Sunday, September 30, 2012

The end of summer, and finally autumn.

Can you sense the excitement?
The leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp and cool, and most wonderfully I've landed in my favorite time of year ... just a bit early. September 22nd was the first day of autumn - and also the first of many morning patchy-frosts to come. While I'm ridiculously excited for the perfect-tea-and-sweater-weather, the bittersweet edge is that all the tomatoes and frost-sensitive crops aren't producing anymore. However, I did my canning, I've frozen my other goods, and I make peace with the end of the summer.

To start the season off, I had the most perfect Autumn Equinox day. I made an all-day-simmering sauce for lasagna with fresh tomatoes, applesauce from Seed Savers Exchange apples (picked from the historic apple orchard), and roasted apple spice cake. In the late afternoon, I headed to my friend John's farm where we took the remainder of the apples and ran them through his father's fancy apple press for fresh cider. It tasted amazing. And with a potluck and a movie night amongst wonderful company, I was brimming over with warm-fuzzy happiness.

September has been pretty good.

Birthday dinosaur learning. Notice flip flops.
The month (well, the prelude to the month), started off with a Dinosaur Party for Kate's birthday on John's Farm. I'm using this as an excuse to explain to you how awesome my friends are, and how fantastic this farm is. John's mother is a market gardener, and they have chickens, goats, sheep, geese, guinea fowl, cats, and dogs that literally roam the farm free (well, not the goats and sheep I guess). Chickens roost in trees and old school buses, geese lay their eggs wherever they please, and the guinea fowl leave pretty feathers in their wake - wild animals not to be tamed. Surrounded by grassland and trees, this farm is absolutely beautiful. John set up a bunch of brush for a bonfire and taught birthday-girl-Kate how to drive a tractor. When it got dark, we lit the fire, danced around in dinosaur costumes, drank beer, and took part in the St. Olaf tradition of 'Shirts-Off-O'Clock. It was fantastic.

I don't like posing, so here's ... 'dancing'.
Two weekends ago, I headed up to Minneapolis with Laura and Tor. We first watched Sleepwalk With Me, with a Q&A after starring Mike Birbiglia. Later, we saw David Byrne and St. Vincent in concert at the State Theater ... which was awesome. During the day, we enjoyed delicious food - such as a somali meal made special order for us, famous carmel-vanilla malts, and pizza. And after the shows we walked the city that night - for maybe three hours - enjoying the views, the noise, everything. I loved it. Walking Minneapolis at night has inspired evening walks with Bailey to enjoy deserted downtown Decorah.

This weekend, I shared a poem at the Decorah Poetry Slam. I'm no poet. I've never quite liked poetry. But I've tried it out recently, as you know, to explore a way to express and work with my emotions. After struggling with a depressive funk for a few weeks (which also explains the lack of recent blog posts), I wrote a poem about what all those emotions felt like. Some part of me thought it'd be a good idea to share the poem in front of a large group of people (and I won't say strangers here because in a small town no one is a stranger). In a way, it forces me to not give a shit what these people think about the poem and my emotions because it really doesn't matter. And reading the poem aloud challenges me to be more open about my emotions and the darker side of myself. Of course, it also challenges me to do something I find uncomfortable and different for the sheer benefit of growth. So I did it, and with the support of my friends it wasn't too bad at all.

Over the month, I've conqured much in the kitchen: canned whole tomatoes, heirloom salsa, sweet pepper jam. I made chili rellenos, lasagna, and roasted spice apple cake. And I'm excited for the return of baking season. Cooler weather also brings a feverish desire to knit warm things (which my new roommate cultivates as well). Could I get any more domestic sans producing small people? Yes. I'll save these domestic pursuits for another post.

Fall. I love Fall. And this fall, I get to pleasure of the beauty of changing leaves in ways that are much better than California. Pictures can do no justice, so I don't think I'm even going to try.

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