Get up from your computer and go outside. Stop. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. This is the time of year when “outside” smells so good that you can actually smell it on other people after they have come back in…I love that. I love it when people smell like “outside”.

As the growing season in Wisconsin comes to a close, my favorite time of year opens up the familiar colors, smells and traditions of a Midwestern Fall. We hiked around the Trout Lake bike path recently. It begins its 15k stretch in Boulder Junction (Musky capital of the world, if you please), and winds around the Trout Lake area. Not only did we enjoy the vibrant colors of the Northwoods foliage at its autumn peak, but also found an awesome park in Boulder Junction to teeter-totter the rest of the beautiful afternoon away. The weekend was filled with leaf piles and popcorn, hikes and naps, a bright and beautiful full moon, taking care of Gracie’s baby Black Hills spruce (he was planted in August under her careful supervision), Nana’s home cookin’, dancing with Pahkie, and lots of laughs.

I just finished planting no less than 14 different varieties of flowering plants, bulbs, and shrubs. The morning started with the official final harvest of the Santiago vegetable garden at my in-laws house. As the girls ate oatmeal with their Abuela, I was stripping the last batch of peppers and tomatoes for canning and drying. We’ll have plenty of marinara and pickled peppers to get us all through to Spring. (I’ll admit that the orange habaneros actually came from one of Eli’s co-workers, but we don’t discriminate when it comes to making good hot sauce ya’ll.) Right now my kitchen looks like a harvest celebration (so says Grace). I’ve got three types of peppers strung along my pot rack to dry, and baskets of tomatoes ready for jars sitting there staring at me. (That along with the apple pies I have to bake with the apples from my parent’s “orchard”.) Better get to work.

So, if you have been following the comings and goings of the Sancheez household, you may know that we had our CD party a while ago. Dammit, it was fun. Here’s the short of it: 24 funky folks with some of their favorite music to share. Everyone brought enough copies of their “mix tape” for everyone to take home and sample the madness. Everyone’s music was shuffled in the CD changer all night, and we had more food than we could handle. Despite the occasional rain shower, we had a great time. It was a night of old friends, new friends, old music, new music, sunshine, rain, food, drinks, party games and a rather nice bon fire. At the end of the night, everyone left with a party bag filled with CDs to keep their playlists filled all week. I can’t tell you how fun it is to listen to everyone’s mix, okay, well technically I can tell you, but it’s just not good enough to tell you. Come on over and I’ll throw on some tunes and you can meet my friends.

Sidebar: Thanks to everyone who actually accepted this wacky music mission and showed up with music and a dish to pass. We love all of you, and we were so happy to have all of you in our home. How lucky we are…

So, here comes Fall. We are planning our Trick o’ Treat Chili Dump, our annual trip to Swan’s Pumpkin Farm, and pulling out the scarves and sweaters. Come over for a fire, a mug of hot chocolate, or just hang out with the tiny mamitas. Talk to you soon…

© Sara 2009

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