Thursday, 27 October 2016

Phooey to Halloween – Celebrate Autumn

The US-dictated Halloween colours are limited to black and orange.  But this Autumn season is so much richer than that - if you look at the trees, your eyes will be ravished by yellow, maroon, green, tan and ochre.
Halloween is about spooks, but Autumn celebrates not only the closing in of night, but also the satisfaction of a wild harvest, the lighting of fires and candles, kicking through golden leaves, watching blackbirds eating berries. 
Our kitchen has been steamy with apples being peeled and cooked for wine and crumbles.  Soon there will be the sloes for gin.   Hanging in the outhouse are bayleaves, hydrangeas and larch cones ready to make the Christmas pot pourri.

But it's late October which offers my favourite Autumn experience.  We go to a local wood and plan our walk so that the last place we come to is the grove where the chestnuts grow.  If it’s a good year, we know we’ll pick so many that we don’t want to carry them far.  If you touch the prickly cases, you get spines in your fingers, so we have developed a technique for opening the little green urchins between our boots.  There is such pleasure in picking out the plump, gleaming chestnuts. 
Focused on the ground, one becomes dazed and disoriented and we have been known to head off in entirely the wrong direction, losing the path.

And this year, we have a great harvest of chestnuts to roast bake and boil.

A welcome change from Halloween pumpkins.