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!
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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.
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!
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).
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