Savoring the Last Days of Summer

It’s almost time to give summer a long kiss goodbye and welcome the jewels of autumn. With comfortable warm daytime temperatures and cool nights and mornings, my gardens seem to be putting out a last beautiful blast of blossoms. Here’s how things looked today.

Japanese Anemone
img_6096Foxgloveimg_0941Zinniasimg_0828Lamium
img_1011Fuchsia
img_1009 Calibrachoaimg_1008Roses
img_1007img_1006Impatiensimg_0953Sweet Autumn Clematis
img_1020Black- eyed Susansimg_1019Sedum, Autumn Joyimg_1016Salvia, Black Knightimg_1021Perovskiaimg_1014Lorapetalum
img_1027Sunflowersimg_1023I’m still harvesting tomatoes from my vegetable garden daily, but in another month I’ll be pulling them out. They’re the last of my summer vegetables that are still producing.img_1025 And then there’s this! Vibrant Virginia Creeper already adding so much gorgeous autumn color to a fence.img_1018And this beauty I found in the  lawn the other day. Yep, you can bet I’m savoring every bit of this late season beauty.img_0934What’s blooming in your garden during these last days of summer?

And now, off to take my husband’s hand and set off for an evening walk to admire that incredible harvest moon!img_1040

Autumn, Glorious Autumn

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“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

~Lauren De Stefano

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“The heart of autumn must have broken here, and poured its treasures out upon the leaves.”

~Charlotte Flake Bates

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“Winter is an watching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn, a mosaic of them all.”

~Stanley HorowitzIMG_6338

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”

~Emily Bronte

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“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket then all the other seasons.”

~Jim Bishop

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Harvest Loaf

About twenty years ago, my sister introduced me to this delicious autumn-y bread and it quickly became a family favorite. The semi sweet chips add a touch of chocolate goodness to the pumpkin and spice bread. Choose to add a glaze or not before serving. I’m so happy to share it with you.IMG_6274

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Use cooking spray to grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Combine flour, baking soda, and spices in a bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.

Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the pumpkin. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Add the mixture to the loaf pan and smooth top.

Bake 65 – 75 minutes, depending on your oven.

Let cool on baking rack.

Optional: When cool, drizzle with glaze.

Glaze:

Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 – 2 Tablespoons cream.

Makes one loaf, but I suggest doubling the recipe and making two. Freeze one to have on hand for a cozy treat when friends and family drop by during the holiday season!