The air is brisk this morning and hung with expectations of colder days to come. Most of the leaves have fallen from the branches, leaving a patchwork of crazy-quilted colors underfoot in autumn's palette of ochre, russet. crimson, and gold. Bittersweet berries and fox grapes dangle from their windswept tendrils, and a myriad of frost pictures etch windows and leaves. The sharp scent of woodsmoke fills the air, along with the dusky smell of fallen foilage. The air rings with mixed echoes of ax, chainsaw, geese and gunshot. It is time to refrain from walks deep in the woods.
Something stirs my soul this time of year, as if long-departed ancestors call me homeward. My heart longs for something forgotten... something packed away amid layers of time that I know is there somewhere but I cannot quite lay my fingers upon it. It is a call to remember those things from long ago... to recollect and reflect upon the wisdom and ways of times past. I long to settle in and reread some of my favorite books by authors such as Eric Sloane, Tasha Tudor, James Whitcomb Riley and Laura Lee Hope! Though I long to be outdoors still, the kitchen and fireside beckon me with warmth, baking, and books to be read.
I have been yearning to take up rug hooking and I'd like to cross stitch a few samplers to hang upon my walls. I would also like to create a few small floorcloths, as I have been slowly refinishing various rooms of my home. I have a pile of projects that need tackling, and furniture that needs refinishing... things I have put off during the summer due to more pressing chores at hand.
The constant work of the gardens ended overnight with a harsh killing frost, and though there is a sad finale about that fact, there is also a sense of relief in knowing there is only one more chore that beckons from them this year, and that is a final clean-up of the blackened and dried vines and stems which provided so many jars and boxes of produce this growing season. I need only go down in the cellar pantry to see the garden's jeweled remains... jars of jellies, jams, pickles, sauces, and dried fruits and vegetables, lined up and waiting for winter's use.
I've included a recipe given to me close to 30 years ago from my friend Rachel. Her note states that this gingerbread is "nice and moist, with good flavor". I couldn't agree more, and my children loved this when they were little, served warm fresh from the oven with lots of whipped cream! It makes a good-sized pan, but it freezes well, too! An added bonus is that each serving contains a good portion of Vitamin A and Iron.
**Oh good grief, I just realized i published this same recipe last year! Sorry for the repeat!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13" X 9" pan. Combine the following dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
3 1/2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
Add the following wet ingredients, and beat together well til all is combined.
1 cup soft Butter
1/2 cup Molasses
1/3 cup Water
2 cups of pureed Pumpkin
Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about an hour. remove from oven, cool slightly, and serve warm with (homemade) whipped cream!