Autumn: A Bountiful Season for Thanksgiving

As the children play about the neighborhood, I drink in the glory of autumn as though I am seeing it through their eyes. The day is fairly bursting with joy! The wind kicks up, tugging and coaxing the leaves to take the plunge from their perch above, and they skitter down the street blanketing the neighborhood in a wash of gold. The musty, earthy smell of the damp garden wafts though the house riffling the pages of my book. Melodic wind chimes on the porch work themselves into a frenzy of crashing crescendo. Just as suddenly, the only sounds are the chipping sparrow in the flaming bush outside my window, the rustling breeze, the sweet tinkle of chimes whispering, conversing in a way that seems to make perfect sense. A flock of kids swishes through the leaves in a gale of laughter, and the cats sit mesmerized in the window.
Experience the wonder of this magnificent season through the eyes of a child.
  • Rake leaves into a giant pile and dive into them! 
  • Take a nature walk.  Notice the seasonal changes: bird migrations, the critters getting ready for hibernation. Collect chestnuts, acorns, pine cones, beautiful leaves… Take note of the beauty even as the dismal weather sets in: flowers gone to seed, the many shades of brown and gold…
  • Describe the cycle of seasons as you put the garden to bed: divide and replant bulbs, tucking each in for its long winter nap. Pull out dead annuals, cut back perennials, mulch, etc. 
  • Get out the bird feeders. Remember to keep them filled through winter. Once the birds find your feeder, they count on you to keep them fed and will die if there is not another source of food nearby. Don’t forget to put a bell on your cat as a warning to these feathered friends. Keep a bird book nearby for identifying the visitors to your feeder
  • Distract the squirrels from your bird feeder with those acorns and chestnuts the kids have been collecting. Point out the squirrel you see burying a nut in the garden and wonder that it is able to find it even under a blanket of snow. Ask what happens to the nuts that are buried and not found. Search the treetops for squirrels nests.
  • Collect beautiful leaves to press
  •  Find an apple tree or farm market and get as many apples as you need to
  • Cut an apple in half horizontally and discover a surprise inside
  • Arrange apple slices around a dish of peanut butter “dip” for a healthy snack
  • Make applesauce, or freeze pies for the holidays. Children don’t always realize that the things we buy at the store come from somewhere else first
  • Peel an apple, carve facial features into it, allow it to dry out and create a puppet from the wizened head
In the years to come, you will reflect back on these days with joy as your growing children reminisce about the priceless gift of childhood you have given to them.  (RDW 10-19-12)

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