Autumn Happens

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”

I first noticed Autumn had started arriving a couple of weeks into August.  There was a tang in the air first thing when I fed the pigs, several people said that they could smell Autumn and the temperature dropped (I was a little under prepared for the cold when we were on holiday!). So much happens in Autumn for us that I wanted to create a little bloggy, mood board post giving you a taste of our Autumn so far.

I am…

Listening to this…

I started the tradition of listening to Enya’s The Celts to herald Autumn without really realising it.  Maybe it is all the mist in the video that does it.  Anyway I love this album and it is the start of my Autumn.

Smelling…

The air in each season smells differently to me, Autumn is sharper with more bonfires but not as biting as Winter.  It loses some of the warm dust and flower scents of the Summer and smells of the soft decay of leaves and apples.

Damson jammy treasure

Damson jammy treasure

Damson Jam, for the last two years I’ve made Damson Jam in September.  We have a fabulous Damson tree in the garden which produces a good crop.  Everyone in the family believe Damson Jam to be the King of Jams.  The smell whilst it cooks is like no other Jam I’ve ever made.  It’s like taking a bath in plums – but proper plums, not the pappy stuff in the supermarkets but a sweet, sour floral punch in the face. I use the Damson Jam recipe in Basic Basics by Marguarite Pattern – an excellent recipe which gets the balance of sugar just right.

Ignore Kirsty Allsop’s Sweet Damson Jam recipe – the point of Damson Jam is that it is tart, just this side of uncomfortably tart… otherwise you might as well eat strawberry jam, nice but missing the point.  I always work hard at jam making to preserve the flavour of the fruit, if you aren’t careful you can end up with jam that just tastes of sweet and not a lot else.

Frankincense essential oil – sounds more like Christmas I suppose but the warm resiny scent just makes me think of fallen leaves and apples and pumpkins.

Making…

Apple, cinnamon and raisin bread.

 

Yummy bread

Yummy bread

Last October I made a huge batch of apple puree from our apple harvest.  I didn’t know if R would take to baby led weaning and I wanted to have a back up supply of some puree from our homegrown produce.  Also to stop it going to waste (we had far too many apples to eat last year).  Anyway we hardly used any of it.  R was made for baby-led weaning, he loved it from the first bite of avocado and we never fed him purees in the end.  Which left a large store of apple puree in the freezer.  I want to get rid of it before the next lot of apples are ripe and so I added 1 cup to this loaf instead of water.  Delicious!

Reading…

I am not buying any books again this year (an ongoing challenge I have going on with a friend to encourage us to read what we have… which is a lot!) but my Mother Out-Law was getting rid of a huge pile of books and I couldn’t say no.  Especially welcome as there were several golden age detective fiction novels, a little habit of mine.  So I’ve been reading a lot of Patricia Wentworth novels (like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novels only more of them and more knitting!) and also the one new purchase I allowed myself which was Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

Ancillary Justice is a sci fi novel by Ann Leckie and this year’s winner of the Hugo award.  It is brilliant, it is interesting and challenging and does exactly what good sci fi does – uses science fiction to give us a new lens through which to look at our own society.  I’ll definitely be reading more Ann Leckie (when the reading embargo is done).

Web pages wise… I’m reading these

Pinterest board of DIY Christmas ideas

Ten things to Love About Autumn

Chasing Piggens advice on butchering their pigs (so many good tips!)

Thinking…

About Christmas!  Shocker, there I’ve said that C-word.  But I am thinking about it and not in a bad stressful way in a gentle-planning-with-the-luxury-of-time way.  I want to spread the cost of Christmas and the work of Christmas and that means starting now making gifts like Damson Gin (which takes 3 months min to make), planning for the right cuts of meat from our pigs in October to make a Christmas Ham. Buying yarn for knitted gifts.

This is the Damson Gin recipe I’m using by the way and so far it’s excellent.

Damson Gin

Damson Gin

Mending…

I’ve been doing a good amount of mending recently. Getting things in order before the cold weather arrives.

I’ve discovered that during the hour or so every day that R likes to explore the living room (aka: pulling all the DVDs off the shelves that some fool re-stacked the previous night,  seeing how many wooden shapes he can fit in his mouth, trying to squeeze behind the sofa etc.) I can get mending done.  I can’t do anything else like reading or checking my laptop or phone, even knitting – those things are too interesting to Mr Curious Baby, but I can mend.  So in the last month I’ve mended several socks, rips in clothes and sewn a toggle closure back on my Winter Coat that I popped off when I was pregnant (and I refused to buy a Winter Maternity Coat).

There is always more mending to do but I’ve found a nice space for it in my life for the moment.

…Since writing this I have, of course, found more mending to do.

Pig bit a hole in Josh’s new jeans – tiny but I need to put some stitches in it to stop it getting worse.

My beloved jeans have a developing hole

Got a great warm hand-me-down babygro for Raffi but it has a hood on it.  I know I’ll never put in him in it for bed with the hood, it will be uncomfortable and just get in the way.  So I’m snipping the hood off and sewing down the raw edge.

One of Josh’s jumper’s has split at the seams.

Plus the never-ending pile of socks 🙂

Plenty to keep me busy I guess.

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6 thoughts on “Autumn Happens

  1. Keely

    To Autumn is one of my all-time favorite poems. I think it’s just beautiful, and it makes me want desperately to watch the last oozings hours by hours. Your bread looks awesome and totally impossible – apples don’t really grow in the deep south, which means, of course, that I can just smell the cider mulling and feel that good fresh crunch on my teeth. Ditto the damson everything. I have never encountered a damson or a damson product. Plums, yes, and even very good plums in the northwest, but never anything near uncomfortably tart, which sounds right up my alley. Some googling reveals that they grow wild in the Rockies. My future field trip senses are tingling.

    Reply
    1. Becky A Post author

      Me too – I love this time of year and I’ve never met a poem which more perfectly describes a British Autumn. Keats was a genius!

      Thanks for the kind comments about the bread – I love apples but especially Damsons and I feel so lucky that we get to have buckets of them for free every year! But there are loads of foods I love like lemons which we can’t grow here. Tell me about your favourite foods you grow that I can’t get here 🙂

      Damsons are very tart (not as tart as Bullaces and Sloes – same plum family, but smaller and wilder and the smaller they go the more tart, sloes are so tart they practically suck all the moisture out of your mouth.) but heavenly with it. You should totally go to the Rockies and grab some. You can eat them raw when they are very ripe but I think they are nicest in plum cake and jam.

      Reply
      1. Keely

        Of all of the things that we grow on trees, I think pecans are the most wonderful. They’re everywhere. In season, anybody with a bucket and a working pair of knees can make a bundle just picking them up off the ground. We use them mostly for dessert – pies and candies to die for!
        My favorite thing of all, though, is sweet potatoes. We grew several varieties this year, and when everything else has died from the heat, these vines are just ready to start taking over the garden. It’s like a sea of green out there, and hopefully there are huge orange potatoes lurking in the murky deep. There is nothing like a creamy sweet potato pie when the weather is cooling. Swoon!

      2. Becky A Post author

        Pecans and Sweet potatoes – I love both of those and I’d love to be able to grow them 🙂 Do sweet potatoes grow above ground then?

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