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Cravings for fall begin with soup

This year, the urge came even before Labor Day. The urge to make soup. This feeling arrives every year right about the time the wheels on the school buses start to go round and round.

It's a sign that I am ready for fall.

Come September, I also get the itch to pull out my favorite black ribbed turtleneck and wear it with a pair of jeans and my black boots.

I think about how fun it might be to attend a high school football game.

And I get in the mood to knit something -- which is interesting because I don't knit.

Not yet, anyway.

For some reason, I also get the urge to brew coffee and carry it around in a Thermos.

To press leaves. Buy a Pink Pearl eraser. Dress equestrian.

What becomes clear to me, however, is that many of my fall hankerings have to do with food.

Or at least spending time in the kitchen. I want to make apple crisp. I'm craving oatmeal. (A place we used to visit in the Adirondacks topped our oatmeal with a spoonful of warm apple crisp. How do you like that one?)

And, come to think of it, I baked a loaf of pumpkin bread this week.

It's not just me. My daughter, not content with the pumpkin bread, has been asking me when I plan to make my first pumpkin pie of the season.

Add it to the list, Sweetheart.

Oh, and I want to freeze things. Healthy, delicious, homemade things. Yes, the nesting has begun.

So just as I happily flipped through summer decorating and gardening magazines some months back for inspiration and enjoyment, I'm doing the same with fall publications.

I look at the photographs and think I, too, want to pull out pretty wool plaid blankets and drape them over antique chests and footboards -- or take them outside for a fall picnic.

Perhaps I need to dress our beds in vintage-style quilts. The dog will love them.

I may even gather some long thin branches of red maple leaves and stick them in a clear vase, if the urge strikes.

In the meantime, this is what else is catching my eye:

A chair upholstered in a wool plaid blanket, photographed in a Wisconsin lodge for Country Living.

A recipe for chunky pumpkin chowder with sauteed leeks, garlic and bell peppers, also in Country Living and followed by a recipe for pumpkin-ginger waffles.

A harvest feather wreath from a Pier 1 catalog.

A basket of delicious-looking artisan bread, red grapes and wine goblets on a rustic coffee table in the Pottery Barn catalog, illuminated with votives nestled in a tray.

Curtains, picture mats and table runners all made from a most humble fabric -- burlap -- in Better Homes and Gardens' September issue.

Tea rose-colored buffalo plaid and snowflake mix-and-match flannel bedding for a girls' room from L.L. Bean.

An essay on the joy of fireplaces in Romantic Homes' October magazine by Valerie Holder Hedberg, who writes: "Growing up in a Buffalo, N.Y., suburb, I lived in a house with a living-room fireplace . . ."

Ah, yes. Fall, fireplaces and a big mug filled with roasted squash soup. I'm there.


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