Pumpkin Please!

Every year when August starts getting a bit cooler I find myself wishing summer wouldn’t end so quickly. Then September rolls in and with it the real fall weather, and I remember how much I love this season!

The cooler weather just means that we can play outside, even in the middle of the day, without feeling hot and sweaty, worrying about sunburn, etc. Nature starts to give us all kinds of new things to explore, such as pine cones and acorns falling from the trees, and of course soon there will be many colorful leaves joining them. Lewis is on a constant quest to crawl under the pine trees to find pine cones. This results in getting poked with branches, sticky pine sap on his hands, and eventually him trying to bite off bits of pine cone, but he is determined to continue.

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Lewis is also fascinated with the crab apples on the trees around our apartments. He tries to pick them up off the ground and pluck them from the trees every chance he gets. And of course what he wants to do with them is eat them. How is it that he wants to eat such a horrible sour thing as a crab apple, but he refuses to try broccoli or potatoes?

Trying to take a bite off a sour little crab apple.

Trying to take a bite off a sour little crab apple.

He has also been enjoying all the sticks that are knocked on the ground from the windy weather we have been having. He sometimes tries to chew on them, but mostly he just wants to pick them up and carry them around. Big sticks are best of course but small sticks are fun too.

I am enjoying the fall weather and bounty of the trees too. There are these little green nut shells everywhere, mostly in  piles under trees where the squirrels have dropped them. I don’t know what they are, but they seem to be calling to me to create art with them. (A la Andy Goldsworthy.) Most of my creations Lewis ends up swatting the shells all around before I can even finish, but I managed to decorate this tree root the other day.

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Besides the weather and outdoor play, we have also been greatly enjoying the fall foods. Apple picking was fun (and we will probably go again) and we have been having all kinds of yummy apple things. My biggest project has been making jars of applesauce to freeze. I’ve finished two small batches and plan on doing at least one more batch.

IMG_9530I use my mother’s method/”recipe,” cooking the apples with skins on and then smooshing them through a food mill, which can give the applesauce the most beautiful pink color. This was batch number one, the jars went in the freezer and the little tub into the fridge and then our bellies. Batch number two was with half yellow apples so the color wasn’t so pink, but I mixed blackberries into some and peaches into the rest so it is still fun. I have four more empty jars to fill and I haven’t decided yet whether they will be straight applesauce or have any additions. Either way, these will be wonderful to be able to pull out of the freezer in the middle of the winter. So much more delicious than bland grocery store applesauce.

I’ve been feeling a bit like a squirrel with my desire to cook and cook and cook and store things away. Unfortunately we have limited freezer space and I don’t have the skills/time/equipment for canning. So far I’ve just frozen my applesauce and some bags of tomatoes from our farm share. For the most part I’ve just been baking things to eat and enjoy now.

And as the title references, we’ve also been enjoying all things pumpkin! Silly Chris doesn’t like pumpkin, but that just means even more deliciousness for me. I started with a can of pumpkin puree that had been lurking in the bag of the cupboard. I made some pumpkin zucchini muffins, pumpkin oat bars, and a pumpkin cream cheese spread to share with Lewis, all of which he seemed to enjoy. And now the restaurants are all filling with pumpkin-everything and I find myself buying pumpkin spice lattes from starbucks and my most favorite ever pumpkin muffins from our local co-op. Lewis has been mooching bites from my muffins, and trying to talk me into sharing the lattes as well.

I plan on buying and making much more apple and pumpkin bounty in the weeks to come! Yum!

 

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