Nope. Not ready. Not even close. It's too soon for the leaves to start turning and definitely too soon for the school year to be starting. Even after having left the South for quite a few years now, I still gauge Time For Fall by the heat quotient. It isn't time for fall until we've sweated out so many days that we can't drag ourselves through another hot and sticky morass without screaming. Even though we've been in New England for almost six years, I still find myself reaching for my inner yard stick of measuring out the summer. It doesn't feel like it's time for fall yet.
The garden is starting to play out. Tomato production has peaked and while quite a few still hang on the vines, there are more surrounding me in baskets full to the brim than are out there, dodging the predations of hornworms. I'm still mowing the lawn, the decrepit mower having finally gotten back from the shop (the first day back, I had to splint up the limp ignition cable...I told Tool Guy he owes me for repairs. Heh.) but now the grass is sprinkled with the first falling leaves of autumn and the squirrels are attacking the "pig nut" trees with fervor...a sure sign of impending change.
And homeschooling co-op begins. I'm so not ready. I'd planned on a few more splashes in the river, a few more outside adventures, a couple hundred pounds more out of my garden. Ah, well...
Over the summer, Tool Guy and I painted the dining room. He told me when he came home with the paint that it was the gray I'd asked for. With some squinting, the color blots on the lids did look a liiitle bit gray. On the walls, though, it is definitely on the blue side...unless you're examining the color at night, in which case, it looks closer to sea green. However, cleanly painted walls mean a blank slate to be filled up with all of the art projects and newest creations of the year. Last year's works have been archived into portfolios in storage and the first offerings of the new year adorn the places of honor. Okay, we're sorta ready.
Of course, the Hobbits look forward to fall reunions, old friends coming back, and getting back into the routine. It's a little unsettling at first, because every year is a little different than the previous one and we always show up with last year imprinted on our minds. There's always some disequilibrium and discontent until we get used to the new schedule, new rules, new faces and the lack of some of the old. It's like breaking in new shoes...a little stiff and awkward at first, but quickly becoming the favorites.
Then there's the annual "What's For Snack?" discussion. Unlike the meal menu selection, I want everything standardized for snacks. Thursday morning prep is too wild and woolly to try to handle it all times three. This year, we've settled on the perennial shoestring fries and chocolate chip cookies. In my opinion, Julie Andrews was unforgivably remiss when chocolate didn't make her list of Favorite Things, but it sure is at the top of ours. In our soy-free days, even soy lecithin was a problem and that ruled out just about all chocolate, soy being the emulsifier of choice in candy and chocolate chips. Enjoy Life chocolate chips became one of our Favorite Things. Still is.
Almost Everything Free Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Sandra J. Leonard and The Gluten Free Baker Newsletter
10 T Purity Farms Ghee
1 t salt
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sorghum flour
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 package Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Beat ghee until soft and fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, and both sugars. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.
Combine flours and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add half the flour to the butter mixture and beat on low. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula and add remaining flour.
Fold in chocolate chips. Chill mixture for two hours. (I make a huge batch of this and make cookies off of it for weeks from the fridge.)
Separate out balls of dough, approximately tablespoon-sized, and lay out on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten to about 1/2 inch thickness and bake for 10-12 minutes at 375*
Let cool on wire rack.
There's a big bowl of cookie dough in the refrigerator, I've got my ASL lesson plan prepped out, and we're tackling Singapore Math one page at a time. Yep. We're back in the saddle again. Princess' eyes sparkle as she bites into one of these cookies and she exuberantly informs me that I'm "the most delicious mommy!" Aw, shuuucks....