In the Midwest, we are fortuitous enough to experience all four of the breathtaking seasons. Autumn is especially beautiful in this region. The vibrant colors of leaves rustling in the trees in the autumn air are striking and inspiring. The autumn offers not only a bountiful harvest, but also an abundance of art materials directly from nature. From the beautiful array of fallen leaves to the dried seed pods that can be found lying beneath trees, natural art materials are abundant this time of year. They can be found in your own back yard, in nearby parks, on forest floors, or on a nature trail in your area. Embrace the nostalgic feelings evoked by each of the changing seasons. Recreate positive memories and start new or renew old traditions with the seasonal landmarks; Spring Equinox (March 20th), Summer Solstice (Jun 21st), Autumn Equinox (September 22nd), Winter Solstice December 21st)
The seasons seem to change in the blink of an eye. Happy Autumn!
Here are some ideas to savor the season of fall:
1) Create nature mandalas with colorful leaves. It is very rewarding and fulfilling as a solo meditation but can be very fun with a group of friends or family. Nature mandala walks are also enjoyable. Create them on a day when the air is still or use small stones to weigh down the leaves. Be creative. Create words, patterns, or abstract designs with leaves and pods.
2) Create Window Boxes using reclaimed wood. Make as many dividers as you would like. Fill the window box with things you find on a nature walk that remind you of fall.
3) Designate a “Seasons” Table in your home. Whether it be decorative or educational, collect items found in nature and artistically display them on your table with each changing season.
4) Create seasonal living nature terrariums in fish bowls, large mason jars, or large glass containers. Add soil, moss, plants and rocks or geodes. Spray the terrarium twice per week with water and witness the changes in the tiny ecosystem.
Try new seasonal recipes such as Hearty Autumn Stew, Sweet Potato Pancakes and Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon Butter Sauce, and any other Fall inspired dishes that you have been eager to make.
1 gallon of water
¼ cup hard cider or white wine
A pinch of pumpkin pie spice
A pinch of ground cloves
A pinch of cumin if you wish
3 large sweet potatoes sliced or cubed
3 large tomatoes sliced and cut in half
4 medium peppers sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil water, cider and seasonings. Add sweet potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 45 minutes.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Peel, boil and mash 3 medium sweet potatoes.
Add them to your favorite pancake recipe (decreasing wet ingredients by one quarter. They turn out best when cooked in butter on a cast iron griddle.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Lemon Butter Sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds (you can save the seeds to plant in your garden next summer). Brush both sides with olive oil. Roast them on a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes on each side. They are done when golden brown and semi soft. Melt one stick of butter in a sauce pan. Squeeze one lemon into the butter. Add a pinch of salt and stir well. Pour the lemon butter over the squash and serve hot