by Frances Potts
Our Yakima Valley desert blesses us with four seasons, and we each have our favorite. Mine happens to be autumn.
If autumn were a fine vintage, it would be labeled golden, smooth but crisp around the edges with a smoky tang.
Burn bans have taken half the fun out of fall weather. Smoldering damp leaves that trailed whisps of smoke into the air were the very core of what made a perfect autumn. And pumpkins piled high, and unpasteurized sweet cider that gave a little kick to your day if you let it sit long enough to turn fizzy and bubbly.
A neighbor and I used to sip that hard cider and munch powdered sugar doughnuts at this time of the year. Now I don't think you could coax even one bubble out of the store-bought brew, no matter how long you let it set.
The last town I lived in had a fall cider-making party, sponsored by a church. They gathered on the kind of nippy, rain-splashed day you find at the beach in October. A bonfire chased the chill, and big grills turned out burgers and hot dogs. The apples were pressed right there and the raw cider poured straight into jugs they sent home with all who attended. This took place alongside a lake, and we were encouraged to use the pedal boats and canoes that had been provided. It was a blast.
Every community has its own thing. Here in the valley, it seems to be pumpkin carving contests, hay rides and cornfield mazes.
I plan to enjoy, as I do wherever I live, but I hope I can find a bonfire someplace before the burn ban descends.