Operation Hibernation 2011

It seems that, for us, there was a very distinct moment when summer ended and fall began. That moment was when we returned from the heat of Chicago in August and flew back to Spain. When I landed in Santiago, I could feel that the air was cooler and fresher, and it’s stayed that way ever since.

We feel like we’re preparing for hibernation. Right now the weather is gorgeous. Sometimes it’s cloudy, but it usually brightens up in the afternoons and the skies are clear and blue. The temperature is perfect – not too hot, not too cold, perfect for boots and a light sweater, and there is the smell of burning leaves in the air.

But it’s noticeably darker in the mornings, and pretty soon it will be dark almost all the time. Soon it will be cold, windy, and rainy all at the same time, and nothing will dry on the clotheslines and I will have to glue myself to the radiator to stay warm. It will rain down and up and sideways and diagonally and walking in it will feel so much colder than being in snow in Chicago. So we are preparing.

Isaac’s parents’ farm is overflowing with apples and pumpkins and there are still some straggling peppers and zucchinis that haven’t gotten the hint yet, so we’ve been scrambling to save as much of fall’s bounty as possible.

In past weeks, we’ve picked apples, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pumpkins. I’ve made homemade apple sauce, apple butter, pumpkin puree, pumpkin cupcakes,  and apple cinnamon air fresheners, and stuck everything in the freezer so we’ll have it all winter. I actually made a list of my favorite fall recipes, and am slowly making my way through beer breads, lentils, soups, chili, spice cakes, cider, and anything that’s warm, comforting, and involves cinnamon.

We’ve also been making lists of movies to watch and we both have a large stack of books waiting to be read. I’ve been eyeing a beautiful pair of boots that come with a thick knit sock in them (I am NOT a shoe lover at all, but for some reason I cannot resist boots), and I brought back several thick sweaters from the States that I can’t wait to wear (when the time is right).

We’re also taking advantage of this too-short season to take some trips we’ve had planned for a while. We want to visit the Cañones de Sil and are planning a road trip through Asturias and Cantabria (northern Spain). I’ll definitely post photos when we do!

In my fantasy, we would live in an old stone house and we’d have a huge hearth where we could build cozy fall fires and boil big cauldrons (not just pots!) of soup for the colder weather ahead. I guess I’ll have to settle with curling up on the couch with the cat and a blanket and a book and a cup of homemade apple cider. Maybe winter won’t be so bad after all.

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