Ben considers himself one of the "lucky ones" for his September 17th birthday, unlike Mark who was born on January 2nd, the day after New Year's when folks are generally feeling "partied out".
Indeed, September is a month of enthusiasm - high spirits carry over from the summer months and a sense of optimism for young folks heading back to school. September feels fresh and crisp, without the bite of October or the grey of November. It might be a greedy calculation, but the positive air of September has benefited
Ben in the gift department over the years.
This becomes truer as Ben matures and the gifts of the season are more often found outdoors than enclosed in wrapping paper. This birthday, the hero gift will be Ben's pumpkin crop - the first year that he bakes a pie from his own pumpkins. He'll make it a birthday pie.
A gift Ben has already received was an incredible bounty of peppers which lent themselves to another kitchen experiment: homemade paprika and chili power.
Sliced and dried in the oven, with the door open on its lowest setting, they ground down easily in a mortar and pestle and separated through a sifter into powder and flakes.
If you are looking at an overabundance of peppers from your own garden, this is a fun thing to try. Studies have shown that dried herbs are one of the most commonly "compromised" items in the grocery store.
Yes, the garden might be giving the best gifts this birthday.
Ben and Mark