Not much evidence of autumn in our neck of the woods yet, except kids are back in school and our oak tree’s leaves are turning a drab brown. Eventually, thousands will drift to the ground almost nonstop. One year, I raked up 23 barrels of leaves over the course of a few weeks to drag to the curb. Ach, my poor back! After that, I decided to hire a man with a blower.

Lancaster County trees changing into glorious hues.

Many wonderful events in my life have taken place in fall. For instance, my two sons were born in autumn. My husband and I were married in late October, around the beginning of the marriage season for Amish couples. After the harvest. In Lancaster County, PA, marriages usually take place on a Tuesday or Thursday—when the corn has been harvested and the celery grown (a tradition in Lancaster County only). The day before includes much food preparation and cleaning in the bride’s parents’ home, shop, or barn. Many in the community chip in to help. Often 300+ guests are included. Widowers may marry any time of year.

Autumn is when I miss the East Coast and the Amish of Lancaster County the most. I could watch draft horses or mules harvesting the corn in Lancaster County for hours—deep into the night if a storm such as Hurricane Sandy or an early snowfall is on its way. Both times this happened, my husband cut our trip short and were fortunate to change our tickets and catch one of the last flights out of the Philly Airport.

In Lancaster County, Amish women are helping the men harvest.

When I think about autumn, I consider my clothes. Suddenly, wearing brown and gold seems more appropriate than pastels. I can’t wait to switch out my summer clothes, but it’s not really cold enough to put everything away. In fact, I wore shorts a couple days ago while walking. This time of year, it seems I have mountains of clothing everywhere until the weather makes up its mind. Slowly, I sort through them and put them in storage. Even my hats. Well, of course my hats. Amish women are not burdened with such choices, other than wearing warmer coats and bonnets atop their kaaps. Would you resent having to wear the same style clothing every day or find it a relief?

Solid color fabric bolts for Amish women abound at Zook’s Fabrics. Plus a wall of black material.

Would you resent having to wear the same style all year round or find it a relief? However, much to Herb Scrivener, owner of Zook’s Fabrics’s, surprise, younger women are wearing reds more often, especially around Christmas. He’s planning to increase his inventory of red fabric this year. (nothing extremely bright)

Another area of change in autumn is cooking and food. Heat radiating from a warm oven is divine as the temperatures dip. Why, I might even do a little baking. What items do you like to cook that you avoid during the warm summer months? Pumpkin pie comes to mind as well as meatloaf and stew. Do you have certain dishes you crave again?

I love writing stories that take place during autumn in Amish county, as I did in A Letter from Lancaster County. My chance to explore the aromas and sights of autumn while contemplating family dynamics and secrets. And what better location than Amish country?

Enter to win this Amish-made apron, a set of blank note cards, and a copy of one of my books.

Please leave a short comment on my BLOG to enter to win this lovely Amish-made apron sewn in Lancaster County, PA, and a set of blank note cards with photos of covered bridges, like the bridge I included in A Letter from Lancaster County. Plus the winner’s choice of a signed copy of A Letter from Lancaster County or 1 book from the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy: CBA bestseller Leaving Lancaster, it’s sequel, CBA bestseller Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish.

Winner will be chosen at random and has three days to respond to my email in 1 week.