With the wonderful fall season at our doorstep, one can’t help but dance a jig at the very thought of it. Preparing for fall months, or as some of us call it, the autumn season is a special ritual for those who love it. Whether it is the crisp cool air touching the skin or the scent of pumpkin spice wafting through the air, the beginning of fall brings happiness to the soul. Fall marks the beginning of the holiday season. Before we know it, it’s Thanksgiving. But, let’s not get there yet. Let us slow down and breathe in the beauty of the leaves changing their colour around us.
When we think of fall, we think of apple cider, donuts, flavoured drinks, warm soups, fireplace and all things cozy. For kids, it means new classes, new books, new adventures at school (or home-school) and new friends. This brings to mind the song “We’re gonna be friends” by Plain White. Fall fashion plays a big role. Cozy sweaters, sweatpants, hoodies, fuzzy socks, blankets and throws – it is time to bring them out. This is the perfect opportunity to use what we already own in a creative way or up-cycle them for alternate purposes. For example – you can wrap a throw pillow inside an old sweater or cut the sleeves of a sweater to make fashionable leg warmers. Layer up on summer clothes to get more use out of them. Treat your skin with homemade face masks using clean ingredients from your kitchen. Swap paraffin candles with soy candles and enjoy the numerous health benefits it provides.
The fall season is perfect for warm drinks. Ranging from flavoured beverages to warm, cozy soups, the options are limitless. It is perfect because we can continue supporting our local farmers since the farmer’s markets are still open. Almost every vegetable has multiple uses. The skin can be used to make stock, the pulp can be used for soups or pies, the seeds can be dried, roasted and eaten as a snack. Make sure to use everything possible and compost the rest. It is also the perfect time to do some batch cooking and preserve jams and sauces to be enjoyed during the winter. Let us not forget to carry reusable containers and straws in case we decide to buy beverages on the go.
It is also a good time to plant fall vegetables that can be harvested next year. Some of them are leafy greens, onions, garlic, carrots, turnips and many more. Check out the link in our sources at the bottom of the page.
While we are enjoying the beauty of fall outside, decorating our homes is certainly something all of us look forward to. It is important to be mindful of what materials we use. To avoid wastage, we can use or re-purpose last year’ decorations. Investing in natural and eco- friendly fall decor such as jute, bamboo, cotton and other eco-friendly materials for centrepieces and wreaths would certainly be a responsible choice.
As the weather gets colder, it is important to check the insulation of the house to conserve energy. Unattended drafts can let the cold air in and this will, in turn, lead to heavy usage of energy. Dressing up warm and maintaining the thermostat at optimum temperature is the responsible thing to do. Incase it is unusually cold, using a space heater instead of turning up the thermostat saves a lot of energy.
The best part about the fall season is that although it begins to get chilly, we can still enjoy the outdoors. Since fall vacations are currently restricted or very expensive, camping with social distancing measures is a good way to enjoy nature. For an impromptu outing, a hike through a trail with a picnic basket is a perfect way to unwind. Let’s not forget to bring back any trash we might have to dispose off at home.
One aspect of fall that most people don’t love is raking the fallen leaves and cleaning up the yard. Actually, the dead foliage is good for the soil. They are a part of the life-cycle of plant and soil. The decomposed dead leaves are returned to the soil providing carbon matter. This promotes healthy microbial activity and improves the health of the soil. To avoid dead patches of grass caused by piles of dried foliage, we can mulch them and distribute them evenly throughout the yard. Piling mulched leaves around the bases of trees, on flowerbeds and gardens will insulate the soil throughout winter protecting the microbial life that thrives in there. If none of this is applicable to you, be sure to compost the dead leaves responsibly. This will avoid them from going into the landfill and contributing to the greenhouse gases.
Let us not forget our little bird friends at this time of the year. In places with extremely cold climate, it is during the fall season that the birds start migrating to the south. They have to fly long distances, which is often laid with difficulties. One of them is food scarcity. We can help them by avoiding to prune any fruiting, flowering or seed-bearing plants. These plants are their sources of nutrition that supports their journey and helps to sustain their life through the winter.
The fall is perhaps the most beautiful, yet short-lived season of the year. We can make the most of it in a responsible way before retreating indoors. It is the beauty of nature during this season that reminds us of what we are trying to protect and how beautiful it can be if we do what is right by us as residents of Mother Earth.
By Kritika Rao
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay