Friday, October 18, 2013

Notes From The Country - Autumn Leaves

After a couple of gusty days the leaves are raining down from the trees. I love it when you can't see the grass for the thick carpet of leaves. The animals sense the impending change of season here. The cats are out sprinting through leaves and making the most of warm sunspots during the middle of the day, but are hesitant to go out into the chill mornings and are inside earlier in the evening curled up in their favorite spots. I walked around and soaked up the last of the colors and harvested the rest of the herbs, dug up the remaining carrots before the ground becomes too impacted with cold, and said goodbye to the warm autumn days. Snow is in the forecast. I did a bit of baking too and used up the last overgrown zucchini from the garden. 

 The Locust and Ash trees on the side of the house. The changing leaves were not as intensely yellow this year, yet they were pretty nonetheless. 

The Cottonwood trees and friends are giving their last hurrah.

The front yard in it's subtle beauty.
Locust tree in transition. I love the delicate little leaves on these trees. 

I made my favorite Banana Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. It sounds weird, but is really sweet and tasty. I used to make this bread for the girls for after school snacks all the time when they were little. 

 And Zucchini Bread. This recipe called for crushed pineapple which gives it a good flavor and texture.

My final cutting of herbs. I feel an herbal wreath coming on. I also gathered some pinecones from the forest floor for the dining room table. I found a couple of nests on the ground beneath the pine trees. I think birds nests are simply amazing. The materials birds will gather to bundle together is ingenious - feathers for warmth, twigs, bits of twine, dog and cat fur, grass. In this nest there were bits of  bright blue plastic threads. I'm assuming they retrieved these from the blue plastic tarp in the loafing shed. 

 Fire Maple, Mountain Ash, Locust, Aspen, Serviceberry leaves and more ready to dry for the Thanksgiving table.

Bing enjoying the crisp fall air and a soft bed of leaves. Can you see the hint of sadness in his eyes? Unfortunately he has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, which means he is losing the use of his back legs. And as he has violently resisted my final effort to help him (a doggie wheelchair for his hind legs), he at this point drags himself around and runs with determination when able. Stubborn little thing. He did want to be out today as well to enjoy the day. He actually found a stick he wanted me to throw for him

Ignoring his current situation he determinedly went to his favorite task - herding the alpacas. It was so bittersweet to watch him do this. The afternoon found him on another pain pill, but the look about him was that it was worth it. I agree. 

Puca in the forest

The forest bed is coming along nicely and Quito and Fantan enjoy the change from the open pasture.

A pause on the deck.

The chickens were out kicking up leaves and entreating my cat to play. Manny's not warming up to them yet.

I made this apron last week for my cousin for her birthday

along with some napkins and flour sack towels
 and a Golden Retriever potholder 

An owl bread bag to put it all in. I think she was happy with it.

Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour                                                                  1 cup finely shredded,                         
1 tsp. cinnamon                                                                                     unpeeled zucchini
1/2 tsp. baking soda                                                                             1 cup mashed banana
1/2 tsp. salt                                                                                         1 large egg 
1/2 tsp nutmeg                                                                                    1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp. baking powder                                                                        1 cup semi sweet 
1 cup sugar                                                                                           chocolate chips
Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together sugar, zucchini, banana and egg. Add oil; mix well. Stir flour mixture into zucchini mixture. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter in greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes.   
                                             "Give us this day our daily bread. 
                                            And once in awhile, chocolate instead"

courtesy of "Food and Friends in Fort Collins" cookbook

"Autumn bowed to place a beautiful crown on the Queen of Morning, and her velvet robes sway merrily in the chilly breeze."
via Terri Guillemets

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