Thursday, October 10, 2013

Autumn afternoon














It's gloomy today - windy, cool and rainy. A front is passing through; the mountain is completely obscured by storm clouds and the temperature is dropping. It's all making me want to bake something and light my kitchen candle early. I think I'll be doing both. Today is that kind of day. Yesterday, though - oh, yesterday. It was a perfect autumn afternoon. The sky was clear and dark blue, there was a slight breeze, the sun shone brilliantly and the air was crisp. The small Bears and I went to the park after we finished our homeschool tasks. We love our backyard but sometimes you need a bigger space to enjoy a beautiful afternoon.

I needed a change of scenery. I've been anxious for days about the so-called government shutdown, which may end up giving my husband an unpaid vacation. Worry doesn't fix anything, as well I know, and it's not a big deal - we have plenty of savings and it wouldn't go on forever in any case. But like any low-level stress, it's tiring. I needed space and air. They almost always need to run like crazy. To the park, then.

We are fortunate to have numerous lovely city parks a short distance from our home. I do have a favorite, though. I like it because of its location, set in a quiet residential neighborhood with a community college campus alongside. The park is set far back from the surrounding streets so there is little traffic noise. There are soccer fields, walking trails and bike paths, a playground, lots of mature trees for shade and benches for relaxing. I like to bring something to read, usually a cookbook so that I can read while keeping an eye on the small Bears.

Sometimes I bring a blanket but yesterday I really wanted to sit in the grass. There won't be many more chances to sit in grass before the ground gets cold. I did sit in the grass, perusing my copy of Jamie's Food Revolution; I am sure I have mentioned my love for this cookbook before but I'm finding it has become my go-to resource whenever I feel myself falling into a cooking rut. I don't know why this one cookbook has inspired me so much but I feel invigorated every time I take it out. I have been feeling bored with cooking sometimes lately. I was already making taco soup in the slowcooker for dinner but I always need new ideas.

I wandered with my camera after awhile; the small Bears were moving around too much for me to stay on the grass with a book. I love the autumn landscape where I live. We don't have the same colors you'll see in other parts of the country; I grew up in the northeast and fall looks a bit different there. But we do have lots of changes and I think they're beautiful. Trees here turn yellow for the most part but many do get orange or red tones. The crab-apple trees in the park were especially vibrant yesterday. The chamisa is flowering brilliant golden-yellow right now and there are masses of it left to grow wild around the perimeter of the playground. Along with the chamisa, there are thistles, chocolate daisies, desert nightshade, mallow and others whose names I don't know. Here and there, a small bird or lizard looks for food. The wild growth is one of my favorite things about this park.

We went home after an hour or so, the small Bears properly tired out and thirsty. I added some rice to the taco soup (I think it needs a little more starch) and put cornbread in the oven to bake. I made some tea and read blogs and allowed myself a few more pages of the Better Homes and Gardens holiday cooking magazine I shared the other day. The Bear came home; no news was good news. I served dinner, cleaned up and spent the rest of the evening working on the LB's granny stripe. I went to bed and felt full with my day: I love what I do. I don't wish for any other life but the one I have. I wish I had better dinner ideas, but that's not a deal-breaker. Give me sun and fresh air and happy children and something creative to work on and I feel so much better.

35 comments:

  1. I love your outlook on life. You are so happy with what you have, but never in a smug way, it's more like you just really appreciate what you have. I like your autumn pictures. The colours are different to ours and I enjoy the contrast. x

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  2. I always come away from looking at your photos and reading you text with a more positive feeling than when I clicked on your blog.. that's a good quality and so I thank you! Love the leaves the the kids having fun.. good job momma. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  3. Your posts always make me feel so calm Jennifer, so although you might be feeling a little turmoil about Bear having a "vacation" from work on the inside, the outside is doing just fine! I love the third picture down, it is just stunning. Enjoy your soup! xx

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  4. I love these Fall pictures! Your pictures are so calming and happy!

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  5. Jennifer, what lovely photos! It looks like you all enjoyed a lovely autumn afternoon. It's also bit windy, and overcast over here. I've also been anxious about this so-called government shutdown. My husband was home for a week, and called back. Luckily we too have a back up. (I can't lie I've been stressing, and it's not worth it, I needed to go to being my happy self!) I hope you have a wonderful evening with your family.

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  6. You are lovely my friend. I don't wish for any other life than I have, sometimes I wish for easier days, a little less driving and that I could pop into my oldest son's room just like Harry Potter, and visit with him for a few minutes.

    Your post has warmed my heart today,
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  7. Yes, your writing and photos are so very calming. And your positive outlook on life is so wonderful, and you are truly a happy person. What gorgeous scenery you have at the park... breathtaking! I need to check-out Jamie's Food Revolution cookbook as I am in need of some new recipes. Your taco soup sounds really delicious, too.

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  8. I hope it sorts its self out soon and you can find some peace. Looks like you had a lovely afternoon in the park.

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  9. Your blog always makes me feel content with my life. Your serene love for your family shows through very well. I just saw some more positive news on the shutdown so maybe that will help ease your mind there. Thank you for the beautiful pictures, your children look very happy and the fall foliage is gorgeous.
    Blessings,
    Betsy
    http://betsy-thesimplelifeofaqueen.blogspot.com

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  10. Jennifer, I too love visiting your posts and sharing your days in this way. Finding joy in the moment as you do is such good defense against the uncertainties of what might be.
    Gracie xx

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  11. Very autumnal post... I love it. Having attended a very dear friend's funeral this week, I too am feeling grateful for everything in my life and your post helped with that. Your little girl looks so much like you in the see-saw photo! Julie x

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  12. Hi Jennifer
    Your photos are so beautiful what lovely autumn colours. The children look like there having a great time at the park. I hope your hubby's job will be safe, stay positive like your being already what a great attitude you have xx

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  13. Lovely leaves! I have my eye on Jamie Oliver's new book about budget conscious food, I've been watching the series on TV and love his practicality. Just as well you were able to save before this budget crisis came up, I have a feeling that not all people would have been as wise. I hope it all resolves fast and your hubby can go back to work.

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  14. Beautiful! I'm amazed by politicians and how they are utterly incapable of working together for the common good! :) x

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  15. Beautiful post with beautiful autumnal photos to match. I love Jamie Oliver, I have many of his books, and like you, they are always the ones I turn to when I am in a cooking rut.
    Marianne x

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  16. What a perfect autumn day. It's not like that here at the moment, it's drizzly, dull and cold. I think it will be some time before I'm sitting on the grass again.

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  17. I thought only the photos were going to be your post. I was going to say that I love looking at ones like this because I just bought a nice camera and my goal is to take pictures as nice as yours. Then I saw your narrative, and once again I was caught up in the serenity and simple beauty that is your fortunate life! Very beautifully expressed, as always! I think I'd love living with mountains far in the distance. They have such a sheltering effect!

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  18. I'm loving your autumn colours, sadly here most things seem to have gone straight from green to brown this year.

    And yes, being a full time Mom is the best job there is :)

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  19. Your fall pictures are so beautiful - I especially love the one with the blue sky and orange leaves. Jamie's Food Revolution is one of my favourite cookbooks. Did you know he has a new one coming out? I'm not sure if it is available in North America yet. I picked up my copy at Heathrow just before I boarded my flight home. It's called Save With Jamie, and is his best one yet!

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  20. Your fall pictures are beautiful. I 'll keep my fingers crossed that your husband doesn't have an unpaid vacation, it must be worrying with all the uncertainty. I too am a fan of Jamie's recipes.
    Sarah x

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  21. Your photos are lovely Jennifer and it looks really bright and sunny, hard to imagine its autumn there. Its been very cool, in fact positively chilly here today. Didnt spend much time outdoors. Have a lovely weekend.

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  22. Love your Autumn shots! Beautiful Congers by the way are from the Horse chestnut tree, can't be eaten! Children play games ith them in the Autumn!

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  23. Hi, Jennifer! Thanks for visiting me and leaving me a comment. The free pattern for that cowl is on Ravelry right here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/soft-stitch-cowl It's a fun stitch. Enjoy!

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  24. Beautiful photos Jennifer, the colours are stunning. That park looks great. I scrolled back and had a second look at the first photo of it before I had even read what you wrote about it. It looks exactly the type of place my little people would love. I'm really sorry about the shut-down situation. There needs to be a new system I think - it's madness to just shut things down. I do hope it is resolved soon, I do feel for you and your husband, it must be very unsettling and anxiety-forming to have this hanging over you. I hope you manage to have a good weekend anyway.

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  25. Hi Jennifer,

    Your images of those beautiful autumn leaves made me very happy, as did the see-saw your kiddies were on! Ah...those were the days, carefree, fun and not a care in the world!

    xo
    Poppy

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  26. Pretty leaf photos! I love fall, all the colors are so happy and bright! Sorry about your husband and the stress. I know a lot of people out of work due to the shut down right now. I hope for everyone's sake it ends soon....

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  27. Beautiful photos, the leaves are so pretty. I 'm sorry about the shutdown hope it is resolved soon

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  28. Beautiful autumn and children photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

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  29. I am new on your blog, you have such a nice place here. Love your post and the way you explain yourself.

    Lluisa xx

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  30. Hello lovely Jennifer. I savoured every word in this post. I love your writing, but especially the fact that you appear to be so mindful and content and I love that about you. I too, despite my health and the restrictions it brings am so in love with my life. I love every bit of it and feel so blessed. Your park looks perfect and your autumnal colours so beautiful. Sadly ours aren't offering all the shades I so long to see. The recipe book sounds great and I'm always interested to hear of new books that people love. I too struggle with this weekly cooking malarkey and its my weekend job to sit down and to a weekly menu plan. I hope that things pan put ok with your hubby's work situation. Xoxo

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  31. Beautiful Autumn photos. Yesterday was really warm and sunny here - a glorious Autumnal day. Today - its raining, windy, grey and cold, and has been from the moment we woke up. What a difference a day makes! x

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  32. Great photos, warm words (especially the last paragraph) glad I stopped by. Jo x

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  33. Such a beautiful fall by you!!! Beautiful photography friend! I will be crossing my fingers that this whole government shut down ends soon for your family...you have an outstanding attitude! All the best in the days ahead! Your love for what you do comes through in your posts! Your kids are so lucky!! Oh and I will have to check out that cookbook! I am always looking for a little inspiration in that department as well!

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  34. Such a beautiful post full of love and contentment and being happy right where you are. I'm glad to hear your husband didn't get an unpaid vacation - ugh on the government shutdown!

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  35. I'm running late and missed this post Jennifer - I do hope your husband's work situation turns out to be secure!
    Lovely pics and happy times, always so nice to read your news. I also become a bit bored re meals from time to time, then a fresh impetus rises up and we're on the way again.
    Warm hugs, Joy x

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