I was just startled by the raucous calls of an army of Canada Geese rising up from the lake to start their morning journey. Ashok raised her head with perked ears, and both of the cats jumped up onto the windowsills to see what was asunder. The cool breeze flutters the sheers, and I had to put on my cozy sweatshirt and tights. For all practical purposes, this Louisiana gal feels autumn in the air. (Ironically, I’m going to meet my friend Autumn for lunch today.)
Whirlpool gives two days off for the summer holidays here. I know all too well the gift of summer after the long descent into winter on Lake Michigan. Everyone here is discussing the last days of summer as if somehow the warmth of the sun disappears on Labor Day. It doesn’t really come that fast, but it does start it’s journey. By November, there will be more cold days than warm ones, and by December, we’ll be in it. But for all practical purposes Labor Day signals the end of summer. My friends tell me that Monday night the boat ramps at the lake will be jammed with trucks pulling boats out of the water for the season. They will be brought to storage facilities where they will be shrink-wrapped or stored inside until late spring or early summer. Monday, it seems, is the last hurrah.
I needed to buy a headlamp, so I went to the local chain sporting goods store last week. The entire front of the store was filled with winter gear. I walked down the aisles looking at the gear that I would eventually need to purchase for running comfortably here. An entire row was dedicated to balaclavas and winter hats. Rack after rack was filled with down coats. And, there was a whole section for Yaktrax – a sort of cage that you put over your shoes to provide traction on the snow and ice. I ran in them when I lived here before. I donated them before leaving for Memphis. But, I suppose I’ll be buying them again.
At a poolside BBQ Wednesday night, we donned sweaters and were surprised at how cool it was. I came home and turned off the AC. I’ve been having to close the windows at night the last two nights because it was too chilly. My proposed new house will be needing a new furnace – if the deal works out – , and I thought I’d have some time. But that’s my Louisiana experience talking. I’ll need to get that baby right away.
My thoughts have turned to fall, and I’m ready for pumpkins, apples and a colorful turn of leaves. I am ready for my first northern winter in 13 years, at least figuratively. I still need to buy a coat ($$$), snow boots and snow tires. The next few months will be expensive, but there’s no room for compromise on this. I will bite the bullet to stay warm.
Yesterday afternoon I stopped at several farm markets on the way home to check out the offerings. It’ll be easy to can or freeze here. Most of the farms offer bulk purchasing, so I can prep some foods for the winter if I want. I bought a butterkin squash that is a cross between a pumpkin and a butternut squash. I cut it in half, seeded it, dotted it with butter and cinnamon and baked it this morning. I cooked some apples and mixed them with cottage cheese as a filling for the squash. It was a delicious warm and savory breakfast. It’s a great change from my usual oatmeal and loaded with the vitamins from farm-fresh produce.
Have a great Labor Day weekend – whether it’s the end of summer where you are or just another day in a long string of hot ones. I’m going to check out grocery stores today and hopefully find out about my house deal. (We have appraisal issues.) If it goes through, I’ll be in it by next weekend!