harvest song.

I stretched out my hands and snatched up so many gorgeous September days that they are spilling through my fingers.

Buying pumpkins in short sleeves. You cannot top it.

At least not in September.

In keeping with Fallishness, I've hauled out the flannel shirts and the water resistant boots.

 Let the record show that I love like don't hate Fall.

Even tho I've spent my entire life boldly proclaiming my love of Summer.
I live for Summer.
Long for Summer.
If I had a daughter, I would have named her Summer (or Sunshine).
My Granddaughter's name is Summer. (I had nothing to do with it).

In my usual fashion, I'm hanging on to Summer with all I've got.
My knuckles are officially white and tired.
I will not go down without a fight because I know what's coming. (brrrr)  It's not so much that I dislike it, but I'm more aware than ever that Fall signals Winter's imminent descent. And winter, He's extra mean here in Northern Ohio, what with the lake effect snow and all. so my issues run deep, I can't let myself just relax and enjoy Fall completely, there is the ever looming feeling that the axe snow could fall at any moment. There's that chance that I may not get another glorious, golden lighted, blue skied, brisk and beautiful day. This year has brought the best September I can remember in a long time. Snappy mornings and warm afternoons all glowing in the slanted rays of a sun that's headed south for the Winter, a Winter that can come quickly here. Once it comes, it's usually here to stay for awhile.

And yo, I feel like this past Summer was kind of a gyp. I had already lost my flip flop tan-lines by late June.

In other Fallish news, my trees and bushes are trying to toughen up as the temperatures dip. It's pretty cold at night now, and I can hear their knees knocking from my bedroom window. Keeps me up. But, I know they are just gearing up for the fall show when they get all showy and braggy.

Doesn't that make you want to cry?

I'm not one to protest an autumn field full of pumpkins, gourds and sunflowers, but they can't compare to the summer fields of wildflowers and corn which circle 'round me like a three month hug.

Still, it's harvest time, and I'm blanketed thick and woolly at the thought of hay wagons, storing up for the months ahead. In every field, flanneled farmers do the dance. Up, down. Up, down. I take day trips under the thrumming of their motors. I eat my soup with the droning still in my ears.

This is my Fall now. It is new to me.

Last year Fall found me plunking down a twenty for mums that would inevitably die. I had been known to drop pumpkin-scented candles thoughtlessly into my shopping cart. Trolling websites for cute and cozy slippers that I would probably only wear on Sundays.

I never noticed the harvest song.

This Fall I am determined to wrap my arms around the things I already have, the things that are every bit as special and infinitely more unexpected. So, Fall is finding hand-me-down kicks, just in the nick of time.

Fall is hydrangea bushes that just won't quit. Fall is a long-forgotten tomato still on the vine.

I'm spending my evenings cuddled up, putting soup on the menu for three nights out of five. The air around me seems to be slowing and I am once again scratching that baking itch.

But, this air. this air, I've officially decided is the reason I don't hate fall. Well, that and the cozy days, cable-knit tights and the stay-in-your-pajama-pants-all-day-because-it's-cold-and-wet-outside.

I love it best, and maybe only, when the blue sky has a pinkish cast and dry leaves crunch beneath flip-flops that should've been thrown out a month ago. I love it when my arms are bare and I'm cutting perennials back and it just smells like a new start. It smells like a familiar beginning, like something is blooming even as it fades.

My love for fall is situational. I've accepted it.

So, tomorrow may sequester all of us with gloom and rain that chases those leaves right to the ground, stealing their pluck, drowning them into sodden brown.

But today?

Today I drank tea in the fall-scented sun.

I left my jacket on it's hook.

Today, right now, I know that this is right. It is right to feel my Fall in a brand new way. It's right for me to look closer at gifts that can't be bought. It's right for me to bake muffins in my kitchen with the sun streaming in and the windows cracked open just enough for me to hear the song of the season.

It turns out, Fall can be felt even without twenty dollar mums flanking the sidewalk.

Yesterday I worked and I played and it was hard to even say which was which, because it was just that kind of day. I wore stripes with polka dots with mismatched socks and didn't brush my hair until I really had no other choice.

It didn't matter that I didn't match, because it was just me and I'm pretty forgiving.

And then I went and bought groceries. and I didn't change one darn thing, because it's ok to wear your personality on your sleeve. It's ok to just be.

The leaves on certain trees slid from luminous into withered in just the span of one day and I'm happy to say that I noticed.

This year, I'm letting my guard down and for now anyway, my heart belongs to September and spiced pumpkin cake and hand me down mums.

 just sayin'.
                          Chocolate Chip Harvest Cake with Cinnamon Nutmeg Whipped Cream

For the cake:
15 oz can Pumpkin
1/2 c oil
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 c sugar
1 c dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 c chocolate chips

For the whipped cream:
1 c heavy cream
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugars and vanilla until well blended. In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and then add to wet ingredients until just blended and then fold in chocolate chips. Pour into well greased bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour or until firm. Let completely cool before removing from pan. Serve with Cinnamon Nutmeg Whipped Cream.

Notes: I always use fresh ground nutmeg and just eyeball those measurements. Also, it is helpful to reserve about 1/4 c of your flour to toss with your chocolate chips so they don't all sink to the bottom of your pan. You could use all oil for this recipe but the applesauce lightens it up and you don't miss the extra oil at all. I will probably try it soon with all applesauce just to see.

This cake was incredibly moist and even more so the next day. I couldn't stay out of the cake the next day so I cubed it and froze it and will make a trifle out of the leftover sometime soon.


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