Finally, after one of the hottest summers I can remember, the days and nights are beginning to cool down. Humidity levels drop, and the air has a crisp clarity to it, bringing the world into sharper focus. Greens slowly turn into gold, orange and deep red. There is a sense of anticipation and aliveness as the seasons change and we begin turning inward towards fall.
1. Celebrate what feels like a new beginning. As I wrote about here, for many reasons September 1 feels like my New Year’s Day. I will take some time with my journal to give thanks, reassess and make resolutions for the year ahead.
2. Put the winter squash from the garden to good use. We have a bumper crop of winter squash this year! Butternut squash risotto with bacon and sage, pizza with roasted squash and caramelized onions and my favorite squash soup are all on the menu this month.
3. Light the first indoor wood fire of the year. We have a little wood stove in the corner of our living room that has been patiently waiting since April to be of use again. Hopefully we will have a chilly morning or two towards the end of the month that will require a little fire to get things warm and cozy.
4. Apples! As we sadly say goodbye to peach season for another year, we welcome apples back into our kitchen. They are obviously delicious as is, but I will find an opportunity to make a tarte tatin (upside down French apple tart) at lease once this month.
5. A cozy wrap for chilly mornings and evenings. Dressing comfortably at this time of year is a challenge….chilly mornings give way to warm days leaving me too hot or too cold at some point. Enter the wrap! Stylish in a way the a cardigan is not and almost like a socially acceptable way of wearing a blanket out into the world, the wrap is the obvious answer to this dilemma. I bought a cashmere wrap from Garnet Hill several years back and it is still as lovely as ever. A worthwhile investment.
6. Football games. Nebraskans take their college football very seriously! While I am not the world’s biggest Husker fan, I do love game day rituals….tailgating, drinking beer at ungodly hours (I am the world’s worst day drinker, by the way), the wafting scent of brats, burgers and all things grilled. And there is something about the sound of a football game that brings me back to cozy fall days growing up in Minnesota. Kids played football at the park near our house, and the sound of the whistle blowing and crowds cheering could be heard from our open windows on cool fall evenings. And every Sunday, my dad would build a fire in the family room fireplace and we would watch the Vikings play. We did not always do much together as a family, but I still associate watching football games on TV with warmth, coziness and family togetherness.
7. Mrs. Myers Clean Day Apple Cider Scented Products. On Labor Day weekend, I will head to Target and buy enough of these delightful products to see me through the end of the year. It is a small indulgence, to be sure, but to have the tiny zing of sensory pleasure every time I wash my hands, clean the kitchen or do the dishes is absolutely worth it. And no, I’m not getting paid for this endorsement. I’m just a big fan!
8. Decorate with pumpkins, leaves and gourds. Tomatoes and corn will give way to pumpkins, gourds and winter squash at the farm stand this month. I will buy a few for our dining room table and living room for a little natural seasonal decor. As the fall colors begin making their debut, I will collect leaves on my walks around the neighborhood and press them in between the pages of a heavy book before scattering them here and there around the house.
9. Stock the freezer with homemade chicken or vegetable stock. It is officially the start of soup season! Soups are infinitely better if they begin with the solid foundation of homemade stock. I will use my recipe for chicken stock…easy, versatile and classic. I may also make a simple vegetable stock as well. My future self will be so grateful!
10. Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox on Saturday, September 22. We will light candles and have a celebratory feast featuring fall produce to mark this special time of the year when day and night are nearly equal in length. It is also a good day to contemplate the role of balance in our lives….what do I need more or less of right now in order to feel centered and grounded? I will take a little time in my cozy writing space with my journal to explore this topic.
Sending you love and hoping you dive deep into your simple seasonal pleasures this September!