Mellow Fruitfulness

Not much in the way of mists but it is very autumnal here. For about four years running we had a September camping trip every year. Brambles were ripe, morning mists hung about until long past camping breakfast time and the campfire every evening was a welcome heat source from the chill of the night time air, stars were amazing, sunsets were stunning and the sunrise was late enough for even late risers like to me to start enjoying. There is that feeling in the air here this week. Despite it being probably the nicest run of weather, sunshine and lack of rain we have had all year the nights are drawing in, the sun is lower in the sky and there is that indefinable yet so very tangible feeling of something being just around the corner.

An acceptance therefore that the tomatoes that didn’t quite make it off the starting blocks will not do so after all, a clear out of the freezer ready for pork and time spent with the piglets now is all about getting them used to us being around them ready for the turning them into pork products in the next couple of weeks. The birds have done an amazing job of clearing the fruit cage of weeds, grass and bugs. So much so that we have now moved them into the walled garden to feed. They are all free range anyway but wherever we scatter their twice daily feed of mixed grain they spent the next couple of hours scratching around and clearing. We have previously made use of them to clear large areas of ground to make paths, to create hay for pig bedding (they scratch up the grass and rushes which as long as the sun is shining quickly dry out to make great soft material) and to empty ditches of undergrowth so we can dig them out. As soon as the last crops in the raised beds are either harvested or given up on we will uncover those, feed the birds on them and then cover with seaweed to mulch over the winter.

I have been out twice a week foraging brambles and turning them straight into jam. Pickings are lean so far but an hours picking is netting me sufficient to make three or four jars of jam each time which are steadily selling from the croft gate which is great as we are having plenty of visitors walking around the croft still. I have also been crocheting new scarves and collecting midges ready to set in resin so that next year we have plenty of stock for our planned produce and craft shack at the croft gate.

We are just days away from hearing the stags roar as they gear up for the rut and then I truly think we will feel autumn has arrived.

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