Fall and Fire Beginnings...

Fall and Fire Beginnings...

With the onset of cooler days and nights this weekend, we began our first true Fall in this house.

Last year we had just moved in a month before. That Fall, I still felt the dark intensity of my father's death in February and everything was a bit overwhelming.

This year, Fall feels like fresh baked bread, just pulled out of the oven. Warm, crisp and welcoming…Ready for nibbling.

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I adore Fall…The trees’ earth reds and yellows easing in. I revel in feather duvet nights and still-wearing-shorts hiking days.

When I write in the cool dark mornings on our porch...Rememberings of Fall at my parent's house burble up. Every year crackling leaves would spin in the air as the front pond quieted, preparing for winter. Dad and I would carry in dry wood from the deck to build a fire in the family room’s huge stone fireplace.

Last week, I noticed the basil plant overflowing on our back deck. So I picked up the ingredients for a caprese salad appetizer when I grocery shopped with Nick and Matt on Friday. I chose almost overripe heirloom tomatoes along with fresh mozzarella.

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That night we relished the fresh red, green and white caprese salad drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction and chicken thighs baked with fresh rosemary, also from my back porch herbs. Side dishes included cauliflower rice seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and a little salt (steamed and then sauteed) and a couple of over ripe avocados mixed with salsa.

Saturday morning Nick, Matt and I hiked for a couple of hours at the Cincinnati Nature Center. The weather was nicely cool and sunny, as we cruised down Red Bird Trail, with my long-legged teens running ahead and waiting for me to catch up. About halfway through, we stopped and ate the ham and cheese sandwiches in my day pack.

That afternoon Nick did homework, Matt got a little screen time and I headed out to do some errands. Getting potting soil for my new rosemary bush, took me to HomeDepot.

I love fireplaces and campfires. About five years ago I bought a t-shirt after a hiking trip in Ohiopyle PA that says "Advice from a Campfire: Spark new ideas, Bring people together, Kindle strong friendships, Radiate warmth, Be a good storyteller and Don't burn out!"

Our fireplace isn't functional, but we have plenty of backyard space on the cement pad next to our detached garage. So my imagination began humming along when I saw a line of stacked-up iron and copper fire pits.

I walked out with potting soil, fire starter sticks and yes, a smaller black and coppery round fire pit.

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After driving home and hiding the fire pit in the garage, I texted Jim (who was at work, catching up) to let him know that dinner would be a bit later tonight. Then I corralled the boys for a short trip to Kroger's.

I had promised all three of my guys a small surprise. So it was fun watching Nick and Matt trying to figure what was going on, as we bought wood, hot dogs and buns and marshmallows. (No we don't have a grill yet...)

Once we got home, I opened the garage, and they both began looking forward to roasting hot dogs and marshmallows that evening in the backyard.

Nick and Matt helped me trim back the tree limbs so that the branches wouldn’t hang over the fire. Nick then helped me put together the fire pit, both of us sitting on the garage floor. As promised in the online reviews, putting it together was painless and quick.

Later that night found us sitting around a nicely glowing fire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks from the tree trimmings, whittled to long points by Jim and Nick. Yummmm!

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Song Lyrics: My Dad's Shirt

Song Lyrics: My Dad's Shirt

Song & Lyrics: Hiking Katahdin

Song & Lyrics: Hiking Katahdin