Monday, September 29, 2008
***this was originally published on North Texas News in October 2005***
What is Autumn?
Autumn (often referred to as Fall in North America) is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition from summer into winter. In the temperate zones, autumn is the season during which most crops are harvested, and deciduous trees lose their leaves. It is also the season in which the days rapidly get shorter and cooler (especially in the northern latitudes), and of gradually increasing precipitation in some parts of the world.
Astronomically, it begins with the autumnal equinox (around September 23 in the Northern hemisphere, and March 21 in the southern hemisphere), and ends with the winter solstice (around December 21 in the Northern hemisphere and June 21 in the Southern hemisphere). However, meteorologists count the entire months of March, April and May in the Southern hemisphere, and September, October and November in the Northern hemisphere as autumn. An exception to these definitions is found in the Irish Calendar which still follows the Celtic cycle, where Autumn is counted as the whole months of August, September and October.
All though the days begin to shorten in July or August in the northern latitudes and in January and February in the south, it is usually in September or March where twilight becomes evidently shorter and more abrupt in comparison with the more lingering ones of summer.
What does Autumn mean to me...the continuation of an affair...and affair that began a few years back...at the Farmers' Market.
While strolling down the parking lot of Cherry Creek Mall it became clear-it was evident, it was everywhere...at every turn and at all the fresh food stations there was no doubting that the squash crops had come in. There they were-acorn, butternut, delicata, spaghetti, buttercup, turban...beautiful to the eye-their colors vibrating. Waiting to be touched, wanting to be picked up. How could I resist. I bought one of each, my arms would not need a conventional weight work out this weekend!
And there I was...my kitchen counters taken over with my own fall harvest...Sure these squash made a beautiful display...one may even think that I was hosting my own cooking show...but no! I had an issue on my hands. I had 10 pounds of squash and NO idea what to do with them.
What is a gal to do...break open the cookbooks, call her friends, spend time on the internet...seeking the perfect squash recipes! Before the baking could occur, identification was in order. What in the world did I have? The New Basics Cookbook proved to be a great place to learn the names of my new acquisitions. And this is where the fun began...
That was 2 years ago...and I am still looking, still searching, wanting, waiting, yearning for the perfect squash recipe...I have boiled, baked, sauted, pureed, roasted...added nuts, cheese, tomatoes, onions, shallots, risotto...
Each fall I look forward to the continuation of this affair...the challenge of Autumn...I may never be satisfied...
Until then, I might suggest going to epicurious.com and searching Butternut Squash-while a bit difficult to cut, this one, dare I say, may be my favorite variety...shhh...don't let the others know...on the counter waiting to be held and experimented with are delicata and spaghetti...
Ahh...the Autumn Hash is just about ready...this one will be paired with a Pinot Noir...
Saturday, September 20, 2008
What inspires you?
As I get older I think I get more introspective. I am 40…what is it going to be like when I am 80? Let’s hope that I will be typing, or blogging, or at least talking to people then….
So the other day I went to the hospital to deliver bags of toys to kids. I try to take my turn with the delivery about once a month. This work is through a non-profit I have close ties to. I take the bags to the oncology floor, visit with a few nurses, meet one child and then head back to work. Reflecting on the visit as I drive back to work make me think of inspiration. So, a few words on inspiration.
I felt fortunate to feel a sense of inspiration that day and realized that some people may go through periods of their life where they are lacking inspiration. What inspired me that day? Sounds a little funny to say, but it was the sick child in the transfusion room. The child who had several tubes coming out of his arms, meters connected to him, and a worried mother close by. The child who smiled a smile a mile wide when he learned that a backpack with toys spilling out was for him, and him only!
Inspiration, I have learned, keeps me going. The little boy with cancer inspired me to want to help other kids….to continue with my volunteering. Inspiration can come in many different forms, and at unknown times.
Funny thing is that inspiration keeps me going…and makes me want to give more, praise more, live life…..
What inspires you…
Is it a person…a song….a beautiful day….an interaction….a discovery….a hard workout?
Whatever it is, I encourage you to look for it, name it, react to it…and then pass it on…..I am making that commitment to myself, and to you too…
PS….check out this website….http://www.forbetterlife.org/be-inspired/values