And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."
~ Elizabeth Coatsworth
Just after 8 p.m. last night, as we sat down to watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, we noticed the cats staring out the back window, peering into the darkness with a look of absolutely enchanted curiosity. We flipped on the outside lights to see what was up, and lo and behold - it was snowing!
I had just finished telling the boys about my favorite childhood Thanksgiving, when all the cousins went for a long walk after dinner and on our way back it started snowing. I've always held that memory dear - for the family togetherness as well as the perfectly timed first snow of the year. I do love a late autumn snow ...
But this is just crazy.
Snow in October? Snow before Halloween? We have a storm heading our way this weekend ... bringing with it anywhere from 1-3 to 3-6 inches, depending on its ultimate track ...
But let's focus on calmer, happier things, shall we? Let's embrace the season before us, and make ready for a new month to enjoy. I spent some time perusing my November notes recently, and I thought I'd share a few themes and plans for next month ... things that make November special for our family.
Give thanks to the birds ~ make them some homemade suet treats. Set them out on Thansgiving day morning.
On All Soul's Day (11/2), create a remembrance altar - tiny tealights (rosemary candles if I can find them/make them), marigold blossoms, framed pictures of departed loved ones.
Collect woodland goodies so the kids can make "Thanksgiving Potpourri."
Field trip! Visit a local cranberry bog ~ make a fragrant relish for Turkey Day.
Go on a nest walk: look for squirrel dreys and all kinds of (now visible) nests.
Observe varieties of moss and lichens in the woods (and backyard). Sketch in journals ... make a tiny terrarium for the Nature Shelf.
Display our Thankgiving books.
Launder soft throw blankets and place them in a handy basket.
Make watercolor post cards using soft, autumnal colors - russet, amber, gray, olive - and write Thankgiving greetings to send to friends and family.
Look for the returning juncos, our little snowbirds that herald Winter's return. (We spotted one the other day - so I guess this snow should not be surprising!)
Push our clocks back (11/5) and make way for shorter, darker days.
Take time to enjoy the sound of geese flying overhead.
Organize the pantry early in the month - make sure we have our holiday baking supplies in order.
Order mixed dried fruit for making fruitcakes.
Mix up mulling spices:
Mix: 2 cups dried orange peel, 2 cups broken cinnamon sticks, 1 cup whole allspice berries, 1 cup whole cloves, 4 broken star anise. Store in closed jar.
To use: Mix 1/4 cup spices per gallon cider, wine or apple juice. Simmer 30 minutes before serving.
(From China Bayles' Book of Days)
Clean, shop, cook for Thanksgiving. (That's oversimplifying things, but that's a whole 'nother post!)
Set up a knitting basket - start working on scarves for Christmas.
Hang our Gratitude Banner to work on all month.
Write out different autumnal and thankful words on small pieces of paper. Let EB make his own "November poetry."
On Martinmas (11/11), gather donations for the Parish Food Drive.
Work on Advent Calendar Project (ready to go 12/1).