September 4th - We are having some beautiful early autumnal days. The rain has given way to sunny and cloudy days with a chill first thing in the morning and in the evening. I love the autumn – my favourite time of year! I always get the urge to tidy up, clear out the clutter and make plans for the winter. Last year I knitted a blanket – I’m not sure what projects are lined up for the short, cold days that are ahead, but for now, I'm enjoying long walks in the sunshine without worrying about how hot it’s likely to get.
My garden needs a little attention. Apples are ripe on our tree and we have been picking them for about 3 weeks now – so many! I’ve been also gifted fruit which has been prepared and put in the freezer in batches for future crumbles and pies. Some plants are having a second flower and some, even a third – they too are enjoying this sunshine! Others are showing signs that they are finished. I’ll leave them be for a while just so they can return all their goodness into the earth until next spring.
My walk around the village had one theme – berries! All colours, all kinds! - Blackberries, haw berries, holly berries, ivy berries, rose hips – all beautiful to look at.
I’ve spotted a goldfinch – rather hard to spot where I live – but it flew off before I could get a photo but it was amazing to see all the same.
September 9th - I was having some time in nature in peaceful surroundings and was looking around me at the trees, the grasses, the plants - big and small, the birds and the insects. It seemed this year that while most of us were shut away in our homes, nature took the opportunity to thrive! I don’t think I’ve seen so much abundance in fruits and berries as I have this year. It was almost like Mother Nature had free reign, no distractions or disturbances from us human folk. Just her, nature and wildlife doing their thing and boy! Did she flourish...
September 14th - Unusually warm autumn day. Sitting in nature immersed in the energies of my surroundings. Listening and just being. Silent and still. Bees feed on fading flowers. Seed pods green and vibrant. Nettles are flourishing as is the bindweed, its green tendrils wrapped around the stalks and flowers of other plants. Autumn plants merge with the dead plants of spring and summer.
September 20th - another warm and sunny day, but it doesn’t feel like summer – there was a cool breeze this morning and the air just feels different, but it’s a nice feeling. Enjoying the dry sunny days while we still can. There is the buzzing of hedge trimmers and the sounds of lawn mowers on this Sunday morning. Thoughts turn to the autumn equinox/Mabon and my own thoughts turn to finishing up things which have not been done, having a tidy up and clear out before the winter sets in.
*Monday 21st - I was out today, sitting in natural surroundings in the warm sun. I can’t believe it's nearly October. Spotted today – a Gadwall dabbling duck, a hornet, the sound of a cuckoo, an emperor dragonfly and a common darter dragonfly. Beautiful!
Wild Bramble Vinegar
Thought I would share this lovely recipe from a local lady who does all things wonderful with what grows in our hedgerows. It is rather delicious!
White Wine Vinegar (I used red as that was what I had)
Place your blackberries into a large jar that has a lid
Cover with white or red wine vinegar – enough to cover the berries. Pop on the lid and shake.
Leave for 4-5 days, shaking gently once a day, until the vinegar has absorbed the colour of the blackberries. I used red wine vinegar but it did go a lovely deep purple colour.
Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan squeezing as much juice out of the blackberries as you can.
For every pint of liquid, add 8oz of white sugar. I had half a pint of liquid so added 4oz.
Boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar, skimming off any scum that forms.
Pour into a sterilised bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid.
I keep mine in the fridge for up to 6 months. Gargle with a spoonful of the vinegar at the first sign of a sore throat. It also makes a delicious fruity salad dressing when mixed with a little olive oil.
(recipe from A Hedgerow Apothecary by Christine Iverson)
Mabon/Autumn Equinox Incense Blend
This month I thought I'd make an incense blend. Lovely to burn on the Equinox. Meditate on the energies of the month. Make a note of any thoughts, words or images that come to you.
1 part frankincense resin
Equal parts of:
Adapted from A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Plants and Herbs by Rachel Patterson