Happy Fall Y'all!! This is my most favorite time of the year. Many people love the spring, or summer vacation...but for me the most wonderful time of the year starts in the fall and leads up to Christmas. And I have many wonderful reasons for that!
I was raised in Northeast Arkansas on a cotton and soybean farm. And for my family, spring and summer was 'working time'. We chopped cotton and planted gardens in the spring and picked cotton in the summer, finishing up with pulling boles in October. And I will never forget how my baseball family always would take a break from pulling boles in mid October to watch the World Series every year on TV. I think that's how my love of baseball started because it got me out of the cotton patch. And when fall rolled around, it meant (most importantly) that Daddy got a paycheck. Can you imagine just getting one paycheck a year? Farmers do.
My sister and I would work in the fields picking cotton for $3 for a hundred pounds of cotton. We would save our dollars in one of Daddy's old tobacco sacks and in the fall we would go shopping for school and winter clothes in the Sears Roebuck Catalog. Mama made all of our spring and summer clothes, but we worked in the cotton patch to buy our fall and winter clothes.
And we would spend hours looking through the Christmas Catalog at all the toys and making lists of what we wanted for Christmas.
I loved the Fall because of the beautiful rich colors of all the leaves as they cascaded down from the trees making a carpet of colored leaves for us to play in.
I loved Fall because it meant the County Fair. We didn't have amusement parks back then, so the fall county fair was the highlight of our life.
I loved Fall because that's when the apples were ready in our orchard and we picked apples for Mama to can in applesauce and apple pie filling.
I loved Fall because that's when Daddy and Grandpa butchered hogs and put up meat for the winter. I loved that chilly fall day because Grandma would render the lard in her black cast iron pot outside and my sister and I would stand around her fire and snack on the hot cracklings that came out of the hot grease.
I loved Fall because all the canning was done and stored up for winter, and wood was chopped and ricked in rows for the winter fire.
I loved Fall because it meant Halloween. I'll never forget the smell of Daddy's peanuts that he had raised roasting on the wood stove and the sound of him shuffling them around every now and then to keep them from burning. I can almost taste them now. We didn't get much candy on the farm except at Christmas and Halloween. But we didn't go to town to trick or treat. We went from farm to farm collecting all those wonderful homemade farm treats like.....
....caramel apples made from the fall crop with brown sugar and a whittled tree branch stuck inside for a stick.
....and popcorn balls not made with Karo syrup but made with good old molasses.
Fall meant works all done; baseball season is over; crops, wood, and food all in, and time for sitting by a warm fire reading a good book, or working on a quilt, and visiting friends and family over the holidays. Precious memories.
So you see....I have many wonderful reasons to believe that the Fall months leading up to Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. I just hope I can pass on some of those wonderful farm life memories of fall to my grandchildren.