The Heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasure out upon the leaves. — Charlotte Fiske Bates

It is almost September, the start of autumn; my most favorite season of the year. I can’t explain why I love autumn so much…maybe it is the cooler weather and shorter days. Maybe it is the glorious colors the trees wear just for our enjoyment (well, at least that is how I see it!). Or maybe, just maybe, I love autumn because it means that I can bake as much as I desire and not heat up the already hot house. I can go with the chicks to Apple Hill and run through pumpkin patches picking out the perfect pumpkins to turn into Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber (a family tradition) and get freshly picked apples by the bushel to eat out of hand or turn into apple cake, apple butter or apple sauce. I can make our family’s cold weather comfort food: my mother in law’s stew, Cowboy Potato Chowder, chicken soup, big meat and potato meals, and sweet potato muffins! And, I can start “made from the heart” projects with my children in the fall, all in preparation for the Christmas season. It seems that all my energy and attention is focused on my “hearth and home” and filling my home with the sounds and scents of fall. It is for all theses reasons and probably more that the Daddy-man calls this season my “Sally Homemaker” time.

Given my affinity for the season imagine my delight when I found, quite by chance, a new (2004) Susan Branch cookbook entitled “Autumn”! Oh, I was in heaven! A quick phone call to the Knight confirmed that I most assuredly could purchase my new found treasure. I could barely wait to get home to pour over the beautifully handwriten and illustrated pages. I savored every page…my mind swirling with images of steaming bowls of thick hearty soup and loaves of crusty bread filling the stomaches of my family on cool October evenings, the scent of gingerbread cake or Indian Corn Pudding wafting through our home, and evenings spent with my daughters embroidering little pillows and sachets out of quilt remnants to give as gifts.

Inspired by my new book and unable to wait ’till autumn (and cooler weather) truly arrives in our sunny spot of California, I have taken to lighting my applecider-scented candle for a few hours each day. I love the aroma filling our home as it burns. And at least for now, I will have to be content with just my candle to fill my heart with my favorite season. But I am patient. I know that autumn is just around the corner and I will be able to enjoy all it has to offer to my heart’s content!

originally posted 8/15/05