Since we've got TONS of pine cones lying around the yard these days, Clay and I decided to make pine cone bird feeders last week. First, we smeared the pine cones with crunchy peanut butter. (No one in my house ever eats the crunchy kind. I'd bought it for a recipe a while back, so it was nice to have an excuse to use it for something!) Then, we rolled the gooey pine cones in bird seed, tied a string around one end, and hung them in the trees near the birdbath. So far, one has been totally picked clean, one has been discovered, and a third lurks, undetected.
Also, since we've been reading a lot about leaves changing color with the seasons, we decided to go on a leaf walk. Little man and I headed down the trail near the old Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild, on the Natchez Trace, with a plastic zip-top bag to collect interesting specimens. It was a gorgeous day, and we found tons of stuff - feathery leaves that had turned deep red, some yellow heart-shaped leaves, and lots of acorns. When we got back home, we made a little booklet out of construction paper, decorated the front of it with colored leaf stamps, and glued our specimens inside. (They have slowly been turning brown ever since, but he loves his leaf book. I don't have the heart to take it from him!)
We stopped at a farmer's market to get some new pumpkins for the front porch. They had the white ghost pumpkins, the pretty gray Cinderella variety, and those cute jack be little pumpkins that Clay loves. We also got a couple of turban squash. (I adore their distinctive shape and mottled colors.) The front porch looks very festive!
We've also been slipping pureed pumpkin into everything - especially pancakes and waffles on weekend mornings. We've decided we like both topped with blackstrap molasses, rather than traditional maple syrup. It just tastes more like the season to me, for some reason. (Must be the association with the molasses cookies I make each fall. STILL haven't gotten to that recipe yet this year!)
We planted about 45 iris bulbs in the back yard, and I'm hoping they grow well in the springtime! I'm really excited about how the back yard is coming along. My plants are filling out a bit and becoming further established, and it's really starting to look nice out there.