Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumnal Acceptance

I gave up on summer back in July and found that I've been much happier with the weather since then. Never getting above 20C/68F is much easier to accept in autumn than summer, even if the calendar still says "August". Chris was sad when I gave up on summer, mostly I think because he wants me to be happy and I'm meant to spend warm afternoons on a deckchair, reading in my bathing suit but that's never going to be my life in Scotland. Happiness is in accepting your life for what it is, not railing for what it isn't, so I've decided to accept that I've moved from a land of three seasons (spring-summer-fall) to a land of three seasons (spring-autumn-winter). The good news, of course, is that I now live in a land where knitting is always appropriate and everyone can use a pair of mittens or a wooly hat or scarf for Christmas ("if you wanted a cable-knit scarf, I wish you would've said something in June!").

Anyway, Chris said it wasn't autumn yet and that we still have a bit of summer left but the trees agree with me - their leaves are starting to turn the colour of sunset and drop. There's a tiny maple(?) in our back garden that's always the first to turn: it gave up on summer the same time I did and now other trees are trying to catch up. The days are also noticeably shorter. No longer is the sky still light with twilight when we seek our beds at midnight. No, the sun goes down by half-eight/eight-thirty and a little earlier every day, and we have to turn on the lights, when we got to bed at ten.

Autumn is a time of hearty food so I turn to my crock-pot and the infinite variety of stews that "bung in whatever you have to hand" can bring. Last week I did a beef and scotch broth with celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and rosemary and sage from the garden. This week it's turkey with green/runner beans, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and thyme and sage from the garden. I'm quite proud of my little herbs, the ones that haven't gone to seed (I'm looking at you coriander/cilantro and oregano). The nice thing about a big pot of stew is being able to freeze it and defrost two servings at a time, heated up with a fresh made dumpling/biscuit topping, and getting a week's worth of dinners with very little effort. Stew can also be heated from frozen, so even if you don't think to pull out a lock'n'lock/tupperware in the morning, you have a last-minute meal that doesn't involve take-away/take-out.

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