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The season of in between
September 19, 2008 - Bethany Fehlinger and Marjorie Stromberg
You can feel it and smell it. It's not like the sweet smell of flowers at the beginning of spring or the smell of the onset of rain. It's not the first day of summer when the temperature is 90 degrees and the humidity is 100 percent. It's something that your body just senses — the first days of fall.
The wind has a slight chill to it, but you still can be comfortable in jeans ... and flip-flops. However, the next day could force you to retreat indoors because the humidity spiked back to 100 percent.
It's the season of in between.
Pennsylvania fall is a tricky season. The heat seems to last half way into September, and the chill comes on strong and fast, almost like it was winter, in October. Dressing appropriately is hard enough for anyone, but what about decorating? October is the month of ghouls and goblins, and November is for Thanksgiving and harvest. With the blazing heat still in September, is it appropriate to decorate for fall?
Yes, it is — but modestly.
September can be the month for fall decoration shopping. Begin your search for the scarecrows, pot stakes, leave garland, spooky hanging ghosts and orange-blinking lights.
First, scour any dollar store or Dollar General. Collect the basics, like leaf garland and lights. Wal-Mart also has some nice items, but the basics are somewhat more expensive there.
Next, decide on your upcoming decoration designs for the three months of the season. September can have some general fall decorations, October is for the scares, and November is for harvest welcoming. You want to keep each month original without spending a whole weekend taking down and putting up the decorations. (That's what December is for, at Christmas time.) Then, pick out pieces that will transition from month to month, such as the leaf garland. Also, look in home magazines for some ideas to create your own decorations on the cheap, such as All You (and it's only $1.97 per magazine!)
I know, you're dying to put up all these adorable decorations once you get your hands on them, and you can't wait to plant your mums and decorate your pumpkins. But if you do it now, they will rot and die quickly and not last the season. Take a step away, put down the decorations, and breathe.
Now, I suggest you hang up the simple things for the last two weeks of September, such as a scarecrow or fall wreath on the front door and maybe some leaf garland around the door frame or window frame (inside or outside.) Indoors, put out some fall-colored table settings, but nothing that has a ghost, cat or turkey on it. Rather, a color palate of browns, deep orange, deep red and darker green will suit well until October, when you can let the little kid inside of you out to play. Light some season-setting candles, such as pumpkin spice and cinnastick.
But DO NOT buy mums and pumpkins yet. I often am tempted to buy a nice, deep purple mum pot and a cute Halloween stake at this time of year. Both items will die within two weeks to a month. This is a time to price the plants and find the best deal. Try local hardware stores that have lawn and garden sections, farmers' markets or any family farm in the area. Check your local paper to find any special fall activities at farms that might involve pumpkin picking, and plan the day in advance with family or friends.
Fall is my favorite time of year, with the colorful leaves, gusty cool winds and beautiful decorations. So, go roast marshmallows around the campfire, enjoy that cup of hot apple cider, and celebrate the beautiful Pennsylvania fall season.
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The leaves will begin to fall around the Juniata Valley. Are you prepared to compete with nature's decorations? Photo from travelsandjourneys.com