The headlines are blaring at us:
Even Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with how cold this summer has been.
What does it mean? Who knows?
Some say it proves global warming theories.
Others say the globe is moving into another ice age.
The only thing I really know is that the leaves on the trees are turning red much earlier than “usual” again this year.
I first noted this phenomenon here on More Thyme on August 29, 2012 in a post titled, Fall Already?
At that time I noted:
……..the ONLY time I have seen red leaves in August was in the fall of 1977. This was the fall that preceded the Great Blizzard of 1978.
Then last year in 2013 I noted the same thing although I did not do a post on early red leaves specifically, although I did see some. The leaves last fall dried up quickly and it was a poor fall color show as evidenced here: Fall and Halloween Delights.
Now comes 2014 and again the leaves on the trees are turning red very early – VERY EARLY. Even earlier than in 2012 and 2013.
This year I first saw leaves turning red on July 31st in Pataskala, Ohio on my candy rounds. The following week on August 7th the same tree I had seen the week before was almost half red. And there were more areas of the county that had red leaves.
The following week, on August 14th I had my camera with me and as you can see, almost the entire tree was red as were many trees in the same area.
A tree in Gahanna, Ohio August 14th.
Two miles down the road from this tree and almost into the city of Gahanna I saw movement in the woods on my right. It was a deer – a young buck. I slowed and stopped and it crossed the road right in front of me and went into the woods on the other side of the road. It was magnificent!
Trees in Upper Arlington, Ohio on August 17th .
Trees in Columbus near where I live on August 17th.
What does it all portend, if anything at all?
One explanation I have read several times the last few weeks is that the cooler than usual summer this year has caused the leaves to turn red early.
I disagree with that explanation. Scientifically leaves do not turn red from cold. They turn read because as we near the fall equinox the number of hours of day light is less than in spring and summer – the days get shorter and shorter. Thus there is not enough light for photosynthesis to take place. When photosynthesis shuts down the leaves turn red and other colors.
Is Early Leaf Color a Predictor of Winter Weather?
As I said in the 2012 post, “Fall Already” the only time I had seen early red leaves the following winter the Blizzard of 1978 occurred.
Although 2012 was not a super bad winter for Ohioans the east Coast/New York got slammed with a terrific blizzard.
Then last year in 2013 the entire North American Continent had one of the worst, coldest, and snowiest winters in recent memory.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Predictions
The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a, “super cold” winter in two thirds of the United States for this coming winter.
You can read this prediction here: Winter 2015.
You can get a Long Range Forecast for your area of the USA or Canada by clicking this link: Regional Predictions,
The prediction for where I live in Ohio is predicted to be, “colder than normal….with lots of snow.” *SIGH*
What is the prediction for where you live?
Featured Recipe Sausage Stuffed Shells
I don’t remember any more where the original for this recipe came from.
All I know is I hate cottage cheese with a passion. I hate the way it looks, the way it smells, and tastes!
So I dropped that ingredient like a hot tamale. After trying more mozzarella and a few other cheeses I hit on and now make this recipe with cream cheese. That was the first and biggest change I made in this recipe. I added Italian Seasonings and brown sugar too.
And now that there are all these whipped crème cheeses this recipe has become better and better as I use whipped crème these days. Makes the dish much easier to make too.
The original recipe also used ground beef which you can still use. You can also use Italian sausage, or spicy hot sausage.
This is one of those recipes that is quick and easy to make but looks so fancy that people will think you cooked all afternoon. It makes a great ‘Company’s Coming ‘ recipe. And the cost is relatively low. It really looks impressive on a plate.
Here is what you will need for 3 people:
12 – 15 jumbo pasta shells
1 pound sausage
2 – 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
½ cup tomato paste
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
For the Filling
5 ounces cream cheese softened *
1½ cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese – optional
* I use whipped cream cheese because it is softer and mixes easier.
This is what you do:
Pre heat the oven to 350 F
Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain.
NOTE: Cook the pasta till al dente. That is, do not over cook the shells as they will be come limp and will be very difficult to fill.
Drain and let dry on a plate or a baking pan.
I also cook a few extra shells because inevitably one or more will break in the boiling and you will not be able to fill them.
Chop the parsley.
In a large skillet cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; breaking it up as you cook it. Drain grease from the pan if any.
Set aside half of the sausage for the shell filling.
To the remaining sausage add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, brown sugar, and Italian seasoning to the sausage.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
To make the shell filling:
In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, egg, about 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and the reserved sausage.
NOTE: I save some of the parsley to sprinkle on the finished dish.
Use a teaspoon to stuff the filling into the shells.
Now spread ½ cup of the meat sauce into an ungreased 2 quart baking dish.
Arrange the stuffed shells on top of the meat sauce.
Spoon the remaining sauce on top of the shells.
Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until heated through.
Sprinkle the reserved parsley on top.
Serve with a salad and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese if so desired.
12 jumbo pasta shells $2.00
1 pound sausage $1.10
1 – 16 ounce can tomato sauce $1.00
½ cup tomato paste $0.67
¼ cup water ——
2 teaspoons brown sugar $0.12
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning $0.32
For the Filling
5 ounces cream cheese $1.56
1½ cup shredded mozzarella $3.39
1 egg lightly beaten $0.12
1 teaspoon fresh parsley $0.11
Grated Parmesan cheese $0.15
Total cost = $10.54
Cost per person (3) = $3.51
Quote of the Day
October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came – The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.