Last October, I started what may become a new tradition, recording my Octoberests, the seven most magical elements of the month! Here are my Octoberests, 2020:
1. Making A To-do-List And Sticking To [Most Of] It
Towards the beginning of the month, I made a Lindsay-inspired to-do-list. And, while I didn’t complete everything, I at least made a start. Here’s the rundown:
Apple Picking, Pecking Duck Delivery, Make a Eucalyptus Wreath [It’s beautiful!], Plant Bulbs, Mulch the Garden, Cozy Fall Sewing, Lift Heavy [Made a plan], Grain-Free Granola [To celebrate a book launch!], Toss the Football, Plan Advent, Send More Postcards, Jump in a Pile of Leaves, Sunday Rest Day, Alt. Thanksgiving Dinner [Ham!], #Wyrdshed Cocktails, Learn the Thriller Dance [still doing this in segments on the nights I make dinner], Pumpkin Pie-Off, Poetry Workshop [bought notebook, wrote in it], Inktober [enjoyed others’ offerings], High Tea in the Woods, Fall Canning & Holiday Gifts [planning], Howl at the Halloween Full Moon, Write Spells & Curses, Learn New Piano Pieces, Write the Exciting Conclusion of…[well underway!], Fall Egg-nog [Had both an eggnog AND my first-ever Tom & Jerry!]
2. Apple Picking Peking Duck in a Pandemic
We don’t keep a car and we haven’t travelled since March. But we decided to keep up with our family tradition of apple picking at Applewood Farm, followed by a feast of Peking Duck. So we rented a car, parked outside of the orchard 30 minutes before its Saturday opening (the lines were already incredibly long) and had a very safe, very wonderful apple picking experience. Everyone travelling to the orchard was on best behaviour, wearing masks until they got far out into the rows. Of course, we swapped our traditional Peking Duck lunch at a favourite suburban resto for a city delivery dinner timed to arrive when we started our Saturday night movie, Hitchcock’s Notorious. (Did I mention, since March, we’ve been having a Saturday night family dinner and movie? Whoever picks the movie gets to pick the delivery joint!) We pulled off our tradition in a pandemic! Notorious, indeed!
3. Discovering Taylor Creek
Last year, I started exploring new-to-me routes along the city’s ravines and trails. On my list for exploration from the start of 2020 has been Taylor Creek. As with last year’s Warden Woods adventure, here was another amazing (and much larger) trail I’d lived a short-walk away from for more than a decade and never explored. Boy, did I ever time it right in terms of fall colours! Glorious! Blaise and I even took a longer weekend walk to explore the sculptures along the Don Valley Parkway. Towards the end of October, I started taking even more of the off-asphalt trails, which led to my following a “fork” in a trail that was no such thing, both passing through and retracing my steps through a very muddy, sharp-sloped hill. It was a little much, but I like a bit of mud, now and then. And our mini-schnauzer Elvis was a trooper! Forest bathing: 1000%.
4. Fall Sewing: A Cozy Wiksten Jacket
I’d had the materials to make myself a jacquard version of the Wiksten Jacket (formerly Wiksten Haori) for some time. And I finally made the time to cut the Merchant Mills Jacquard in Harvest and Robert Kaufman London Calling Cotton Lawn in Creamsicle and sew them up! As with my first Wiksten Haori, I made slant pockets in the main front fabric (the jacquard) and I used the original patch pockets on the creamsicle cotton lining side. Though, really these are just terms. The jacket is fully reversible. I halved the collar this time, and made it only with the jacquard. Particularly when I’m wearing it floral-side-out, the coat reminds me of a dressing gown I had as a kid. Total seventies vibe. I’ve worn it multiple times. In fact, I’m wearing it as I type. I have a bit of a plan to add some simple ties or a button and loop to keep it shut when I’m walking about.
5. Afternoon Tea in the Woods
Part of my reason for exploring Taylor Creek was to scope out a place to have afternoon tea in the woods. I don’t know how I came up with the idea. I guess I was having some sort of Alice in Wonderland fantasy? In any case, I invited a friend, Anne (who’s basically a tea sommelier!) and whom I never really get a chance to talk with, as we only ever seem to meet up at loud parties (olden times) or zoom movie group-events. We made a plan to meet up at the park. And we kept our distance while having thermos-tea and bento-packed snacks on a log near a rivulet of sorts. (She made some Smitten Kitchen scones that were to die for! Whereas, for once, the only things I prepared, myself, were pumpernickel and cucumber Boursin-wiches) The whole afternoon was truly lovely. I can’t wait to do it again next fall!
6. New, Challenging Piano Pieces
I take adult piano lessons, which, right now, take place over zoom. Instead of going gently into this not-so-good Pandemic, I went wild, picking pieces I knew I would love but which would challenge me. So far, I’ve made a very good, slow start (the best kind!) on Bach’s 6th Partita and Beethoven’s “Les Adieux.” I think I’ll add some Gershwin Preludes over the next few months, for even more mood.
7. Last Minute Pumpkin Carving
We weren’t going to do anything, really, for Halloween. The kids are too old for trick-or-treating and the city advised against it, anyway. I wasn’t even going to bother making my traditional Signature Pumpkin! Indeed! But at the last minute, Blaise and I decided to go for the gold. We went down the hill to Green Mountain Flowers, newly reopened after years of reconstruction, post-fire. And we came back with the craziest of pumpkins, some with warts, one heavy blood-orange beast as thick as anything, and a blue round beauty, basically a Redon moon. Then, the family designed and carved (in one case, with power tools!) the loveliest pumpkins we’ve ever had. Since we couldn’t “invite” trick-or-treaters with our lights, we kept the pumpkins inside all evening, and enjoyed their light. We ordered burgers for our Saturday-movie-night delivery. We watched Silence of the Lambs for the first time [eek!]. And we only went out to howl at the All Hallow’s Eve Blue Moon. This year, I’d say my signature pumpkin is more pertinent than ever! Wouldn’t you????