There’s No Fireside . . .

IMG_3764“Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin.”

The first time we went to Ireland, on our honeymoon, we bought this plaque with Gaelic words that translate to say, “There is no fireside like your own fireside.”

It was a sentimental and appropriate choice for newly-wed introverts, ready to commence sharing a fireside and both believing that home is the best place to be.

The plaque sits by our fireside, bearing testament to a continued love of home, now, twenty-five years later.

I always like being home, coming home, having a place that is “HOME” to me.

But never do I appreciate my own fireside more than days like today.

See the "feels like" temp in the bottom left corner? That -30 Celsius

See the “feels like” temp in the bottom left corner? That -30 Celsius

We’ve seen snowier and we’ve seen colder. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the snow is “falling” sideways today and we can’t see a boundary between lake and shore and sky. It’s a day where photos in full color are simply shades of gray.IMG_4317 IMG_4296

We’ll have to go out later and clear some of that snow but, for now, the fireside is the place to be, for folks and for critters.

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It’s a day when the weather can be used as a excuse for doing what we please, or not doing much at all, a grownup’s version of a snow day, off from school.

It’s a day to stay home, at the best fireside–our own.

Fall Fixations: I Have a Few

foliage-2Like many of you, I find autumn exhilarating. I look forward to it all year for very particular reasons. I have four main autumn obsessions (well, five, but I’m not going to rhapsodize about college football here):

1)   Foliage—This is the most obvious and probably universally-shared of my obsessions. I’m lucky enough to live in leaf-peepers heaven—in what’s being called the “Adirondack Coast” of upstate New York. With the Adirondack Mountains on one side and the Green Mountains of Vermont on the other, and lovely, lovely Lake Champlain right in the middle, this may be one of the best places in the whole world to be obsessed with fall colors.

We take leaf-peeping seriously at my house. We check the foliage report to plan outings. When we drive around in other seasons, we take note of special vistas, to come back to in the fall. We have our go-to routes that we drive every year. We plan outings on weekdays, so as not to be disturbed by amateurs! And we would never, ever plan a trip away from home at this time of year! Miss foliage season? I don’t think so.

If you stay tuned you’ll be seeing my fall photos!

2)   Apples—My part of paradise is also home to many, many apple orchards so autumn becomes a chance to try new varieties and re-visit old favorites. When you’re surrounded by dozens of unusual apples you’ve never heard of, it’s easy to become a bit of an apple snob—don’t be talking to me about boring old Red Delicious.

Northern Spy, Autumn Crisp, Pristine, Spartan, Winesap—aren’t the names wonderful? And the taste! So far beyond what you’re going to find in the grocery store! One of our favorite orchards keeps an industrial-strength apple quarterer and corer on hand so we can taste any (or all!) of the apples before we buy! And they’ve been known to walk outside and pluck the apples directly off the trees for us so we get them extra fresh. Add to this the fresh-pressed cider, the hard cider, the apple cider donuts, the caramel sauce for dipping apples  . . . yes, I love fall.

If you stay tuned you’ll be hearing about apples!

apples3)   Snow geese—I know nothing about the migratory habits of snow geese except that they love the bay in front of our house. For a month, usually starting in mid-October, gazillions of gaggles of geese gather here and make a mighty sound! They are joined by Canada geese, who are very cool in their own right, but the white mass of the snow geese is particularly showy and astounding. To see a huge gathering of them take off all at once is like watching snow fall up!

The first time I saw them, after we moved here, I was taking a walk and could see a band of white on the far shore of the bay. It was a beautiful late autumn day—I could not figure out why there would be snow on the edge of the lake! I looked harder and listened and it finally dawned on me that those were geese! I ran home, we jumped in the car, and followed the lake shore until we found them.

Now I stalk them. And like any good paparazza, my camera is always clicking.

If you stay tuned you’ll be seeing snow geese in your dreams!snow geese-4

4)   Chocolate—This isn’t, perhaps, the normal person’s autumn obsession (although I know lots of people who would call it a four-season fixation!) But I make and sell chocolate candy. I can’t make it or sell it between May and mid-September because it is impossible to temper real chocolate if the temperature is warm (and never mind the difficulties of shipping it!)

So, for me, fall brings the added excitement of the beginning of candy season! All the high holidays of candy seem to fall between October and May, so those months find me tempering pounds of silky chocolate and stirring pots of burbling caramel. And beyond the making of chocolate, I obsess about new concoctions and combinations, packaging, pricing, photos—all chocolate, all the time. Not a bad way to live, huh?

If you stay tuned you’ll be hearing about chocolate! (I’m truly not trying to sell you anything—it’s just that chocolate is such a huge part of my world, I can’t imagine not writing about it here!)

new dark fleur-1Just writing about these things whips me into a frenzy of anticipation! The early-harvest apples are already available, the chocolate listings on my shop have begun to reappear, the leaves are just beginning to perk up with hits of red and orange, the snow geese will make me wait awhile. But it’s coming, fall is coming, and I can’t wait!

I look forward to sharing these autumn delights with you, as well as other “loving hands” meanderings. Is autumn a special season where you live? What do you like best about it? I hope you’ll be using your blog to tell us all about it, too!