Fall arrived here about two weeks ago and the weather seemed to go from warm and sunny to rainy and chilly with almost no transition. We had our first frost of the season last Friday, though it was mild and didn't kill off any of our plants.
Sarah and I have been busy putting up food for the winter over the last few weeks. Our basement shelves are weighed down with pickled green beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, jalapenos, and green tomatoes; pasta sauce; jelly; tomatillos; and tomatoes. We've also been drying herbs and hot peppers. Last weekend I started a batch of mead and it is happily fermenting away. We finished with our soffit replacement project a couple of weeks ago, and it's been nice to have that monkey off our backs. We really enjoy hiking in the autumn and we went out for a nice long hike last weekend. While we were hiking we found some hickory trees that were dropping nuts. We gathered a couple handfuls of the nuts, took them home, cracked them, and baked them into some chocolate chip cookies. Normally, I'm not much for nuts in cookies, but the hickory nuts have a well-rounded, nutty flavor that doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients in the cookies. In addition, the nuts soften nicely so that they blend in with the other textures in the cookies. If you can find and crack the nuts, I recommend them.