autumn traditions

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“He is indeed the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart.” – Washington Irving, Irving Sketck Book

imag2573.jpgOctober through the end of the year is the arrival of several family traditions in the making. We forage for mushrooms and hike the woods in the crisp air taking in the golden light of Autumn. We paint and carve pumpkins. We make some kind of sweet treat involving apples. We create our own greeting cards for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We celebrate mine and my husband’s birthdays with homemade fancy meals and store bought ice cream cake. We devise and create Halloween costumes.

This is my most beloved season. Not just for the cooler brisk air and turning of the leaves but for all the creative and festive energy it brings to our home. Today is Halloween. The official start to a good few months of merriment. We’ve been busy making merry and mischief for a couple weeks now and I’m reveling in it.

Here’s a look back at the last few years of Daughters Barrow’s Halloween fun.

 

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spring ends with summer’s awakening

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An early spring hike with my daughter making observations in her Field Notes journal.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

At spring’s closing and with summer nipping at its heels, the flora and fauna of the Hudson Valley have rushed in.  This will be our third spring here and I can’t say I remember there being such an abundance of life awakening around us.

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The Dogwoods have become a favorite feature on our property.
The trees are taller; an unfortunate circumstance for my garden bed as that means one less hour of sun for the plants but we will welcome the extra shade come summer’s heat. The blooms of our Dogwood trees budded in April and have only now lost their flowers. We discovered a new hiking trail this year populated with wild Honeysuckle; the intoxicating scent arrested our noses before we spotted them along the water’s edge.

Could it be our mild winter here on the East coast that has all  animals thriving? The snakes stretch themselves out during the heat of the day on our stone paths and in our creeping ivy along the hill.  The frogs, toads and even baby Box turtles are unabashedly making themselves known by creeping out of their winter homes and into our yard. And back on the trail, we have found newts, unusual fungi, evidence of beaver, and birds aplenty.

Birding. Can I take a moment to tell you about my new found “hobby” since moving out to the country? When I lived in the city, I loved to sit on a park bench or look out my window and people watch. With very little people watching in the country, I naturally gravitated to birdwatching.  And there are SO MANY birds of all types. From your run of the mill—Robins, Crows, Blue Jays, to your winter birds—Chickadees, Cardinals, Grey-Slated Juncos, to my spring and summertime favorites—Eastern Bluebirds, Scarlet Tanagers and lastly, (but no where near complete) my daughter’s favorite the hummingbirds.

But I’ve steered off topic. Birding will often have me do that as I spot a new bird from my window, drop whatever I’m doing and reach for the binoculars in hopes of identifying said bird. I’m digressing again.

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Summer begins.
What I’m mean to say is that everything is abuzz—trees creak, leaves ruffle, birds sing, chipmunks chirp, my daughters giggle in the sun-soaked yard. Nature awakens with a spirited renewal and I can’t help but be struck by the placidity of it all.