As I was tucking Arlene into bed one night last week, she asked: when is the next holiday? Like a fun one, not like Labor Day!? I was so glad she asked! It was a good reminder to pull a few things together for our upcoming fall festival. In our family it is an annual tradition the weekend before the fall equinox – a time to celebrate the change in seasons; from the enormity of the outdoors and hot days to cooler, more inward days. It all begins when our neighborhood squirrels leave out a basket of apples or pumpkins, along with a seasonal book. Such thoughtful rodents! In turn, we make applesauce and a brunch feast!
This year I really wanted to add a night of stargazing to the weekend. I wanted to take note of some of the celestial changes too. I’m more familiar with the summer skies than winter, except that Stephen talks about Orion quite a lot in the cooler seasons. So we made plans to head up to Peaceful Valley Campground for Saturday night. Peaceful Valley is 45 minutes from our home at about 8500 feet. It is steep valley, a product of glacial erosion. It is just beautiful. It looked uncertain Saturday as both the girls came down with horrible colds. Poor Ada was really struggling in the morning, so we decided to just play it by ear. However, enthusiasm won, congestion, ZERO. We headed for the mountains…
We took on a short hike before setting up camp and cooking dinner. The late afternoon light was brilliant but softer than the rays of noon. The cool air just what we needed. Both the girls and Stephen were in some stage of a nasty virus.
After our hike we settled down to some campfire cooking and hanging out! Dinner? Cowgirl potatoes (potatoes, onions, peas, cheese and bacon) on an open fire. Delicious! More so by my hunger and the outdoors. Blankets covered us as the air grew cooler and the stars slowly surfaced. We ate our s’mores and watched for new stars to emerge.
The squirrels once again came through with a basket full of apples the next morning –which we put to immediate enjoyment! We continued our celebration of fall continued with a seasonal brunch: pumpkin waffles, grits, bacon and fried apples. The rest of the apples with make their way into next week’s apple jacks!