The other day I searched high and low for decorative gourds to adorn my Thanksgiving table. The supermarket must have had a rush for them because there wasn’t any left. Walking around the corner where they should have been, suddenly I discovered some unique squashes that could stand in for the gourds and serve my purpose.
I chose a golden acorn, an orange squash I’ve never seen before, a bright yellow acorn, and a slender squash and that resembled a gourd. With a little research I discovered that the slender tan squash is called a Delicata squash. The multi colored acorn shaped squash is a Carnival squash. The orange round one resembles a pumpkin and is called a Golden Acorn. I threw in my home-grown Buttercup squash from our garden to add a little dark color and complete my display.
We had eleven diners so we had two long tables. On each table I scattered the colorful squashes amid my pilgrim people and turkey leaf display. My one regret is that I didn’t have time to snap a photo because I was deep into a cooking mode but they did look beautiful! Interspersed with the plates were my niece’s lovely thankful turkeys and artwork.
Now I have all these squashes and it’s fun to search for different uses. I plan to make all of them within the next couple weeks. In years past I’ve baked squash wedges with a little brown sugar and butter or boiled it. Winter squash is tasty either way and a healthy side dish to any meal! Tonight I baked the golden squash with butter and salt and pepper. It was yummy and accompanied my spiral pasta with local sausage. ( See my side note)
A Little Side Note:
Recently my husband and I started buying meat from a local farm in our town. I saw the post on our town blog from a local farm. They are selling a holiday package of a variety of meats all from their farm and processed in a FDA facility. We were excited to invest locally with GMO free and grass-fed meat and will continue buying from this farm. It feels good to abandon grocery shopping for meat that has traveled many miles from who knows where. Not knowing where your food comes from is pretty scary…especially in this day and age of additives and the Genetically Modified Organisms nightmare.
I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and spent it with people you love! I did…it was a special day of feasting, love and family.
Here is a photo of the dinner crew after eating and indulging in these desserts, pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple crisp, Reese’s peanut butter pie, cherry pie and chocolate cream pie. Wow, there were lots of desserts and leftovers!
Long ago fall was a time to go for a family drive to see foliage and a visit to the pumpkin patch. We happily rode down sleepy route 10 past towns with sprawling enormous houses and by Court Street in Haverhill, where I grew up. We would finally arrive in Orford, New Hampshire, at the pumpkin farm and see aisles of the orange squash, short and towering tall ones and fat busty pumpkins awaiting eager customers. The farmer always smiled and kindly told the boys that they could choose a couple of gourds.
Climbing over a plunging pile of pumpkins, the boys would gladly pose for a photo and proceed to pick their favorite. Walking the displays back and forth, the boys inspected each face. Upon seeing their prize, their face would light up and instantly a small hand grabbed the scratchy stem. Proud and plump pumpkins were tucked in the back of the SUV while we paid the farmer.
The week of Halloween we broke out the carving knives, bowls, big spoons and newspapers for a carving good time. Sometimes the weather cooperated and we worked outside and others we made the best of it on the kitchen floor. Either way it was always entertaining to see our different pumpkin personalities.
Following the scooping out of the slimy orange guts, we would separate the pumpkin seeds and dry them off with paper towels. Once dried, I would spread them out on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast for a scrumptious snack.
When spooky Halloween night arrived, at dusk I would place a little candle in each jack-o- lantern. The reflecting light brought each carved squash to life as their expressions came to spooky life. It was a special glow that we gawked at once a year in the depth of October.
Do you visit the pumpkin patch? Have you carved a beauty lately?
As October 31st approaches just around the corner, I remember Halloween days of what seems long ago. The celebratory ghost of Halloween lingers in my thoughts…memories of our sons choosing costumes for school and trick or-treating, visiting the in-laws to see what my mother-in- law would dress up in and the passing out of a few candy bars to neighbor children before we left out into the night.
There was the cowboy costume that Dylan proudly wore two years in a row. The black hat, shiny cap gun and pleather holster and a handy bandanna from my drawer. Then the year Branden wore a hot pumpkin jumper and sweat beaded on his face and he ended up crying from being overtired. I didn’t post the picture of him crying out of respect but it’s comical now looking back.
One year Dylan wanted to be a Blue Power Ranger and coincidentally his cousin Spencer was one too but with a red suit. Oh I can’t forget the simple ghost costume Branden wore and the eyes kept moving off his face…
Since we live in a small community we would trick or treat by car. Tom and I would chauffeur them to a few neighbors’ houses to be greeted with smiles and candy, for that’s what neighbors do. Afterwards we trekked over a couple of miles to our in-laws to hang out for a few hours.
My mother-in- law is known for dressing up in costumes over the years and the tradition continued with her grandchildren. Every year she wore something different to amuse the kids, but we were enjoying it too. One year Theo dressed as a clown and we got this great picture of her and Dylan.
Out of all these fleeting memories filled with the boys laughter and costume fun, the best thing was that they transformed into something magical for one night a year. It wasn’t always about the candy but they loved that too, because I didn’t buy candy all the time. It sure was a treat. I grew up with my dad owning grocery stores and candy and soda were easy to acquire, therefore I didn’t want our boys to get addicted to it like I did.
There’s the Halloween when the boys were 6 and 8, great ages to explore new costumes, ones that kind of reflected their personalities. Dylan chose a hunter costume, probably in tribute to his dad who is an avid hunter. Branden wanted to be a scarecrow, perhaps out of like for the infamous scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz or out of a fondness for the floppy nature of one.
A scarecrow hanging out on the wall, ready to spook visitors.
Flipping through these past memories, I remember being caught up in the hustle of buying or planning costumes and being stressed about the holiday. Even so, I truly enjoyed these moments and love looking back at photos I took. I had many people tell me to capture those moments with a camera because otherwise much would be forgotten. With a grateful heart I share these with you for some smiles and perhaps they will trigger fond moments of long ago for you.
As I plunge back into the present, I’ll tell you that Halloween is quiet now. We haven’t had a trick or treaters for five years, yet I still purchase a small bag of candy with slight hope. This may sound sad to you, but it really isn’t to me. There’s a time and season for everything and this is the season that we are in. In the present Tom and I will keep our light on, just in case and maybe watch a movie or play Scrabble Halloween night. Looking into the future hopefully we will enjoy our trick or treating grandchildren and everything will come full circle.
As I conclude this post I wish you will enjoy neighbor romping children and indulge in a little treat or two. If your holiday is rather quiet too, try to be thankful and remember what was while looking forward to what may be.
The first few weeks of autumn in our little state actually felt like long-lost summer days, hot and steamy like Florida. Summer hung on as Mother Nature didn’t get the memo to transition into cooling autumn. Muggy days with temperatures in the 80’s hung thick over us, making our clothes stick to our skin. Many days when I hit the pavement, sweat poured from every pore and even though I welcome summer weather, I truly set my hopes for fall.
Finally weeks later it feels that fall has rushed in with a swoop of cool air accompanied with sunny and pleasant days. Most nights we have to close our windows , as the air cools right down in the 40’s and 50’s. My favorite part of the evening is when Tom lights our trusty stove. The mesmerizing scent of smoke wafts in the livingroom and the crisp smell of burned wood reminds me of my childhood years of fireplace and stove fires. Orange licks of flames shine through the stove window and I thank God that we have heat and can be cozy and warm because of it. Our cats appreciate the comfort of the hearth and soak in the heat, as their tails flick back and forth.
Like many New Hampshire residents, I welcome autumn days. There’s something exceptional about mustard golds, pinks, reds, and peach leaves hanging on the trees and falling with gentle breezes. The mountainous landscape becomes a natural canvas for all to gawk at and feel the immediate tranquility. Warm yet mild days give way to apple picking, pumpkin searching, football games and gathering up leaves for the jump in contest. Plummets of fall smoke fills the air, brush fires, bon fires, wood stoves crank up the heat while little critters prepare for the coming days of winter. The cool night air feels like luxury to your skin, kissing you with pleasant tingles.
It seems that the colors emerged earlier this year, sometime in early September. I enjoyed them but visioned immense foliage displays this month. I believe the hot days have lessened the pop and without those cold temperatures, I noticed the colors were muted and less this year. As we are immersed in late October, foliage has passed on. Despite this truth, the piles of beautiful leaves, pumpkins and scarecrows perched on porches remind me that autumn is here, my favorite time of the year!
Wherever you may be, notice the significant changes of season. Maybe you didn’t have foliage where you are…perhaps it’s a subtle change of temperature or lessening of the tourist deluge. A new season is a perfect time to indulge in your local foods and products. Here in the north country, apple cider is available as well as glowing orange pumpkins in farmer’s fields. Crafters set up at local fall sales as visions of upcoming holidays dance in our thoughts.
Embrace a new chapter in this change of season. This shift in time truly is a gift to cherish, a subtle reminder that there’s a time and place for everything. This can be your time to explore. Why not visit a new local venue or hike a trail you always have meant to? Whatever you decide to do, live in the moment and use your senses to indulge. What do you see with beckoning eyes and not a cell phone picture? What pleasant scents appeal to you? Do you hear noises that become peaceful memories? How about touch…do you feel the rough bark of a nearby tree or the bumpy pumpkin skins on display? If you focus on the experience with your senses, it will be a warm memory to hold on to.
Happy Autumn days to all! What are your favorite fall moments?
This post is dedicated to all classic car enthusiasts who long for the thrill of restoring a gem to what it once was.
Spontaneity is the spice of life, don’t you agree? With that said, much of my adult life has been just the opposite. I plan, plan, plan and Tom goes along with it and in the end, we always have fun on our little excursions. About a month ago my son’s girlfriend Alexis asked us if we wished to go to a car cruise with them on Saturday afternoon. It was a work of spontaneity and fun! We were excited to jump on board, but didn’t know what to expect, only that there would be classic cars involved.
Gary Schoolcraft, a long time resident of beautiful Peacham, Vermont is the event’s organizer. Lexie knows him and his wife, Claudette and introduced us to him. Gary is generous enough to share his classic car , with Dylan and Lexie, letting them take it for weekends and such. This time he let Dylan drive the 1965 Chevy Impala while Alexis sat in the front seat and Tom and I lounged in the back. The weekend event was another fun excuse to dive back in time. Tom and I wish to thank Alexis and Dylan for asking us to tag along. We also want to thank Gary for his hospitality and making us feel welcome during the ride.
The gorgeous 1965 Chevy Impala SS has a 396 engine with a four speed. This red as an apple beauty is completely original including the paint. The interior is a shiny red and sparkling. It rides comfortably and purrs like a kitten.
I thought of what a beautiful outing this was , as we perched on the vinyl seats with windows wide open to fresh Vermont air. The rushing air through the open window was exhilarating while it caressed my thick locks of hair. What’s the sense in taking a thrill ride without letting everything flutter in the breeze?
While we waited for other cars and their owners, we surveyed the vehicles before us in the blazing heat. The sweltering sun cooked up a hot steamy September day. After about 15 cars arrived at the first stop, we were all on our cruise down route 5 to the next stop, Wells River, Vermont. There many other classic cars roared in, jumping in line for the parade of sorts.
Passing by little towns like Bradford and Fairlee, we saw people waving and smiling widely. I guess you don’t see classic cars like these everyday and it’s always a joy to be launched back in time! Our last stop before the drive-in movie was at Wings Market in Fairlee where we all parked askew all over the parking lot and raided the ice cream stand. As the line snaked out and people laughed while waiting , a familiar voice came from the crowd. Our nephew, Luke was there! What a coincidence…Luke was driving his friend’s classic car and spotted us in line. You never really know who you will bump into on a given adventure!
Arriving at the Fairlee drive-in I experienced a bit of nostalgia from my childhood. My parents and one time my brothers brought my sister and I to the drive-in to see movies. Back then they sold the mosquito coil that you would burn on your dash but they would end up scorching holes in it. The smoke would fill up the car and yet the mosquitoes still were attracted to us. We would take the old metal speaker and latch it on the windows to hear the show. Now they give you the radio station to tune in to, to hear the audio.
All the classic cars paraded into the drive-in of all colors and makes. I would guess that maybe 40 or 50 cars were there. You could hear people visiting and laughing and engines roaring in, to celebrate days of old. After a quick dinner of hamburgers and soft drinks, it was time to settle in for the movie. While Dylan and Alexis sat in the front, Tom and I sat like two teenagers in the back in luxury.
It was so much fun seeing the movie with the kids and experiencing this day with them. It felt like we were immersed in a time capsule and thrust back to the 60’s for one special day. Riding in such a beauty was a magical experience but what really topped it off was to be surrounded by the nicest people! All the crowd had one thing in common….a desire to gawk at all the amazing automobiles and honor all the work and sweat poured into each frame.