Thursday, September 25, 2014

Early Fall Hygge

If I was to hand out a prize to the most hygge* season, autumn would be the clear winner. As I write this post I'm listening to Yo-Yo Ma play the Bach Cello Suites, the chickadees are at our bird feeder, there's apple crisp made for tonight's dessert, and the weather has cooled enough that I will soon be wearing my handknit wool socks again.

I love the feeling of having my freezer stocked up with fruit picked this past summer, and soon we will also have our meat order for the year. There are jars of jam sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets, a convenient place for storing things in a small cottage. There are also jars of dried plums and blueberries and soon, after my trip to Victoria this weekend, they will be joined by dried apples. Vancouver Island is known for growing some delicious heritage varieties of apples.


One of the features I enjoy about the fall season is the return to routine. I think routine has an undeserved reputation for being a bad thing. Yes, doing the same thing over and over again, day after day after day, is most definitely mind numbing. But I find great comfort in the small routines of home. From my first cup of tea in the morning to my bath just before I go to bed, my day is filled with familiar things that give me balance in an often unbalanced world. After a busy summer, settling into all of these rituals again gives me great joy.

Food changes with the seasons as well. I love the move from the quick meals of summer to the simmering stews and soups that are once again part of our dinner menu. With cooler days I don't have to worry about overheating the house if I use the oven to bake. Blackberries are a sign that the season is shifting.


What better way to use them than for a lovely crisp. I love how this recipe calls for making it in a cast iron skillet.


It's also the time of the year for putting the garden to sleep until next spring. The carrot, leeks and kale remain, but everything else has been harvested.



As we move into fall I look forward to rainy days spent sitting in the window seat, knitting and reading. I also look forward to the glorious days where the sun is shining and the light filters through the forest, highlighting things that would otherwise remain hidden.


Fall, for me, is a season of contentment.

*Hygge is usually inadequately translated as cosiness. This is too simplistic: cosiness relates to physical surroundings - a jersey can be cosy, or a warm bed - whereas hygge has more to do with people's behaviour towards each other. It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.



50 comments:

  1. I love the food changes, there is nothing nicer than a warming soup/stew or casserole.

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    1. I agree, but the funny thing is they don't seem very appealing in the summer. It has to be September before I start making them again.

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  2. Such a beautiful post today, Autumn is my favorite season although I complain every year because I do not get to experience it. There are subtle changes here, but they are barely noticeable. I bet your house looks festive with those harvested tomatos, and the smell of the apple crisp must be divine.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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    1. The nice thing about where you live is you don't have the season that follows fall. :-)

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  3. I love this post Kristie and I would happily swap my life with yours for a week or two (I might miss my children). I love routines, it is very comforting to know what lies ahead. And I love the cello suites. I don't have Yo Yo Ma's interpretation but I do have the suites played by Maurice Gendron, Pablo Casals and Anner Bylsma. The latter plays on a baroque cello, which is lovely. I just realise that that many is slight overkill. I do also have a partial recording by Jacqueline Du Pre :)

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    1. Personally, I don't think there is such a thing as overkill when it comes to the Cello Suites. I would love to own more than the one version that I have!

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    2. Thank you for the names of these other artists who perform the cello suites. I'm going to check them out on iTunes. Like elginknitter, I would love to own a few more versions. And I agree with her. There's no such thing as overkill when it comes to these suites.

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  4. Yes, fall is a wonderful time! I love the feeling of hunkering down and preparing for the bad weather to come - it must be instinctive, like storing up acorns is for squirrels. Not that I like the bad weather that I'm preparing for! All of a sudden I have re-discovered my baking mojo with the cooler weather, too. My freezer is full of bread at the moment. The smell of freshly baked bread says "hygge" to me.

    I don't think we're going to have much fall colour here this year. Even the maples seem to be turning going yellow and brown. -- Ruth

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    1. ETA Should have proofread that last sentence more carefully!

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    2. Yes - that's exactly it. That feeling of hunkering down and preparing for the winter is what I love about the fall! I love the smell of fresh bread, and have just discovered a gluten free yeast bread recipe that is good, so will be enjoying that smell again this fall. I'm sorry to hear you aren't having such a spectacular fall in terms of colour. It's weird how it can vary so much from year to year.

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  5. I'm sad to think that our garden will be winding down soon too. It's still going strong at the moment with tomatoes, and squash. But, I know that once the first frost comes, we will have to say farewell. At least there is comfort in knowing wool weather is around the corner.

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    1. Yes, wool weather more than makes up for having to put the garden to sleep. Still, it is very sad when there aren't any more fresh vegetables to pick. Enjoy your tomatoes and squash while you can!

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  6. Although I am not totally clear on the meaning of Hygge, and I think that there isn't actually a direct translation if I remember correctly - it seems to me that autumn would describe it best of al! It sounds as though it has been a great year for produce gathering for you. How did the communist and capitalist gardens compare? xx

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    1. I think to clearly understand hygge you need to be Danish. :-)

      The communist plot was actually fairly productive. There were tons of potatoes and beans. It seemed like quite a bit of stuff went bad before it got harvested though, so next year I will pick more. That's the problem with the system - on the one hand you want to hold back a bit to give others a chance to get some vegetables, but on the other hand that often means things rot before they get picked.

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  7. As winter wanes I yearn for the spring and the long days of summer. Yet I too am now ready for autumn. This post describes it all perfectly and I've really enjoyed reading it. As the nights draw in we welcome the stews and casseroles, as it gets colder we light the fire and I read and knit more. It's natures way of recharging our batteries.

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    1. Thanks Jacqueline! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I like the way you put it - autumn is nature's way of recharging our batteries. :-)

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  8. Autumn is my favourite time of year too, Kristie - especially the crisp air and clear blue skies. Your blackberries look mouth-watering, and how i would love to try them, as we never see them here. And yes, routines are soothing aren't they? After a month-long holiday overseas, we are very happy to resume the regularity of our normal lives.
    PS Your beautiful Autumn post makes me long to be in Canada, over with my daughter. Maybe next year :)

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    1. Welcome home, Patricia! It was fun following your adventures around Europe. You are right about it being nice to return to a routine after a holiday. No matter how wonderful the holiday might be, there's something every bit as nice about crawling into your own bed when you get home. Hopefully you will make it over to Canada to see your daughter and her family next year.

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  9. I always really enjoy your hygge posts. Our Indian summer looks to be over and I'm settling back into autumn rhythms here too and you're right, there is much comfort to be found in them :)

    I keep thinking Lucy can't get any cuter, and then she does!

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    1. I love that picture of Lucy. The apple is almost the size of her head, but she was determined to take a bite. :-)

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  10. This is such a lovely post, Kristie. I love fall and I'm so glad to finally be feeling it setting it where I am. I love the photo of Lucy and her apple, what a sweetheart she is.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! I really have been enjoying writing the hygge posts this year.

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  11. Indeed a lovely post. Paul Tortelier is another favourite of mine but Yo Yo Ma is the more lyrical. Casals perhaps the ultimate? Food, comforting routines, that spiderweb and Lucy..I'm just going back to read it all again!

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    1. I'm going to download a couple more performers playing the Bach suites. Thanks for mentioning Tortelier and Casals! It's funny, but until this post and the suggestions in the comments it hadn't occurred to me to have several different versions. :-)

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  12. You make autumn sound glorious - and for a second I was jealous, but not really - Spring is definitely my favourite season! I will enjoy reading about your cooler weather fun though :)

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    1. Spring is very nice too, Sarah. The nice thing about blogging from opposite ends of the globe is we get to enjoy each other's seasons. :-)

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  13. I love autumn too, but then I love all the seasons - even winter! This was a wonderfully calm and reflective post, Kristie, two qualities noticeably lacking in my life at the moment. I look forward to settling down to routines again once the dispruption of the move is over. :-)

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    1. I actually like winter too, Perpetua, but once February comes I'm ready for it to be finished. I hope your move goes well, and that you quickly settle into life in your new home.

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  14. Lovely reflective post, sums fall up perfectly. Your granddaughter is adorable! Enjoy your trip to the Island.

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    1. Thanks Chris! I'm back from the Island as of yesterday. We had a wonderful time. This grandparent thing is a pretty good deal. :-)

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  15. Autumn is definitely the hygge seaon! That's a wonderful picture of Lucy! Your blackberry crumble looks delicious I have never made one without adding some apples to it. That would make a nice change!
    Sarah x

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    1. Apples are great in a blackberry crisp, and I would normally have put them in except I had quite a few of the berries and wanted to use them up. I hope your downsizing is going well. It's a such a big job, but worth it once you're done.

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  16. Dear Kristie,

    Your autumn sounds lovely and you sum up everything that is autumn so beautifully. And even though I live in Sweden yours and mine sound very much alike. Maybe it's because I was born in the autumn that I'm particular fond of this season. I don't know. But I do know that I love autumn and every year when it arrives I always try to embrace it as much as I can. Fill body and soul with all that is autumn.

    Take care Kristie!

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Yes Charlie, your autumn and ours would be quite similar. I like what you say about filling body and soul with all that is autumn. That's perfect!

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  17. I think hearty soups are one of the best things about Autumn and Winter.....right after wearing cozy socks!

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    1. Soups, stews, crisp apples, squash in all shapes and sizes...and yes, cozy socks at the top of the list!

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  18. I feel the same way about fall, but I believe you are much better prepared for it. We do have an over-supply of shredded, frozen zucchini, so hopefully we'll turn that into an abundance of breads. That will be nice.

    I started to mention that my wife doesn't worry about over-heating the house by using the oven or boiling (sometimes both at once) during the warm months...but that's not a very hygge thought. :)

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    1. Frozen zucchini is a great thing to have stored away for the fall and winter months. You can put it in soups and stews as well as bread and muffins. I used to be like your wife and not worry about overheating the house by using the oven, but we don't have air conditioning at our cottage, so I've reformed.

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    2. I didn't know that about the soups/stews. We'll have to try that.

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  19. I love Autumn and the change in the way we eat. I look forward to the squashes and start making home made soups. Thank you for following me. I have pressed the button to follow you, but it doesn't seem to be showing up yet. I will enjoy reading about your life in Canada. I fell in love with it when we visited a few years ago. I have always said that if I were to live anywhere else in the world, it would be Canada. x

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    1. Thanks for following my blog! That's funny your other choice for a place to live would be Canada. Mine would be Britain. :-)

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  20. lovely post!
    your cast iron skillet crisp looks delicious.
    sitting at your window seat knitting and reading ... that sounds just perfect too ♥
    have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thank you Deb! The cast iron crisp was wonderful. I think I might be making all my crisps that way from now on. I hope you have a great week too!

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  21. I love autumn with the excuse to cosy up and eat all those meals that comfort. I also love the feeling of all safely gathered in, cupboards stocked, very satisfying

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    1. Have you seen Jamie Oliver's new Comfort Food cookbook? If ever a cookbook was meant for the autumn, this is the one. And yes, that feeling of being safely gathered in with the cupboards stocked is the best.

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  22. this is my season (besides winter) I love how the light shifts in my house, and how we knit with more wool and wear it as well. I also love how the days get a we bit shorter and cozier.

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    1. Yes Karen - the wool, and the knitting, and the light. They are all at their best at this time of the year. :-)

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  23. Ahhh, such a heartwarming post. I agree with every word, Kristie, routine is important and soothing. I am admiring the spiderweb photo. I have never managed to take a decent shot of a web -- perhaps beyond the limits of my phone....or my talents. So enjoyed this post!!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! Spider webs are very hard to photograph. The light has to be just right, and even then they usually don't turn out.

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  24. Your description of this time of year spoke to me. The scents of crisps, soups and stews came wafting across the country.

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