Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Post-Diss Bliss

The fall rains have come!

That means that we're starting to see some beautiful color when we take our morning walks. Some trees have leaves that are barely tipped with color...

...and others that have been completely consumed by it.

Maple trees in fall are nearly my favorite. The bark turns dark, almost black, and the leaves are a constantly-changing riot of color for weeks.

This sweetgum tree doesn't have any red at all...just cheerful yellow leaves among the green.

One of my favorites, the ginkgo, has that bright yellow edge to its fall leaves that I love so much!

Every day, I bring home any leaves that strike my fancy. I brought these home because they reminded me of a rainbow.

This one, because of the dramatic half-changed state.

This one, because of the deeply-etched veins.

Sometimes I'll take whole tree branches, especially oak.

I love to bring them inside and lay them on the table. The colors are really wonderful!

The sweetgum seeds are still green, but are nice to pile up, too.

There's a flurry of fall activity in my yard, too. The swallowtail caterpillars are preparing to go into a chrysalis state.

All over the yard, insects are mating. The timing must be right, so that their eggs can be laid in the ground before frost, but not so early that they would be in danger from digging creatures or from having their growth schedule skewed from too-warm weather. These grasshoppers will soon separate, and the female will lay her fertilized eggs in the still-soft ground.

Still not many butterflies, but several unusual moths around! My cosmos are done for the year, and the marigolds are on their way out, but I still have lots of zinnias that attract these little visitors.

My autumn sedum has finally bloomed, too!

It consists of a flower head full of teeny tiny flowers. They're delicate-looking, but they stay beautiful through the fall rains and a whole range of temperatures.

I recently found several patches of clover outside. There must've been some four-leafed ones there, because we've had some extraordinary luck.

My husband, who possess several attractive qualities, including this one...

...finally completed his dissertation!

He has some easy revisions, but we can both envision a dissertation-free life in the near future. At long last, we're able to schedule a camping/kayaking trip. We went to a movie together...for the first time in over two years. We played board games and then vegged on the couch for the season premier of "The Office". In other words, we've been having some blessedly normal days!

I've been scurrying to complete a knitting project, too. I had some very nice, soft, springy wool in a lovely wheat color, fingering weight, that I thought would be perfect for some fingerless gloves.

I've scorned them in the past ("If it's cold enough to wear gloves, you need your whole hand covered up!"), but they're truly miraculous in the fall. Perfect for those months when it's not quite thick, woolen glove weather, but there's a definite bite in the air. These gloves are perfect protection in cool mornings and brisk, chilly nights. I even wear them around the house, since the open fingers enable me to use my phone or type on the computer.

This particular pattern ("October Leaves" on Ravelry) is really clever. A four-stitch cable snakes up the wrist to the base of the thumb, and then separates to form two delicate lace leaves.

There's also a cable on the other side of the hand.

I'm very pleased with my new fingerless gloves!

Since the weather's turned, I've also been baking a lot. In fact, I've baked three pies in the past 10 days. Pies are so quick and easy, even if you don't have much experience. And there's nothing like biting into a warm, tasty slice of pie that you've baked yourself, from scratch.

I've posted my go-to pie crust recipe on here before. It's Smitten Kitchen's no-fail all-butter pie crust. I highly recommend it for any type of pie.

The first pie I baked this season was also the easiest. I love blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries in a pie, so I paged through several recipes before deciding on one. I'm really pleased with the result.

Three Berry Pie
makes one pie

one recipe pie crust
6 cups berries
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix together your cornstarch and sugar, withholding two tablespoons. After well combined, pour onto your fruit and mix well. When fruit is completely coated, sprinkle the held-back tablespoons of sugar/cornstarch mixture into the bottom of your pie crust, and pour the fruit on top. Cover with second crust. Crimp crust and pierce with fork. Cover the edge of your pie with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting...this helps the liquid inside to congeal.

It's so easy! The pie only has three ingredients. And the no-fail pie crust truly is no-fail. Look at that flaky crust!

It's the perfect weather for fall. I hope you'll try it soon!


  1. I'm so jealous of those gloves. I've started two different pair and haven't finished a one :(

  2. I usually get 'second glove syndrome' - where I'll finish one and go on to another project!