All good things come to an end. After all that glorious color, those crisp days and crispier nights, it was time to wrap up our summer -- and early fall -- at the lake.
For me, that meant a final trip to the farmer's market.
It's much smaller by the time you get to October but there are plenty of apples to be had. . .
. . . and pumpkins, too.
I even scored a half-bushed of Roma tomatoes from one of my favorite vendors who is retiring after this season. Sauce will be made -- and soon!
Rick had a friend come north to join him for some cycling. A cold day (45 degrees) with 25 mile/hour winds brought them home hungry!
Any doubts about the wind were resolved with a look at the whitecaps on the lake!
But after dinner, they still had the energy for a good Scrabble game. . .
. . . and were game to go riding again!
For me, it was one last walk down my favorite road.
Leaves were falling, stuck to the damp pavement but still bright and beautiful.
We had one last evening, just us two. A wonderful dinner of stuffed acorn squash (recipe below).
And a warm, cozy spot for a cat to rest her head!
The next morning it was time to finish packing, clean up and turn off the water. That meant a lot of sit-around-and-wait-time while it drained.
Rick's friend, Bill, graciously loaded up his car with a lot of what we had to come home. It was a good thing, because our car was loaded to the very tip-top.
Somewhere in there you could find a cat!
I dropped Rick off about 50 miles away so he could ride home.
And I ended the trip with a stop at the cider mill.
Biggest sigh. The end of the season.
Goodbye, Lake. See you next year.
Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash
The hardest part of this recipe is cutting the squash in half! Remove the seeds, cut off a bit on the bottom so it sits up and rub a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper over the surface. Bake at 400, right-side up on a cookie sheet for about a half hour and turn over for another 15-30 minutes or so till the squash is soft.
Meanwhile, do the stuffing. You can do this two ways. Up north, I took the easy way out, using a seasoned rice mix and making it to the package directions. (Wild or brown rice is especially delicious but the seasonings make a dif, so find your favorites.) OR use the rice you already have and add your own seasonings. When I do this at home I add whatever herbs I find (thyme, basil, oregano, whatever!), some good salt and pepper, and some cinnamon, which gives it a bit of a Moroccan flavor. You know what you like!
While the rice is cooking, brown 3/4-1 pound of Italian sausage, spicy or sweet. Then combine the rice with the sausage.
When the squash is soft, pull from the oven and fill the cavity with the sausage/rice mixture. Cover the top with grated cheese, your favorite. (I like sharp white cheddar) and bake another 10-15 minutes. Serve with a salad (and Ina's apple crisp makes a great dessert!) Don't be surprised if your guests ask for more of the sausage stuffing -- and you'll have plenty to accommodate their requests. (Rick even liked it leftover the next day for lunch!)