Sunday, September 9, 2012

Intro to Hippy Elf Chick 1: a Love Letter to Fall

I love fall.  I mean really, really love fall.  I love it like it's a friend I desperately miss, or a childhood fantasy I always hoped would come true.  I love it like it's Disney World, like a magical place where everything is festive and beautiful, and only opens once a year.  Strike that - I love it like it's the Ren Faire.  That's way better.  Fall is that mystical time of year when the world is so perfect to me that it's easier to live the way I want to always live, in a state of celebration of life and nature's awesomeness.

at the Ren Faire, squash grows from lamp posts! MAGIC!

The changing seasons have always been a huge part of my life.  Growing up out in the countryside of upstate New York, an only child with a lot of land, every day was about what was happening in nature.  All my adventures were set in the nuances of the changing landscape.  Every new flower and fruit that came into bloom, every new snake or insect that emerged in its season was a joyful discovery.  Watching the snow melt from the long winter and the streams and little waterfalls come roaring back to life in spring, the daisies blooming and wild raspberries ripening in summer.

early Hippy Elf Chick, left

I have trouble celebrating summer these days.  When I was a kid, it was tolerable.  It didn't get as hot where we lived (or it was just that the season was cooler 15-20 years ago) and winter was much longer.  There were grasshoppers and butterflies and all kinds of exciting things in bloom, and the nights were cool enough to camp outside under the stars.  But I am not suited to heat.  If it's over 72 degrees I can't lift a finger without breaking a sweat.  The sun burns me, makes me dizzy and miserable, and summer keeps eating up more and more of the good seasons each year.  The past two years, I believe the first 80+ degree day was in April, and the last one well into October.  We're not in Westeros here, this is Jersey.  That's not normal, that's global warming.

But fall must finally come, and brings with it a lot of wonderful memories.  It starts with that crisp wind, a little tinge of gold at the tips of the treetops.  The smell of wet leaves and earth, woodsmoke in the air, clear cold blue sky.  Where I grew up, milkweed lined the gravel driveway that wrapped around our hill, and by fall the monarchs were breaking out of their chrysalises and flying south.  Later in the season, bright red-orange fire newts came out of the ground and I would run up and down the driveway picking them out of harm's way.  Migrating Canada geese were the soundtrack of the season (where I live now, they hang around all year.)  The mountains changed to brilliant orange dotted with evergreens.  With fall comes squash and pumpkins, cranberries and apples.  Since I was a kid my favorite activity of the season was always apple picking.  We used to load our garage with bushels of Machintoshes and I'd eat them all day long as I roamed around outside.  

We may not have a society that revolves around the harvest anymore, but happily, it seems to me, those Wheel of the Year traditions die hard.  Baking kicks off when it gets cool outside and the kitchen is warmed up with hot ovens and spiced cookies, breads and pies.  People come together to share good food and good company and prepare for the holidays. In some religions, including a lot of Earth-based traditions, the new year is celebrated in fall, and it's always felt that way for me- like a new beginning.  That chill in the air fills me with energy after the suffocating summer and I want to start moving again, to get out into the world and get in every breath of the season before it's gone.  I want to find some beautiful woods and just take off running through the trees.  I've been lucky enough to get to do this for the past two years when I visited the Adirondacks with my new husband for our honeymoon and first anniversary.  Those were the most wonderful weeks of my entire life.  Being in the midst of the mountains with the person I love, spending our days hiking and nights around a fire, is pretty much all I want out of life.

hippy habitat located. commence frolicking.

Every year, my precious season seems shorter and shorter.  It gets to the point in late August when I realize it will really be properly fall in about 2 months and I start to panic a little because I feel like it's almost over before it's even begun.  So, long before the weather's perfect for wrapping up in a warm sweater, holding a hot spiced drink and sitting around a crackling fire, I start pregaming.  I watch The Village once a week (haters gonna hate! this is the best fall movie!)

And yes. I will dance with you on our wedding night.

Because I am in an apartment and have no access to bonfires, I burn Juniper Ridge Incense which smells like pure woodsmoke and nostalgia (check it out!)

I look through the pictures from our fall wedding with a huge grin on my face.  

these pics are by Tami Melissa Photography!

I guzzle masala chai. 
oh you bet this recipe is coming soon!

I go the the Renaissance Faire as soon as it gets cool enough, as many times as possible!  The confluence of hippies, geeks, outdoor fun and delicious food makes going to the Ren Faire for me like, I would imagine, an alien returning to its home planet.

take me to your mantis leader!

So in the coming weeks you can expect lots of fall recipes, both baked goodies - pumpkin bread, whole wheat gingersnaps, and healthy cranberry oatmeal muffins to name a few- and drinks - butterbeer, caramel apple spice cocktail, and of course from-scratch masala chai!  Because fall TV is starting, you can probably expect me to go on at least one Doctor Who related tirade, or if we're lucky, I'll just cry over some doodles about it.  I'll tell you why you're insane for not liking The Village; why you should, as you are engaging in your autumnal hippy festivities, listen to my favorite Philly-based psychedelic folk band that no one's ever heard of (*hipster glasses*); and we'll talk fall holidays and traditions; maybe wax poetic with some Mary Oliver for the season; and lest I forget, I am planning to attend TWO different Ren Faires this year!

Also, Halloween is gonna happen!
hello sweetie!

Regularly scheduled cat doodles will continue uninterrupted.  
Let the fall pregaming begin!

Peace and pumpkin pie, Hippy Elf Chick


  1. Fall here in OK starts in October and I think arguably ends in January. Since there aren't a lot of trees though, only the temperature lets you tell. Best believe I am winter gardening this year. I seriously believe you would love the north west coast nearly as much as the east though. It's like an Alan Lee painting, and fall and spring are twice their usual length, with summer and winter each getting just a few weeks. Fall is also when NYCC happens! You should come see the craziness, and go out with us to Koreatown for all you can eat sushi and crepes. Not even kidding.

    1. That does sound awesome! Although I like a nice snowy winter. When there's not a flake in sight in December (like most years now :( ) I get very upset. Last winter was a non-winter and it was not okay!! All seasons in the correct order and for the correct length of time, please!

      Ahh when will you guys be up? You should stay with us!! Ok well you probably already have hotel plans but we definitely must get together!! ...sushi and crepes, in the same place you mean??

  2. I know the band! Love them, too, although admittedly not as much as you and granted I know them because of you.

    While I vehemently diagree with your stance on summer, I find myself anxious for fall this year, too. I bake despite the heat, but I can't wait for the days when I find reasons to bake just to have a nice warm kitchen to hang out in. I'm ready for pumpkin dip and ginger snaps! I'll share my pumpkin dip recipe with you to share here.

    I think I've come to enjoy fall so much more because of our friendship. That's the best part of true friendship, I think, loving someone so much that you love what they do just because it makes them happy. I smile as I'm bundling up against the low 70 degree chills imagining you frolicking around in it in a tshirt with maybe a paisley scarf around your neck. I'm feeling pretty homesick for all the many wonderful days we spent at your place baking, watching Dr Who and dreaming of our shop together (still going to find a way one day for that to happen).

    I've already started setting out invitations to my annual Samhuinn/Halloween/Cetlic New Year's Party. Maybe you and Jay can visit then so we can dual host like we did the past few years :D

    I've been told that fall here also starts in late October and ends in January. At that point it might feel like winter for a month. I've always maintained that despite my dislike of winter in general, I like a good 2 weeks of thick snow for having winter festivities. Going to be weird knowing that there's not a chance I'll see a single snowflake now!

    Just one request... enough warning for Spoilers that I can look away! We still haven't found where to watch the new Dr Who, and are going kind of frantic about it. Did I tell you Joe got a tardis bathrobe, a sonic screwdriver pen, a dalek shotglass and a tardis pint glass at DCon on top of the tshirts? XP

    Love having a place to read your thoughts, (especially in the off days when we don't chat online XP) you describe things so beautifully!


    1. I am glad I could help you find some love for fall! I do understand what you love about summer, in theory, and when winter's dragging on I can imagine it fondly and remember the things I used to love about it as a kid, and every year I want to try to enjoy it. But then it gets here (rudely, about two weeks into spring) and I think wait, it's going to be THIS hot? ALL THE TIME?? Summer in the north-east just shouldn't last 6 months!

      I hope we can do at least one baking day together this year! Maybe if you're going to be somewhere in the middle area we can meet up? It's not looking good for us taking a vacation this year so we'd have to squeeze it into a weekend, and 26+ hours in the car would eat up a lot of weekend!

      I did have a thought that when I can afford supplies I would make some chai-in-a-jars to sell on Etsy to keep Hello Sweetie going this season, but I don't know how we could do anything else... maybe dry ingredient cookie mixes with recipe cards? But I think those are usually for recipes with only 1 or 2 wet ingredients or there's not much point to giving the mix. hmmm.

      You know I always give spoiler warnings :) I am going to wait until I have something good to cling to about this season before I start in on Doctor Who. Or until the Ponds are gone :( :( :( There has been 3-5 mins of actual character discussion awkwardly shoehorned into the first 2 episodes and Moffat is just gleefully looking forward to breaking our hearts and destroying our dreams, I know it!!

      It sounds like you have converted Joe big time hahaha

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I miss you!!!

  3. Also, just found this... ummm... yes!

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