Pruning Out the Deadwood, Changing Seasons

Autumn is making me melancholy. Or something is. On nights when the moon is full, and the sky is that particularly brilliant shade of blue, when the wind is cool, even at noon, and things all around you are changing, well… you don’t really need an excuse to gently indulge your melancholia, do you?

‘Tis the season to read books and sip spiced hot chocolate, to ponder life truths and have a good cry for no particularly good reason; to write letters sans keyboards, with actual pens that use ink; to cement friendships, or slough off particularly noxious ones you’ve been hanging onto for too long. ‘Tis the season to shake off the deadwood, prune back the branches, and prepare to go dormant so that new growth can take place. Autum-time — it’s the slow-down that comes before the little death which comes before life returns.

Part of me hates change so much that all of this pruning and such makes me want to go back to bed, but letting something die back without pruning it, in plants, anyway, means that it’s not easy for the plant to come back to life. Trying to make changes stick in myself, without making room for them, without giving things up a few things that are comfortable, but hurtful, probably won’t work out either. So, it’s time, and every year this time rolls around again. I look forward to seeing how it will all turn out.

Meanwhile, the Silly Sibling’s Ceremony that took over my life is now over — (Which has me convinced that there is a God, if not, we’d still all be at the church still, waiting for her to finish her pedicure and maybe show up on time…wow. There are no words.) so I’m finally digging out of the filthy dusty house, returning library books, putting up the rest of the produce in the freezer and into the dehydrator, and finding the bedwarmers. It’s actually been coldish and rainy and it’s a welcome respite from the state of Eternal Summer via Global Warming. I’m relieved. Admittedly, I’m still disappointed at my retarded sunflowers; the only one I got is a full four inches tall — it looks like an oversized dandelion — but it’s time to shake off the failure and put in the bulbs and the sweet peas, maybe some amaranth, and more kale. Hopefully better results next time…

I have a wee dram of champagne waiting for me to take notice of it. Can you believe that someone had the good sense to make a sweet potato chutney that calls for champagne? I can’t drink it, but I can eat it!

Sweet Potato Chutney

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tbs. crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbs. fresh mint, minced

In large saucepan over medium high heat, place onion, sweet potatoes; champagne; sugar, dried cranberries; crystallized ginger; cloves garlic, curry powder; and a spoon sea salt. Reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes, stirring frequently.Remove from heat and stir in minced mint. Garnish with minced sprigs.

Meanwhile, I have a hankering for some more ‘classical’ applications for sweet potatoes… (and NO, they don’t include marshmallows, sorry): I think I’m going to jazz up the traditional caramelized sweet potatoes with ginger and orange juice instead of using brown sugar and butter. Or, better still, I might just try the whole thing with delicata squash; I hear it’s great baked with apples and caramelized.

The season of change: brings many possibilities!

3 Replies to “Pruning Out the Deadwood, Changing Seasons”

  1. Sloughing friendships … sad, but necessary. ‘Cause you’re not sloughing friendships, merely things which have tried to resemble them, but which aren’t.

    ‘Tis the season for random words to start popping out of your brain for no reason at all (or titles: WHY are there 40,000 in Gehenna? Where the heck IS Gehenna?), and to reflect upon things from the previous year … to sit, and knit, perhaps.

    Can’t wait for the Sweet Potato thing. Perhaps this weekend?

  2. You KNOW you’re going to have to read Forty Thousand in Gehenna again. But it’s old, and it’ll make you happy.

    Do we have any cranberries? I don’t think they even have them in stores yet. I’m trying to figure out what the chutney will GO with… all I can think of is side dishes of squash and apples. Yum.

  3. We don’t have cranberries. They may be in stores … but I don’t think they’re there yet, somehow. Shame, if not, ’cause they’d be really good!

    You KNOW that this will go with Quorn. You just know it. It’ll be strange, as Quorn always is, but … it’s a fungus.

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