Wednesday, September 22


Fall is my favorite season, hands down.  There are many reasons for this:

1) The smells.  Fall smells like fall.  This seems like an obvious observation (M likes my obvious observations), but when you step outside on a crisp, clear autumn day it smells like leaves, clean air, and fire.  And I live in the burbs.  The scent of burning leaves wafts your way as it's a comfortable enough temperature to be outside in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt.  It's heaven.

2) This brings me to my next point, the weather.  I HATE summer.  When I was little I liked summer to an extent.  You get to go to the beach, to the pool, play with your neighbor friends, and you don't have to sit in class.  Then when you get older, you no longer get to spend every day at the pool because you have a summer job where you work 5 out of 7 days a week and therefore can't lay at the pool all day, every day.  So then, summer just becomes boring and for some reason when you get older, you notice that it's HOT.  Not hot like, fine I'll sit in the shade hot.  No, hot like, I just sweated out the two huge glasses of water that I just drank, hot.  I don't like to be hot.  I also don't like to be cold.  Thus the perfection of fall.  It's not too hot to be in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt, but it also cools down enough at night to wear a hoodie and sit by the bonfire that M builds in the back yard.  Or the bonfire that you build while camping.

3) Camping.  I love to camp.  Always have and I hope I always will.  Now, camping to me is not loading up a backpack with tent, sleeping bag, food supplies and hiking out to the middle of nowhere to set up a campsite that's never existed before.  But camping to me is also not renting a cabin in the woods or parking your RV next to the electrical hook-up so you can get satellite TV (c'mon people.)  Hiking to me is staying in a pre-made campsite in a state or national park that has water access to help you cook on the fire you build in the pre-made fire pit.  It would be nice if it had a bathhouse with running water, but I am perfectly ok with a latrine (hole in the ground with a toilet seat).  So anyway, camping incorporates part 1 and 2 of why fall rocks (the smells and the wonderful temperature).  Plus, you get to cook delicious food over and open fire and guess what that means? S'mores!

We went camping a lot when I was young.  My brother was a boy scout, and I was a girl scout, so we went often with our troops, but also as a family.  This is another reason I love camping, it reminds me of all the wonderful memories I have while camping with my family. <gee, this is going to be a long post>  We've been all over the state of Tennessee as well as some other places in neighboring states.  Apparently when I was really young, we went to a campground near Tuscaloosa and my parents set to work setting up the tent, (now, mind you, I don't remember this story because I was only 2 or 3) and when my parents were done they looked up to find that I had vanished.  Don't worry, this isn't a missing child story; how else would I know this story if my own parents hadn't told me.  So they start wandering around the campground looking for me.  They discover that I have made new friends at another campsite, and was celebrating their birthday by eating their cake.  Fun times.  
Another time we went camping in the Great Smokey Mountains, and while we were driving through the park, a bear (I would assume brown bear) came up to our car, which looked a little something like this:

and LICKED our window.  I guess it should've been a terrifying experience, but I remember it fondly, because I thought the bear was cool.  One time we went camping at Big South Fork and sometime around bedtime the bottom dropped out.  At the time, we had a boxy minivan with wood paneling ('cause we always had cool cars, apparently), so my mom, brother and I slept in the van while my poor, noble, chivalrous father slept in the tent. Funny the things you remember.  On the same trip, my brother and I lost our Nerf football on the roof of the bath-house :(

4) Football.  I know this should've been reason #1 that I love fall, but I don't pre-think the blog, I just type and type.  This is why it seems there's no rhyme or reason to anything I write.  I bleed orange.  As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I am proud to be a Tennessee Volunteer.  Now, my team has not been the best in recent years and I still love them, but I have learned over the past few football seasons to enjoy watching games with which I have no affiliation.  Let's rewind.  My parents are from Alabama (as are every one of my relatives except my brother) and both went to the University of Alabama.  My dad does not bleed orange.  My dad bleeds Crimson.  Not only does my dad bleed Crimson, he loves Bama and the Crimson Tide so much, that my brother's middle name is Bryant.  After Bear Bryant (this is no joke.)  On Saturdays growing up from September thru December, the TV was set to football, all day long.  This was reason enough to hate football, and especially Alabama.  I didn't want to watch football and I couldn't understand why my dad needed to watch ALLLLL the other games.  Wasn't he content enough just to watch Bama play?  As I've grown up and deviated from family in all their Crimson glory (my brother followed my parents' path and went to Alabama), I've learned to appreciate all football games instead of just watching the Vols.  Now this is especially true within the SEC.  I would watch an SEC football game over any other given the opportunity, but I would obviously watch a UT game over any other SEC game.  

Now, the dynamics of football season have changed a bit for me this year.  I have always celebrated the 3rd Saturday in October with pride (although, for the past couple years, including this one, the game's on the 4th Saturday), but this year, I will start a new tradition, because M is a die hard fan and graduate of Vanderbilt.  I gotta say, if I'm gonna date a guy from any other SEC school, I'd definitely pick Vandy.  Afterall, it's the only private school in the SEC.  So now, I've got two rivalries in my family with which to contend.  And unfortunately, I think UT might lose to both Bama (obviously) and Vandy. 

 There is, of course, a heirarchy.  UT>Bama>Vandy.

5) Food.  The final reason on my "why I love fall list."  It incorporates points 1-4 as well.  There are so many wonderful foods you get to eat in the fall.  S'mores, while camping.  Chili (M makes really good Chili).  Thanksgiving food (turkey and stuffing, yuuuum.  Tailgating food!  Who doesn't love some grilled burgers, chips and dip, cookies, pigs in a blanket, sausage balls, and beer or firefly with lemonade before noon!? The whole reason I'm typing this post, though, is because of Pumpkin Bread!  I'm making pumpkin bread tonight for the first time.  I do not like pumpkin pie (bleeeech, disgusting consistency), but pumpkin bread is divine and I've been having cravings for about two months.  So yesterday I fought the horrible rush-hour traffic to make my way over to Publix where I stocked up on every kind of ground, autumn-y spice they had, well maybe not every kind, but I got ground nutmeg, ginger, clove and cinnamon.  I also had to buy some loaf pans (because, like I said, I've never made this before).  My recipe makes three loaves, so I'll be able to freeze some!  By the time I got home after sitting in traffic, I was simply not in the mood to start on the bread (if I had my Kitchenaid stand mixer, like I was longing for in last post, I might've been more motivated).  Instead, I've decided there's no better way to kick-off fall than a wonderful, southern, delicious treat!


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