It’s November! That Means…

November, in Virginia, in the area where I live, means fall. Chilly weather, fall foliage, summer plants withering away. Surprising little pockets of resilient growth show up in sheltered areas; I have one batch of coleus blooming on the back steps, while in the front of the house it’s entirely brown and crispy from cold. The parsley is wildly happy with the colder temperatures, the bits of mustard I sowed weeks ago are fluffy with joy. The snapdragons are finally drooping into the end of their life cycle, and the chile peppers are giving up bit by bit.

Squirrels run through the leaves and taunt my dog, who they know is unable to leave the front porch to chase them. Birds are exuberantly pleased with the fall berries from the holly trees as well as the feeders, which I’m keeping well stocked at this point.

November is a time when I think about family and friends, and start cooking and baking to get us through the winter months. I generally go into November with an empty standing freezer and emerge with one completely packed; that way I can sit back and relax and enjoy visitors, or a good book, or bury myself in writing projects without wondering what’s for dinner on any given day.

The pandemic has taken away the visitor side of things; even now I don’t want to gather indoors, even with vaccinated family or friends. But the habit of years is too strong, and last weekend I made a gigantic tray of deluxe lasagna, a huge pot of deluxe chili (deluxe, to me, by the way, involves more meat, and generally sausage, and sauces from scratch instead of a jar). I have mashed potatoes, roast chicken, chicken posole soup, pumpkin pancakes, waffles, and more, all steadily being shuffled around to allow me to use the top shelf as rapid freeze space. I have plans for sourdough cornbread, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and lots of freeze n bake cookie dough. So the freezer is already well on its way to being super stocked, and I’ll be able to sit with a cup or hot coffee or cider, and enjoy watching the squirrels and birds, and calm my desperately excited dog.

I truly hope you & yours are doing well, and please! Do drop a comment to let me know what’s new in your life, or email me, or send me a message on Twitter. I do want to know. It’s been a long two years of not seeing my community in person, and I miss you all so very, very much.

A cookie tray filled with colorful vegetables to roast for soup.
This is how I make posole! These vegetables, roasted and roughly pureed, are the backbone of the soup, along with a good homemade chicken broth.