Before you begin buying Halloween candy and planning costumes, before you pull out all the winter clothes or secretly begin to stash away Christmas gifts, take a moment and stop! Autumn is officially here and if you and your family are not careful, it will pass you by.
While Wikipedia meagerly defines Autumn as only "the transition from summer into winter," it is much more than that. Originally, autumn was better known as "harvest," because our agrarian ancestors pulled in their crops around September. The term autumn seems to have come into use after the 16th century.
Autumn has also been the topic of much writing and poetry by authors such as Robert Lewis Stevensen, William Blake and Elizabeth Barrett Browing. These writers often used images of harvesting the crops, cooler weather, and sometimes sadness or melancholy because they were leaving summertime friends. These poems are entrenched in American and European literature.
In busy family life today, though, autumn's modern meaning mostly surrounds the children returning to school. But families can still benefit from much more of this season's offerings. Here are some great ways that you and your family can stop and take in the full flavor of the season.
Create an autumn craft with your children by picking up beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves in your yard. View some ideas on what to do with them by clicking here. Create several of these crafts and use them annually to decorate your home.
Make it a new annual fall tradition to go back in time to the time of knights and princesses. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire in Hebron, Conn. offers the whole family entertainment such as blacksmithing demonstrations, a jousting competition, music, food and shopping. For more information, go to www.ctfaire.com.
For great family time, build a scarecrow or a family of scarecrows and clean up your leafy yard at the same time. Gather some old clothes from each member of the family and stuff them with leaves from your yard. Give each one a pumpkin head and you will have your own scarecrow family to place in the yard.
Go apple picking. Pick-your-own apple farms are open right now so you can enjoy this autumn-only event with your family. Why not try a new flavor of apple like honeycrisp or gala straight off the tree? For more information on places to pick your own, go to: www.pickyourown.org.
Gather pumpkins from a local farm to bring home and carve, color or bake. It is amazing how many children don't realize how a pumpkin grows from a vine on the ground! Go local and spend an afternoon at Brown's Harvest in Windsor. They also sell cider, mums, artistically painted pumpkins and offer hay rides. For more information, go to www.brownsharvest.com.
Go on a ride with your children to enjoy Connecticut's fall foliage. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, fall foliage season is mid-to-late September through to mid-to-late October. A great place in Connecticut to view the changing leaves is Talcott Mountain State Park in Simsbury. You can obtain an up to date foliage report by clicking here.
Whatever you do, don't let this season go by without enjoying it for all it's worth!
Next week: Ideas for homemade Halloween costumes!