Tag Archives: autumn

Go, Edith, go!!!

One Last Hurrah!

By Edith Morgan
 
We are very lucky to live in a zone that has four seasons – each brings its joys as well as its challenges. So now we face another autumn.

Already, we are having cooler nights, and the grass grows more slowly.  The ever blooming roses are gearing up for their final blooming of this year, and soon we will begin to see whatever maples are left after the depredations of the Asian Longhorned beetles, breaking out in magnificent reds, golds, yellows, and finally dropping their leaves in preparation for the winter.

It’s a time for enjoying what we here call “Indian Summer,” a time when tourists from far and wide make pilgrimages to New England just to admire the colors on display along the highways and in our parks.

For those of us who live here year around, it is a time to take a final jaunt through our parks, enjoy our porches, and do some preparing for the coming seasons.  A final clean-up will be done by the City to pick up debris that has cluttered out sidewalks and streets (mostly leaves, I hope – but there will also be swept up with the leaves an assortment of trash thrown about by the careless and the lazy). And we homeowners will be looking for mulch to cover and protect our perennials, rakes to gather the leaves and wilted blades left over from the flowering bulbs of spring. 

We will make sure that our bird feeders are in place and filled for the birds that winter over, and we will plan to continue feeding some of the wildlife that frequents our yards all summer. 

This year the Jewish New Year falls within a week or so of the formal beginning of fall – so for all our Jewish friends, it’s a double celebration – beginning a new year ( #5776) while at the same time welcoming the coming of a new season.

And of course it is apple-picking time: the symbol used for the New Year in the Jewish religion here is a slice of fresh apple, signifying a round, full year – with honey drizzled over it, to wish others a sweet year.

Worcester is surrounded by apple orchards, offering many varieties that you can pick yourself, or buy by the bag or bushel. Apples keep a long time, and are so very good in pies, sauce, dried, or as juice.  Remember the old saying about “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? There was a lot of truth to that old belief: apples eaten fresh provide so many benefits to us all at all ages, it seems foolish not to take advantage of this bountiful natural product every day. I see that our schools and even McDonald’s have rediscovered the wonders of this marvelous fruit. And of course it is deeply ensconced in America: remember our saying about ”It’s as American as the flag, motherhood and APPLE PIE”!

So, let’s all get out and enjoy the fruits of the season, and prepare for the seasons to come!

Fall feelings …

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Happy! Cuz it’s fall color time (note my auburn dye job!) and cozy sweater weather! I have three closets filled with fall sweaters (plus autumnal dresses and skirts)! I hear the siren song of my fave fall boots …

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Proud! Saw this an hour ago: St. Mary’s church guy cleaning their little church yard, mowing the grass, trimming the hedges and cutting back the weeds. Looks great! Pride in the neighborhood is a wonderful thing!

Go, St. Mary’s church, go!!!!

– pics + text: Rosalie Tirella

Go out and enjoy the coming of autumn with a child!

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The simplest toys are the best!

By Edith Morgan

They’re back to school, our five to seventeen year olds, and the battles over what they will be taught in school and how we will know they actually “got” it will rage on. And we will probably continue to ignore real research, real data and real observations of real children, in favor of manufactured, profit-driven multiple choice (to accommodate the machines) paper-and-pencil questions – even though there is no situation in real life that is multiple choice. (Does 2+2 equal: a. 6, b.1, c. 4, d. none of the above?) (Shall I drive on the right, on the left, on the sidewalk, or on the grass?)

With those thoughts in the background of my mind, I spent a day last week with a three year old – and yes, it was exhausting, but also very invigorating. At my age expanding that much energy for so many hours without stop, which is what is required when responsible for a child that age, is tiring, but SO challenging!

Naturally, I had purchased the required number and variety of small cars and trucks, a clever device for making huge soap bubbles, a “train” puzzle, which I added to the items he had used in the past, and which we keep stored away in what he calls his “treasure chest.” After some play indoors on the living room rug, we went outside to the front  yard, where I have pebbles and stones instead of grass (it faces north and gets little direct sun). Surrounded by so many toys, he chose to collect stones, one by one, of all sizes, some nearly too large to carry, but he improvised a two-handed carry, and for the largest pressed his forehead into service. At first he merely constructed a short wall – reminiscent of the stone walls found all over New England. Finding more stones, he said he was making a tree house; he created a space inside his stone pile, built it up to accommodate the large hosta leaves he had picked, and closed it up .

I merely watched as the little boy arranged and re-arranged the stones: they were of different sizes, shapes, and weight, but he studied them, moved them around so they would stay put, and  was occupied for well over an hour constructing, changing, reorganizing his structure, and was still at it, when his father came to pick him up – all that time he had not wanted to eat anything, noir diverted his attention from this self-generated task. We did take a little break to make some huge bubbles, as a nice breeze was blowing in the yard.

After he and his father had put the stones back in place in the yard, I thought over what had gone on: we had not once turned on the TV; and the simplest, most self-selected “toys” were the ones that occupied his time the longest.

They were not plastic, made no sound (he spoke to himself all the while) and served multiple purposes as he assigned them.

We buy so many gadgets, provide toys that blink, beep, propel themselves, and are artificially brightly colored, that we mostly forget that children will mostly choose those things which they can imbue with their own ideas – and which offer the most opportunities for the imagination.(Remember how, after opening their gifts on holidays, children so often play with the wrappings and the boxes?)

There is a lesson there somewhere …

So, go out and enjoy the coming of autumn with a child!

Seasons of change

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

“A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

“A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

“A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

“A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

“A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

“A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3, 1-8

By Parlee Jones

Peace and blessings to you , Worcester People!  I hope this issue of InCity Times finds you and your world in a serene space.  As the season changes from summer to autumn, I find myself reminiscing about my life and how it changes.

One of the highlights of living in New England is the beautiful fall foliage.  The trees are going through changes.  And they are beautiful changes.  I was going to try and explain it here, but it is complex.  Much like life.  It’s a process.  It’s change.  Our outlook on change and the process we take is what determines how difficult the change will be.

This weekend, my sister and I took our brood to the apple orchard.  This has become a family tradition.  Something started with my mom and dad many years ago when me and my sisters were very young.  It’s a tradition that my mom and sister continued with my nephew Jahnoy when he was a toddler.  Jahnoy will be graduating from MCLA this coming spring.  I mention this so you can understand how long my family has been doing this.  I have done it every year with my two since returning to Worcester in 2000. Tradition.

We lost my mom, Clementine Jones, on Friday, September 13, 2013, during one of the most incredible thunderstorms I have ever witnessed.  My dad, W.J. Jones, joined her this past September 6, 2014, a beautiful, warm, easy, Saturday morning. Change.  The process of life.  There is a time to live and a time to die.  I was blessed with loving, hard working parents.  They did the best they could with what they had.  Something I have come to understand as I grow and parent my children the best way I can.  I am left missing their presence and energy.  Change.

This tradition of Doe’s Apple Orchard in Ayer, MA with a stop at Willard Farm in Still River, MA  will always be close to my heart. And a trip I hope to share with as many folks as possible because it is truly a great way to view the beautiful, colorful fall foliage.

Change.  Our world is changing.  I remember an elder telling me one time “if you don’t change, you will die.”  Everything goes through some type of change.  Seasons, butterflies, relationships, careers.  Whether we are aware or not, each moment is always changing. Nothing lasts forever. As human beings we are equipped to move and expand with this natural flow.

Change is an inevitable part of life. The sooner we can accept this as fact, to become acquainted and comfortable with change versus treating it as an interruption in our life, the sooner we can feel more grace.

To grow in this life requires the courage to continuously move with change.

If changes are a basic fact of life (actually life is nothing but change), then why resist? Why not embrace and enjoy?

See the beauty of change.

 

InCity Yum Yums! Make your own pies this autumn!

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PIE TIME! 

Text, recipe and photo by Chef Joey

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Chef Joey (pictured above) made these yummy “pies in a pan”!!!

Why is it that in the fall seems to be the time to make a plethora of pies? Albeit Pumpkin, Apple, Blueberry or America’s favorite Strawberry Rhubarb.

Pies have existed since the Ancient Egyptians started making them and drawing them.  Romans also make pies…maybe Cleopatra’s chef gave out the recipe, but the Greeks also made pies or as we now call them Pitas.  The first actual published pie recipe was a Roman rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.

Old England pies or Pyes as they wrote appeared around the 12th century and predominantly meat filled and had very thick crusts that were called “coffyn”.  Then in the 1500’s along came and fruit pies or tarts and pastries were born and the British take credit for the 1st cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth the 1st.

Pies came to the States with the settlers and the crust was seldom eaten and just the filling was consumed.  It was around the time of the American Revolution that the word coffin was changed to “crust” – we sure showed them who means business.  Pies nowadays are “the most traditional American dessert”. Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now often use the term “as American as apple pie.”

Now that the trivia part let’s get to the basics, everyone has a pie recipe and quite frankly they are as easy to make as toast – weather it is an open pie like the Skillet Blueberry in the picture, lattice top or crusted on top – it’s an inexpensive and wonderful desert that goes with everything.  Here is my favorite and easiest crust recipe – they are basically all the same – I only use butter in my crusts as I am not a fan of shortening.

For 1 crust combine 1 ¼ cup flour – add ¼ tsp salt then take ½ yes ½ pound of butter and cut it into tiny pieces and mix (cut) it in with the flour until it is sandy like – add up to ¼ cup COLD water form into a ball and refrigerate until ready to use – roll it out and fill it up! Double the recipe for 2 crusts.

Any fruit will do for the filling or even puddings – bake the shell first – a couple other things you can do – substitute orange juice for the water to add a zing to your pie  – and for the flakiest crust – whip up some egg whites and paint the top shell of your pie then sprinkle a little sugar to the wet surface – it comes out awesome!!!

For a regular apple pie – peel and core 8 or so apples and cut into small pieces (the smaller the pieces the faster they cook) toss 3 tbsp sugar and 4 tbsp flour (you can add raisins too- Just soak them first so they don’t dry up and stay plump) put the apples in the shell – dot with butter – place the top crust seal it and bake 375 for about 30 mins depending how you cut your apples – use a long thin skewer to test the pie – if you feel chunks it is not done – it should go in smooth.  You can substitute just about any fruit for the apples – ENJOY!

Be nice to mice!

By Michelle Kretzer

Most first-date conversations probably don’t turn to discussions of mousetraps, but that’s exactly what happened to me. Since the fall months are prime time for a rodent invasion, don’t be surprised if you also find yourself pondering various mouse-eviction methods. Take it from me: Leave the glue traps, snap traps and poisons on the shelf. You can keep the peace and keep rodents out of your pantry with simple, humane mouse-proofing techniques.

When I first met my boyfriend, he was in hot pursuit of a mouse who was taste-testing her way through his kitchen cabinets. He was trying to catch her in a snap trap but wasn’t having any luck. He even surmised that the mouse was so crafty that she was both avoiding the trap and actually mocking his efforts. (I maintain that she was too smart for that antiquated trap.) So there we were on date number one, talking about how the snap trap might maim but not kill the mouse (at least not instantly), could injure his dog and could make a big mess. Somewhere between the salad and the risotto, he agreed to give my humane live trap a try.

Soon after, we met for date number two so that we could implement Operation Mouse Catch. A few days, a few dates and a few dabs of peanut butter later, the resourceful mouse was in custody. We took her mug shot, then promptly released her in the yard.

Despite my boyfriend’s doubts, the mouse’s cabinet-raiding days seem to be over. (Our dates have become a little more normal as well.) That’s because we didn’t stop with the eviction—we also made his home uninviting to rodents. Just focusing on killing or even evicting a mouse or rat who comes inside won’t work if your house is still appealing and accessible—another rodent will simply take the first one’s place.

But you don’t need to bring out the big guns to keep mice at bay. You just need to store food in chew-proof plastic containers, keep trash in cans with tight-fitting lids and seal off any possible entry points. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a dime, so check for cracks in walls, holes in foundations and gaps around doors, windows and vents, and then get out the steel wool and the caulking gun.

Many rodent traps are not only ineffective but also cruel. Animals caught in glue traps, for instance, may languish for days before finally dying of dehydration or even suffocation. During that time, as the panicked animals struggle to free themselves, the sticky glue rips patches of fur and skin from their bodies.

And like most “kill traps” and poisons, glue traps don’t discriminate. PETA regularly receives calls from distraught people who have found birds, squirrels, snakes and even kittens hopelessly stuck in these traps. Earlier this year, a homeowner in Virginia learned the hard way that glue traps will snare any animal at any time. The man had set the trap at his home, and when he checked it 24 hours later, he found nine snakes caught on the sticky pan. Thankfully, using mineral oil, Goo Gone and a lot of care, staffers at a local wildlife center were able to free the snakes and release them back into the wild.

Once your house is rodent-proofed, use a humane live trap to catch any remaining mice or rats. Be sure and check it frequently, as rodents panic and suffer while inside traps. Escort them to a field or wooded area away from your home. Or if it’s cold out, release them into a sheltered area such as a barn or a shed.

If mice and rats come calling this fall, why not show them some love? You never know where it may lead.