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,

Susan

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.