It occurred to me recently that life on Rum is a bit like childhood. You sort of know it won’t last forever and you will eventually have to take on proper responsibilities and inhabit a wider world but why would you rush it? Why not enjoy the learning journey, the whole new world adventure, the living in a bubble knowing it will eventually burst and subject you to the bigger outside. There is a lot of den building, camp-making, gang forming, personality shaping stuff happening.

I know, I need to stop picking so many brambles and spending so much time inside my own head!

And I have. I reached my personal goal of 300 jars made today. It was a jar of bramble and rose which hit the 300th mark. The 299th was a bramble and chilli. I’ve also made 140 mini jars in a mix of flavours. I make that around 40kg of brambles picked, around 50kg of sugar bought and carried up the hill, along with those 440 glass jars. That’s a lot of pricked fingers, boiling pans, labels handwritten and stuck on. Tomorrow is Michaelmas – (from Wikipedia)

Folklore in the British Isles suggests that Michaelmas day is the last day that blackberries can be picked. It is said that when St. Michael expelled Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, and stamped and spat on them, so that they would be unfit for eating. As it is considered ill-advised to eat them after 29 September, a Michaelmas pie is made from the last of the season.

I usually continue to pick after that date and tend to freeze any brambles for our own use in crumbles, pies and if I can face eating it – jam! So I am not quite done yet with the bramble picking but certainly the pressure is off. Today I picked a last few kilos and made the last few jars of jam.

The next challenge is working out a place to store 440 jars of jam. It will obviously be in the shed shop but we need to construct some sort of cupboard or concealed space for them. We’ll be overhauling the shop over the winter anyway, taking stock of what has sold and what has not, what are the best display locations, whether our pricing, labelling and general merchandising has worked on various lines. As experienced retailers from our past lives we are well versed in that side of our Croft 3 business. On my to do list over winter along with creating back up stock of various top selling craft lines (crochet midges!) is getting the croft 3 website properly up and running to maximise the potential for online and postal sales.

Returning to my childhood theme September of course is the start of the autumn term, back to school, college or university. It’s definitely a time of change and taking stock. Harvest is coming to an end, nights are drawing in, colours are changing and here on Rum the cast of characters is changing with folk leaving which will inevitably lead to new folk arriving. September is hurrying away, I wonder what October will bring.

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