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Golden leaves, knitted leaves

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Fireflys Autumn Colors Number 1When I make my special cranberry apple pie during the holidays, I save a bit of crust to cut into the shape of leaves to decorate the center of the top crust. I usually cut out four leaves freehand, place them in the center and then form three berries for the center of the leaves. It makes a beautiful presentation. It is raining here again, as it has for the past three days. To me, this weather looks and feels much like winter because this is about what winter was like in Los Angeles. I realize I am in for true winter before long and I know there will be discomforts I am not accustomed to. Some well-intentioned people here in the community have warned me and made jokes about what my first winter will be like; how unprepared I most likely am for the reality of it versus my preconceived ideas of it. What they do not know is that I have a secret weapon to draw on: I am hearty inside, where it counts most. A strong suit of mine in life is my ability to persevere and to find goodness and beauty and things to be grateful for even in very difficult situations. Fireflys Leaves of Autumn Number TwoMy father tells me I am like blue steel: steel that has been heated to the brink over and over again until it is tempered, beautiful, and incredibly strong (well, I don't know if he said "beautiful", but it sounds good). My father is a wonderful man ... both of my parents are wonderful people. No, seriously ... I know many people would say that about their own parents but I say this not because they are my parents but because of the fine spirits I have found them to be during my lifetime -- really getting to know them as people -- especially during my adult years. We have become much more than family; we are truly stalwart friends to each other on whose strength and loyalty each can depend no matter the circumstances. Together they and my children and I have weathered storms and circumstances that might bring others to their knees. From leaves, to blue steel, to honest freindship of kin ... and back again to leaves. The leaves on the deciduous trees in western New York are going through the many stages of brilliant color changes in preparation for their eventual dropping to the ground. Many are already dropping, others are changing from yellow and gold to rust and brown. Still others have not yet begun the journey from green to yellow to peach to orange and so on. It is a magnificent ballet of life outside, in the trees. As a breeze or strong gust of wind blows, some number of leaves join in the current and swirl around, dancing by my window as I type these words to you. Fireflys Leaves of Autumn Number ThreeYesterday I walked across the road to the bank overlooking our river and shot some photos through the leaves to the pulsing current of the river below. Last week's snow and this week's rain have given the river height, speed, and flow. We hear it coursing by in the background from inside the house, a relaxing steady sound. I am in a land of so much water, I am delivered from a land so dry ... I will survive the winter emotionally no matter what it brings. Yes, I am up north and this will be a real winter the likes of which I have not seen in North Carolina as a child, in Los Angeles as a teenager and adult, or in Denver as a visitor the past several years. It will be terribly cold at times, but I will remain warm and grateful inside ... and luckily I do have this charming, very warm new husband to cuddle up to if things get really bad. Speaking of warmth, on Monday I will share with you my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup ... which can be made with other winter squash as well. I started making my squash soup in Los Angeles for my children and I; we would have it with fresh homemade yeast bread. Oh yum, yum, yum. I have made it twice now in New York from squash purchased from a roadside farm stand. We will be having it again sometime this weekend; it will warm both your belly and your mind, as it does mine. Fireflys Lavender HatI completed stage one of my Lavender Hat and am sharing the pattern today, because for some people stage one of the hat will be hat a'plenty. Over the weekend I have a band for the hat (stage two) I am knitting to add for warmth ... one of the special features I hinted at earlier in the week. I added the knitted leaves on top as a decoration because I am in love with the beautiful leaves of fall, and because they remind me of the leaves on my pie crust mentioned above (I will be sharing that pie recipe soon, I promise). This hat is designed to match the Lavender Scarf pattern I published on an earlier blog. Tomorrow night we go on the hayride ... I hope you and yours have something dear planned for this weekend. Have a beautiful day, and a great weekend as well! ~firefly

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