On a visit last week to our town library, I parked next to a line of ornamental maple trees ablaze with brilliant, sun-struck foliage. Beneath them, a riot of scarlet, crimson and orange leaves covered the ground, free for the taking. (Or so I assumed.) So I grabbed a shopping bag from the car and stuffed it full, a little guiltily—as if I were pilfering rubies instead of dead leaves.
Today was one of those perfect autumn days that takes my breath away: cool, crisp air; pale-golden beams of sunlight slanting through the firs; the scent of damp alder leaves wafting up as I raked them into piles to toss on the vegetable garden.
I woke up to gloom and drizzle this morning, a sight that would usually make me feel like ducking back underneath the covers to hibernate. (I can’t, of course, because the animals will be demanding their breakfast.) But today is different because a gloomy, drizzly day is perfect for staying indoors to make herbal jellies, and that’s exactly what I have planned: a long-overdue jelly day with my sunny friend and jelly buddy, Linda.
Whenever we return from a trip somewhere, my family and I come home with two kinds of souvenirs: the real, hold-in-your-hands kind that you pick up along the way (from polished stones gathered for free on a beach in Wales to that expensive Mickey sweatshirt bought from a Disneyland tourist shop) and the intangible kind.
The log cabin, dimly lit by oil lamps and a few small windows, bustles with activity: girls dressed in matching aprons and bonnets (and a few boys, definitely not in aprons and bonnets) kneading bread dough, churning cream and grinding corn.
When Brett and I moved to the country two decades ago, we envisioned having a sunny little orchard where we would harvest bushels of apples, pears and other delicious tree treasure each year.