Happy Fall y’all! Or do you say autumn? Actually, they mean the same thing, but autumn is an older term, and according to Merriam-Webster came from the Latin word “autumnus.” Fall is probably the most common term, and we associate it with the leaves as they begin to fall.

Fall is my favorite season. I like the colors, the changing of the season, the smells and the food. Nothing like a good pumpkin pie or squash soup to warm you up as the chill starts to come upon us. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention fall apparel. Just about now I am ready to put away the summer wear and get into comfy sweaters.

Getting back to pumpkins. Did you know that Illinois is one of the top producers of pumpkins? Or that pumpkins appear in 90 to 120 days after seeds have been planted? It can also be considered one of the most versatile of the winter squashes. It is expected the price of pumpkins will go up this year, but what hasn’t? 

If you are carving your pumpkin, clean it out and save the “meat” to do your culinary magic, but don’t forget to clean and roast the seeds. The whole process from cleaning and carving is a great family activity. 

I will admit that while I have the desire for real pumpkins, a few years ago we resorted to artificial ones, much to the disappointment of the squirrels. However, they are the very reason we went fake. They ate them before they made it to Halloween. Sorry squirrels, isn’t that bird seed you been taking from the feeders enough? 

So now it is easy to decorate and each year we add to our pumpkin patch. Any cooking or baking can be handled by picking up a can or two of pumpkin at the store.

Fall also is the time when Mother Nature shows us the beautiful colors of the leaves. We are fortunate that right here in our area is an abundance of ways to appreciate the changing of the season. There’s nothing like walking down to Swan Pond and hearing the leaves crunch as you walk along the path. 

The nearby forest preserves also provide vibrant displays of colors. If you’re really ambitious, take a ride to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle where you can walk the paths or drive the different routes. When you’re done, snag a nice warm cup of apple cider and a cider donut — I’m ready!