Monday, October 25, 2010

Indecisive Autumn

We are having a very peculiar Autumn so far. It's usual to have an Indian Summer during the earlier part of the season. It gets cold and then, suddenly, it gets warm for a while. In our case, we're having our Indian Summer all over the place. A few nights ago, it was frosty outside. The days were chilly enough that a jacket was necessary for going out in the morning. Even during the day, it was nice to have an extra layer. When it's like this, it's too cold to sleep with the windows open and the body heat of two little puppies is rather nice to have at night.

Then it gets warm. It's done this a few times now. Yesterday, it was a warm, almost hot day. The night temperature got down to 63 degrees. For us, this is considered rather hot for a night in October. It means you wake up at 2 a.m. sweating because you've put the thicker comforter on the bed and the puppies are still burrowing under it, adding more heat to the situation.

We also haven't had any rain. When I say no rain, I mean literally no rain. We're almost 8 inches short for the year. We were supposed to get some rain today. Alas, no rain. Tomorrow, we're supposed to have heavy rain. I'm hoping this is true.

The thing is, while it's nice to have a variety of temperatures, it makes it a little hard to plan things like Autumn meals. For example, silly me listened to Frank Marzullo and the Fox 19 Storm Tracker Weather and I believed him when he said it was supposed to be cold and rainy on the Sunday of this past weekend. It ended up being almost 80 degrees and partly sunny. I had planned a nice warm Autumn meal- my mother's 'mincemeat' recipe with noodles and lettuce salad. I still made it. It was still tasty. Yet it wasn't the warm, comfort food of a chilly, rainy Autumn night. It was the rather overly heavy meal on a balmy Indian Summer night.

Tonight, we're trying for something a little less comfort food and a little more fun. Gorganzola mashed potatoes, grilled steaks with red wine-braised mushrooms and haricot vert beans with herbs. It sounds fancy but I'm just using up things I have on hand. The nice thing is that now I've mostly learned to cook, I can make a pretty good meal out of a few ingredients. It's all rather fun.
The other thing about this peculiar Autumn is walking the dogs. Some evenings, I need a jacket. Some evenings, I don't. It's hard to tell sometimes. Tonight, there was a slight breeze but not enough to require a jacket. It was enough to scatter the carefully raked piles of leaves that are sitting in heaps by the curb. I don't have enough leaves to do much raking. That's the nice thing about not having my own trees. The puppies would probably like some leaf piles but considering the mess they make with the few leaves we have in the garden, I think I'm ok with them having a nose in the leaf piles we pass as we walk.

Tonight, there were lots of people out raking. Larry the Potential Serial Killer was one. We haven't seen him since he stalked us in his car and I had this horrible feeling I was going to get trapped. Fortunately, Mike (he of the very large backyard and also the recipient of my unwanted pampas grass) saved us by being out for a stroll and stopping to chat to Larry not long before the puppies and I had no choice but to pass by. Thus, Larry was preoccupied and couldn't stop for one of his up-close-and-personal chats without being rude to Mike. He did, however, make an overly enthusiastic suggestion that I join him for a bonfire in his garden sometime soon.

We'll see about that. Given that I call Larry a potential serial killer, it's probably not likely to happen. He does make me a little uncomfortable. Maybe he can invite Mike instead. They both seem quite lonely. They're both unmarried men in their mid-to-late forties. They could have a famous time together!

Still, he's not the only one contemplating leaf fires. Someone had just started one as the pups and I continued our sojourn. While the smell of leaf fires is appealing, this particular one was a little smokier than the normal fire and the smoke was a little much. It was bad enough for us as we passed by. I can't imagine being the one standing over the fire.

Nevertheless, the fire made the air smell Autumnal. It would have been just a little nicer had it been crisper in temperature but it was still nice. I'm hoping it's not the last leaf fire we see/smell this year.

Although I think I'll pass on Larry's.

Happy Tuesday!

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