Autumn has brought that feeling with it, the feeling that it’s time to slow back down after the sometimes hectic pace of Summer. I’ve been so busy these last few months that I haven’t had the energy to write, or do anything creative for that matter. But the clouds and rain seem to have given me permission to take a breath and relax. I finally feel some space opening up around me, the space I needed for inspiration to flow into.
As much as I enjoyed the bright, sunny days of Summer I could do without the heat. What I do love is a cool, rainy day spent snuggled up in a blanket, sipping cocoa, reading a book, and periodically gazing out the window. I love cozy sweaters and thick socks. I love the mesmerizing effect of a fire in the evening. I am enchanted by the yellows, reds and oranges that sweep across trees and shrubs. Autumn is my favorite season.
My house has been filled with the scent of spiced pumpkin and elderberry syrup; both concoctions taking their turns simmering on the stove. I have played around with the spiced pumpkin scent, trying to find the perfect combination of spices to mimic that lovely smell of a pumpkin pie baking, sans an actual pie (and in substitute of a paraffin candle). Basically, you fill a small saucepan half full of water, drop in a mixture of: vanilla bean, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, maybe some allspice, and maybe a little cardamom. Simmer your mixture on the stove, adding water as you need to in order to keep it going longer, and it will fill your house with happiness. Each time I make it my ingredients differ a little, so I encourage you to give it a try and find a recipe that you enjoy.
Making a batch of elderberry syrup is a good idea now that the weather is cooler. We’re spending more time indoors and in closer contact with other people…and their germs. An adult can take a tablespoon (small children can take a teaspoon) of elderberry once or twice a day to boost the immune system. And definitely take it when you feel a cold or the flu coming on to help lessen symptoms.
Fresh garlic and echinacea are also great at supporting the immune system.
If you have a cold and want to take something to reduce mucus secretions, raspberry leaf or slippery elm tea may be helpful. Peppermint tea can help reduce a fever (you can use peppermint essential oil on the head, neck, and/or bottoms of feet for fever reduction, as well). Licorice root, marshmallow root and comfrey are all good expectorants (helps loosen chest congestion), and you can take these as a tea or in capsules.
*Always do your research on any herb before taking. Some herbs may interact with certain medications or may not be good for people with certain medical conditions. Your doctor or a pharmacist can help you decide if a particular herb is safe for you to take.
Another welcome effect of cooler weather is that our outbuildings and house are no longer covered with Box Elder bugs! I sprayed the areas they stay on with different types of essential oil mixtures in hopes of finding something that may deter them, with no success. I finally came across some internet sites that recommended soapy water to kill the bugs with. A little dish soap mixed in water and used in a large sprayer works well if you spray each individual bug. It does work, but we had a lot of bugs so I spent some time each day for about four days spraying the ones I could reach. I made only a small dent in the population. These bugs are harmless; they don’t eat plants, they don’t bite and are not poisonous, they are just a huge nuisance. As soon as the sun warms up the south side of a building there they are, living out their days basking in the sunshine and flying in my hair when I walk by. If anyone has any good tips on how to deter them in the future then I’m all ears.
Not everyone gets to slow way down just because the weather changes, but I believe that our bodies naturally experience an ebb and flow with the seasons. Supporting those natural changes in us is important to our overall health and can make a big difference in how happy we feel as sunny days are exchanged for cloudy ones. Take some time each day to do something that makes you feel some warmth on a cold day (physically and emotionally): light a candle, fill your home with a comforting scent, place a cozy blanket in your chair, enjoy a cup of hot tea, or pull on a pair of your favorite socks. Most importantly take a moment to feel gratitude for the small things that you can do each day that create a little joy in your life.
Now take a deep relaxing breath. And don’t forget to take your Vitamin D!