breaking sugar crunch of your spoon dipping in for the first bite. I would also be tempted to serve it with some fresh whipped vanilla cream piped next to it.
This was too wonderful an autumnal discovery not to share. Click on the image and it will whisk you away to this yummy recipe.
Click here to go directly to her Website and discover more Fall recipes in her cooking section:
I know it is probably to early to think of Christmas, but, I seem to think about Christmas all year through. When I am blue, I just put on some Christmas tunes and sit on the couch. What could be better? It is my favorite time of year!
I love the seasons; each have their own time & place, not to be rushed, but as we are in Autumn I find it hard not to think of the Winter ahead that is so very close. I received my Emma Bridgewater mailer today and these festive Holly mugs were listed in the NEW pattern section.
I am going to be patient, but the next time I am near the Emma Bridgewater store in Marylebone, I think 2 of these mugs might just jump into my basket, they would be perfect for a wintry cup of tea on a frosty starry night!