November is here! Did you all remember to turn over your calendar page today? When you do (and if it’s mine), you are going to see the MOST delicious recipe for Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Sauce — my idea of what November is all about!
And although it’s lots of fun decorating and making our front hall look good; getting everything ready for Halloween . . .
And fun to fill the candy baskets and imagine how happy these kids will be who come to our door and see all the goodies we have for them.
And fun carving the pumpkins and smearing the cinnamon on the tops to make them smell good . . . fun to arrange them on the front porch and decorate with branches and leaves and bittersweet, with things in the windows, and little pumpkins over our door . . .
And fun when it’s finally time to light the candles in the pumpkins and remember to stop everything I’m doing to run out and get a photo of it before it all begins, before the moment passes, just before dark . . .
And fun to see the first kids wandering the streets in their costumes, it’s a beautiful clear night, not raining, and not snowing, not even windy, so the candles won’t need relighting . . . and suddenly I remember I better get myself back into the house because I know what’s coming . . .
That’s when it all becomes a blur, and pretty much every photo I have looks like this! We had over 400 kids come to the door; it was a mad house! It was spectacular! It was “people fireworks!”
But besides handing out candy, we were also stirring the chili pot, pouring the Corn Pudding batter into the pan and putting it into the oven, chopping garlic and melting butter for garlic bread, putting out dishes and silverware, setting up a bar, heating up the cider . . . because we were getting ready for a party — something we do most every year; when our friends finish with their halloween duties, they all come over — we eat chili with sour cream, chopped red onion and cilantro out of little bowls in the dining room and talk in front of the fire, laughing as the last embers die down. Around the witching hour of midnight they stumble home to their beds and we crawl up the stairs to ours. TGIO.
We only did the basics before bed, put away the food, got one load of dishes into the dishwasher, and left everything else high and dry . . . so I spent this morning tidying up. This is all that was left of the Corn Pudding!
The day after Halloween is always one of my favorite days, because all the “fall getting ready” is finally done, and we have the decorated house all to ourselves and no one is coming over! I padded around in my slippers this morning, taking stock and surveying the party chaos which wasn’t bad, only skin deep; made myself a strong cup of tea with lots of honey and cream, and put some food in Girl’s bowl, and got busy. I plumped the pillows on the sofa, gathered the tablecloth from the dining table. Pulled out all the burnt-down candles and threw them into the fireplace. Girl watched as I emptied the dishwasher, refilled it, and washed the big stew pot and the pudding pan by hand. The refrigerator hummed while I put in a load of laundry, and ate a bowlful of Chili, let girl out; let her back in; took Joe his tea, feeling very domestic, and thinking about Thanksgiving and who’s coming, and putting on my list, “order turkey.”
I did the last of the hand washing; Joe was up by then and I heard Christmas music upstairs, so he’s happy too.
I took out the burned-down votive candle holders I’d put in the freezer earlier.
You know this trick for getting a candle stub out of a votive? After it’s frozen, you whack it lightly on a wooden surface (or somewhere soft) . . . and
Voila! Out they come, usually clean as a whistle. I brought in one of the starry pumpkins off the porch for our kitchen table, and dust-busted up all the fallen bittersweet berries from the kitchen floor.
And to me, this day is the beginning of winter. We are battened down; the storm windows are all on and locked tightly. The wood pile is full, there are good leftovers in the fridge, my house is clean and decorated for the season; my heart is full from the memory of last night; and I have the rest of the day to go into my studio and work on a new page of my book, with the fireplace to keep me company. ♥
Happy Day-After-Halloween everyone!