The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

My daughter lives in Oregon, about ten miles (as I write this) from the Holiday Farm Fire, which has consumed 170,000 acres and is only ten percent contained. A wild fire can cover ten miles in a night, easily. A good writin’ buddy lives in southern Louisiana, where hurricane season is pouring misery down by the bucketful. I also have family in coastal California, and their reasons to wear a mask even indoors are just piling up.

Between hoping for rain in Oregon, and hoping it will stop raining in Louisiana, I know this is not, for many people, anything approaching a wonderful time of year. September has been just one more month in a grueling progression of months, and October isn’t looking too cheery either.

And yet, I still find things to love about the transition from summer to fall. I love, in fact, that nature where I am, despite tantrums and tragedy elsewhere, is just rolling placidly along as she has all year. Nights are dipping into the forties, days are coolish and getting shorter. I find so much to delight in this time of year, including…

Fuzzy beasts. The horses and cats especially, are growing winter finery. They look more cuddly and are lovely to pet.

Hot soup. Pepper pot, French onion (servi avec gruyère, bien sûr!), broccoli cheddar… I could rhapsodize for pages about the the pleasure of a hot bowl of soup, warm homemade bread, and a house smelling of fresh baked wonderfulness.

Hot drinks. I always love a hot cuppa tea first thing in the day, but when temperatures drop, hot tea is even better. Also hot chocolate, hot mulled cider. Toddies. Irish coffee…

Fall flowers. Zinnias, asters, the last blast of the roses, pansies ready to hunker down for winter, chrysanthemums in a zillion colors… The flowers make a brilliant last stand this month.

Oatmeal, with cinnamon, nuts, blueberries, a dash of cream, butter, or–blame my dad–a scoop of ice cream and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Yes, he went there. For BREAKFAST.

Fuzzy socks! They deserve a blog post of their own.

Long sleeves, fleece, and all the soft, comfy, cozy cold weather clothes. (Especially the ones that mean with enough layers, I don’t have to wear a danged bra when I go off the property.)

Extra blankies. I’m probably one of those people who could benefit from a weighted blanket. Instead I leave the heat off in my bedroom and burrow under flannel sheets (thanks, sister Maire), and lots of quilts. Of course it takes the thought of a mug of hot tea to get me out of my nest in the morning.

Dramatic sunsets. Those brilliant red, orange, and magenta sunsets are already starting where I am (probably due to wild fire smoke plumes), and they are impressive.

Shorter days, meaning longer evenings to wind down, read, read, and read. And that reminds me…

My Heart’s True Delight, an autumn HEA, goes on sale at the retail outlets on Tuesday. I’ll put a signed copy in the mail to each of three commenters. Just tell us what, if anything, you are enjoying about this time of year. (Or what you are NOT enjoying!)



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20 comments on “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  1. I am spending the weekend doing a bit of changing of the seasons for our household. We use quilts during the summer, usually from Memorial Day to mid-September, and comforters in the fall and winter and early spring. This weekend, I’ve washed quilts and am dragging out the comforters. We will use just the comforters until October, then add a blanket. Around Thanksgiving, we add the flannel sheets. In the Midwest, it’s best to ggggrrrraaddduuuaallly add the layers because things don’t get SUPER cold until later. And there’s always the chance it will be in the 80s next week, while we’ve hovered around 60 today (and predicted) and tomorrow. Once we get to Thanksgiving, there’s no going back, so it’s safe to add the flannel sheets.

    Living in the season we’re in and looking forward to it is something I’ve always enjoyed. As we transition from one to another, I DO get tired of the one we’re in. This year, I feel cheated out of spring and summer, even tho we DID go through them. It just felt wrong and *not enough*. I wish we had a few more weeks of real summer so I would feel ready to move on to autumn. Autumn is my favorite season and I know the calendar says it’s time but I just don’t feel ready this year. 🙁

  2. I am loving the cooler weather! Just in from my first neighborhood walk with Rose and Greg and they seemed happier in the cooler air.

    Baking! I made lemon bread and brownies last week. The house smelled delicious and the family was happy. I’ve requests for pumpkin bread, cookies and a cheesecake for this week.

    Sleeping- no a/c, no fan and lots of sleep!!

    I am going to get some mums and pumpkins this week. The fall colors add warmth to porch and deck.

    Have a great week…and please do not enter me in this weeks contest as I have a copy of the book. The cover is gorgeous.

  3. Day two of a tropical storm force nor’easter with 50kt wind gusts, protection from the more drastic storms of #2020 as a result (thank you, La Niña), & temps FINALLY dropping from heat advisories to what y’all elsewhere would consider high summer. My air conditioning bill is finally plummeting from the equivalent of a Canadian heating bill to the prospect of opening windows this coming week. Fresh air scrubbed of smoke by Atlantic winds.

    I’m grateful for the mercy of the lower utilities, but finding all the horrible weather means food prices are taking up the slack. It’s a small mercy that local farmers are finally able to find a market now the foreign competition isn’t undercutting them. So I’m getting higher quality in small batches as they find their footing & markets. A bonus is some heirloom goodies & exotics like the local lady experimenting with water buffaloes for dairy.

    Very grateful for having enough clothes & covers so that all I’m needing to supplement this winter are shoes & toiletries. Plus my little queendom is finally paid for after a stretch of worry. There’s a lot of gratitude in having a sound roof overhead, reliable transportation when I do have to go out, a gentle sufficiency of food, & sturdy clothing. In these uncertain times, ENOUGH is miraculous.

  4. I have Ash & Della’s story. No need to add my name.

    I enjoy this season here. It is cooler than high summer, the smoke mitigates. Harvest is about over with bins of sweet corn, tomatoes and late plums giving way to squashes, pumpkins and the last of the apples. Most of the hay is in, except for folks who get a third cut.

    However, I have never liked the sound of chainsaws as the winter fire wood is cut. Some farmers still dare burn their fields. Harvest comes at the expense of the plant.

    A friend once gifted me an ode to flannel… We plant bulbs in hope of another spring…

  5. I love that when it starts to get cooler (which it really won’t until months from now, here where I am), I am no longer dripping sweat from the heat and humidity at the end of time outdoors. Hooray for lower temps!

  6. This time of year always means more horror movies and paranormal thises and thatses… I just don’t handle these kinds of things well. I was never a good trick-or-treater which my siblings loved because I gave them most of my candy. (that’s _most_, but not all!) So, the overwhelming amount of horror on the TV part is difficult.
    BUT, once that “season” is over, I enjoy hunkering down for a long winter’s nap. 🙂 Where I live, there’s not a dramatic change in scenery when the weather changes. The cooler weather and gentle light is sooooooo much nicer than hotter-than-blazes summer.
    It’s also nice because my siblings come out of their introvert caves to my downright persistent (and maybe a little annoying) requests for information!

    I also LOVE the tremendous availability of pumpkin spice everything!!! Yay for pumpkin spice! 😀 😀 😀

  7. I love Fall. Growing up not far where you are in Maryland,and now living in the Phoenix area (we are still having high heat advisories!), I anxiously await cool weather. Nothing smells quite like it! Thanks, to you, and your father, I am definitely going to enjoy the oatmeal-ice cream bowl of deliciousness idea. Frankly, that is brilliant!

  8. I love fall’s arrival selfishly because my birthday is usually the first full day of Fall (including this year) and it’s my celebration. Here in central Florida, fall means that hurricane season is winding down and average high temps are only in the high 80s (my favorite temps). Mostly I prefer summer.

    I hope that your (Grace and other readers) family members will escape the worst of this year’s awful disasters. I have family and/or friends in CA, WA, OR, and UT and also Panhandle FL so am hopeful for them, too (so far, so good-ish).

    Also, I have a copy of the book so do not need another one.

  9. I’m enjoying the cooler air and the departure of humidity. I don’t like that it is getting dark earlier. We are also approaching the end of the fresh Jersey tomato season – I’m binging on sliced fresh tomatoes with chopped basil leaves & mozzarella, from my local farm stand, with sprinkles of olive oil.

  10. I too am enjoying the cooler nights and crisp days with Autumn approaching. It must be so worrisome for you to have your daughter so near the wildfires.
    My two daughters and son live in NYC and that’s a whole different set of worries. But I’m thankful they are staying safe.
    Pretty soon it will be too cool to garden, so making soups and stews will definitely on the agenda!

  11. As an adult and a parent, fall is a mixed blessing for me. The start of the school year and all the illness that comes with the kids getting back together (any year, but especially stressful this year), the logistics of the back-to-school events and the fall soccer seasons of multiple kids, fall allergies… It seems like I’m perpetually tired and running late for something all fall.

    And every year I miss a bit more the wonderful fall colors of Michigan’s UP, where I grew up. (Though in northern Indiana we actually get spring, which is nice, and some years the fall leaves are pretty good.)

    But despite all that, I still love fall — especially the fall flowers (pansies! zinnias!), the fresh apple cider cider (hot or cold), the absence of the miserably hot and humid late summer weather, the ability to have ALL the windows of the house open (allergies be d@#%ed), the opportunity to wear my knits again, and the preparations for Halloween (I always end up sewing at least one full costume but I love that too).

  12. My absolute favorite thing about fall is the cooler weather – it makes all the other great things that you listed possible, Grace! Hubby and I just got back to Texas from 2 weeks in the Idaho and Wyoming area of the north (with brief stops in Okalahoma, Kansas, and Colorado).

    Despite the ever present haze (smoke from multiple fires to be precise) and concern for friends and family near the fires, we had a wonderful time. Being able to go outside and walk for more than 5 minutes without being drenched in sweat – even with our face masks – is seriously underrated by so many people. He continued his virtual work for the first week so we only had one week of vacation. However the change of scenery and being able to watch the leaves slowly change colors and keep windows open during the day was wonderful.

    We missed a week with lots of rain and cooler temperatures here at home, and had hazy skies all the way to home in the Austin, TX area. Today, we are all thankful for the rains from tropical storm Beta that have knocked the smoke from the sky and lowered temperatures. I’m looking forward to being able to wear jeans and boots and maybe even long sleeves and be comfortable for a few months!

  13. I feel like the lifting of the heat gives me more energy and makes me feel optimistic. I bake and roast vegetables and make soup and enjoy sweatshirts on our evening walks. The heat of summer is welcome when it arrives, but I am always glad for it to wane as well. The kids are doing distance learning and it is actually going quite well, so it is an atypical school start but a positive back to school despite all the challenges. So, in the middle of the High Holidays I feel like I can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature and the gift of my family even in the midst of everything else.

  14. I live in Phoenix. My weather has not changed from summer at all. No complaints. The weather is what brought us here.
    Occasionally, I miss the pretty leafcolor change. But I never miss cold nights and piles of blankets. We love the fans running year round. For that matter, our ac runs the better part of the winter.
    I am glad you all are enjoying your autumn changes.

  15. Most wonderful time of year? Visiting Apple Hill to enjoy the harvest of apples, app,e doughnuts, apple pie, apple cider. The brisk air during the autumn season in the mountains. Peaceful. I always love traveling through the mountains and the foothills here in California.

  16. I am enjoying cooler weather (80‘s) and the rain refreshed flowers in my back yard! It’s still summer here, and the pool is heated, so socially distanced visits are happening.

  17. Enjoying your site. It’s very comforting & photos are charming.
    Photo of your barn in winter might indicate you live somewhere in Central PA. The barn shown is identical to the one on my parent’s farm near McAlevy’s Fort, which was about 15 miles away from State College, PA. (I’m always very homesick for Central Pennsylvania.)
    Was more confined recently than usual, because living in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, we were on the fires map as “green-pack-get-ready-to-evacuate” category. Dreadful times & I hope your daughter is well. We have been blessed with rain for a few days & have been so thrilled to see beautiful blue skies off & on.
    Here is an interesting thing I discovered when finishing up one of your books. When Kindle moved me to the Goodreads rating page,it dawned on me that yours is one of the very few books I ever rate as 5 stars. Have not given that page too much attention & when I realized this, I found it quite amusing.

  18. My dad pressed apple cider commercially in the fall months. Of course, we kids were drafted into helping with the business. Whenever I go into the sales area of an orchard and smell the apples, it takes me back to those times.