Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poetry, Music and Muffins of Autumn


With what a glory comes and goes the year!
The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.

There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves. The purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings,
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.

O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
He shall so hear the solemn hymn that Death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear.

~William Henry Wordsworth~

The photo is from one of my most favorite autumn CDs "Flowers in October" by Tim Janis. It's the Gold Edition with an additional Inspirational DVD with music put to beautiful videos of nature. The wonderful compositions of instrumental music make me listen closely without even trying and I simply drift away in the beauty of his music. On this CD, his pieces are composed with instruments of piano, violin, oboe, flute, penny whistle, acoustic guitar, fiddle, fretless bass, cello, and assorted percussion, along with the occasional synthesizer and recorded sounds. Music that makes it seem as if the sun dances on sunny days and uplifting music for the cloudy days of autumn. Titles are:

1. Isles of Shoals (one of my favorites! Listen here.)
2. Cathedral of the Pines
3. Cry of the Blue Whale
4. A Midnight Full of Stars
5. The White Mountain
6. Ocean Ledges
7. Harvest Moon
8. Penobscot Trail
9. September
10. Mountain Road
11. Echo Lake
12. Dandelion Star
13. Flowers in October
14. In Autumn Gold

We've been busy making muffins from apples, pears, and pumpkin. These are great with a cup of coffee, tea, or some Apple Cider. One of my favorite recipes:

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease muffin cups. Peel, core and chop 2 cups of apples.

Make topping mixture and set aside:

½ cup butter, softened
½ tsp cinnamon, or to taste
1/3 cup granulated sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together:

1¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable oil
2 egg, lightly beaten

In another large bowl sift together:

2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1½ cups granulated sugar

Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and gently stir just until moistened, approximately 10 folds while counting slowly to ten, everything will not be completely blended and some flour will still be visible.

Next, carefully add the chopped apples and fold the apples in with about three stirs. Use an ice cream scoop and fill the greased muffin cups about half to ¾ full.

Finally, top with sugar topping mixture and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


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