And so it begins... Stalls at weekend markets are in full display mode with rank upon rank of gourds in every color of the rainbow, squash and early pumpkins, baskets of potatoes, carrots and beets. Craftier enterprises offer strands of grapevine, autumn leaves and berries, wreaths, sheaves of standing corn, scarecrows and bales of hay meant to be used in decorating home and hearth for autumn. The craving to decorate one's surroundings at this time of the year seems to go hand in hand with pickling, preserving and plain old "putting things by" for winter.
This weekend, the first Macintosh apples of the season made their appearance, and we came away with a paper sack of perfection - the intoxicating scent perfumed the family buggy all the way home, and Spencer insisted on being fed an apple, bite by succulent bite as we made our way down the road.
When my son-in-law was asked what sort of cake he would like for his birthday dinner next week, he asked for gingerbread, and I am dusting off a favorite maritime recipe last stirred up around this time last year. It will perfume the house with its spice and sweetness, and the combined aroma of apples and gingerbread everywhere will be heady stuff - the essence of the season in all its vibrant glory.