There is nothing better than fall weekends. I can't fathom living somewhere a fall chill doesn't replace summer's heat. Everything about fall makes me happy...except maybe that it just isn't long enough :)
Friday night we went out to my in-laws' farm. The farm is the perfect place to relax and enjoy fall. And hanging out there on a Friday night is a wonderful transition from a crazy week into a fun weekend. For dinner we roasted hotdogs on the fire. I took some turkey hotdogs for my husband and me. As you can see below I sub-contracted the roasting...he does a much better job than I do. My mother-in-law is the most generous hostess. She made apple cake and pumpkin pie...perfect fall food. I did have some of each, but I took half portions so I could enjoy them without guilt.
There is something so relaxing sitting around the fire. Sometimes it is the silly conversations and sometimes it is just watching the fire burn in companionable silence. I love to add wood to the fire and watch the sparks, flames and glowing coals. We have a fire pit at our house just like this one. Watching the fire dance through the animal cutouts can fascinate me for quite a long time.
My in-laws make and sell birdhouses. My father-in-law was showing us this one last night. It was a design he came up with years ago, but felt like it was a bit of a mistake. Apparently it didn't sell very well, However, I think it is adorable. Everyone needs a little something quirky.
We took our niece and a couple of her friends with us to the farm. The girls talked us into playing hide-and-seek tag after dinner. Actually, it wasn't too tough a sell. My mother-in-law and I are usually targets because we are the slow ones, but I think they might have taken a little pity on us this time. We play in the dark and we've learned that laying on the ground can be a great hiding spot. I don't usually want to do that because I am not so great at getting up and down from the floor/ground. Last night I tried it and was pleasantly surprised how much easier it was - I was up and down in some great hiding spots without much trouble at all :)
Saturday morning we had planned to go hiking at the state park where we got married. Since we celebrated our anniversary this week it seemed like the perfect date. And the gorgeous weather was a total bonus.
On the way to the park we stopped at the farmer's market. I have been impatiently waiting for the Fuji apples to come in. Great news - Fujis are here!!! Of course, since we were there I took the opportunity to see everything and take a few pictures.
One of the wonders of fall is the infinite varieties of squash. I just can't get over all the wacky looking squash.
How fun are all these hats? I am pretty sure women my age should not include them in our winter fashions, but I seriously want to.
I didn't realize until I was looking at the pictures how funny the expressions were on these two hats. Makes me smile :)
I like the display at this booth. The soaps smell great. I tried a sample of the cilantro pineapple a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, I don't think the aroma lasted well in the shower. I really wanted to love these soaps because I love their creativity and the presentation. And who doesn't love free samples??
We bought a bag of apples, a summer squash (the most beautiful golden yellow) and some yellow tomato marmalade. Yes, I said yellow tomato marmalade. It was made with lemons and yellow tomatoes. It was very tasty on the sample crackers and the vendor recommended using it on grilled meat. I am definitely going to try it on some grilled chicken. My mother-in-law loves citrus so I think I will put her on the guest list.
We continued up the river road to the park. We were surprised to see this boat cruise by. Looks like they might do tours. I've never been on the Mississippi. Maybe I will look it up for another day's adventure.
By the time we got to the park, Millie was ready to go. She got herself a stick and we started out on the three mile hike we picked out. I can't believe my husband is actually wearing his Garmin watch and we didn't think to start it. I would have loved to see our speed and the elevation changes.
My husband said it was a good thing he had Millie to pull him along. She is a bit like a self-propelled lawn mower. There were plenty of steps to climb in addition to the ridges and ravines themselves. I felt like I did pretty well even though we had to stop a couple times so I could catch my breath.
I made sure to have my husband take pictures of me from all angles. I know I look better, but while I was hiking I seriously felt thinner than these pictures show. Check out the picture of my backside from our May trip to the park. I specifically asked my husband to take pictures of me from various angles. I want to be able to compare them to pictures later. Unfortunately, I can't tell too much difference because the May pictures is of me much farther away. I think I have become bolder in my picture posting. Hopefully, this set will really help me see a difference a few months from now :)
Imagine our surprise when we ran across a couple of cows along the path. I am guessing they must have escaped their farm. It was funny to watch Millie. She was going along her merry way and then suddenly noticed them. The cows didn't seem to care about us at all...until they noticed Millie noticing them. One started toward Millie and my husband. I won't lie...I was a bit nervous it was going to charge them. Thankfully, he just stopped and stared at them.
His companion looked up, but really didn't seem to care. He went right back to eating. Can you imagine a running of the bulls on a hiking trail??
We had chosen a different trail than we have done in the past. It was marked moderately difficult. It had some challenge to it, but it wasn't ridiculous. We did end up on a trail we have gone on several times in the past. It has the most beautiful outlooks and the rocks are incredible. It is aptly named the Goat Cliff trail. We stopped at one of the outlooks and enjoyed a couple of our fresh Fuji apples. An apple has never tasted so good. We both agreed this was our favorite part of the morning. Sitting at the lookout, enjoying the view, chatting and eating our apples. We even spied a touch of fall color.
It was beautiful every direction we looked. But, obviously, for me this was by far the best view :)
The perfect bite of fall.
We asked a passerby to take a family portrait of us. I get a little nervous handing over to a stranger, but have never had a problem. I am so glad to have this picture of us.
I always end up taking a ton of pictures of the rocks when we go on this trail. The word awesome may currently be the most overused word on the planet (or maybe it is amazing), but in this case, I don't know any other way to describe these massive boulders and bluffs - simply awesome.
In closing, I feel like I need to address the "elephant in the woods". My husband is extremely manly, very chivalrous....okay, okay....it is European!!! He was such a good sport to carry my purse...umm..I mean my European shoulder bag :)
Cloud watching on the drive home was the ideal icing on a wonderful fall morning.