By Jessica Cronenberger
In a few days, with a recommendation from my sister, I’m going to make chili with pumpkin in it. I can already tell it’s going to be good. And I’ll make cornbread and probably an apple pie.
Who doesn’t love this time of the year? We can start making soups and stews and using that crockpot again. Breads and pies, meatloaf and chilis, oven roasted veggies and football food ... I love it all. The heated oven, a bit neglected since June, feels warm and toasty to me now, and our appetites, obviously preparing us for the winter months ahead, are hearty again. We can eat again with gusto.
My Polish and German heritage has taken that control out of my hands. Baking, cooking, eating ... and the aromas to savor. It’s just part of me. The kids aren’t immune to it either. Apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and little squares of caramels are their favorite treats.
I love that it’s cool enough to get cozy under a comforter, with the windows open when that fresh air pours in. No threat of pollen, snow or bugs. Walk into your bedroom and smell the cool autumn breeze. There’s nothing like it. We try to hold off on the furnace as long as we can.
People who sew, like me, can fit in more projects like quilting because sitting at the machine for hours doesn’t seem like a waste of time as it does in the warmer months. It has to be a nesting routine, I swear.
Outdoor perks are just as rewarding. There’s a yellowish hue to the air, it seems, and that alone is soft on the eyes. The leaves make you appreciate the wonder of nature with the warm and vibrant colors. Orange pumpkins sitting on front stoops seem to match anyone’s house color and just enhance the whole setting.
There’s a lull after those frantic summer schedules. Outdoor chores ease up. You don’t have to water your plants every day and they still look pretty good if you have a varied blooming garden. The weeds aren’t popping up the day after you cleared the bed of them, and the bees don’t bother you when you’re out there soaking in the beauty of the flower garden that took hours and hours of your time since spring. No pools to clean or grass to cut. Well, yeah, OK, there’s grass to mow, but not with the urgency of summer because no one is paying that much attention to it.
Eating more is OK because we can exercise more vigorously, too, without sweating and taking breaks. I try to walk four miles a day, and in the hot months it has to be very early in the morning, and even then it’s just not fun. This time of year, we can walk almost anytime and actually feel energized after our walk. No need for gloves, hats and water bottles. The sweaters and scarves that accessorize them are added to our wardrobe, as are quilted vests and boots. These are fun to wear, mind you, not necessities.
With the kids, or in my case, grandkids in school, there’s extra time to get ready for work, shop, read or have lunch with a friend. Cozy fires and throws warm us naturally as we tune in to the new shows on TV. Amazing plays are starting again on stages across Buffalo, and cider and doughnuts (there we go with the food again) at the cider mill start off our weekend with a smile. What’s not to love about autumn?
Oh, and my favorite reason to relish this time of year – we don’t have to keep our butter in the fridge!
Jessica Cronenberger, of West Seneca, is ready to sew, cook and eat in the autumn air.