Autumn is my favourite season. Full of colour & richness, even though everything is retreating back inside & the nights are drawing in. You feel the first nip in the air & enjoy coming home after a long haul more with each passing day: as though with a final burst of energy before the cold, Autumn unfurls in all its splendid glory.
What could be more autumnal than the harvesting of Earths fruits. With the hay in the barn, the vegetable harvest more or less stored away, drying on racks or hidden in the darkness in stitched thick brown paper sacks, we turn our attention to the ripening fruits. The summer raspberries are running low, the autumn variety is on the brink, brambles weighing down snagging branches along the wayside & the apples & pears sway in the cooling breeze begging to be picked.
It's not until the first of the apples, all ruby & green in their laden basket have crossed the threshold that I feel as though Autumn has really arrived. Then, with autumn spirit in full swing the fun begins: sorting & storing the best of the harvest, the bashed & blemished turned into jellies, chutney & jams for the year ahead & the in-betweeners peeled, cored & sliced to be strung in the loft to dry. The final few bushels lay about to be used in the following weeks when we really do gorge on apple pie, strudel, upside down cakes oozing sticky apple toffee from the cast iron pan, apple pancakes, apple snow & sauces, stewed with meat & in the mornings on porridge. This is the flavour of the moment until we next turn our attention to the black berries of later autumn: the brambles, elderberries & such for the next country larder chapter.
As the weather grows colder, the rain more persistent than usual & the days shorten, we busy our selves with preparations, tasks & nesting. Autumn is a wonderful time to come together, to celebrate the year so far, to enjoy the gathering, the making & of course all the eating. It's when we catch up with friends (not over coffee - yet, there's still too much to do for that now), but in the fields, among the fruit trees, with a spade or rake in hand, as we press & bale the hay, spread out the herbs to dry or string up apple rings & chat by the fire after bringing in the wood. Autumn is the time to really gather. I reign in the thoughts that have run away with the sun & fun, re-root & prepare, reflect & grow on what I've taken in this year. It's my time for healing & embracing the outdoors in all its unpredictability. I remind myself each year with the harvest of the apples to take some time to enjoy the season before the real cold, enjoy the colour, richness & spirit (it's really pretty impressive & wont be here for long). So with that in mind we'd like to wish you all a wonderful gathering of your stores & self & we'll be seeing you soon with some apple pie.
With very autumn-y wishes, N&J.