Ahhh March. Autumn. At last. After a long hot summer, the days are starting to get shorter and cool down a little. Somehow, there is the feeling of Autumn in the air and not a moment too soon. Autumn is always our busy season. Between harvesting the produce that has grown in the garden and orchard all summer, and preparing for Winter, we have a lot to do. But there is pleasure in all this busyness.
The cooler days mean that we are getting back into cooking. Summers mean salads and BBQs to avoid heating the house with the oven, but once Autumn arrives, my inspiration returns. This year we need to make some more caramelised onion, and I’ve already whipped up a batch of peach chutney – delicious with curries over winter. I want to make a whole lot of applesauce to go with our pork, and there is still some sour cherries in the freezer that need to be used somehow. I love the feeling of squirrelling away all our summer produce ready for winter treats. There really is nothing better. This year I’m also determined to master making our own hot cross buns. I love making bread, but don’t get to do it very often. This is the year!!
With our harvest coming in our dehydrator has been working over time. We have dried plums and figs to be chopped up and put into our homemade muesli. We’ve also dried apricots, apples, and pears to snack on.
Each autumn, we stop by wild fruit trees on the side of the road on our way into town and fill bags with apples and peaches that we bring home to cook and freeze. The taste of wild foraged fruit is infinitely better than any fruit that comes from a shop!
The roadsides are starting to show other signs of Autumn too. A few trees are starting to change colour, and the hawthorn bushes are loaded with berries. Most year I love to stop and bring a few branches home to put in a vase. This year, though, I won’t be picking hawthorn because I have no idea where any of my vases are packed.
Cooler weather also starts me on my annual crochet binge. I cannot for the life of me find the wool I bought last year (it’s in a box somewhere – I will find it when we move back into our home), so I’ve pulled out the scraps of wool to practice my hexagons. The kids have all put in orders for new beanies, so I think some of the leftover Cleckheaton superfine left over from this project will do beautifully. I love to sit and crochet in the cool evenings; the rhythm of hooking is always soothing after a busy day at work.
Of course, there are other Autumn jobs to be done around the farm. Firewood needs to be gathered, split and stacked before the weather turns too cold. We need to take our nut wizards out to gather acorns to feed the pigs (they makes the pork really delicious!). It hasn’t been much of a year for pumpkins, but we will need bring in whatever we manage to grow. The March rains that we normally get haven’t really materialised yet. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they arrive soon. The land is looking brown and grey and tired after a long hot summer. It needs the rain to refresh it and settle the dust. So much dust!
With the days getting shorter, I feel that it’s time to hunker down and prepare for the winter ahead. Hopefully, we will be back in our snug little farmhouse by then.