Friday, September 25, 2009

'Tis Autumn

The Autumn beauty of Mill Creek off Lake Huron in Lexington, Michigan

Although the summertime has the bulk of our Civil War reenactments - which, as you may or may not know, makes this blogger extremely satisfied - I still love the Autumn time of year the best. No, not because of football. Sorry, I'm not a fan.
When you think about it, fall is the most old time/traditional time of the year. This is when city folks, who normally go to the mall, spend time in front of their TV (watching football!), or sitting at their computer, head out to the the country to the cider mills for apple and pumpkin picking, cider & donuts, haystack climbing, and crisp cool walks through country paths. I suppose this tradition stems from the harvest celebrations in days of old and has just carried on into the 21st century.

We in my family are no different; Patty and I have been doing cider-milling for over 20 years, and our children (even the adult children) look forward to it as well.
Yes, it's true that the mills over-charge (that's an understatement) and many mills have turned the fall celebrations more into Hallowe'en celebrations rather than celebrating the fall harvest. But the traditional atmosphere in some of the older family-owned-for-generations mills can still be found, away from the hubbub of the more 'popular' mills that spend their money in expensive advertisements and silly mechanical hillbilly bears singing country songs.
So, it's to the traditional mills that we head, curbing our spending greatly by sticking only to cider & donuts,

Of course, with the cooler weather we know the smell of apple pie can't be too far away. Yes, my wife is a master apple pie maker - she learned from my mother who was taught by her own mother - and Patty will bake one or two pies a week now through the Christmas Season.
We gotta do something with the two full bushels of apples we pick!
Oh yeah...homemade apple sauce, too!

Apple picking - two bushels are never enough!

And, we cannot forget the biggest fall harvest celebration this time of year has to offer, Thanksgiving. I know we think of Thanksgiving as the opening of the Christmas Season but it's still actually a Fall Harvest Celebration.

Another trip my wife and I take every year is to that tourist trap of Michigan tourist traps, Frankenmuth (,_Michigan). Yeah, we eat the chicken dinners, we go to Bronner's Christmas shop (amazing!!), and we'll even shop the tourist-y stores. But, my favorite part of this trip is, first of all, the scenic drive up I-75 with the changing leaves. The other thing I enjoy is our frequent stops off the beaten path to local antique shops. We never seem to leave without finding a treasure, whether small (a wrought-iron matchstick holder) or large (a hall tree).
What fun we have on this one day excursion all to ourselves.

Romeo has some quality antique shops, among the other smaller towns in the "thumb" of Michigan

Living in the city, we are not allowed to burn leaves, but when we travel northward into the country, the smell of burning leaves is almost as good and satisfying as the smell of a hot apple pie...almost!

My son buried in leaves

With darkness coming earlier each evening fall is also my favorite time of year for using 'natural lighting' - this is when we burn candles and oil lamps quite often. Again, it gives off that relaxed, old-time atmosphere that the way-too-bright electric lights simply cannot give. Many people find the shorter days depressing - some having that "seasonal affective disorder" - and find they need to have the brighter lights on throughout the house.
I'm just the opposite. I love cloudy, dingy fall days with the darkness of twilight time coming in the late afternoon or early evening. (And I can't stand the fact that Congress (was it Congress?) has enacted the extension for daylight savings time. In fact, I wish we would get rid of DST altogether! Let's stick with one time all year 'round).

Some of the lighting apparatus used to give a glow to our evenings during the fall season

Don't get me wrong, by February, I am more than ready for the natural longer daylight hours and warmer temps. But, come late September, give me the fall feeling of shorter days and longer, cooler nights.

I do love each season - yes, even winter - but Autumn just seems to carry more tradition with it than the others.
And I am a traditional guy!

By the way...there are a couple of fall reenactments this time of year, and, yes, they are among my favorites because of the time of year!

A scenic scene from the past at the Wolcott Mill Civil War reenactment in northern Macomb County, Michigan



WesternWoodburner said...

The picture of the candles and oil lamp is pretty. The last picture of a fall re-enactment is nice as well. Fall re-enactments (October and Nov. in the South) are my favorite re-enactments.

Historical Ken said...

Thank you - - - the Wolcott Mill reenactment takes place the 2nd weekend in October each year.
Many times we'll awaken in the morning with frost covering the ground and our tents.

Kelsey said...

Fall reenactments are the best. It's cool enough that you don't roast in your uniform, but not as cold as events in the winter, which really suck when you're stuck wrapped in a blanket sleeping around a campfire.

Historical Ken said...

You won't get an argument out of me on that one Kelsey. I only wish there were more in this area.

Kelsey said...

Ken - we just need to get you to branch out into other periods. Marc and I do pretty much everything between F&I and Vietnam except for Civil War, and if we wanted to, we could do an event every weekend, year round.

Historical Ken said...

Kelsey -
How cool to do so many events from the different time periods.
I actually wouldn't mind doing earlier eras - Rev War era or 1812 - but, unfortunately, that is beyond my means at this time.
As my younger children get older, that may be more feasible.
As far as doing anything later than the 19th century, that's where my interests begin to much as I enjoy reading about 20th century history, living it doesn't spark an interest for me, although I have quite a few friends that have gotten into WWII reenacting and love it.
Thanks for reading and writing.