1. Firstly, I think it's important to remember that I grew up in Austin, Texas. Fall in Austin consists of the temps going below 90º and the leaves turning brown. So that's important. I guess one thing to love is that I'm no longer in Austin. (No offense intended to those of you who do and love it.)
2. I love the smell of the air. It's mustier, suffused with the elusive scent of woodsmoke that always reminds me of lovely camping trips.
3. I love the skies. In October, the sky turns a dark yet vibrant blue that you rarely see at other times of the year. Maybe on the odd deep summer day, but only rarely.
4. Obviously, I love the leaves turning. My first fall in the midwest (back in good old Missouri), I'd walk around with my mouth wide open like a tourist. I never have gone on the New England leaf tours, but I can understand why people do it.
5. I love those days when it's windy and all the leaves are blowing around like they're a leaf cyclone. We like to go out and run around and dance in it.
6. The chill in the air is a beautiful thing to those of us who are "well-nourished".
9. The air in the fall is sometimes infused with a magnificent gold color that I also have never seen the rest of the year. I am one of those weirdos you see standing stock still in the middle of a field or yard, just staring intently at the light. My family has grown accustomed to it and has promised not to call the men in the padded truck to come get me when I do that.
10. Fresh apples. We have a family-run orchard down the road. We watch the apples every year, from blossom to fruit and there's nothing like that first crunchy-juicy bite of fresh apple.
11. Cold-weather food. I try to suit my menus to the season. In the summer, we eat a lot of watermelon, salad, tomatoes, and fresh veggies. In the fall, we start chili season, stew season, and beans and cornbread dinners.
12. Mums and pansies. Pansies always remind me of my late, great mil, who loved pansies and roses above all else. She helped me plant my very first pansies when she came to visit one fall. I know they're old-fashioned and frowsy but I love them. Mums are just wonderful, especially those lovely ones that are yellow tinged with orange.
13. Thanksgiving. Since we don't celebrate Halloween (except to stock up on marked-down chocolate) or Christmas (ditto Christmas candy), Thanksgiving is the preeminent holiday for us. We have been blessed to celebrate it with our friends the Meltons over the past 5 years or so but since they moved to Texas, we thought we'd be on our ownsome this year. Lo and behold, my brother and his family moved to Tennessee, just a state and a half away, so we're hoping his job situation will allow for them to come with us for Thanksgiving.
Last year's Thanksgiving was a departure from tradition. Instead of the usual turkey feast (which I don't like anyway), we had an ethnic food feast. We had wats from Ethiopia and stews and veggies from India. In addition to its being a little bit healthier for you, most of it could be done in advance and heated up on the day...no frazzled cook with a lengthy itinerary! (And yes, we did have the traditional sweet potato casserole and pies...that's the only way the girls wouldn't complain about Mom's weirdness.)
So there you have it! I love fall!
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