Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Five: The Procession of the Equinoxes

Pond reflection in Bowdoinham Singing Owl at RevGalBlog Pals gives us a Bible verse and some thoughts about fall. She posted a fall photograph, but I'm posting one of ours -- a photo Onkel Hankie Pants took of a pond in Bowdoinham, Maine.

Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest. Jeremiah 5:23b
The Autumnal Equinox has just come 'round again. I took a look back at our Friday Fives and noted that it always seems to make the Rev Gals and their Pals think of changes.

There is something so nostalgic about this time of year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. The nights grow cooler, crops are harvested, for some of us the leaves are beginning to change colors. The scent of smoke is in the air, pumpkins are in the stores (or on wagons, or in roadside stands for those of us in the country). I'm thinking of putting away my summer clothes and pulling out the sweaters. And I have a tub of Fall-themed items that my husband just lugged up from the basement. I'm looking for my scarecrow.

For this week, let's share some memories along with some hopes and expectations.

1. Share a Fall memory.

Each year around this time I remember the fall of 1955. Our second-grade teacher came up with an art project that involved autumn leaves, construction paper, an old toothbrush, and either white paint or white glue. When we were done we had paper covered with white spots except for the outlines of autumn leaves. Back then our local fair, the Topsham Fair, was held in October -- the last fair in Maine. My aunt Frances and my mother took me and Brother #1 to the fair (the others were too small). #1 was having a great time on the Ferris wheel, but I thought he was screaming to get down and I jumped up and down yelling "Let my little brother go! Get him down from there!" I've never been much on carnival rides. Soon after that, we (my mother and five children 7 and under) flew to Germany to join my father in Wiesbaden. Here's our passport picture.

1955 Anne, Nikki, Stephen, Mark, Peter, Pamela Petroff, passport photo
When we arrived, we went to a little spa town not far from Wiesbaden called Bad Schwalbach for a few days of R&R before moving into our new home. I don’t remember a lot about it, but here’s a picture of a place in Bad Schwalbach that’s not too different from where we were:

Bad Schwalbach

When we arrived at our new home on Sartoriusstrasse in Wiesbaden (a three-story town house which had been requisitioned by the Army), it was time for a birthday celebration, although at this point I’m not sure whether it was for the twins or for my mother, as their birthdays were only 9 days apart in October and November. We didn’t have our household goods yet so we ordered a cake from a local bakery. I was quite impressed with the frosted grape decoration, but the cake in this picture probably tastes better; I also recall that the “buttercream” frosting was made with either lard or shortening and had a funny taste.

Cake with frosted grapes

2. Your favorite Fall clothes--(past or present)?

For many years, throughout my childhood and on into college, my mother made most of my new school clothes. One of the favorite memories I have is of a grey wool suit she made for me before my senior year in college. It had a coachman-style jacket with a red damask lining, and an A-line skirt. I felt quite grown-up in that suit.

3. Share a campfire story, song, experience...etc.

I’m not sure if this happened in fall, but it could have. When SonShineIn was about two, we were camping at Sakatah Lake State Park sitting around our campfire at night. Watching the sparks fly upward, SonShineIn exclaimed, “Look! Firecrumbs!” Well, we thought that was pretty clever.

4. What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

The weather – brisk mornings, cooler noontides, evenings drawing in a little earlier. And, the sense of new beginnings and heightened energy in myself and others.

5. What changes are you anticipating in your life, your church, the season changes and winter approaches?

We’ve just (at the very end of summer) installed our new senior pastor at church, who was our associate before. I’m anticipating some very positive innovations from her. As for my family – life is change, it never stops.

Bonus: What food says "AUTUMN" at your house? Recipes always appreciated.

Anything with pumpkin or apples; it’s also the time of year when things like beef stew, pot roast and roast pork start to sound good again. Here’s how to make aeblekage, a very simple Danish apple dessert:

AEBLEKAGE (EH-bl-kaaah)

Peel, core and slice a couple of pounds of apples; stew them with 1/2 cup water over low heat until they are soft. Depending on the variety you may want to add a little sugar and some cinnamon.

Now you need the crumbs. The best, if you live in the Upper Midwest, are made from Jacobsen’s or Log House Toasts – plain or cinnamon. Since we can’t get those in Maine, we’ve experimented and had decent luck with zweiback (in the baby department), unseasoned Melba toast, fine dry breadcrumbs and even graham cracker crumbs. (Personally I’d mix the last with something like plain breadcrumbs, or it gets too sweet.) If it’s not already in a crumb state, you can make it so in a blender, food processor or with a rolling pin on waxed paper. Melt a stick of butter in a large skillet and dump in the crumbs (equal to one package of zweiback; you may need to experiment a little), stirring till all the butter is absorbed and the crumbs are a nice golden color. If your crumbs are not flavored with cinnamon already, add cinnamon to taste. Now get out a pretty glass bowl. Layer the crumbs alternately with the applesauce, finishing with crumbs. Last but certainly not least, whip a half-pint of cream and spread over the top, reserving any extra for when the top layer is gone. It’s traditional to decorate the top with blobs of currant jelly. Here’s a picture from the blog of someone else who made it:22-AeblekageHVIDE

(They omitted the currant jelly and so may you.)

Well, this was a series of very long answers, but I’ve been quite remiss in my blogging this summer and now fall has come and it’s time to get going again!


MperiodPress said...

LOVE the fire-crumbs story! So descriptive! Leave it to a child to name with unfiltered accuracy. And the dessert looks delicious!

Thanks for the well-wishes you so kindly left me!

Vicki Lane said...

Interesting memories -- and I LOVE 'fire crumbs!'

Barbara B. said...

I love the passport picture! The facial expressions are great!

altar ego said...

five crumbs--fab! And that dessert... cinnamon is a favorite spice, and apples are da bomb...

Onkel Hankie Pants said...

It may have been that same camping trip when SonShineIn saw a another camper - a woman in very loud pants made from a fabric printed in a crazy-quilt patchwork design - and asked, "Daddy, is that lady a clown?"

Purple said...

What great memories you share...and the passport photo. Today each of you would need a separate passport/photo.

zorra said...

Mmmmm...aeblekage. I love any dessert that involves apples! Thank you for stopping by.

RevAnne said...

Firecrumbs! Love it...may have to teach that to Exceptional One and Exceptional Two, my niece and nephew.
Thanks for your visit, and for that recipe. I'm ready to try it!
I updated my post with a link to the cranberry-glazed pork roast recipe. So easy, so good.