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I love fall. Finally, a respite from summer’s heat. And who doesn’t love cheery orange pumpkins?

With blue skies and crisp nights, fall is a welcome relief from summer’s searing. Traditionally, though, fall is a time for reflection, and a portal from summer’s light-filled days to winter’s gathering dark.

Many cultures recognize fall as a time for remembering the spirits of loved ones. Mexicans celebrate El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and the Celts celebrate Samhain—the time when ancient Celts believed the veil is thinnest between our reality and the spirit world.

editorsnote    Recently, a friend of mine passed away. We who were left behind have only our memories of how vibrant and alive and kind and loving a spirit he was. And now we have the void his departure has left. Where did he go?

The cycles of life are perhaps most apparent in fall, when things recede and the world begins to still. When the harvest is done and the snows settle in. It’s a time to wonder, to rejoice, to relish and to appreciate the seasons of life and the time we are given to walk the earth.

And what a special place this earth is. We need to appreciate it, too—and take care of it. Fortunately, many people are committed to that goal, and you’ll meet a special one in these pages.

Although she lives in Boulder more than a thousand miles from the sea, Vicki Nichols Goldstein cares deeply about the health of our oceans and their marine life. With floating garbage patches, toxic runoff and unsustainable overfishing, the high seas are a dumping ground for human consumption and greed.

Nichols Goldstein founded the Colorado Ocean Coalition here in Colorado to raise awareness about the critical state of the world’s oceans. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “Yeah, well, I’m in Colorado and the ocean’s a long ways from here,” think again. Your actions, my actions, everyone’s actions impact the oceans, which impact the planet, which impacts YOU. Learn what you can do to help the seas by reading “Fishing for Solutions”.

This issue is loaded with other goodies that can help you in your personal life, too, whether it’s making space in a small kitchen, protecting your family from fire, or extending the life of store-bought fresh herbs.

And of course, fall is harvest time, and we can help with that, too. We’ve written a step-by-step guide to canning before (see “Can It!” in the fall 2008 issue at homeandgardenmag.com), so we’re tackling fermenting foods in this issue.

You’ll learn why fermented foods are good for you, and how to ferment your fall harvest of beets, cabbage, carrots and more with recipes from a local restaurant, a food-fermentation company, and a fermentation fanatic. I’m going to give fermented sauerkraut a whirl myself.

As always, a big thank you! to the home­owners who share their gardens and houses with us. Deborah and Richard Foy’s spectacular garden is a pleasure for people and pollinators alike, while Susan Linville and Kent Casper’s garden is an edible cornucopia. Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson’s mountain retreat is a place of solace where the couple can recover from the tragic death of their daughter—and help prevent other deaths as well.

When you get a chance, please thank our advertisers, who are the sole reason we can bring you this magazine. If you need any services for your home or garden, check our Resource Guide for professionals who can help you with any task.

Enjoy this fall, and all the seasons you are lucky and privileged enough to experience.