It is well and truly fall nowadays, with some sub-zero nights and a thick layer of frost on the cars in the morning. But I like the fall, better than all the other seasons. It’s a comfortable time.
Every morning I’ve been taking Stinkerbelle out for a walk. She will only catnap during the day, but I find if I take her out for a walk I can stretch the nap by a good fifteen minutes some days. She naps better in the Snugli, and can nap for an hour and a half or more if I let her — but my back can’t take an hour and a half walk with 15 extra pounds strapped on my person. (Perhaps a baby backpack is in order.) So now that we have one, we take the stroller.
I bundle her up in any one of a number of fleecy or quilted outfits, socks on, and Auntie Sherri’s strawberry Robeez so Stinkerbelle can’t kick the socks and shoes off. Then I put on her daddy’s favourite hat (courtesy of Auntie Heather, a little floral number that is as cute as can be), and strap her into the stroller. (Buckle up for safety!) And then, a couple of blankets are used to shield Her Babyness from the cold and the wind, tucking her in on all sides like a sausage roll with two big eyes peeking out the top. And at 10 am we are off, and by the time we hit the crosswalk at about 10:03 she’s dozing off.
A walk is nice at this time of year. Although most of the local trees’ fall colour has faded to brown, that just means we can kick along through the leaves. We also live in Subdivisionland, and as you well know, Subdivisionland is liberally peopled with young families. And with young families comes… houses decked out for every occasion on the calendar. And since it is October, you can bet your sweet bippy that more than one house on our walk will have a graveyard in the front lawn, or pumpkins everywhere, or a skeleton hanging from the eaves, or a porch bedecked in yellow “caution” tape. It’s festive, in a ghoulish, Hitchcockian way.
Normally we head to the local grocery store, which is a good 15 minute walk down the hill. I like having the stroller because I enjoy getting out, and it gives me the option of picking up a couple of things as we need them each day. As long as it fits in the basket under the stroller, we’re good to go. And trust me when I tell you, that sucker holds a LOT. A couple of kilos of Halloween candy, a squash, some milk, a pack of diapers and a can of formula ($9.99 each! I love sales! God I am so CHEAP!) and whatever else, and then we’re heading off home.
WHICH IS UPHILL. Dude. I am getting a workout each day.
The cool weather keeps me from spontaneously self-combusting, which is nice. And it also means that when we get home, making supper can mean something hearty and warm. Now’s the season for stew, and casseroles, and things roasted in the oven… I love cooking in the fall. A stew is heaven after a cold day’s walk. Biscuits and cookies make the house smell lovely. A pot of curry can simmer on the stove, with a little extra kick for the heat. We can eat our body weights in squash and mashed potatoes.
But it’s not only me that enjoys the fall feast. Our squirrel feeder has once again become a popular spot, as the local wildlife comes for some seeds to stock up for the winter. A little black squirrel sits in there for hours, pigging out like it’s a buffet. A big gray squirrel seems to be more choosy: he comes, takes a few things, hops down, buries them in the grass… aaaaand repeat. And a little chipmunk, by far our favourite visitor, has discovered the bounty, and is filling his cheeks and taking load after load back to his house for the winter.
Last night, however, a masked bandit came by, as we woke to find the squirrel feeder out in the grass, still upright and full of seeds. That happens sometimes — the local raccoons will come to your bird feeder and because that’s where the food is, they figure, “Hell, let’s just take it HOME, and then we’ll have food ALL WINTER!” But the feeder was abandoned a few feet out into the lawn, so it must have been too heavy.
I feel refreshed by the brisk air. I feel enchanted by the local wildlife. I feel inspired by the possibilities in my cookbooks.
It’s well and truly fall.