Allium Green: 2009


The merits of the martini

It is the day after Christmas. There are still ribbons and scraps of paper on the living room floor. There's a plate of cookies on the table across from me looking distinctly picked over. I do not want to eat anything even remotely sweet. My nephew is across the table, cranky and tossing cheerios on the floor, belting out hoarse screeches every couple of seconds. My brother is trying not to listen to it, but getting increasingly irritated. Everyone else is in the basement playing wii. Even Grandpa is perfecting his golf swing on wii golf.

And I'm thinking that now might be a nice time for a martini. In the midst of all the detritis of a holiday party, I'm pretty sure there's a bottle of gin and some dry vermouth. Some olives in the back of the refrigerator? No doubt. It's been raining for two days. The lovely two feet of snow that was dropped on the DC area has all melted into a flat, gray landscape. And I'm thinking that martini might chase away some of the post-holiday blues.

So in the spirit of the season, a cold cocktail recipe for you. A classic. Like It's a Wonderful Life or twinkle lights on a Christmas tree. Just like that. Enjoy.

Classic martini
While the recipe is a classic, the gin is not. This gin has an entirely different taste from something like Tanqueray- it's a bit like cucumber. And I love it. So, see what you think. It isn't cheap, but it's worth it.

2 oz. Hendrick's gin
splash of dry vermouth
three olives

Add gin and vermouth to cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously - I figure it's ready when my fingers stick to the shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the three olives speared on a toothpick or a slice of cucumber. And to be honest, I don't measure the gin. It's probably a little more than 2 oz. It is the holidays, after all.

Photo by Ralph.


Caramel corn goodness

It is the Christmas season. Also known as the season of baking. This usually does not move me. In the years since I stopped eating gluten, it's just not as much fun to bake. This does not break my heart. It has its advantages. The loss of a few pounds, the ability to focus on the more nuanced, savory side of the plate. But then along came the damn caramel corn. The stuff is like crack. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I was looking through a list of new (to me) food blogs that a friend sent me - thank you, Sara - and got caught up in the beautifully written blog by Smitten Kitchen. And there I found a recipe for coffee toffee which I sort of idly thought might be nice to make. Except that I didn't have enough butter (yesterday's tamal party-for-one having used up most of my supply) or instant espresso powder or brown sugar.

But then when I saw the recipe on Orangette's blog for caramel corn, well I did have most of those ingredients. And Hubby is a pretty big popcorn fan. And what else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon? Better yet, we have special popcorn in the pantry right now from our CSA share. It comes from a farm in Quebec, Tullochgorum Farm, and it's called white lightening popcorn. The stuff is beautiful- snowy white and delicious.

So I did it. And, well, I still didn't have brown sugar, so I used white sugar plus some molasses. And have I mentioned that I've never made candy before? Which is essentially what this is. Well, it's like magic. Magic closely monitored with a thermometer. Which I dropped into the blurping, bubbling, bleeping-hot caramel just shy of the magic moment were boiling sugar turns into caramel. And then woah, people, the stuff turns to rock-hard pretty damn fast. There was some shouting, I admit, and popcorn scattering all over the kitchen; it was pretty exciting. Hubby was definitely laughing at me. This is not for the faint of heart. Or probably also not for people who substitute ingredients and don't measure very reliably. And don't get the stuff on your skin, no matter what. I'm here to tell you, it hurts. A lot. All in all, this is probably not the recipe for me. Or the genre for me, really.

But then we started tasting it... and this stuff is ridiculously delicious. It's impossible to stop once you start. And now's probably a good time to mention that I added chocolate chips during the oven phase, melting over the top of half the caramel corn. Gilding the lily, perhaps, but it was brilliant, I tell you. I guess it's kind of a cross between that coffee toffee and the caramel corn, but, er, without the coffee. Orangette suggests that this might make a nice gift, packaged in mason jars. And I'm thinking, who is she kidding? I'm pretty sure this will be gone long before it comes anywhere near a ribbon-wrapped mason jar. Sorry folks. You'll have to make your own.

I know this photo isn't gorgeous, but I thought you might like to see it.
This is from the gilded-lily chocolate side.


Swooning over tamales

Have you ever had tamales? If you have and you don't love them, you might want to stop reading. This may turn into a love letter. I've spent most of today making tamales and they're steaming away on the stovetop right now. The smell in the kitchen is sweet, a little dusty, homey, warming.

The recipe I use is from Rick Bayless, whom I would run away with in a second if only he promised to cook for me every day (sorry, Hubby). I know, I know. I'm a faithless hussy. But seriously, withhold judgment until you try the tamales. And then even a little longer until you nose around on his website. The man is magic in the kitchen. But I digress.

Making the filling, making the masa dough, folding the husks... this all takes hours. Tamales are party food. Something to make when there's a lot of hands on deck. They're traditionally made at Christmas-time, and I've been making them most years since I discovered how much I love them, either for my in-laws or my own family.

I made today's batch by myself. Hubby has gone to Lake Placid for the evening to see his sister and her family, and I'm working on my weekly detox from work. Something about being crazy busy and stressed at work makes me unwilling to socialize on the weekends. I am hoping that this ebbs in a couple of weeks and that I can return to the land of regular humans. But we'll see. In the meantime, I'm doing lots of reading, lots of cooking, and trying not to think about how much damn work I have to do come Monday. And I make tamales.

I made red chili pork for the filling, and this is what I mostly do. However, chicken cooked with tomatillos is also nice. And I just saw a recipe for chocolate tamales. I think this sounds inspired but I didn't have any chocolate today. Actually, I didn't have corn husks either. And it's a measure of my devotion to these things that I drove into Burlington to buy the damn husks. This is a 45 minute drive, people, and one that I make five days a week, and the last thing I want to do on the weekend. They're that good.


Tamales are steamed. They're a lot like dumplings actually. And they steam for a looooong time- more than an hour. I'm not afraid to admit that I've ruined more than one pot by boiling it dry. My attention span is apparently something less than an hour and a half. On one memorable occasion, the smoke alarm went off and the pot heated to the point where the bottom actually melted to conform to the shape of my electric burner. I shudder to think how hot that pot was. We'd retired to the porch for a drink while we waited for them to finish steaming. Those tamales tasted like carbon. I think we ate them anyway.

Calamity aside, I love these things. And I wish you'd make them so that you'll love them too. You now have the benefit of knowing how not to make them (by letting the pot boil dry) and the benefit of knowing how they make one northern girl swoon. So try them out. Tell me what you think. I bet you'll be willing to run away with Rick Bayless, too.


December light

There's something special about the light on snow. This morning, lying in bed, the light on the ceiling was brighter and softer than it's been lately, reflected off the snow outside. It's the beginning of December and this is the first real snow we've had. It was coming down hard all morning and blowing across the field in little twisters. I worked from home today and I'd nearly forgotten how much I like this.

I kept getting up from my make-shift desk at the dining room table to stand at the window and watch the snow come down. And I even braved the chill wind to take a few photos - and then immediately ran back in hooting and shivering with the cold, stamping snow off my slippers. November did not prepare us for December this year.


So this is my offering today. Light on snow and not much more. I do apologize for the silence recently. It's dark and cold; this is not inspiring. But more to come soon. More to come.



Smoke tales and chicken soup

Well, it's a Monday night after the holiday and I am listening to the (not-so) lovely sound of our shop vac. See, we're having wood stove problems. The kind that leads to a big belch of smoke that suspiciously does not make our smoke alarm go off but does irritate my eyes and dry out my throat. Should we open it up? Are we not burning it hot enough? It it getting enough air? Why does it smell like creosote? Shit.  We have a lot of conversations like this these days. We're no strangers to operating a wood stove and we've never had problems before. This is very frustrating. So Hubby armed himself with brushes, the aforementioned shop vac, a fan in the window, and some gloves to show the stove who is boss. And I am sitting at the kitchen table, trying to be quiet and not comment on the nasty smell of creosote, and the roar of the vacuum, and the chill breeze from the window. I have high hopes if only because I can't bear another night of smoke-irritated eyes. Triumph, Hubby, triumph!

Isn't the stove pretty inside? I've never seen this before.

And so this feeling of irritated mucus membranes made me think of chicken soup for dinner. I'd show you a picture except that we ate it pretty fast and I didn't think to take out the camera. It came from a whole batch of chickens that we bought from a colleague of mine at work. He raised 50 birds this fall and we bought 20 of them for the freezer. When we brought them home, it was a two-day butchering process with freezing cold fingers and more chicken parts that I particularly wanted to see. But we ended up with bags of chicken legs, chicken breasts, halved chickens, whole chickens, all stowed in our freezer; and here's to hoping we don't have a power outage, right?

This is part of that two-day process. Can you hear the crunch?

And worth noting is this: while I grew up vegetarian and have had a quasi-queasy relationship with eating meat in my adult life, I feel good about our freezer full of local meat. I don't want to get all preachy here, but it matters to me that the pork and the chicken we're eating this fall comes from animals raised by friends. I can attend a silly fundraiser cocktail party peopled by principled foodies, talking about the omega fatty acid balance in factory meat today, and not despair over the coming meal. I can read about factory farms and feedlot meat and not change my dinner plans. This is a good thing. And pairing it with veggies from our garden (Still! What is this November weather we're having? I still have lettuce in my garden!) makes me glad, glad, glad. I love this.

And so, back to the chicken soup. We took all the spare parts, so to speak, from all those chickens we cut up and made some killer chicken soup from them. And then (I hear swearing coming from the vicinity of the woodstove. I think this is not a good sign.) we froze a bunch of it in ziplock bags. And at the end of the day today, with my back aching - this is another story - and Hubby itching to get at that woodstove, that chicken soup from the freezer tasted like manna. It's nothing special, just carrots, celery, onions, chicken and chicken stock. But it honestly tastes better than just about anything else we've had in weeks. A salad of napa cabbage, cress, and tangerines, and this is heaven.

So, go make some chicken soup, preferably from a nice, fat, local chicken and see what I mean. And fear not, we'll not burn down our house, nor poison ourselves with carbon monoxide (I'm pretty sure that the carbon monoxide detector does work, in contrast to the smoke detector, apparently). I think that Hubby is slowing down in there- this is a good sign, I'm sure.


Another day of thanks

We've nearly finished our bottle of wine, the fire has made us lazy, we've eaten our third Thanksgiving dinner, and all is right with the world. The wine, 2007 Substance Syrah, pretty darn yummy. This is the first year it's ever just been Hubby and I and I'm appreciating the solitude. We roasted a halved chicken, made that amazing savory bread pudding (which is worth mentioning twice), gingered cranberry sauce, and corn relish. Lovely. Not over the top with a million dishes. And we cooked leisurely all day. Took a walk up the hill. Talked to family on the phone.

And so, my short list of thanks:
Hubby on the couch beside me
Maizy the kitty, lolling on her back, all four legs splayed out in cat-contentment
That bottle of syrah
A kitchen full of good food
Family and friends on the phone
A whole month of mild weather in November
The chocolate candy with ground hazelnuts and tangerine peel that I made this morning
Three more days of holiday weekend
Willie Nelson's Teatro
Votive candles in mason jars
The red table cloth from our wedding


A week of giving thanks

Well, it's Tuesday and I've been celebrating Thanksgiving since Friday afternoon. Our annual Thanksgiving meal at work is something that we all look forward to. Held the Friday before Thanksgiving, at an organization essentially devoted to food, we take this holiday seriously. The turkey roasts all afternoon. We have cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed and roasted potatoes, Molly Wizenberg's bread pudding (my new favorite recipe), roasted roots, mac and cheese, two kinds of pie. It was lovely. 

The next morning, I flew to Newark where Hubby and his father picked me up and we drove to Vineland, NJ, home of Hubby's family on both sides. Along the way, we drove through the pine barrens, a beautiful, stark landscape that I would have loved to spend time in. Signs of a recent burn were all over, the streams flowing through were dark brown with tannins; this landscape is so dissimilar to my northern hardwood home.  It was hard to pass through so quickly.


We stopped for lunch at the Columbus Farmers Market, a beast of a market that sprawls out over what feels like acres of parking lot. The vegetables there were beautiful, especially the pears, and we took our time taking photos and searching out the best looking escarole for that night's escarole soup.

And then 36 hours of making food, eating food, talking about food. We stayed in the home of Hubby's maternal grandmother, the house she's lived in since 1947. And I watched the house full of people gathered for an early Thanksgiving, revolving around Grandmom in her chair. This woman who was so accustomed to taking care of people, now cared for by everyone else as she nears the end of her life. And how she chafes at this care- just as my Grandmother did when she could no longer care for herself. 

The meal was held at Hubby's Aunt and Uncle's house- and I realized I'd never spent Thanksgiving with his family before.  We've been together nearly a decade, and we've always spent this holiday with friends, avoiding the chaos of holiday travel. So it was a process of learning a new set of family traditions and catching up with a side of the family we don't see often.

When the actual holiday finally arrives, Hubby and I will not be eating a third turkey. We'll maybe roast a chicken or make tamales, maybe eat that bread pudding recipe again. But a third meal with mashed potatoes and gravy and all the other stuff, well, I don't think so. Though I did just see a recipe for gluten free pie crust that actually looks like real pie crust, so we'll see. Perhaps we'll have some pie.

(My Adaptation of) Grandmom's Escarole Soup
As usual with my recipes, all measurements are estimates. I really do this by look and feel. If it seems like you'll need more or less chicken stock, be my guest. If you'd rather season your meatballs some other way, not a problem. I can't remember whether I use two or three eggs, so use your judgment there. I know this is anathema to recipe writers, but honestly, it's the way I cook. Let me know how it goes. 

1 med. onion, sliced thinly
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1# ground pork
handful chopped parsley
8 c. chicken broth
1 lg. head escarole, washed and coarsely chopped
2-3 eggs
handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Saute sliced onion, carrots, garlic and a bit of salt in olive oil until soft. Add chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. 

Using your hands, gently mix ground pork with salt, pepper, and parsley. (Sometimes, we add garlic powder, too.) Again, using your hands, pinch off small meatballs, about the size of the end of your thumb, until you've used up all the ground meat. Add these to the broth. Allow to simmer a bit until you feel like they're almost done. Then add escarole. Simmer until the greens are wilted. 

Whisk together eggs and cheese and add to soup. Simmer for another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and raise a toast to Grandmoms.  

Pear photograph is Hubby's. All others are mine.


Holding winter at bay

I've been considering the on-coming winter a lot lately. The last week or two has been beautiful. Sunny all day and warm (well, except for this weekend, which is about what you expect at this time of year). And it looks like it will continue for a bit.

I am storing all this sun for darker days. In that spirit, I went out this afternoon and took some photos. The sun was setting, the light was nice, and I forgot to increase the pixel size on Hubby's camera. So what you get is a series of lovely pictures that you probably shouldn't enlarge. They're a wee bit pixelated. Apologies for that.

This November light has a quality to it that I think I have never appreciated before. It's been dry this month, unusually so, and the opportunity to appreciate the bare landscape hasn't escaped me, as it usually does. The light is so low in the sky right now that everything appears backlit, almost all the time. How did I never notice this before?



Popcorn at the Savoy

It was Friday night and we were in Montpelier to celebrate Hubby's birthday. A 45 minute drive from our house, we do not come here often. But Hubby loves the town and so we braved the soft, wet snow and headed out for a movie and dinner. We arrived early and so spent some time ambling around downtown, shivering in the cold. A fire dancer drew a crowd on the steps of the Lost Nation Theater. An unexpected gallery opening pulled us in for a while for a showing of Vermont artists' imagining of the future of our state. Later, we climbed the steps to the Black Door Bistro and sat in their art deco bar for a pre-movie martini. The bartender stirred my martini- no shaking here- and gave me three olives which immediately made me love her.

At quarter after six, Hubby and I walked less than a block down the street to the Savoy Theater. Opened in 1980, Casablanca was the first film shown on this theater's tiny single screen. They continue to show classics, art house, and independent movies. And that's nice enough, right? There aren't many places in Vermont to see independent films these days, but I'll bet that there's nowhere within driving distance that melts butter on a little two burner stove in a cast iron pot to ladle onto hot popcorn behind a wooden counter. Real cultured butter... did I emphasize that? And not only that, the girl behind the counter filled our popcorn bucket half way then ladled some butter on it, then filled it up the rest of the way and added a second layer of butter. This was inspired, truly. It left us both with greasy fingers and was exactly the thing to tide us over until our post-movie dinner. The shaker of nutritional yeast on the counter only adds to the aging hippie feel of the place and this reminded me of why I love this theater. 

The film, A Serious Man, is the Coen Brothers' most recent movie and it was excellent. Even better than the movie, however, was the man sitting three or four rows in front of us with the laugh that filled the tiny room with huge, rolling guffaws, uncontrollable and impossible not to laugh along with. Helplessly, Hubby and I giggled, snorted, and snickered along with him as the serious man progressed from one tragi-comic event to another. Even later, at dinner, the snickering continued each time we'd think of it.

Sadly, this lovely theater is up for sale now. The customer base for the Savoy is aging- Hubby and I were without question the youngest in the crowd- and apparently competing with Netflix and the host of multi-plexes popping up all over hasn't been easy. Whatever happens to the Savoy in the next couple of years, I very much hope they keep their real-butter popcorn.


Saving daylight

 Colorado springtime light, 2009.

I know that there's exactly the same number of hours in the day today as there was on Saturday. But then why does it feel so much harder to fit everything in? Coming home from work, my drive is now in the dark. Making dinner feels like it takes so much longer now and by the time it's over, it's time to think about going to bed.

 Morning light in the kitchen, 2009.

It really feels like this fall has been the source of too much bad news. The news of a friend's recent diagnosis with Parkinson's disease has shadowed the last week, coinciding sadly with the progressive loss of light and color in the outside world. It has left us wondering how to express our sympathy and how to best be helpful to them in this dark time.

Ralph's photo, perennial blooms back-lit in summer 2009.

A cousin's divorce finalizing the rift in our family likewise casts its shadow. Does all this happen in the spring too? Is there just as much sadness then as there is now? It doesn't seem that way, but I think it might just be easier to deal with sadness when the world is full of light.

Back-lit Colorado blooms, spring 2009.

In the midst of all this, it is very sweet to come home to Ralph making Indian food for dinner. Bright, full of vegetables, spice, and color. It is the perfect meal for a couple whose refrigerator is full of condiments. Plain yogurt, mango pickle, Major Gray's chutney, coconut chutney, garlic pickle. It is our meal of choice when we don't feel like doing anything complicated. We buy jarred curry sauce, saute veggies and chicken, make some rice. It is vibrant and keeps the taste buds awake, despite the dark. It was so spicy tonight that it made my ears hurt. Does anyone else know that feeling?

Ralph's version of the Colorado sky, spring 2009.

So in the spirit of appreciating light, I have reached into the photo archives for scenes from a brighter season. All are mine except where noted.

More of that luminous Colorado light, spring 2009.


For love of beans

I've had a pile of bean pods sitting on the garage floor for weeks now. Ostensibly, they are drying. In reality, I'm not sure they're any more dry than they were when I pulled them off the vines. And as mice have found the apples we temporarily stored in the garage, I decided today is the day to bring in the beans (well, and the apples, too, of course). And I tossed Maizy-the-cat out in the garage to stalk mice. Hopefully our fearsome huntress will come home with her own dinner tonight.

But today is my day off. And so I felt like it was probably okay to get distracted by taking bean photos instead of shucking beans. So this is how I've spent my rainy Friday afternoon. Oh, and drinking a glass of wine too. But I didn't think that was worthy of a photo. 

 What I love about the beans - one of the many things - is how their colors are so muted now. Shades of pale green, gold, some red. It rather fits the season. Most of the leaves have blown off the trees outside my window and those same muted shades now dominate the outdoor landscape too.

Happy Friday.


Apple Days II

  Cluster of apples in Champlain Orchards.

 Glaucous bloom.

11 gallons of newly pressed apple cider
8 pounds of raw honey
3 pounds of Thompson raisins
1 peck of pears
1 cup of mulled cider
and a drizzly, dark, damp Saturday afternoon


3 glass carboys of cider sitting on our kitchen floor, ready to ferment
and pear sauce, coming soon.

Cider siphoned out of the carboy for tasting.

 Dissolving honey in warm cider.


Apple Days

I do apologize- you will get sick of apple photos by the end of this post. I can't help it, they're rich fodder for a girl with a camera. It is now well into fall and edging towards winter in my corner of the world. It is cold in the mornings- nearly always frosty now. The light is not yet here when I wake up and just shy of gone when I get home at the end of the day. It is harder to spend time outside, and hard to feel like the days are long enough for all that needs to be done.

I have been particularly busy with work this fall- lots of changes are on the horizon and transition is never easy for me. And so moments of quiet are especially dear to me. Like this Sunday when hubby and I went on a food pilgrimage, of sorts. There is an orchard a couple hours south of here, Champlain Orchards, that grows more apple varieties than anyone else. There are heirloom varieties, traditional cider varieties, apples that are huge, tiny, striped, speckled, beautiful, knobby, ugly, smooth.

We took our time driving down there- this is hard core Vermont farm country. Addison county, known for its richly productive clay soils and relatively flat fields (which means rolling hills, in this state), is a lovely New England landscape- intensively farmed, rural, pastoral. The landscape is mostly open ag land with forests around the edges. Our corner of Vermont is the opposite. A background of forest interspersed with agriculture. So it felt like we were leaving our territory.

Arriving at the orchard, we picked up a map and headed out into the rows of trees. There wasn't a lot to choose from; its a bit late in the apple season. It was cold, windy, beautiful. This orchard was nearly deserted. Set along a west-facing hill, the Adirondack mountains were clearly visible across the lake. This is what people must think of when they think of Vermont in the fall.

And so we tasted our way through this orchard, landing on snowapple, Cox's orange pippin, and liberty. A peck of apples now in our garage, for eating every day at lunch and on my ride home from work. Unhappily, apples make my stomach hurt sometimes and trying dozens of varieties that day to figure out what we wanted to take home was not exactly the thing to leave me feeling hale and hearty. But I love the idea of them so much that I mostly try to forget about that when I'm eating them and this weekend, especially, I was willing to make the sacrifice in the name of autumn.

So in these days of unsettling change, reduced day length, and cold temperatures, I'm taking color and sweetness where I can. This weekend, it was in an apple orchard in Shoreham, Vermont. I hope you're finding your own sweetness these days.


The end of a season

Mark Breen warned us this weekend: a hard freeze coming on Sunday night, followed by a whole week of cold. It made yesterday feel especially beautiful. Ralph and I spent the day scrambling around the yard, finishing all the things that we meant to get to before things started freezing. We mowed the lawn, picked beans and beets, moved firewood, took down one of the hammocks (which involved some tree climbing by me! and a skinned knee or two). It was sunny and beautiful and decidedly not warm. I wore a woolly hat and made five bean soup for dinner. It was a very, very nice end to the weekend.

And then today, I woke up and everything was covered with sparkly gray frost. And I started remembering what I don't like quite so much about fall. I searched through the mess of gloves, hats, scarves, rain pants and miscellaneous detritus on the top shelf of our hall closet to find a matching pair of gloves. Out came the ice scraper and on went the heat. There is part of me that is not sure I'm much looking forward to winter darkness and cold. It is so dark in the morning now...

I spoke to a friend today who just had a weekend of bad news. The death of an old friend of his, and the impending death of his dog combined with a waterfall of smaller bad events made for a dark Monday for him. There's something about fall that makes sad news feel even sadder. On my drive home today, I called another friend to check in about getting together later this week, and found her crying because she was about to put her dog to sleep.

I've noticed that often people are either animal people or plant people. I have always been in the plant camp, I won't deny it. But I have, without question, experienced the incredible comfort and companionship that animals can provide. A very dark time in my life was made much more bearable by the sweetness of a cat named Stripey who always seemed to know when I was feeling badly. That cat spent many an afternoon curled up with me while I tried to figure out how to makes changes I needed to make in my life. And the thought of losing our kitty, Maizy, is nearly unbearable to me. These animals can provide a calm within most any storm and I do not take that lightly. So my heart is with both of these friends of mine.

Photo credit to Ralph.
During these brilliant days of fall, the melancholy side of me can't help but think of an article I read years ago (and I can't remember where- Northern Woodlands?- if you read it, please point me to it for citation). A Vietnamese family immigrated to Vermont, not too many years after the Vietnam war. Their family had been through hell, survived more loss than I can imagine. When autumn started coming on, the father in the family looked upon the dying leaves as the most intolerable loss. The green world that had been a constant to him throughout his life was dying and it sunk this man into a terrible sadness.

The story stayed with me and I think about it when autumn takes on the edge of winter. And it reminds me that this season, much celebrated in my neck of the woods, can also mean the end of things. The last chapter in a season of green before winter slides in and turns the world gray again. It is the other side of the growth and promise of spring, the anticipation and bubbly excitement of new things coming to life. So I have spent the day thinking about sad things and wishing my friends well in bad times. Tomorrow will no doubt be a little better, but today I take a minute to note the end of the season.

Photo credit to Ralph.