pumpkin pie | friends, fall, and change

My friend, Trent Court, gave me this pumpkin pie.  His wife, Kat, made this pie from pumpkins grown in their garden.  We consumed this pie well under a day’s time!
I am absolutely loving these cool, fall days.  The weather here in Denver is so beautiful this time of year, when the days are shorter, the sun’s angles are soft, and the evenings are chilled and scented with the aroma of dead leaves and smoke.  This season, so similarly to spring, signifies change and turns my thoughts toward rebirth and redirection.  This has definitely been one season of change.  More on that later, but first, I’ll share my latest culinary and garden adventure.  Not only does fall make me immediately want to run out and purchase pumpkin spice-scented candles, but I also want to bake pies … and lots of them.  Thankfully, pumpkins are so abundant both at the store and in neighboring gardens!

We did not plant pumpkins at the house or at the garden plot this year.  The pumpkin vine lends itself to a broad sprawl, and, considering all of our yard renovations, we simply did not have the room in this year’s garden.  A friend of mine, however, planted several types of pumpkins in his yard, and he harvested well over 200 pounds of squash goodness!  I was grateful to receive a delicious pie that his wife made, along with a few extra pumpkins from his bounty.  One of the most rewarding aspects of gardening is the act of sharing produce, gardening tips, recipes, and creations with your friends and family.
A few of the squashes that I received a couple of weeks ago:  an Australian blue pumpkin, a butternut squash, and a spaghetti squash (from left, clockwise).
My boyfriend and I have recently determined to renovate our living room, dining room, and kitchen by the year’s end.  I know this is a lofty goal, especially since we have both either changed jobs or added to our side occupations.  When I make personal changes, I tend to overhaul almost every other area in my life.  I have recently left my full-time job and am committing to cultivating my design and illustration career.  I am working as a sommelier, part-time, at a busy, high profile steakhouse over the holidays and into the new year.  I am excited to stay active within the wine industry, while giving myself the time to develop my skills as a painter and illustrator for cards and stationery.  It has been the whirlwind of a month, for sure.  As far as our renovations go, we have successfully sanded all of our wood floors and are currently cutting and routing our baseboards.  In between all of the sanding, studying wine, and sketching, we have both managed to enjoy all of the requisite baking that comes with this lovely season.
One of many bites from Kat’s pie.  Each slice contained so much care and love:  from the cultivation of the vegetable itself, to the history and perfection of her family’s recipe, to the time it took to bake, to the delivery of the pie to my house.  Love is a labor and a reward to both the giver and the receiver.
Come to think of it, I will actually save writing my pumpkin pie recipe for a later date.   Tonight is just not the right night.  I am shifting the purpose of this post to simply communicating the direction my life has taken.  I should more aptly state:  communicating the direction that I am actively taking.   Deciding to leave a high stress, taxing position during the busiest season of the year took a complete leap of faith.  I knew where I wanted to be, and I knew that the path I was walking would not lead me to that destination.  I am not advocating abruptly leaving one’s job; however, I am encouraging one to follow their dream and tear down the limitations and negative walls that prevent that goal from coming into fruition.  I built up a “safety net” that allowed me time to heal and regroup after my departure.  I have slept anywhere from eight to ten hours a day over the past three weeks.  I took time daily to sit in the backyard or a park and truly enjoy my surroundings, ponder about the future, and relax.  It took several days to seriously let go of the internal dialog of ordering, keeping inventory, scheduling employees, pleasing my bosses, rethinking my decisions, retracing my steps.  The blank page ahead is both frightening and invigorating, but I look forward to the changes that will most definitely take place.
I hope that you all enjoy this darker season and take the time to reflect on the choices that you daily make.  I am trying to constantly ask myself if my choices are leading me to my goal or if they are undermining the very foundation I am trying to build.  I am also trying to love myself along the way, as I make adjustments and acknowledge paths that no longer serve me.  Well, as I hear the ding of the timer in the kitchen, I am going to sign off to enjoy some soup I have thawed from the freezer.  My head hurts from studying earlier this evening about Oregon Pinot Noir, so I will now reward my labors with some soup and vino.  Warm wishes that your Thanksgiving was memorable, restoring, and delicious!  Mine surely was, and I am trying to extend the feeling of gratitude into this busy week ahead.

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