Still haven’t seen a tarantula yet, but if the mating season for deer has anything to do with announcing seasonal changes, it’s obvious that Fall has arrived. North County is alive and well with nature doing its thing!

We were unable to get to the “Reverse Parade” sponsored by the Colony Days committee, but from all reports, it went over well. Lots of people “drove” by to look at the displays set up by nonprofit organizations and business people here in Atascadero. The Atascadero Quota Club had a nice display to remind viewers of the Quota Colony Tea they have presented for years as a kickoff to a week-long Colony Days celebration of Atascadero’s founding. They will be back next year!

It is hard for all of us to have to cancel or redesign events that have been a part of our communities for so many years. However, I am hopeful that we will soon be able to get back to some of our normal routines, even with a mask!

Speaking of changes, our committee for Coats for Kids has struggled with how we could produce that event safely for everyone involved, from volunteers to those who benefit from the distribution. We usually serve over 750 families between the Paso Robles and the Atascadero distributions of warm coats, jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts for each member in the family so that can equate to working with some 3,000 items.

Due to the logistics involved in the setups of the distributions, our committee determined that this year, and only this year, we would cancel the traditional way we have worked for 33 years. Our dedicated cleaners, Fashion Cleaners in Atascadero, Plazza Cleaners in Atascadero and Paso Robles, and Paso Robles Cleaners and Laundry in Paso Robles, will continue to accept dropped off Coats for Kids items and clean them free of charge. Committee members will pick them up and we will distribute them differently once we determine what that will be. We will work with ECHO, Paso Robles and Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, and many churches to reach our families in need. I will keep you posted through my column and our website and social media. We will not be using the “drop-off” collection boxes around the community, as we have in the past.

Please know that this was a difficult decision for all of us. After 33 years, you can understand that, but safety is a major factor for everyone. I know Atascadero Loaves and Fishes has had to adjust their plans for the Christmas Project, as well as the Kiwanis with Toys for Tots and Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles. Those groups all plan to move forward in a different way also.

Please keep Coats for Kids in mind when you go through your closets. Make sure the warm items you are donating are worth passing along to someone in need.

Thank you to all of you who have been on our wonderful “volunteer team” for so many years. Be assured that we will be back in the swing of things next year.

Here’s another recipe for your Fall menu. It uses a spice cake mix, instant butterscotch pudding mix and canned pumpkin. Easy!

Pumpkin Bundt Cake
1 pkg. spice cake mix (18 ¼ -oz.)
1 pkg. instant butterscotch pudding mix (3 ½ oz.)
4 eggs
¼ c. water
¼ c. oil
1 ½ c. canned pumpkin
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
Powdered sugar for garnish

In a large mixing bowl blend all ingredients together. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, then 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until tested done. Let cool for 30 minutes, then turn out on a serving plate. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 8 to 10.

Note: For added “spice” sprinkle your serving plate lightly with nutmeg.

Enjoy the season. Watch for acorns hitting your car like a bullet! Look for Tarantulas!