Autumn Tea by Cay Gibson

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gibsonAutumn has swirled into our backyards amidst multi-colored leaves and chilly breezes.

My backyard doesn’t look as appealing as I’d like it.

Weeds have taken over the horseshoe-shaped flowerbed and my small cement cherub barely peeks out from underneath the thick growth. My nearby wishing well is splattered with mud and filled with rainwater.

In my square lot meditation garden, the barbecue pit sits old and spent from the summertime feasting of grilled chicken, greasy sausage links, and sizzling pork chops.

There is an ugly mud spot in the backyard where the above ground swimming pool last stood…taken down for the winter months. The swingset sits melancholy in the fall chill. On this day, the rain slowly drips off the patio roof.

Despite the rain, I enjoy sitting on my patio to enjoy the scenery and know that the humid warmth of summer is no more.

The seven-sister roses are in abundance and my hibiscus flowers are flourishing. The azaleas are bravely attempting to maintain a sense of dignity but there are days they fail miserably. The weeping willow is truly weeping.

The wooded side acre by our house is full of the scrawny, yet feisty, tallow trees. Despite the dreary November weather we’re having, these tallow trees give one sincere sign of autumn. They drop their leaves liberally with every gust of wind and every wave of the branches. Against a backdrop of wooded wonderland, the yellow, orange, and red leaves give a wonderful feel of autumn.

How do we benefit from this change of summer into autumn? How do we welcome autumn into our homes? How do we make the best of these chilly, rainy days? How about an Autumn Tea!

Clean off the picnic table or small patio/porch table (or simply spread a blanket in your backyard). Arrange a festive centerpiece of pinecones, nuts, oranges, apples, and autumn leaves in a wicker basket for your Autumn Tea. Place a little tea-candle lantern (these can be found in abundance at dollar stores) or pumpkin candle next to the basket–but not too close due to fire hazard.

What to serve? What to serve?

Let’s try some orange-lemon flavored tea spiced with nutmeg (for autumn flavor). Orange punch if the kids just aren’t ready for tea. Make pumpkin bread and snickerdoodle cookies

PUMPKIN BREAD

3 ½ c. sugar
3 ½ c. plain flour
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
4 eggs
1 c. cooking oil
2 c. pumpkin (Libby’s or homemade)

Mix first 6 ingredients well. Add eggs, oil, and pumpkin. Do not overbeat. Spray loaf pans with Pam. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or till toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 2 loaf pans.

SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES

(These cookies are great fun for the children to make—we make them every autumn at my house)

½ c. butter
¾ c. sugar
1 egg
1 ¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Cream of tartar
1 tbsp. Sugar
1 tbsp. Cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar together
Beat the egg into butter/sugar batter…set this bowl aside
Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar
Dump half the sifted ingredients into the egg mixture. Stir well.
Stir in the rest of the sifted ingredients. You will have a sticky light-yellow batter.
Cover the mixing bowl with a plate and put in the refrigerator for one hour.
Just before you are ready to take dough out of refrigerator, let the oven get hot.
Set it at 400 degrees.
Mix the 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon in a pie pan.
When the hour is up, remove the cookie dough from refrigerator.Scoop up a tbsp.-sized ball of cookie dough and roll into a ball.
Roll the ball in the pan of cinnamon-sugar.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes.

Magic!—the cookie-balls have gone flat.

Let your children decide which ones have the face of the “old man on the moon”.

Happy Harvest!

Copyright 2009 Cay Gibson

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