Fall Traditions

Although the official date for the beginning of autumn is September 22nd, Americans traditionally mark the fall season from Labor Day through Thanksgiving Day in November.

I was born and raised in Texas, so my experience is based on the wild and wooly weather of the Texas Panhandle.  We can have triple digit days and snow the next.  Trust me, it’s the truth because it happened this year in late spring.  Weird but true.  We broke two weather records just last week with triple digits that went back to the 1930’s.

Now for the first thing we must do to get ready for next Monday. We’ve got to wear our patent shoes all we can because effective Labor Day they, along with our matching purses, have to go up on the shelves until Easter when they can come down for Spring.

I’m showing my age here, but although this year is different than a regular school year beginning, when I was growing up we always began in mid-September.  The reason was simple.  We had no air conditioning and had to wait until Fall set in to begin.  Now with A/C, school begins here in mid-August, under typical circumstances.

I grew up with a true Southern Grannie and I love sweet potatoes.  Any way, any how … but a Sweet Potato Pie is my favorite with real whipping cream on top.

My second favorite “turning to autumn” food is my first pot of homemade chili.  It’s always so good and easy to fix.

Centuries ago, farmers, ranchers, and other folks noticed animal behavior and habits that predicted the weather. Some of these are from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Here’s a few ol’ wives tales involving animals that I found interesting.

Expect rain when dogs eat grass, cats purr and wash themselves.  I found this interesting because my cat purrs when she’s in my lap or happy.  She washes herself continually, regardless of the season, and our dogs eat grass.  We’ve been in a drouth, so I’m thinking these aren’t indicative of rain.  Just my opinion.

Can Cows Forecast Weather?  Many weather adages involve cows because they were common animals on farms, as they are today on ranches.

  • If a cow stands with its tail to the west, the weather is said to be fair.
  • If a cow grazes with its tail to the east, the weather is likely to turn sour.
  • If the bull leads the cows to pasture, expect rain; if the cows precede the bull, the weather will be uncertain

There is some truth here. Animals graze with their tail toward the wind so that if a predator sneaks up behind them, the wind will help catch the scent of the predator and prevent an attack.  So, see there is still today some proof that animal habits tell a story. 

I selected this picture of a herd of cattle because they seem to be confused as to what is expected of them.

I’ve spent time on a couple of ranches and even worked cattle, but truthfully, I’m no cowgirl and sure don’t know anything about how cattle stand because I’ve seen them in every position … and I do mean every position. There is one thing I learned, and it truly stuck with me, when you’re working the gate while cattle are being inoculated, do not wear a white t-shirt. You’ll never get the bull…you know what… out of the it and you have to wash your hair a dozen times.

I’m truly interested in knowing what you readers who own cattle ranches have to say about the ol’ wives’ tales.

When do you consider autumn beginning? What is your favorite fall tradition?  Also, don’t forget to wear those patent shoes because you don’t have many days left.

To one lucky winner I will give you your choice of any eBook of mine

or any short story collection I’m in from Amazon.

Just a note, I found patent shoes spelled patten, patton,

and a couple of other ways, so I had to punt!

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com

18 thoughts on “Fall Traditions”

  1. Great post, Phyllis! I’m with you on wanting the heat to break in Texas – I was happy that this week it fell below 100 – and wouldn’t you know it, the humidity went up thanks to the hurricane, and it feels hotter than EVER!

    • Hi Laura, so good to hear from you. I owe everyone an apology because I didn’t hit the “publish” button, although I scheduled my blog for 1:00 a.m. Dern it. I missed the early-thirty readers. The weather turned cold yesterday, but is suppose to be in the mid-90’s today but the likelihood of rain is over 50% this afternoon/evening. I think we might well be set in for our fall season. People that aren’t familiar with Texas don’t realize we can have snow up here and 100 plus weather in south Texas. Hope you all cool down and have a wonderful day. Hugs, P

  2. Good morning Phyliss! Fall has begun already in central Minnesota. Cool nights in the 50’s and sunny days in the 70’s. Perfect weather. When we travel, we are always amazed by cattle lined up in a row with their tails to the wind. It simply amuses me. I’ve purchased mums for outside and actually have my first pot of chili on the stove. Yesterday I made a raspberry cream cheese pie as raspberries are yielding their fall berries. Fall is very festive for me. Thank you for your delightful post. Loved it.

    • Hi Kathy, so good to hear from you. Gosh, it sounds beautiful in Minnesota. We’re heading for cool nights and sunny days. It’s fun to watch the habits of animals along the way. I guess we’re so used to it that I don’t pay much attention to them any more. Yummy on the chili and especially the raspberry cream cheese pie. Sounds delish! I love fall, too. Thank you for reading and for your compliment. I truly enjoyed writing this blog. Have a wonderful rest of the week. Hugs, P

  3. I have always been a rebel and don’t follow those fashion rules. Living in Texas, it’s still hot so I stick with my summer colors as long as I can. My favorite fall tradition has always been shopping for some winter clothes with the first cool down of the year. This year, I don’t know if we will even be going anyplace, so I will skip the tradition. I don’t need much just for sitting at home.

    • Hi Janinecatmom, I love cats and enjoy mine a great deal. Truly, I don’t 100% stay with the shoe tradition, but grew up with it, plus by this time of the year it’s typically simply too cool for patent leather. I think that’s the key more than the tradition. I’ve lost weight, so have closets with several sizes of clothes, so no shopping for me. Plus I agree, why new clothes to get out to go see a doctor or go to the grocery store. Now our masks are considered our accessories. I can’t wear hooped earrings and don’t wear cute necklaces even then. They get all wrapped up in my mask. And, I’m a jewelry nut! Hope you have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss PS: PJ’s and a duster seems to be my daily fare!

      • I agree about the masks. I have made and bought so many of them. If we have to wear them, we might as well make them fun. I have been living in big loose dresses lately. I want comfort.

  4. It’s cancelled this year thanks to Covid, but my favorite fall tradition is my hometown fair. While most county fairs happen in the summer, my town has there’s the last week of September. I remember wearing a winter coat to the fair a few times as a kid. So many kids miss school for 4-H animal judging that the Friday of that week is no school for Fair Day. It was the best day off of the year! I lived in town so by high school I could have a friend spend the night before at my house. We could walk to the courthouse square (closed off for the fair) and spend all day Friday eating lots of junk food, riding the rides, wasting money on games, and looking for the cute boys from school.

    • Hi Carrie, thanks for stopping by. I love, love our Tri-State Fair, which like yours has been cancelled. We also have a rodeo which is also cancelled. We used to have the first day of the fair with no school because all of the middle and high bands were in the parade that kicked it off and it was morning, so everyone could hit the fairgrounds by noon. There is 4H animals plus baking competition. I truly loved the fair and we almost always had rain at least one night. I love the junk food, too! Gosh, what wonderful memories you shared with us. Thanks so much and they brought back many, many memories to me; not just when I was growing up but when we were raising our two daughters. As the old adage goes, thanks for the memories. Hope you have a wonderful week. Hugs, P

  5. I love Fall… even though it is still in the hundreds here, Halloween decorations and candy are already in the stores. My sister got her first pumpkin spice latte… We wait till October to have our decorations out… ooh apples and pumpkins… 🙂

    • Hi Colleen, good to hear from you. I agree with you, fall is my favorite. I love the candy and when I went to the drug store this week they have half a dozen shelves stocked with candy. It was all I could do not to put one of each in my basket. I decorate for Halloween more than any other holiday now. When we had lots of family here, that wasn’t the case. My granddaughter, who was born on Halloween, and her hubby live here now, so I believe we’ll have a big deal for her birthday, if she doesn’t have to work at the hospital. Between work and going to nursing school, she doesn’t have much time, so we’ll likely punt. Thanks for sharing your special holiday with us. Big hugs, P

  6. Fall is my favorite time of the year. I just go by the calendar usually. It’s still hot in SC too – mid-90s. Most everything is cancelled here as well. We have found one orchard that is open with a duck pond and some barnyard animals as well as a bakery and, of course, apples. My daughter and I are planning to go when it gets a little cooler.

  7. Hi .Linda, so good to hear from you. I love Fall, too. I think we’re about to cool down come next week, but it’s still hot here, although the last six weeks has truly been funky. Man, do I ever love fresh apples. I got the neatest package from my grandchildren out in the Wine County of California. A box of fresh lemons plucked from their yard. I love to go out there because it’s 65 degrees all year round and in season, which is most of the year, we have fresh lemonade all of the time. Enjoy your trip t the orchard with your daughter. Take care of yourself, and thanks for leaving a comment. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. Great post. I grew up on a farm with cattle and we had cattle all around us. There is a lot to be said for what you wrote above. I do love the season fall. The temps are getting a little cooler, some rain is coming in, and a lot of veggies to can and freeze.

    • Hi Lori, thanks for commenting. Glad I didn’t get too off the track about cattle. I’m sure you know exactly what I meant about working the gate when cattle are getting inoculated. I worked the front gate, in those days, and had to pull it open for them to exit. Needless to say, they weren’t very happy with getting a needle in their hip (I think, it’s been too long) and sure wanted to get out of that holding pen as soon as possible and didn’t care what their hooves throw around! I haven’t done any canning in years, but I did when we had the girls at home. Now with just me and my DH, I can’t even cook in smaller amounts. Lucky for me that he doesn’t mind left overs. He was one of five boys, plus his daddy and granddaddy and of course his mama, so there weren’t many left overs in their house. Enjoy the Fall and have a great week. Hugs, Phyliss

  9. I love fall because of the cooler weather that is to come. I love to plant the fall plants , I always look forward to planting pansy’s and other fall plants. I love it that the pansies no matter how cold it gets or if it snows on them they are still looking so happy and perky. Yep, Texas weather is a little crazy, I love Texas though. I was born in Texas and raised in NM , and been living in Texas for over 40 yrs now. (not entering the giveaway but Thank you)

  10. Hi Alicia, so good to hear from you. I love fall plants, too. I didn’t realize you were born in Texas but knew you lived here, I really love plants for every season and pansies are some of my favorite. I love crocuses when they first appear. Even in the cold, cold snow. They are so cute. Take care of yourself and enjoy every moment of our cooler weather. We’re having T-storms now and probably lots of rain, which we need desperately. But, the bad thing between today being the first day of school and lots of virtual students and the storm, you’re likely to be my last comment for the day because out Internet gets fussy with too much traffic or weather. Hope not. Thanks again and hugs, P

  11. I have always felt Autumn starts when the leaves are partially turned to Fall color. They ca start turning early due to water and weather conditions, so I wait until they are well on their way to good color and the weather is reasonably cool.
    I love walking in the woods in the fall. There is a special smell to the leaves. The air is cool and crisp. The fallen leaves crunch underfoot. You can sometimes smell smoke from someone burning leaves. Lately the smell of smoke isn’t really a good sign.
    I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

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