The seasons are a changin’ … are you ready to take advantage of perfect fall weather?
The Perfect Fall To-Do List
Though the temperatures perhaps haven’t dropped yet, the veggies are still forthcoming, and there’s still lots of daylight, September 22 marked the Autumn Equinox, signaling the beginning of fall, and the day or perfect polar balance before the earth begins to tip our hemisphere away from the sun. Because autumn is a time of chilly weather, but not so cold as to make you wish you had fur, it is a great time to actually enjoy being outside (without all of your life juices being sucked out of you by the heat) and to ready your home, garden, animals, and mind for the coming cold.
Because fall is my second favorite time of year, and because it leads into my very favorite season (that’s right… winter is coming), I use it as a time of reflection, planning, and introspection. It is my goal this year to get everything I can out of fall, and I’m dragging you along with me. So here is our to-do list for making this fall one heckin good time.
1 Make A Trip To The Mountains
This year it is predicted that the Blue Ridge will have more than exceptional fall foliage. There is nothing more breathtaking than rounding mountain roads to come into view of a clearing that shows you miles and miles of different leaf colors. Not only could you plan a leisurely drive through the mountains, but you could get a cabin with no one around, you could plan a bike ride, or a hike! Fall weather is the best for outdoor activity, and mountain air is great for your lungs, too. We have even been known to get a campsite, set up a tent and just enjoy living in the woods by a campfire for a couple days. No hiking intended, just lots of sitting next to a fire.
2 Enjoy The Porch
When the heat finally breaks your porch will be there waiting for you. It always seem that the idea of sipping sweet tea on the front porch all summer long is a great idea, until you end up needing another shower just from sitting outside. But in fall, you don’t have to worry about getting too hot. And, as they say, it’s easier to put more clothes on than to take them off. Grab a book, grab a coffee, grab a friend, and go sit.
3 Create A Movie List
Nothing makes me happier in the world than making a list, and watching movies. So getting to combine the two is like heaven for me. The theme of my fall movie list is “Countdown to Halloween” but you could choose anything you wanted. This is the perfect time to watch movies as the days get shorter and we’re left with more nighttime in our evenings. You could make a list of love movies (Young Goethe In Love, The Notebook, Moulin Rouge…), or a list of the series you need to catch up on (Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, The Crown…), or even a list of classics you’ve missed out on over the years. Here are the first five on my list: The Addams Family, Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Hide & Seek, and Coraline.
4 Frame Some Fall Art
I can be so guilty of changing the vignettes around my house to match the season, but of leaving all the artwork on my walls the same. It’s amazing, though, how changing out a couple of things hanging on the wall can completely change the feel of a room. It will at the very least catch your interest a bit more than those store-bought paintings you found right after you graduated from college. Change things up! Here are a few free printables you are more than welcome to, as well! Click here.
5 Plant A Fall Garden
It’s not too late to get a few seeds in the ground and reap the benefits of a late garden. Most of the plants that do well in the cool of spring will also do well in fall. Think salads! And, if you have row covers or someone handy who can build some for you, then you’re all set to get even your winter gardening started. Here are some links from blogs I love to help you out: Fall Garden and Winter Garden.
6 Go To A Festival
Apple festivals and county fairs abound! There is a festival in practically every town to celebrate the harvest these days. Just down the road from us is the Unicoi County Apple Festival in early October. I have always lived near Amish and Mennonite settlements and have a deep and profound appreciation for their donut making and abilities to turn apples into all manner of edible concoctions. Being someone who’s naturally inclined to hide away at my own home as much as possible, it’s sometimes intimidating getting myself out to these super-populated events, but I always find so much enjoyment and leave with a belly full and wishing every season were apple season.
7 Learn A Cozy Hobby
I have recently come to terms with the fact that I really do wish I knew how to knit. I’ve been taught, however briefly, by several family members and friends, but it has never stuck. I have a huge basket of yarn that I bought to teach myself to weave (crudely), that now sits idly by, waiting for a purpose in the world. I love hobbies, and I would love to have one that could be super useful, and a great way to spend my fall and winter. Plus, someday, I may want to harvest wool, so I may as well teach myself to knit now. Other hobbies may include: crochet, embroidery, weaving, soap making, candle making, and more. This is a great time to get your warmest hobbies out!
8 Cleanup Summer Plants
This is super important to the health of your garden next spring. Cut back (don’t put up your plants unless you absolutely HAVE to) stems to the ground. Burn anything with mold or insect eggs, and compost the rest. You can also do what’s termed “chop and drop”, where you just leave old foliage and plants to over winter right where you chopped them down. This adds nutrients to the soil, keeps your soil covered through winter, and encourages worms to make a home in your garden. Make sure your destroy the bad stuff though, otherwise you’re encouraging it to come back and attack your plants again next year.
9 Plan A Bonfire
S’mores. Blankets. Hot dogs. Cocoa. Beer. Nighttime. What’s not to love about having a bonfire? Don’t have the space to host your own? Ask that one friend with property if they’d be interested in planning a bonfire together. That takes the burden off of you both to do all the planning and purchasing. Even better: ask all of your friends to bring a dish to share and turn it into a potluck bonfire! I’ll bring the whiskey!
10 Decorate With Nature
Even though we often think of fall as becoming bleak and brown after the leaves have all blown away, it simply isn’t true. If you live near a woods or a park go take a scavenging walk to see the amazing things that grow in the cooler, wetter months. I love digging up ferns, and harvesting moss. Not to mention collecting leaves! You can also cut pieces of evergreen plants to bring in, and collect pine cones (make sure you bake them). Leaves can be used to create table runners, or to add height to a vase when you take a bit of limb with bright leaves on it. Evergreen boughs can be used to create garlands and wreaths. You can scent pine cones with cinnamon and place them about your home to bring a bit of spice to every room. Also, if you have a plant whose leaves dry out beautiful, consider using my Lambs Ear Wreath instructions to create something that will last season after season.
11 Drink Warm Beverages
There are so many amazing options for drinks that warm the body and soul. And now that the summer swelter is finally over, you can thoroughly enjoy them without losing another pound of sweat. Hot chocolate. Hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Mulled wine. Coffee. Chai. Cider. Pumpkin flavored things… if you’re into that.
12 Carve Pumpkins
One of my very favorite traditions that comes with October. There’s something about cutting open a giant gourd, scraping out its innards, toasting the seeds in oil and salt, planning and carving a face or scene into that giant gourd, then the satisfaction of placing it outside and putting in a candle.
13 Read A Spooky Book
The cooler months are the best for reading. Well, if you ask me, summer is perfect for reading too, but I could see how some would enjoy the cool months better for reading. Whether you made (and subsequently abandoned) a reading list this year or not, this is a great time to pick something up that you’ve been either wanting to read or that will get you in the mood for the fun and games of Halloween. I just finished The Woman In Black, and it’s definitely perfect for someone looking to add a bit of spook to their reading list. Plus it’s a short book, so you will feel the accomplishment of finishing it sooner.
14 Plan Your Spring Garden and Flowers
Fall is when you must turn your eye to planning those spring flowers. Get bulbs in the ground now to have a beautiful season of blooms. But not only flower bulbs go into the ground, this is also when you should plant garlic and any roots like echinacea and asparagus. This is also the season for building up your vegetable beds and creating soil to suit your plants. Fall and winter give you loads of time to do the research you need to get more out of your garden next year, so start now to give yourself the biggest leg up. If you subscribe to my e-mail newsletter, I will send you a free Garden Planner to help you get started! You will find the sign-up box to the right at the top of this post.
15 Light All The Candles
What’s the point of all of those candles you collect if you don’t light them up every once in a while? Set aside one night each month (and each week when it gets much colder) to light all of those candles up for a few hours. Turn off the lights and enjoy the ambiance of flickering flames. Don’t forget to cuddle up on the couch with one of those warm drinks we just talked about! Candles can generate a ton of heat, so they’re great for those long nights at the end of fall and into winter when things get truly chilly.
16 Arm Your Home and Outbuildings Against Cold
Batten down the hatches! While this term doesn’t quite hold as much literal meaning now as it used to, there are still so many things you can do to keep the cold out of your buildings. One idea that I’ve meant to take advantage of year after year, is that of draft stoppers. You sew up a piece of fabric the length of your door(s), and stuff it will rice, or cotton, or even plastic bags. We have huge gaps around our doors so this craft is especially helpful for when you aren’t in the position to install all new doors that actually fit. Plus you could use draft stoppers on the windows and at the bottom of doors to rooms you’ve shut off, another great tactic to keeping your house warm.
17 Assess Your Yearly and Summer Goals
Remember those goals you had back in January? In June? Now that you only have three months left to accomplish them, it’s probably a good time to get to it! And if you have long-term goals, this is a great time to check in to see if you’re on track. Do a more thorough check of your bank statement as well. If you are keeping tracking of your spending, as you should be, then assess where your money is going and find places you can cut back, or spend more.
18 Plan for Thanksgiving
There’s nothing worse than putting off big plans for the last-minute. Now is the time to figure out where you are having Thanksgiving this year. Who all will you be seeing? What can you do to help? Maybe your skills don’t lie in baking or cooking, so now is a great time to ask the host if you could be in charge of bringing a special drink you mix up, or helping to decorate, or sending out invites. There are so many things that go into making a big Thanksgiving happen, and too often the weight falls on one person, fairly last-minute. And, if you are the one hosting this year, you REALLY need to start putting together your plan. Yes, you can certainly just put together the meal that day and have all the right food, but creating the right atmosphere for everyone to get to relax and thoroughly enjoy the holiday really steps up outcome. You can find ideas to get started on my Pinterest board: Happy Holidays.
19 Buy A New Blanket
For cuddles sake, just do it. You will enjoy this blanket for months to come, and it will bring you insane amounts of comfort to have more blankets than you can fit on yourself. There is never a time where having more blankets become a hindrance. Think back to those earlier points: having bonfires, going up into the mountains, arming yourself against the coming cold, having house guests over, or even just a blanket to put in the back of your car for emergencies (or football games). Add another blanket to your collection this fall.
20 Introduce More Self-Care Into Your Routine
Finally, you should also add some more self-care into your day-to-day life. You have been meaning to for months, I know, but now is the time to do it! Take a hot bath once a week. Give yourself a spa day once a month. Create a morning routine for yourself. There are so many ways to show how grateful you are to your body and mind for dealing with the stress you put them through. Consider creating your own products to give yourself a facial. With cold and winds headed our way and summer sun having taken its toll already, there’s no better time to slough off old skin and begin healing. I recently made my own products and will be sharing those with y’all very soon so you will have a template to pull from.
What else will you be doing this fall to enjoy the season?