Saturday, 1 October 2011

Michelmas madness

During the past week was the day of Michaelmas, the Feast of St Michael and traditionally the beginning of Autumn. The "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" according to Keats, although he may have had second thoughts if he'd been around this Michaelmas. 23C at Hazel Cottage (that's 73F in old money) and bright blue skies!  

Venturing forth into the garden at this time of year you run the risk of walking smack bang into one of the dozens of spider webs that the crab spiders spend each night spinning across our gateways, paths and hedges. We've taken to keeping a stick by the back door so we can clear a path.

In the veg garden we pulled the last few beetroots and carrots. The beetroot has been a great success despite a dose of beet leaf miner early in the season. We've several jars of lightly pickled ones in the store cupboard and the rest went into chocolate and beetroot cakes. Cabbages, onions, squashes and the unending supply of silver beet are still providing colour and even the courgette is making the most of the late warmth to provide a few more fruits.

Making mincemeat on an record-breakingly warm October day is quite a surreal experience.  All around us are piles of apples and pears and the japonica quinces and hazelnuts have taken over the spare bed to ripen.  As we chopped nuts and mixed spices into the glistening mincemeat, the sun was beating fiercely upon the window and it felt like mid summer.  Although its lovely to see people enjoying the sun, we can't help but yearn for more seasonal autumn weather.

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