Horseback riding surrounded by beautiful trees, High school football and hot chocolate, under blankets watching early morning soccer games, going to a real Harvest Party with our CSA celebrating this year's wonderful bounty of good food and the community of people involved, leaf raking, lots of mums and pumpkins, and possibly the first fire of autumn in the fireplace tonight. This is my favorite time of year! I always get excited for the beginning of the holidays and Advent. I used to think it was something I would grow out of or not care so much about as my children grow up, but celebrating traditions is a big part of the whole rhythm of life. When the weather gets colder, it's time to rest earlier when the sun goes down. Cooking and baking become easier -- warm kitchens make a house a home during the colder months. I love the change of seasons... it makes me appreciate the short time of each season. Just like eating food produced by my farmer friends... each vegetable or fruit is only available (in abundance!) for a short period of time, so we enjoy it as much as we can at it's peak freshness and flavor. Being in a smaller town allows us to enjoy those changes a little bit more-- not as much rushing around and traffic and noise. More farms and ties to the actual land we live on. When I first came to Pennsylvania, I didn't appreciate the farms. Now I love the traditional farmers that keep the land here. I love the Amish's traditions of nurturing the soil, raising healthy animals, keeping life simpler, and doing what is right for the good of families. They've become my friends now and are very special people. Oh, how could I forget apple cider in my list?! Cider from local orchards... yum! And eventually maple syrup. How can you not love this time of year? :)
p.s. If you look closely at the third photo, you can see the heart on Harmony's left flank!