The colour of the light in the early morning and last of the windfalls feeding the pheasants who have taken up residence in our orchard remind me that autumn is coming to an end and it will soon be time to prepare for winter.
The changing seasons bring up all sorts of different emotions in me. During the long hot summer this year I wanted it to go on forever. I wanted to be able to get up and fling on a sundress and flipflops every day and dreaded the mornings when I would have to think about what to wear because I would need woolly tights, cardigans, I would have to think about coats and scarves. There would be the usual marital grumbling about whose turn it was to bring in the wood and empty the grate so we could light the fire.
Autumn arrived gently, warm days lasting longer than expected and gradually interspersed with shorter colder ones. Fortunately there have been few grey days; I think it is the lack of colour that gets me down in the winter. The harvest was truly bountiful, my preserving pans, dehydrator and pickle and fermentation jars went into overdrive. I have put down my light cotton crochet and picked up my soft winter knitting. Our meals are heartier and warmer, the Christmas cookbooks have come out and I reread Making Winter and The Christmas Chronicles. It is time to dig out The Box of Delights.
I am ready now.
Love Gillie x
When I wake in the morning I can no longer hear the dawn chorus, when I sit outside in the evening even I need a jumper and we lit the stove for the first time last night. I can no longer pretend that summer isn’t coming towards its end. I had never really thought of myself as a summer girl, but as I have got older I have become aware that summer is the time that I truly come alive. I am more productive and my creativity ups several notches. Getting dressed in the morning takes seconds and I live in my Birkenstocks all day and every day. The garden is full to bursting and we have fresh flowers in every room of the house.
However the is a reason for every season and as autumn begins to take the upper hand I can start to gather in. Our vegetable garden, along with much of the house, was being rebuilt this year so we didn’t have as big a harvest this year. However, the winter veg are in, the greenhouse has brought forth a bumper offering and the herbs have been as abundant as ever.
I do have a dehydrator, but I prefer to use that for roots and fruits. For leaves I leave them to hang in the boiler house.
Parsley, lavender and marjaram.
The mint, lemon balm and sage have been hanging for a few weeks and are now ready to put away in jars.
We have also made our own bacon, salt beef and lox. Today I shall be picking the rosehips for syrup, shrub (sweet vinegar), jelly, ketchup and elderberry and reship tonic.
What are you drying and preserving this autumn?
love Gillie x