Sunday, August 25, 2013

Is It Fall Yet?

I had planned on using my weekend to tidy my apartment. It’s just tough to build momentum for cleaning. I need the perfect playlist to get amped up or else I'll just sit on Pinterest, pinning pictures of fall campfires and pumpkins and fantasizing about the coming of Autumn. So far, all I’ve really done is the latter.

But really, why is autumn so wonderful? It signals the end of a season of growth and the entrance into a season of decline and dormancy. The days shorten and the nights grow bitter cold. The wind on the South Dakota plains is chilled again and hints at the icy blasts we’ll endure through the long Midwestern winter. And yet, I can’t help myself. Fall is magical.

I think part of what is so fulfilling about the season is that at the heart of it is the harvest. All the sowing and reaping of summer have ascended to one glorious zenith, and the fields are ready to be stripped bare of all they can give. Orchard boughs are hanging low, weighed down by their heavy ripened fruit. Blazing orange pumpkins are everywhere, and with them, the remembrance of pie.

Autumn is pie season. Oh, glorious pie season. I may be eating clean these days, but I can tell you what, I am going to enjoy cheating on our eating rules by making every kind of fall pie before the season ends. With refined sugar and flour, of course, because if you’re going to have pie, you better have pie.

I’ll make apple, pumpkin, cranberry apple, sweet potato, and probably a few more apple. I just need to find friends to share them with so that Dave and I don’t undue all the good we’ve done to our bodies with clean eating by consuming entire pies by ourselves.

Then we have the clothing of fall: big chunky sweaters, coats, boots, scarves, mittens, and those warm little hats that make every hair day a cute one.

We have bonfires! Gathering with friends around a fire and just talking for hours in the early dusk and into the night.

The hunting season begins and David can perform for me his most active role in our frugality: hunting. Since we got married I have gradually turned from merely tolerant of his hunting hobby, to fully supportive. Perhaps it was from reading Happy, Happy, Happy, Phil Robertson’s unlikely manual for frugal living. Perhaps it is just the logic of price—David can get so much meat for the low cost of hunting license/tag fees. Perhaps it is just the result of how untrusting I have become of buying meat from a third party (“grass-fed” and “organic” can mean so little when it comes to big production meat companies,) but I am actually planning on buying little or no meat over the winter. David will hunt rabbits, pheasants, deer, and even squirrel.

I’ll admit I’m a novice when it comes to cooking rabbit, but the two or three meals I made from his kills last fall were actually really easy and delicious. The squirrel, on the other hand… we’ll see if I can manage that.

Thankfully, via Pinterest, I can discover a myriad of recipes for wild game. Last year that was how I got my feet wet, but this year, with more experience and confidence in cooking with small game, I’ll probably experiment with my own recipes.

This is a recipe for Rabbit with mustard and thyme, and it's the one I’m most excited to try with Dave’s first catch of rabbits:

(for recipe:

I am thankful we have the freedom still, amidst The Jungle (intentional literary reference) of our food industry, to still go out and get provision for ourselves from the land. What could be more frugal than that?

And lastly (but not the last thing I love about fall, because to name them all would take a full-length book), to go with the previous reason I love fall, there’s autumn foraging. I need to get the foraging book back I had borrowed from the library. It’s full of pictures, descriptions, and helpful advice for safely foraging for wild edible plants like Queen Anne’s Lace and Sheep Sorrel. 


I’m a total newb at foraging, but when it comes to getting fresh, local, nutritious greens, there is NO more affordable and more nutrient-rich source of it than wild greens. So a-foraging I shall go.

At least I can do that before the onset of autumn. For the rest, I'll impatiently wait.

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