Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Favorite Season

I'm finally getting around to answer my own journal prompts from my AnceStories2 blog.

*How do you feel about fall? Is it a favorite season, or do you prefer another?

Fall is my favorite season of year...I love the variety of colors and temperatures and weather. One of the things I look forward to every year is seeing the trees in all their glory against a clear blue sky. I call this shade of blue "October blue". Here in Spokane in the early mornings, the fog settles like a blanket not only on the river, but on the land for miles around; in fact, Spokane International Airport (five miles southwest, up on the West Plains) is one of the most fogged-in airports in the world.

*What are your favorite fall activities (indoor or out)?

I am one of those people that enjoys raking leaves.

*What are your favorite fall sports (to watch or play)?

I'm not a sports fan; however, the occasional high school football game is always fun.

*Do you have a favorite fall outfit to wear? Corduroy slacks and plaid flannel shirt, a cozy sweater, etc.?

Pretty cardigans are a favorite, along with leather clogs.

*Do you have any particular household or garden chores that you regularly do just in autumn?

I usually don't have yard chores; my husband does most of that. I always enjoy the "getting ready for winter" feeling I have when he drains the hoses and puts them away, covers the air conditioner and mows the lawn one last time to get up all the cones and leaves. I tend to stock up on canned and dry goods and put some extra meat in the freezer, knowing when snowy weather or freezing temps come, getting to the grocery store may not be a viable option.

*Have you ever gone leaf peeping?

Not really; although a few years ago, we took a drive into Montana over Labor Day weekend and already the leaves were turning. It was beautiful. I so enjoy seeing the colors of the trees change around here, since I grew up in Southeast Alaska--full of evergreen forests--with only an occasional deciduous tree in sight.

*What observances of nature do you regularly watch (birds flying south, squirrels preparing for winter, etc.)?

Geese flying south has long been something I watch for, from the time I was a girl in Alaska, to a teen in Northeast Washington, and even now, in the city, I'll see them head for the nearby lakes.

*What flowers that bloom during this season do you especially like?

Mums and sunflowers are my favorite fall blooms.

*Do you visit any orchards, pumpkin patches, or corn mazes?

When I worked at the elementary school level, we take a field trip every fall to Green Bluff, an orchard and farm area northeast of town where all the locals go. Nearly every farm has some sort of fun doing in addition to having their orchards and fields open for pick-it-yourself harvesting.

*What about the local fair?

The fair here is technically in late summer, about a week after Labor Day weekend, but it does get one into the fall/harvest mood. I go every year with my special needs students on a field trip.

*Do you do any kind of harvesting or food preparation (canning, drying, smoking)?

When there was a cherry tree on our property line and the lot next door was abandoned, I'd make cherry jam. It was a sour cherry, so I had to use lots of sugar. That was cut down in order to make room for the duplex (ick) that was erected a year ago. We have a rhubarb plant and pepppermint. I've used the rhubarb for pies and dried the mint leaves for homemade tea. Growing up, my folks did a lot of canning and drying, and in Alaska, the smokehouses would be going all during the fishing season. Smoked salmon is still one of my favorite treats.

*What about hunting?

I've never gone hunting; never had the desire to do so. My nephew calls it "hiking with guns", since it seems whenever the men go out, all they do is hike down one ravine and up another, for miles and miles and miles...

There would usually be a deer or two hanging from someone's front porch in Alaska and I remember my mom making the best dinners with the venison that my dad must have shot.

*Do you do any kind of fall traveling, other than holiday travels?

Not normally. We usually visit my in-laws in the summer or, lately, during the holidays. In October 2000, the four of us took Amtrak back to Western Michigan to visit my grandparents and other family members. I combined a little genealogical research and visited ancestral graves for the first time. I had always visited Michigan in summer or winter, so going in the fall seemed very different. It was much more humid than it is in Eastern Washington; rather than dry, crisp leaves, there were soggy, decaying ones everywhere. I didn't really care for it.

*Which is your favorite fall holiday, and why (Hallowe'en, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, or others)?

My daughter was born on Veterans Day, so naturally it's a favorite. However, I have not been to one Veterans Day service since she was born, since we are always so busy with birthday preparations. Hallowe'en is fun now that we're getting more children coming to our door to trick-or-treat. Thanksgiving is always a good family time. I give up; I just can't choose!

*What are your favorite fresh foods that are in season at this time? Favorite fall recipes or beverages?

Mmm...I love acorn squash with maple syrup and a slice of ham; I also love apple cider, cold or hot.

*Share favorite memories of fall from your childhood.

Since we lived with evergreens around us in Alaska, it's hard to think of a memory that I know occured in fall. Across the bay was an island that had some abandoned homes on it with a few deciduous trees. I always loved to look over there and see the trees turning and wish I could take a boat over and explore the houses. They seemed like treasures, just out of reach.

*What do you least like about this season?

The idea that winter is coming.

*What family birthdays, anniversaries, or events are commemorated in the fall? Are there any significant family history events that occurred during summer?

We have many, many fall birthdays from September through November in both my husband's and my families. My family always has a mini-reunion at a buffet house, usually on the last Sunday in October. It's a combination reunion, birthday celebration (we bring gifts), and early Thanksgiving, since Thanksgiving is usually the "off" holiday where family members would spend time with their in-laws and then come together again for Christmas.

*Do you have any hobbies that you take up during the fall months?

Not especially. I do like crocheting, and it's nice to be working on an afghan when it gets chilly. I'll sit with it on my lap and work on it while watching a movie or TV show on DVD with the family on a weekend night.


wendy said...

My sister lived in Seattle for about 4 years & misses it so much - because of the beautiful sky, trees & scenery (unlike here in North Texas - which is flat, dotted with buildings & traffic!)

Miriam Robbins said...

Unlike Eastern Washington, Seattle has two seasons: wet, and wetter! But it does have the ocean and the gorgeous Cascade and Olympic ranges nearby!

Eastern Washington has four distinct seasons and is a fairly dry climate with very hot (110*+) and very cold (-10*) temperature extremes. We have smaller mountains, tons of lakes, scab rock, and our own version of the Great Plains, too!

Come visit, anytime!