photo(71)It’s always a nice surprise when Mother Nature decides to give us our first glimpse of fall…every year it happens and every year it still surprises and pleases! Leaves change their colors from green to shades of gold, rusty red, burnt orange, burgundy and yellow…all with shorter days [less sunlight stirs the change] and cooler weather.

It’s time to get cozy, find new order in the house, gather ’round the table…Even the coolest of fall days feels cozy with a fire blazing in the hearth. For the past month I’ve been making fire starter bundles from lavender and rosemary trimmings…something so easy yet elegant placed in a basket by the fireplace. To make, just gather a handful of material, wrap some raffia around the bundle and tie a knot. I usually make them about 10-12 inches long depending on the size of my trimmings.

On those first few early mornings when the sun is slow to      show, I begin the process of cleaning out and organizing the closets… I always put lavender buds in boxes or bags filled with summer sandals and leather clogs, store straw handbags in pillowcases with herb sachets, cull any clothes I didn’t wear for the last six months and ready them for taking to DAV.

This is an easy way to keep clutter under control and make the best use of limited closet space. Working on the small closet in the bedroom… I removed the typical hanging rod, lined the walls in lavender scented paper, placed two spotlights on a piece of trim at the top of the closet, added double hanging bars to allow for shirts and pants on one side of the closet, and on the other side…added an old pine tallboy, with drawers to hold clothes and accessories. So stylish looking now…and much more functional.

It’s also time to pull out the creamy white flannel sheets, rinse them in lavender water and hang them on the clothesline to dry. AND, as days go by…get the house ready for the winter holidays. With no more daylight evening hours for a glass of Chardonny on the patio, I just can’t resist bringing in an armload of logs for the first fire of the season and then later in the day… position my leather wing chair by the hearth…and pour that glass of red wine before dinner.

It’s a crisp, mid-October morningwith sunshine finally over the tops of the trees through the golden leaves, I wake Holly from her post breakfast nap and head outside for a walk in the woods! The woods are radiant…yellow leaves swirl in the breeze and float to the ground making piles on the trail…Holly lopes ahead hoping to meet that squirrel scampering across the path and up the huge oak tree. So much beauty…

FALL for these simple ideas…for the harvest tablescape, I combine freshly cut branches of autumn leaves and sumac berries, gathered from my woods walk, with curly willow sticks from the garden in an ochre and brown colored antique pate’ jar…a basket filled with apples and pears, small gourds and pumpkins, popcorn in a wooden bowl, a short stack of old books, caramel candies in a glass compote, walnuts and pecans, chubby candles…objects placed with varying heights for interest. The cozy feel on the table and in the room is achieved through a sophisticated mix of pattern, texture, and rich colors so that even common objects become things of beauty when brought together in a still-life composition.

OCTOBER is the month for baking with apples, pears, pumpkins, figs, nuts and warm fall spices… and making turkey & black bean chili…the change of seasons is tangibly in the air and it’s time to pull out my fall book of recipes. Baking muffins, sweet potato biscuits, and pumpkin bread becomes therapeutic for me, filling the kitchen with the scent of autumn fruits, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg…

Tarte Tatin, whole pears oven-roasted until soft and golden, drizzled with local wildflower honey …how do I choose where to start?                                                                                  photo(10)

I need to find my recipes, add more mulch to the garden, get the weeds overseeded with annual rye, clear the old tomato vines, and plant some pansies!

Come back next week to see what I’m baking…’til then, enjoy the glory of autumn days!

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