Flying High


Right on time this morning, as it has for billions of years, the Autumnal Equinox occurred at 5:04 a.m. EDT heralding in the fall season.  

I love fall.

However, my love for fall is tempered by the knowledge that all too soon the gray cold blustery, and snowy winter will be upon me. But I won’t think about winter until the day it gets here and not a second before.


For now, I relish cooler days, Indian Summer, October’s deep blue skies, the leaves changing color, crisp apples, hot and steamy mugs of cider, pumpkins, haystacks, hayrides, popcorn balls, candy corn, and the last blooms of the chrysanthemums.

Another sure sign of fall is geese flying in their famous V-formations to their winter homes.

Why do they fly in a V-formation? And why do they have to honk so loud when they do?

Scientists have actually studied this and have some answers. And within these answers are some lessons for us too.

This fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in that familiar “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.

FACT:   As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation the whole flock has at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

LESSON:   People who share a common direction and common sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

FACT:   When a goose flies out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone. It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it.

LESSON:   If we have as much common sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others. It is harder to do something alone than together.

FACT:   When the lead goose gets tired it rotates back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.

LESSON:   It is sensible to take turns doing the hard and demanding tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent of each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangement of gifts, talents, or other resources.


FACT:  The geese flying in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

LESSON:   We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (that is to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core values of others) is encouraging honking.

FACT:   When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down two other geese will drop out of formation with the injured goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their flock.

LESSON:   If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by our colleagues and each other in difficult times as well as in good.


Featured Recipe       
Maple Syrup Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Sweet potatoes and yams are often considered fall vegetables. Therefore, there is nothing more fitting on this first day of fall than to share a sweet potato recipe with you.

If you want to know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato click the following link: Cook’s Thesaurus.

The two terms are often used interchangeably in recipes and in grocery stores. To make things even more confusing,  Americans call one variety of the sweet potato a yam. You can see a picture of it in the Cook’s Thesaurus link above. It is the 6th picture on the page.

However, the whole issue is a moot point because you can use either sweet potatos or yams in this recipe. It makes no difference. Use the potato and variety you like and want or can afford.

This is a great Thanksgiving side dish. However, it is so good I can’t wait that long every fall to have some.

And as usual, this is a very inexpensive side dish, coming in at under $1.00 per person.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

3 sweet potatoes*

Vegetable oil spray

1 generous tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Pecans for garnish

NOTE: *Rule of thumb: about 1 potato for each person you are cooking for.

Here is what you do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a large baking sheet lightly and evenly with some spray vegetable oil.

Peel the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes into 2-3 inch chunks. I do this by first cutting the potato into thirds lengthwise……………

……………….…and then cutting each of those pieces into thirds too.  I try to get all pieces around the same size so they roast evenly.

Place the pieces of potato into a bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix with your fingers to coat all of the potato pieces.

Scatter the potatoes over the baking sheet.

Place in the 375 degree oven and roast for 30-40 minutes…………..

…… turning the potatoes at least once during that time.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and place in a bowl.

Melt the butter…………..

……and then add the maple syrup and warm it up a bit.

Pour the mixture over the potatoes and gently toss to coat the potatoes.

Dump them back on the baking sheet and spread out again. Place back into the oven for 5-10 minutes until the syrup becomes bubbly and slightly thick.

Place in a serving bowl and add some pecans.

Eat and enjoy!!! Yummilicious!!!!

Bon appétit!!!


3 sweet potatoes                  $2.00

Vegetable oil spray               $0.02

1 tablespoon olive oil            $0.12

1 tablespoon butter              $0.15

1 tblspn maple syrup             $0.51

Pecans for garnish                $0.14

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $2.94
Cost per person = $0.98

Quote of the Day

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.

Bill Cosby


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3 comments to Flying High

  • Oh yummy. I love sweet potatoes!!! These sound great and perfect for pre thanksgiving meals. As you know sweet potatos are one of my favorite foods!!! I also love geese and fall!!! Rock on Roberta!!!

  • I had these little maple gems for dinner tonight. I am kicking myself for eating them all and not saving some for picture!!! (Well not kicking to hard since the were so delicious I couldn’t stop eating). Great amazing recipe Roberta!

    • Roberta

      Glad you liked the potatoes, Kate. Thanks for sharing that here. I eat these for dinner myself some times. Very filling.