Orangery is a Real Color

September 27, 2010 by Ellen Stimson in Autumn, New England, Vermont

Van Morrison is blasting out of the speakers. It is cold and drizzling outside. The winds have picked up and the sky is darkening but all the candles are lit and the fire is burning bright in here. Autumn came this weekend. The mountains are ablaze in red and orange and there are purple wildflowers next to all the roads. The rivers are running and the sunflowers are dipping their heads at last. Every porch is festooned with pumpkins and corn stalks. Ours are laced with fading pink dry hydrangeas and bittersweet tucked in and amongst. And of course we have every kind of pumpkin. There are those fairytale Cinderella reddish orange ones next to fat ones clearly destined for the mantle and jack-o-lantern status. There are tall ones and green gourds with long necks next to white ones with big rough stems. This is Vermont at her bawdy best. Our trees are all so orange that there is a pervasive orangery light in the library where they are coloring all the light that comes through the windows.

I love autumn best of all here in the mountains. Summers are sweet when all the tourists race up here to get out of the city heat. Winter brings the skiers and spring, long about May is one of the sweetest things I have ever known. Christmas with hot cocoa and sleigh rides is pure magic.
Winter is long though and by about February we have all had it. So February March and April are no good. But summers where we used to live felt just as dismal with temperatures in the 90s you couldn’t eat outside anyway. So in our eighth winter here we will try and plan better for months two three and four.

And in the meantime this early fall color has me thinking squash casserole and an apple crostada. Maybe pork chops with a caramelized onion and Jack Daniels reduction. We’ll get out the autumn china with brown borders and creamy flowers next to purple napkins and soak up these first cheery fires and all this glorious color. It’s here. I have to get my husband out on that quilt so we can let the maple leaves flutter and float down on us. I love this part…..


  • Kate

    When you decide on your battle plan for months two, three, and four, please let me know. I'm forging my own as I write. I have to get over my fear of those months so I don't start to hate Autumn for transitioning me there.

  • Library Lady

    We don't have the colors yet, but we've gone from the 90's to down in the 40's in the middle of the night! Now that my second cataract is gone, I'm ready for the colors!

  • starrlife

    Orangery it is! And for those winter months it's fresh hot soup, netflix and wine- perhaps a bit of writing! It can't all be spectacular- just for contrast.

  • painted maypole

    would love to hear your surviving winter plans. I am dreading those months myself, worried that the newness of winter will wear off pretty quickly, and then what will be the charm?

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