Welcome October - my favourite month of the year. It lies between summer and winter: cool enough to wear sweaters and not so cold or wet as to require heavier gear. Sunny golden days intersperse with a few darker, rainy ones. Thanksgiving is towards the beginning, and my birthday towards the end. As Anne of Green Gables once said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." It's a veritable feast for the senses!
1. On a recent sunny afternoon I took a walk and found lots of cyclamen blooming in clumps along the wooded path. Their colour isn't typical of autumn, but how pretty that pink is in the sunlight. Such a beautiful sight.
2. Maple leaves glow red and yellow before they fall to dry and curl into brown crispiness that crunches when stepped on, or rustles in the wind. When caught by a passing car the leaves scuttle, dry and rasping, across the street to pile up in drifts that are perfect for scuffling through. Other autumn sounds include the honking of geese as they trail in ragged V formations across the sky.
3. October cooking fills the house with delicious smells to whet the appetite. The gentle fragrance of a steaming cup of tea is a wonderful complement to Applesauce Muffins. Savoury beef stew, redolent with red wine, browned beef cubes, and lots of vegetables. Warming White Chicken Chili, put into the slow cooker before I leave for work, provides several meals for the two of us. Soups and stews are accompanied by buttermilk biscuits, toasted sourdough bread, or savoury zucchini loaf for meals that fill and satisfy.
4. On a sun-filled Saturday, a salad composed of roasted red winter squash, sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy grated carrots, and crisp lettuce, with a sprinkle of dried cranberries for sweetness, some sunflower seeds for more crunch, and a blue cheese dressing created a combination that tasted good on so many levels.
On a Friday or Saturday evening I've been popping a small bowl of popcorn for myself (Tim's not crazy about popcorn), and enjoying the salty, buttery corn taste. I also like it with some butter and cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon and cloves, freshly grated nutmeg and cardamom add so much warmth flavour to baked goods during this season.
5. Let's not forget the touches of autumn - the chill against my skin when I head out the door in the morning, the smoothness of home-grown winter squashes, the wet dew on the grass, and the sometimes surprising feel of unseen cobwebs across my face. There's the feeling of wind and rain, of sunshine on my back, and of snuggling under warm covers at night.