Today our home is filled with the scent of apples cooking. Not yet the scent of spiced apples, or apples cooking inside of a pastry, but the almost watery scent of apples baking in their own juice – the epitome of fall. Outside, the air has a crispness to it as if trying to clean out the stuffiness of the end of the summer heat.For years, my husband and I have had the goal of moving out to the country to a small farm, trying to live off the land and be self-sufficient. We’ve taken great strides towards our dream with our little homestead. Granted, we’re still in town, although thankfully it’s a very small town. We haven’t yet escaped the neighborhood, but you’d be surprised what kind of country living can be done inside of town limits! At least we’ve taken a large step away from grocery stores with our small jump towards our farm.

Back when we were in the city, I did not expect how I would feel each spring and fall. Since much of our food comes from our land, the seasons mean something other than a change of wardrobe. I feel the changing of the seasons much more vividly than before, each season bringing with it a change of pace so dramatic that it is impossible to ignore. This inexorable passage of time brings about an excitement every few months that is breath-taking.

As a perfect illustration, this last week has truly been the beginning of a beautiful fall. We weren’t sure we’d get a true fall this year, since the snow came following a week of temperatures in the 80s! However, stepping outside today, I can feel the autumn all the way to my bones. One of my favorite parts of fall is the crisp feeling to the air as I take a deep breath along with the new scents – the last mowing of grass, the dusty scent of fallen leaves, the apple scent that seems to be everywhere.

This kind of crisp feeling in the air always stirs something deep inside of me – a primal, almost visceral need to burrow into our home. I feel a rush to get the firewood chopped and stacked. I long to be home instead of out running errands. I feel a deep-seated drive to stock up on foods that can be tucked away in the pantry for that day when the snow prevents us from leaving the house. I start craving hot cups of tea and cardigan sweaters and candles with a spicy scent and I have to admit that even knitting begins to sound exciting!

The craziness of the summer is starting to wind down, the baby pool has been cleaned out and stored for the winter, and the sled and snow shovels are ready in the garage. The baby bunnies are all grown, the chickens are scrambling to get the last of the summer bugs and best of all – the apples are being harvested. I’ve always loved the fall, but somehow, living closer to the land, I’ve fallen in love with it all over again.