Wednesday, November 6, 2013


If there’s ice in November to bear a duck
There’ll be nothing after but sludge and muck.

A warm November fortells a bad Winter.

Onion skins very thin,
Mild Winter coming in;
Onion skins thick and tough,
Coming Winter cold and rough.

I am rich today with autumn's gold,
All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,
Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,
Golden apples heavy on the trees
Rivaling those of Hesperides,
Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread
Over all like butter on warm bread;
And the harvest moon will this night unfold
The streams running full of molten gold.
Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this!

-   Gladys Harp

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty.  For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercising in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion.  All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).  And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc.  Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.  Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.
 William Bradford, 1621 

Gluten Free Spiced Pumpkin Fruitcake Recipe

I confess... I am one of the few people I know that actually enjoys fruitcake! (I think my mom is the other!) Come November, and it's time to make a batch to have on hand for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I like my fruitcake full of fruit and nuts, and I don't expect it to be healthy. Just a little something to have with tea after being out in the cold, crisp air. This fits the bill perfectly. I make it ahead as I think it just tastes so much better after sitting for a few weeks. (I steep mine in brandy or Southern Comfort; you needn't do either... but do let it sit wrapped in plastic wrap for a week or two in the back of the fridge to mellow.)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together
1/2 pound of butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1  1/4 cups (or 1 can) pureed pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix in

2 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

(NOTE: If you do not want a gluten free fruitcake, simply omit the xanthan gum
and just use regular all- purpose flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients til well-blended.

Now... I stir in at least 2 pounds of dried fruits and fruitcake fruit mix, and at least two cups of chopped pecans and walnuts... I prefer less "cake" and more "fruit" (and nutmeats)
I purchase the traditional fruitcake mix, and glazed cherries, citron, lemon peel and orange peel, as well as the pineapple. (This time of year, I turn a blind eye to all the artificial GMO dye-infested yuck that is in those plastic containers... SHAME on me!)
Then I add sweetened, dried fruits from the co-op store... golden raisins, papaya, apricots, cantaloupe, cranberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc... whatever your tastebuds prefer. I just keep adding the fruit and nuts until it is the consistency I love.

Mix well (this is a workout for your arms, to be sure!)
Then spoon the fruitcake mixture into greased loaf pans, small or large. Using a fork, flatten out the top of each fruitcake, pressing firmly.
 I used a collection of small pans that I use just for this recipe... I just like the ease of handling the smaller loaves better than 2 or 3 larger loaves, and the littler ones are just the right size for gifts!
Bake these smaller loaves for about an hour, turning them half-way during baking time. The regular size loaf pans should bake at least 1 1/2 hours, give or take 15 minutes. Insert a toothpick into a loaf or two and make sure it comes out clean. Let fruitcakes cool completely before removing them from the pans.
Wrap each fruitcake in plastic wrap, and allow to mellow in the refrigerator for at least a week to improve the flavor.
If you so desire,  pour a bit of brandy or Southern Comfort on the top and bottom of each fruitcake before you wrap it. Let this soak in for a week or two, then enjoy!
This recipe made 9 small (approx. 4" by 6") fruitcakes, each weighing 1 pound apiece.

Now the frost is in the air.
Blue the haze at early dawn.
There is color everywhere.
Old and ragged looks the lawn.
Autumn's resting on the hills.
Harvested are fruit and grain,
And the home with gladness thrills.
Buckwheat cakes are back again!
Every season has its joys,
Every day its touch of mirth.
For us all - both girls and boys -
God has well supplied the earth.
What if care must fall between
Peace and pleasure now and then?
Autumn holds this happy scene:
Buckwheat cakes are back again!
Time and trouble change us all,
Youth gives way to middle age,
One by one our fancies fall
Till we reach life's final stage,
But in spite of aches and panes
And the difference old age makes,
Man devoted still remains
To a stack of buckwheat cakes.
Edgar A. Guest, Buckwheat Cakes

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.
Edgar A. Guest, Thanksgiving

The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming
and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July
 Henry David Thoreau  

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it...
 the whole story doesn't show.
Andrew Wyeth