Fall back

This is the weekend to fall back. When I hear that phrase, I immediately picture myself falling back into a huge pile of raked autumn leaves. That would be easy enough here. There are huge amounts of oak and hickory leaves to be had for it. We have a couple of hickory trees that have the very large nuts. We’ve been harvesting them for the last couple of weeks. Even the toddler gets in on the fun. We fill our hoodie and jacket pockets with their rich goodness. I love to remove the husks, which are very easy to peel off. There are four sections, and normally they just pop off with your fingers. There’s an occasional stubborn side, but not often. The shell is pointed at one end and a beautiful shade of light brown, nut brown, if you will. I always savor the smoothness of them as I’m depositing them in my pockets. The taste of hickory nuts is that of rich sweetness. They make as good a pie as any pecan. If I can get enough shelled before the Thanksgiving feast, they will make it onto the dessert table.

The chrysanthemums that I bought from K’s elementary school PTO fundraiser are in glorious bloom. They give the term “cushion mums” new meaning. It’s a challenge restraining the toddler from picking each and every blossom, and to get him to just pat them, but he’s learning.

We have guests coming for dinner Saturday. I’m trying out a couple of new recipes that I found on Pinterest. A baked mac and cheese dish with bacon, butternut squash, and Gruyère cheese. It sounds so rich and comforting, I can’t wait to try it. Also, a Brussels sprouts salad with apple slices that I think will compliment well the rich mac and cheese casserole. I’m getting really brave with a third new recipe, one for an appetizer, creamy crab Rangoon dip with wonton chips. The recipe calls for imitation crab, but I’m using the real thing. My friends know that I often use them as guinea pigs. I’ve had a few flops, but most of the time they’re at least in the edible category, and, thankfully, they have all been kind enough not to mention the floppy ones.

There was talk of a bonfire after dinner, but it looks as if that will have to be postponed to another time. We’re expecting possible rain mixed with snow. I don’t think I’m ready for that. We haven’t had enough autumn yet, and there have been lots of rainy, drizzly days, not our usual brilliantly blue October days. David has been busy cutting down dead ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer to warm us on cold nights. The summer was busy with the moving and getting settled in, so this last-minute push to stock the woodpile feels a little hurried. Even the toddler is getting in on the action, helping to load the wheelbarrow. Yes, he loaded all of that by himself. He is quite the worker bee, and he isn’t quite two years old.

I hope you’re getting your woodpile stacked and your pantry stocked for the winter to come. I hear it’s gonna be a doozy.

See you soon,


Postscript:  The dinner party was a wonderful break from the daily grind. And the new dishes got RAVE reviews, even from me, my own harshest critic. Really, you should try the mac and cheese and the salad, for sure.

6 thoughts on “Fall back

  1. That recipe sounds divine, so glad it turned out and your guests enjoyed it.

    How rich this time has been, reading of your autumn there after the busy time of moving. I feel as if we’ve been sitting together at your kitchen table over coffee, and something spicy baking in the oven. I so enjoy reading your beautifully written reflections.

    When we went to the orchard with the family recently, Don picked a hickory nut to show James. He grabbed it with indignation and threw it back into the woods saying, “That is not our own!” He proceeded to do this with a couple other things, including an ear of dried corn from the field. Don picked up the discarded ear and said, “you can walk with it a while,” and so James began to eat it his borrowed corn. 🙂


    • Dear Ruthie, thank you for your always kind words. I’m happy that you are enjoying my little offerings.

      James is an upstanding and honest little boy. I love his declaration! I wonder if he enjoyed his dried corn? Did Grandpa explain that they feed it to cows and pigs? I can see him pretending to be a little piggy munching on ears of corn. 🙂 It just seems that autumn days are made for memory making, but I guess they all are. Keep harvesting the memories, and I will do the same.



  2. Nearly missed this one! What struck me was how there are aliments from a life long ago in your present-day one – stocking the woodpile, of course, but also the warmth of dinner table company and installing a work ethic in the young ones. Not to be confused with child labour, naturally 😉
    Glad that your gastronomic experiments were so successful and I’d be glad of that Mac ‘n cheese recipe. Mind you, me and butternut squash aren’t the best companions when it comes to the peeling…
    What I have missed, I realise, is being taken away to someone else’s life, even if only for a few minutes. And you’re not just any someone!!! Rake on, my friend.


  3. Hi Deb! Ha! Yes, I do carry on food traditions of long ago that were passed down from my mother’s side of the family. Sadly, I don’t know any from my dad’s side, not having grown up with any of them after the age of 10, when my dad died. And, we wouldn’t really have to work that hard to keep our house warm in the winter, but the fire feels so cozy, and the dog loves it. 🙂

    We have been enjoying that delicious mac and cheese for a couple of lunches, and I must say that it’s a keeper. The squash just kind of becomes very soft and creamy, but still holds its shape for the most part. Butternut squash is extremely hard to peel. I’ve found that if you cut it into cross-wise sections and put the flat parts next to the cutting board, then use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut down to the board, it works a lot better than trying to hold it in your hand and using a veggie peeler. So much easier on the hands, too. If you click on the recipe name in the text, there’s a link. The only things I did differently was to bake the dish at 400°F, instead of 425°. You really have to watch the squash cooking in the milk, too. It wants to boil over constantly. I had a couple of boil overs and ended up adding back some milk to the sauce before combining everything.

    I’m really enjoying just kind of talking about little things going on in my life, and especially enjoying hearing from my best buddies. I’ll try to keep the posts coming, assuming that there is something other than daily drudgery to talk about. 🙂

    Love you!


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