It’s the Autumnal Equinox this week! What does that mean? Our many hours of daylight are slowly leaving us and are being replaced by longer, cooler nights. For the next three months, until the Winter Solstice, our environment (as well as our own personal energy stores) may begin to slow down. We begin to celebrate the little moments that Fall brings us: warm socks, the warm scent of smoke from a fireplace, and warm spices swirling about. Basically, so many things about the fall are warm! This usually helps ease us into the quiet, steady comfort of winter. It’s typically around this time of year that I bust out the Halloween decorations and begin adding cinnamon to everything. It’s also around this time of year that we all begin closing up the house in preparation for the chill of winter. It’s because of this that I’ve decided to round up just a few of my favorite natural fall tips, tricks, and ideas for a healthy and natural home!
1. Fresh Natural Scents: Growing up, the changing months were marked not by the flip of a calendar page in our home, but instead by a new Yankee Candle from my mom’s collection sitting on our stove. Every September was Country Apple-scented. The sweet, and gently tangy scent of a fresh apple was one of my favorite smells to come home to. As welcoming as this scent was, it wasn’t until I was older that I realized that most of the ingredients used to make this fragrance are endocrine disruptors, which are linked to many disorders, including asthma, infertility, and Parkinson’s. The good news is, you can still fill your home with the warming scents of fall without also filling it with harmful chemicals. You can try organic essential oils in a diffuser. Or even just a simmer pot, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a small pot you put on the stove with water and a few wonderfully scented fresh ingredients, like herbs, oils, and peels, and set it to simmer for a while.
Fall Scent Simmer Pot Ideas:
(add ingredients to 4 cups of water)
● 1 lemon peel, 1 orange peel, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons cloves
● 3 apple slices, 3 orange slices, 3 cinnamon sticks
● 1 sliced apple apple, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 cinnamon sticks
2. Fresh Air: Keep the windows open as often as you can. Fresh air is invigorating and contains negative ions, which are extremely beneficial to the body. They neutralize free radicals, inhance immune function, and help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to help promote deep, restful sleep and healthy cortisol levels. If you find that the air outside your home isn’t exactly of good quality, make sure you get out for many walks or maybe experience forest bathing.
3. Start a Compost Pile: As the leaves begin to fall faster and the trees become bare, there’s no better time to start a compost pile. You have everything you need in your own backyard: leaves, grass clippings, weeds, and excess food scraps. Make sure to turn the pile over every month or so to keep the healthy breakdown of organic material going.
4. Make Veggie Stock: Collect all your excess scraps from your Woodside Farms veggies. Put them in a big pot with filtered water and some salt and set it to simmer for a few hours. When the stock is done it should be a deep brown and taste like stewed veggies! Pour into a jar and keep in the refrigerator for on-hand access. I rarely have enough scraps all at once so I have a gallon ziploc bag I keep in my freezer. I throw all my onion, garlic, herb, etc. scraps in there and when it’s full I just toss them in a big pot with water, simmer, and start all over with a new batch of kitchen scraps. I use this stock in everything from soups, cooking quinoa, stir-fries, etc. It’s excellent to have on-hand and super easy to make. It also guarantees you get a good dose of vitamins and minerals that you may have missed if you just tossed those scraps away. AND it finds an alternative purpose to scraps you may have otherwise thrown into a landfill. It’s a win-win-win! However, it’s incredibly important to only use organic or certified naturally grown produce for this. Otherwise, you may be accidentally infusing your stock with unwanted pesticides and other chemicals.
5. Switch to all-natural, eco-friendly cleaners: As we spend more time indoors during the fall and winter, it becomes even more important to make sure you minimize your home’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Did you know that household cleaners top the list of common toxins and can often make you sicker in the long-run? There are so many cleaners that can be made from everyday household items. Here’s a link to just a few of them! https://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/natural-cleaning/guide-to-homemade-cleaners-zl0z1401zhou
Though it’s not quite as hurried as summer, fall is still a pretty busy time. There are many chores to be done to prepare for the coming winter. But it’s also a time to rest and be grateful for the season before and the season to come. We’ll be switching over to our Fall CSA next week so make sure to swing by our farm stands Wednesdays 4-7 and Saturdays 8 - noon to fill your bag with the fall’s bounty!