operation autumn

22. Hold Mabon

tree

I have no idea how to even go about describing what happened for Mabon this year.

At least, not in a way that the majority of my readers would understand and I’m not even sure that the people who have experience in the situation/skill set would get it either. But it involves a drum circle, an oak tree, and Baba Yaga’s hut.

I normally start to work with Baba in fall and winter, so her reappearance nearish the first day of fall isn’t terribly uncommon. One of her motifs is spinning [think the spinning that a person would do during ecstatic dance], and she has the infamous chicken legged hut. I have never however experienced the spinning hut myself prior to tonight and it will be interesting to see how this plays out-I don’t know what this means. It didn’t run away or get aggressive so I suppose I have that in my favor. Listen, we’re talking about a folkloric symbol that can carry itself around on chicken legs, I don’t think the fact that a house can get defensive is truly the oddest aspect of this story.

As for the mundane side of Mabon we went to the park for drum circle. Mid is trying hard to make sure I have down time that doesn’t involve looking for roaches, packing, unpacking, cleaning, and wondering if the movement I’m catching out of the corner of my eye is a roach [I have come to realize that I am getting a lot of allergy related floaters, which are slowly driving me insane, like something out of a Poe story]. I did do better with the drum circle than I did with the concert last month. I sat under an oak tree and just was for awhile.

I will do my traditional bread later this week, or next weekend, schedule permitting. Same with applesauce and my normal Mabon/fall foods, it will have to be fit in with the rest of my tight schedule. Everything has to be done by the 30th so while I’m a little frightened that I’m running out of time I also know there’s a definitive end point.

5. Bake an Apple Pie

breakfast

We are finally sleeping at the new place. We’re not fully moved out of the old apartment, but we have officially started living in my new home.

The shininess of it all is still shiny enough that I feel special and sort of woo woo positive about setting up new housing and home based rituals. I have not had a formal kitchen table since I had an on-campus apartment in grad school so I’m still enjoying the ability to actually set a table and eat at a table. We made a rule based on both an attempt to keep our new furniture as nice as possible for as long as possible, and the summer of bugs, that we wouldn’t eat in the living room. We have a small space built into the kitchen that’s big enough for a small table to act like a separate dining space.

I needed a break from packing last night, plus it was raining and already dark by the time I got out of work [I’m one of those people who work four ten hour shifts between Wednesday and Saturday]. I hadn’t tested the oven yet and decided it was time for a pie.

pie

I don’t scratch my pies, not really. Pie crust is one of the products I fully admit to buying in a box. Mine are terrible, on a level where the amount of years necessary to improve them daunts me and I just find it easier to buy a box of crusts. I don’t peel my apples unless I’m really bored or looking for ways of filling time. I normally toss them with sugar, flour, and pumpkin spice but I just went with cinnamon this time [better quality cinnamon than I normally have in the house, however]. A little bit of butter.

It came out of the oven around 11 last night, and I went straight to bed. This morning I got up before Mid, set up his plate for breakfast, made his coffee. Wandered off to do whatever.

When I came back into the front of the apartment he was sprawled in front of Star Trek, on the couch. With the pie.

Our plan of not eating in the living room made it a full 24 hours.

30. See What Target Has for Halloween

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Checking out the Target Halloween section has become a seasonal tradition. I almost never buy anything but I do it every year, on the off chance that this is the year I have to have whatever they’ve put out this year.

I have been trying to keep myself pretty level with the move and the associated stress. I only have until the 30th to get everything done, but at the same time, I don’t need have everything finished by the end of this week either. I think it’s partially my own fault. I’m terrible about putting off moving until I have to do everything in the space of a week, so I have myself trained that moving means tight schedules and high stress. In other words, I think I have to have everything done by tomorrow and I need to panic. So I have been trying to make sure I hit self care in some way every day.

I gave myself a rough budget of $5 a piece for Halloween decorations for the new place. I actually assumed that this would work out to one, maybe two pieces from the dollar store, a lot of photos for future ideas, and not much else. I was okay with that, actually.

But this year is weird at Target. Weird, in a good way. I swear they’ve lowered a lot of their prices on decorations. I feel like there may be less of them this year than normal, but I also think I hit the displays right after they flipped from school supplies [in fact I know I did. I was there on a Tuesday and they were just putting up the signage and then was there on Saturday and suddenly Halloween stuff]. But the stuff is really, really cute this year. Sort of quasi-gothic for the main line, and then there’s this adorable folk art/retro inspired line that seems to be really popular, even with the people on my Facebook who don’t normally like Halloween.

Basically I went home with a cup, a bird, and a pumpkin. All under $5 a piece.

birdcup

birds

ghosts

skittles

target

Operation Autumn 2016

forest-63275_1920

Remember yesterday’s frantic, mopey, the rest of the year is ruined post?

Never underestimate the power of 24 hours.

I’m moving. The apartment is bigger, I’ll have slightly better bus access, and we’re going back to Mid’s old stomping grounds. Yep, I’m moved to cliches again.

There’s a lot of stuff to be settled out, the normal ‘breaking lease and moving’ stuff-but I know what’s happening now, and that’s a lot of where the stress was coming from.

So I feel safe in setting up another year’s worth of Operation Autumn.

 

  1. Door Wreath
  2. Go to a Corn Maze
  3. Haunted History Witch Walk
  4. Go to a bonfire
  5. Bake an apple pie
  6. Bake a pumpkin pie
  7. Go to a fiber festival
  8. Read M.R. James
  9. Go to the Festival of Trees
  10. go apple picking
  11. Go to a pumpkin farm
  12. Go to a haunted house
  13. Roast a turkey
  14. Roast a ham
  15. Make apple jam
  16. Make apple sauce
  17. Hold a haunted tea
  18. Make pumpkin butter
  19. Hold a chili night
  20. Go to Buffalo Screams
  21. Hold a Misgiving’s Day Party
  22. Hold Mabon
  23. Go to Van Horn’s halloween event
  24. Go to Iron Island
  25. Have a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte
  26. Go to Forest Lawn
  27. Go the farmer’s market halloween party
  28. Go to Oktoberfest
  29. Hold a Hammer Films marathon
  30. See what Target has out for Halloween
  31. Go to a pumpkin festival
  32. Make fudge
  33. Donate to a food drive
  34. Hold a community thanksgiving
  35. Watch Thankskilling
  36. Hold/attend Samhain
  37. Have a bread baking day
  38. Make my Christmas shopping list
  39. Write my 2015 gratitude list
  40. Start my Christmas cards
  41. Decorate my plant
  42. Go to the haunted zoo
  43. Go to the park
  44. Got to Letchworth
  45. Go to the Chattaqua Institution
  46. Go to Lily Dale
  47. Go to the USS The Sullivans
  48. Watch The Gravedancers
  49. Ride the haunted train
  50. Go to the Farmer’s Museum
  51. Carve a pumpkin
  52. Make leaf crafts
  53. Drink pumpkin beer

Operation Autumn Check In

This year was limping along…and this week happened.

Well, Sunday happened…and everything happened at once.

  1. Door Wreath
    More like a door leaf, but you get the general idea.
  2. Go to a Corn Maze
  3. Haunted History Witch Walk
  4. Go to a bonfire
  5. Bake an apple pie
  6. Bake a pumpkin pie
  7. Go to a fiber festival
  8. Read M.R. James
    Will read more, however
  9. Go to the Festival of Trees
  10. go apple picking
    Okay. The beginning of the ‘cross all the things off of the list’ day.
    empireapples
    Holly came to town from Austin, and I had a memory I shared on Facebook that said something to the effect of I want to go to a pumpkin farm. So she said that the Sunday that she was in town, we were going to go to Becker Farms-who has a pumpkin patch as well as being a working pumpkin farm.So if you were to be at Becker Farms this weekend, I was the oddly (for me, not necessarily oddly as in I think it’s weird) modestly dressed woman in the head wrap and the maxi skirt dancing around apple trees. I ended up picking a single bag of Empire apples, but I also know me and know that’s about the speed I could actually use before they turned.
  11. Go to a pumpkin farm
    See also: Becker Farmsgourds
  12. Go to a haunted house
  13. Roast a turkey
  14. Roast a ham
  15. Make apple jam
  16. Make apple sauce
  17. Hold a haunted tea
  18. Make pumpkin butter
  19. Hold a chili night
  20. Go to Buffalo Screams
  21. Go to crafting weekend
  22. Hold a Misgiving’s Day Party
  23. Hold Mabon
  24. Go to Van Horn’s halloween event
  25. Go to Iron Island
  26. Have a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte
    Two or three times over, but I’m actually more into Tim Horton’s version of pumpkin spice this year
  27. Go to Forest Lawn
  28. Go the farmer’s market halloween party
  29. Go to Oktoberfest
  30. Hold a Hammer Films marathon
  31. See what Target has out for Halloween
    This one was an accident. The night of the blood moon we went to Target for I don’t know, chocolate or something. At which point I lost my boyfriend. I didn’t think to look in the holiday stuff because he never goes into the Halloween section. It turns out that he really loves Target’s Halloween stuff this year, which may or may not make Christmas shopping easier this year.
  32. Go to a pumpkin festival
    Becker Farms, again…pumpkinsbeckerfarms
  33. Make fudge
  34. Donate to a food drive
  35. Hold a community thanksgiving
  36. Watch Thankskilling
  37. Hold/attend Samhain
  38. Have a bread baking day
  39. Make my Christmas shopping list
  40. Write my 2015 gratitude list
  41. Start my Christmas cards
  42. Decorate my plant
  43. Go to the haunted zoo
  44. Go to the park
  45. Got to Letchworth
  46. Go to the Chattaqua Institution
  47. Go to Lily Dale
  48. Go to the USS The Sullivans
    thesullivans
    This one was an accident, or at least, not planned. But we were there. We talked about ghosts.
  49. Watch The Gravedancers
  50. Ride the haunted train
  51. Go to the Farmer’s Museum
  52. Carve a pumpkin
  53. Make leaf crafts
  54. Drink pumpkin beer 

    I can’t remember which one. But it happened.

Operation Autumn: Week 1 Check In

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

These geese are meaningless, outside of the fact that I like them.

We are just short of a week into Operation Autumn Week 1. So we’re still fairly far away from when most people would consider fall starting, and I haven’t really accomplished any of the formal items on my list.

But plans, oh, plans have been made.

Carnival of Parahorror

Baby the 1967 Impala will be at the Central Terminal (a site already known for its haunted reputation) during the weekend of the 21st. Tickets are only $10, which is affordable (and low for a horror con). I haven’t been to a horror con since Buffalo Screams/Dreams’ first year. I will see that car one way or another.

Joann’s Halloween/Fall Decor

I got a pair of turkey socks, a pair of pumpkin socks, a sign that said something witchy, turkey fabric, and cream/orange printed fabric. My phone was dying so I didn’t grab any photos of the stuff they had out. I don’t think they had all their line out yet, but I did see Peeps, a lot of glitter, and a fair amount of Thanksgiving/generic fall decorations if Halloween isn’t really your speed.

Frightmare Farms/Ghost Train

We will be headed back to Utica (or at least I will be) in mid to late October. If Mid can come with me, we’re planning on hitting either Frightmare Farms or the Ghost Train.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

I still haven’t found out when the release date is this year for the PSLs, but I haven’t been since early last week to ask either. I have been searching fairly regularly but I’m still just pulling up the articles for last year’s early release.

 

 

 

Operation Autumn 2015

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All right. I’m weak and -just- stressed enough to want to have something to keep me on track.

Buffalo also feels like fall already. I’m not sure why. It just feels like a particularly warm autumn, not late summer.

Welcome to this year’s Operation Autumn, where we attempt to tackle all the things that make autumn awesome. I’m not going to post a link up, but feel free to discuss what you’re doing this autumn in the comments.

In order to participate, write your own autumn bucket list and work on it until the first day of winter. Then feel awesome.

This is year 3 of Operation Autumn.

  1. Door Wreath
  2. Go to a Corn Maze
  3. Haunted History Witch Walk
  4. Go to a bonfire
  5. Bake an apple pie
  6. Bake a pumpkin pie
  7. Go to a fiber festival
  8. Read M.R. James
  9. Go to the Festival of Trees
  10. go apple picking
  11. Go to a pumpkin farm
  12. Go to a haunted house
  13. Roast a turkey
  14. Roast a ham
  15. Make apple jam
  16. Make apple sauce
  17. Hold a haunted tea
  18. Make pumpkin butter
  19. Hold a chili night
  20. Go to Buffalo Screams
  21. Go to crafting weekend
  22. Hold a Misgiving’s Day Party
  23. Hold Mabon
  24. Go to Van Horn’s halloween event
  25. Go to Iron Island
  26. Have a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte
  27. Go to Forest Lawn
  28. Go the farmer’s market halloween party
  29. Go to Oktoberfest
  30. Hold a Hammer Films marathon
  31. See what Target has out for Halloween
  32. Go to a pumpkin festival
  33. Make fudge
  34. Donate to a food drive
  35. Hold a community thanksgiving
  36. Watch Thankskilling
  37. Hold/attend Samhain
  38. Have a bread baking day
  39. Make my Christmas shopping list
  40. Write my 2015 gratitude list
  41. Start my Christmas cards
  42. Decorate my plant
  43. Go to the haunted zoo
  44. Go to the park
  45. Got to Letchworth
  46. Go to the Chattaqua Institution
  47. Go to Lily Dale
  48. Go to the USS The Sullivans
  49. Watch The Gravedancers
  50. Ride the haunted train
  51. Go to the Farmer’s Museum
  52. Carve a pumpkin
  53. Make leaf crafts
  54. Drink pumpkin beer

Shuffling Off to Rhinebeck-Part 2

animal-79783_1280(1)

So I’m back home, complete with the spoils of war.

There will, however, be no photos. Gasp! My phone spent so much time looking for a signal on the way down there that it just gave up and died. I didn’t want to lug [Mid’s] Nikon around in that crowd.

That might as well be the place to start-yes, Rhinebeck gets terribly, terribly crowded. It was like the entire population of Kenmore was in the line for the fried artichokes. There are reasons I have yet to actually get the fried artichokes. However, I feel like the crowds this year were actually not horrible. I don’t know if it was because I was expecting entire population of Utica to show up this year, if I’ve finally developed something like crowd patience, or if the general attitude of the crowd was more live and let live than in years past [I’ve gone with people who have had stuff yanked out of their hands because oh my god dye lot. Calm yourselves, people, there are plenty of sheep in the world].

However- the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival [what people mean when they say ‘going to Rhinebeck’] is the largest fiber event in the state, and it’s rapidly gaining ground in terms of size against national events. You have to go expecting massive crowds. It’s just a given. There are truly lovely smaller events to go to if you don’t like crowds. My only request in light of that is please be aware that you’re going into a huge amount of people so please try to be aware of your general footprint. This might not be the place for your cutesy, giant, handwoven basket you use for the farmer’s market.

I’ve been doing Rhinebeck since I was in high school so while I’m not quite at the ‘nothing new under the sun’ level, I’m past the big-eyed wonder stage so these are my general observations for this year, in no particular order:

1. Cosplaying. I would not have thought that Rhinebeck would be the place to attract cosplayers. I was wrong.

2. The general age of the population has veered heavily towards my age and younger. From things I was overhearing when I lost my mom [see point 3 forthcoming], this apparently was a point of angst for some of the older patrons. I have my feelings on that matter, but that may be a later entry.

3. I lost my mom. For two hours. That whole ‘thousands of people on the fairground’ thing. I was actually proud of myself for not freaking out, because if nothing else, eventually the event would close and we’d both end up back at the car.

4. So many veiled knitters (if you’re new to the blog, I cover my hair full time in public). So many veiled knitters. Did my heart good to see it.

5. So many men. That too made me happy, we could use a gender balance in the subculture.

6. Not so many wheels or spindles-I saw one vendor selling orifice hooks which was the one item I actually needed from this event. A ton of loose fiber, which was great, not so much on the hardware.

7. What happened to all the Icelandic? That was the one fiber I really wanted and I think I found three vendors that were actually selling it. That may be related to point 8, though.

8. Rhinebeck is a lot easier if you’re willing to work with the crowds and skip vendors.  Either go back to them or just keep walking. I’m sure Dragonfly and Loop have lovely stuff. I’m not standing in a line 25 people deep to see it when there’s 10 buildings full of lovely stuff to look at.

9. True to trend, it snowed at my parent’s house this weekend. It can’t be Rhinebeck weekend if it doesn’t.

Overall though I got some lovely fiber, stayed within my price per ounce caps and my personal rules (no spun yarn, no dyed fiber, and don’t come home without an orifice hook), and actually had a good time.

Loosing my mom for two hours notwithstanding.

*A potentially unnecessary apology-there were a fair number of people who acted as though they knew me but didn’t approach me. If you were waiting for me to do it and I didn’t, I’m face blind and there’s a strong possibility that I didn’t recognize you. If that ever happens again just walk up to me and say something.

Operation Autumn Check-In

operation autumn

 

Welcome to this year’s Operation Autumn, where we attempt to tackle all the things that make autumn awesome. I’m not going to post a link up, but feel free to discuss what you’re doing this autumn in the comments.

In order to participate, write your own autumn bucket list and work on it until the first day of winter. Then feel awesome.

This year’s list: Operation Autumn 2014

I’m lagging way behind on a check-in…so, the list so far:

1. I don’t have a wreath, but I have a scare crow and this:

eyesYeah. So that happened.

5. Cheddar-Apple Pie

cheddar apple pieThis one is surprising everyone. The whole cheese and apple thing is so uncommon now that people can’t decide if they have the nerve to try it.

18. Make pumpkin butter

pumpkin butter 2This one was a fairly easy project to take off of the list.

23. Hold Mabon

Sort of. Kind of. Not really. I took a liberal definition of ‘Mabon’ this year and did a bunch of ‘welcome fall but are not Mabon related’ activities.

26. Have a pumpkin latte

pumpkin latteCheck. Though I actually like Tim Horton’s pumpkin this year better.

31. See what Target has out for Halloween

crowsI need these crows in my life. All I came home with though was a Pyrex bowl with pumpkins on.

Make Your Own: Stove Top Pumpkin Butter

photo credit-Petradr/Unsplash {free use}

photo credit-Petradr/Unsplash {free use}

I keep running into people in Buffalo who are refusing to let the seasons change.

They are clinging to summer with all the strength that they have. It’s still early September but we’re definitely hit the downward slide. I walked to the grocery store last night after dark, and it’s definitely not warm at night anymore.

Pumpkin has become one of those meta-symbols for fall; I’m fairly certain I could teach intro to intro semiotics with it (and most people are not like me and don’t think primarily in abstracts-intro to intro is necessary. Also, never ask me to balance your check book). Here’s  a picture of a pumpkin, what am I trying to tell you?

I really believe most Americans are going to hit somewhere near the Autumn mark.

I tried to find a picture of a pumpkin. I really did try, but I found this picture of leaves on Unsplash (have you been on Unsplash? Even just to look around? The photos are great, free, and free use). Close enough, I guess.

Tips:

Boiled cider is just that, cider that’s boiled until it’s reduced by at least half. It’s a little time consuming but certainly not hard. You can make your own, or you can simply sub a little cider or apple juice. Water would even work in a pinch.

You’re reducing out the water in the pumpkin, so make sure you’re cooking low and slow and stir often, or you’re going to run the risk of scorching.

You can sub the ground cinnamon for a few cinnamon sticks and fish them out before bottling.

Store in the fridge or freezer. Pumpkin puree is not recommended for home canning.

Sweeten to taste. I used two or three good squeezes on my honey jar. I know, very scientific.

pumpkin butter 2

1 can pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons boiled cider (see tips above)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

honey, to taste

 

In a small pot over medium low heat, add the cider and cinnamon. Add the pumpkin, stirring until well mixed. Cook down at least half an hour, stirring often.

Pull from heat, cool slightly, and jar. Store in the fridge.

Use as a spread or in baked goods.

*An Operation Autumn Project

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

flour me with love

clairejustine

create with joy

carrie this home

keeping it simple

sew can do

that’s what che said

a round tuit

vmg206
memories by the mile

posed perfection