Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 21, 2013

Tidbits: Happy fall, y'all

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — I spotted a flock of birds headed due south Monday morning and I almost called out, “Take me with you!” The temperature had dipped into the low 30s, there have already been a couple of frost warnings and I’ve had to drag out my mittens and scarves to keep me warm on my morning walks. Most painfully, I had to give in the other day and turn the heat on in my house. I’d been putting it off and putting it off, hoping to make it to November, but I just couldn’t keep shivering any longer.

Eventually, I will acclimate to this new weather and be ready to enjoy fall and winter and all the wonderful things that come with those seasons. I just hope it happens soon!

I’m a cold-natured person. Winter, spring, summer or fall, I always have a jacket on or nearby. When the air conditioning gets too much at work, I have a heater on standby to keep me warm. For those extra cold days, there’s a Snugi on the coat rack by my desk, and a couple of sweaters. That’s why the change in seasons is so difficult for me. And it doesn’t seem like we’ve eased into the change this year. Wasn’t it in the 80s just a week or so ago? Now I’m looking at a forecast with highs in the 50s!

Give me a few weeks and I will have acclimated. I’ll also have all my winter clothes out and ready to go, along with my winter boots and my cozy socks (absolutely the best thing ever invented). Then, I can start enjoying one of my favorite seasons. Until that day arrives, I need to keep reminding myself of all the great things that come with cooler temperatures.

First, there’s the fall colors. A cold snap is what the trees need to really put on a show! I’ve seen hints of those beautiful reds, oranges and golds, but I’m ready to be wowed. Maybe by this weekend the prettiest tree in Crossville, the one across the street from the Chronicle office, will be full orange. It’s so pretty to see that every morning as I pull into the Chronicle parking lot.

Next, there’s the clothes, or more specifically, the shoes. I’m a shoe person. Given the budget, I’d put Imelda Marcos to shame. While I love the strappy sandals and high-high heels, it’s also great to put those aside and pull on the fall boots. Short, tall; high heel, no heel; brown, tan, black, boots are just fun to wear. I’ve got furry-lined boots for when it gets really cold and rain slicker boots for stomping through mud puddles.

Fall also means lots of great fresh produce. Apples have been plentiful this year, and they’re an important part of many of my favorite dishes, like apple pie and apple crisp and apple cobbler. Noticing a theme? I’m also ready to try some new treats this year, with all the delicious squash varieties available. I’m going to roast acorn squash and mash up some butternut squash. I would cook up some of the pumpkins I have, but I find the 100 percent pure pumpkin puree in a can is so much easier. I’ve bookmarked recipes for sweet potato slow cooker stuffing and I’m stocking up on in-season grapes.

If you’ve been wanting to change up your diet, cooler weather means it’s a great time to get in the kitchen and start experimenting. You don’t feel like you’re slaving over a hot stove when it’s 30 degrees outside. It’s more cozy, warm and inviting, which means you also get those delicious scents wafting through your house. There’s nothing like opening the door and being greeted by the scent of warm cinnamon.

And while summer may be cookout season, fall and winter are potluck time, with friends and families sharing delicious treats and enjoying time sitting around the dinner table, eating, talking and playing games. From Uno to Hearts to poker, there’s a card game for every age and every skill level. It’s more fun than cornhole, too.

That bring us to the other best thing about fall — the holidays. Sure, many stores have been telling you it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas time since June and July, but once those trees start changing colors and the temperatures start dropping, it really starts to feel like it’s the holidays. Once, I looked forward to Christmas because I got presents. Now, I love the time I get to spend with my family and loved ones. We’re spread out over different parts of the state, and everyone is so busy, it’s nice to know that we’ll get to sit and enjoy a meal and conversation soon. Yes, there’s the obligatory family photos, and those candid shots that always seem to get me mid fork-ful, but those are small annoyances compared to the good times and memories that are made.

So if you’ve been waking up shivering the last few mornings, wishing you could head south for the winter, remember there’s wonderful things about fall on the Cumberland Plateau, and you don’t want to miss that.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com. I spotted a flock of birds headed due south Monday morning and I almost called out, “Take me with you!” The temperature had dipped into the low 30s, there have already been a couple of frost warnings and I’ve had to drag out my mittens and scarves to keep me warm on my morning walks. Most painfully, I had to give in the other day and turn the heat on in my house. I’d been putting it off and putting it off, hoping to make it to November, but I just couldn’t keep shivering any longer.

Eventually, I will acclimate to this new weather and be ready to enjoy fall and winter and all the wonderful things that come with those seasons. I just hope it happens soon!

I’m a cold-natured person. Winter, spring, summer or fall, I always have a jacket on or nearby. When the air conditioning gets too much at work, I have a heater on standby to keep me warm. For those extra cold days, there’s a Snugi on the coat rack by my desk, and a couple of sweaters. That’s why the change in seasons is so difficult for me. And it doesn’t seem like we’ve eased into the change this year. Wasn’t it in the 80s just a week or so ago? Now I’m looking at a forecast with highs in the 50s!

Give me a few weeks and I will have acclimated. I’ll also have all my winter clothes out and ready to go, along with my winter boots and my cozy socks (absolutely the best thing ever invented). Then, I can start enjoying one of my favorite seasons. Until that day arrives, I need to keep reminding myself of all the great things that come with cooler temperatures.

First, there’s the fall colors. A cold snap is what the trees need to really put on a show! I’ve seen hints of those beautiful reds, oranges and golds, but I’m ready to be wowed. Maybe by this weekend the prettiest tree in Crossville, the one across the street from the Chronicle office, will be full orange. It’s so pretty to see that every morning as I pull into the Chronicle parking lot.

Next, there’s the clothes, or more specifically, the shoes. I’m a shoe person. Given the budget, I’d put Imelda Marcos to shame. While I love the strappy sandals and high-high heels, it’s also great to put those aside and pull on the fall boots. Short, tall; high heel, no heel; brown, tan, black, boots are just fun to wear. I’ve got furry-lined boots for when it gets really cold and rain slicker boots for stomping through mud puddles.

Fall also means lots of great fresh produce. Apples have been plentiful this year, and they’re an important part of many of my favorite dishes, like apple pie and apple crisp and apple cobbler. Noticing a theme? I’m also ready to try some new treats this year, with all the delicious squash varieties available. I’m going to roast acorn squash and mash up some butternut squash. I would cook up some of the pumpkins I have, but I find the 100 percent pure pumpkin puree in a can is so much easier. I’ve bookmarked recipes for sweet potato slow cooker stuffing and I’m stocking up on in-season grapes.

If you’ve been wanting to change up your diet, cooler weather means it’s a great time to get in the kitchen and start experimenting. You don’t feel like you’re slaving over a hot stove when it’s 30 degrees outside. It’s more cozy, warm and inviting, which means you also get those delicious scents wafting through your house. There’s nothing like opening the door and being greeted by the scent of warm cinnamon.

And while summer may be cookout season, fall and winter are potluck time, with friends and families sharing delicious treats and enjoying time sitting around the dinner table, eating, talking and playing games. From Uno to Hearts to poker, there’s a card game for every age and every skill level. It’s more fun than cornhole, too.

That bring us to the other best thing about fall — the holidays. Sure, many stores have been telling you it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas time since June and July, but once those trees start changing colors and the temperatures start dropping, it really starts to feel like it’s the holidays. Once, I looked forward to Christmas because I got presents. Now, I love the time I get to spend with my family and loved ones. We’re spread out over different parts of the state, and everyone is so busy, it’s nice to know that we’ll get to sit and enjoy a meal and conversation soon. Yes, there’s the obligatory family photos, and those candid shots that always seem to get me mid fork-ful, but those are small annoyances compared to the good times and memories that are made.

So if you’ve been waking up shivering the last few mornings, wishing you could head south for the winter, remember there’s wonderful things about fall on the Cumberland Plateau, and you don’t want to miss that.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.