Autumn has always been my favorite season, with the heat of summer gone and plants going to seed, leaves turning and days shortening. Growing up in the Northeast, summers were humid and anything much above eighty-three degrees was too uncomfortable. Fall weather meant clear blue skies and cool dry air.
I always love the smell of decaying leaves on a walk and views returning as trees and bushes once again ready for winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest summers aren’t nearly so humid, but rain tends to take a hiatus, drying things out a bit. Autumn signals the return of rain and drizzle while blue skies and sun breaks become treasured once again.
I miss gentle sloping hillsides peppered with boldly colored maple trees, as many of the native maples where I live now are a different variety that instead of becoming bright red and orange, fade from green to mustard. And our alders drop their leaves still green. Weird.
Still chronically tired from the spiritual process I’ve been going through for the past few years, I haven’t made it up to the mountains to capture fall foliage, but that’s never stopped me from snapping a photo of fall color. Here are a few shots I grabbed in a recent window of good weather.
And because I haven’t made it over yet, a throwback to a few years ago during a visit to a favorite local pumpkin patch.
It wouldn’t be fall without apples. Both a neighbor and some family who have small orchards gifted us with a variety of apples recently. Our own lone apple tree isn’t well tended these days and we’ve been leaving the fruit to the creatures who frequent our yard. Because I found myself with more apples than we could eat or store, the extras turned into applesauce recently. But not just any applesauce. Ever since I first made applesauce from scratch, making plain, cinnamon sugar, and lavender, hands down my favorite became lavender. And that’s all I’ve made for years.
If you’re interested in making lavender applesauce, for this 3.5 qt. batch I simmered a few tablespoons of dried culinary lavender buds (in my big tea ball – or I sometimes put them in cheese cloth) with the apples while they were cooking. And I added a little sugar because the apples were pretty tart. The first few times I made lavender applesauce I put the buds in loose with the apples and milled the entire batch. And it was a lot of work. A quick note: English lavender is preferred over French lavender for cooking.
During the winter if I get a hankering for lavender applesauce I’m not above buying a big jar of plain applesauce and simmering it for about twenty minutes with a tea ball filled with lavender buds. Once it’s cooled down I pop it in the fridge.
And finally, here are a few of our regular visitors. Because we don’t have a dog to patrol the yard, we see deer and rabbits regularly. It’s fun seeing the fawns, now without their spots, as they sometimes leap and prance around the yard unencumbered by the thick brush in our woods.
Wow–the color near you is amazing! It’s been a rather dry autumn here so the colors are not great yet. I’m hoping we get there before a cold snap. And lavender applesauce sounds amazing!
Thanks. The thing about cooking with lavender is it’s so different from how it smells. In the best way!
Other parts of the country have their loveliness. Still it is nice to remind ourselves how nice here is, too.