I know it's now autumn when I see scenes like these on my walks with the dog. It's not cold yet, even though our central heat has come on several times over the past week, with the thermostat set at 18.5ºC — about 65ºF. That's our wintertime temperature inside the house.
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle... Well, not these, actually. They're chestnut leaves that will slowly disintegrate over the course of the winter.Along with almost all of the chestnuts themselves. Nobody seems to want them.
There are patches of mushrooms of various varieties all around the edges of the vineyard, thanks to recent, repeated rains. These have come up just outside our back gate. I wish I knew whether these are edible or not. Dans le doute, abstiens-toi, they say.
Here's where bunches of grapes hung until recently. Nearly all the grapes have been harvested now. That's the surest sign that autumn is here. These were red-wine grapes — Gamay Noir, I assume. They are harvested mechanically, not by hand, so the woody structures the grapes grow on are left behind.
Our "fall colors" are mostly grape leaves, though chestnut and maple leaves are colorful too. Different grape varietals produce autumn leaves of different colors, from bright red to golden yellow. It won't be long before all the grape leaves will be on the ground, and wintertime pruning will start.
And finally, fall food. This is a slice of Greek moussaka, made with potatoes, eggplant (aubergines), lamb cooked with tomatoes and spices including cinnamon, and a firm, cheesy béchamel sauce on top. The weather is cool enough now that we can enjoy cooking foods in the oven, though Walt actually cooked the slices of eggplant (from our 2019 vegetable garden) on the barbecue grill for this moussaka.