So, for now it seems summer is over, and normality has resumed. We’re back to the sort of weather we’re more used to in Britain. I’m back into my jeans and jumpers, back to digging out socks and grabbing a coat before you head out the door, back to a duvet on the bed and a blanket on the sofa, back to craving carbs instead of salad, back to real ales and red wine instead of light fruity cider. I’d almost forgotten was normality felt like, but it soon all comes back to you like riding a bike.
I’m not complaining, I like autumn. Mists and mellow fruitfullness and all that. Hot buttery crumpets, bubbling casseroles, and fruit crumbles and pies. Beautiful woodland walks as the leaves turn golden and russet, it’s all fine with me. I don’t like dank and dreary, but you do – and hopefully we will – get some really beautiful autumn days, so make the most of them before winter.
The squirrels are very noticeable at the moment on my daily dog walks. Bess wants to sniff every tree trunk we pass by, and I’ve realised it’s not dog pee but squirrels (or maybe both). They’re everywhere and they are busy gathering their winter supplies while they can. I can empathise with them, while I do have access to money and open-all-hours supermarkets, I’m also squirrelling away produce from the allotment as though my winter survival depended on it.
This is the time of year for working out how much room you have in the freezer and how many old jam jars you’ve managed to collect, and where you’ll store the potatoes, and if you pickle some cucumbers will you really bother to eat them? Probably not. Can I get away with giving Christmas presents of allotment chutney … again?
Well, so far I’ve made some roasted tomato, garlic and courgette pasta sauce, and I’ve boiled some more tomatoes down into passata. My WI preserves book has been well thumbed and post-it notes stuck onto several pages – blackberry and apple jelly, and tomato relish are among them.
I’ve eaten my first couple of sweetcorn, which were not as good as last years, but still better than shop bought. The rest now need to be picked, blanched and put into the freezer. I counted about 12 butternut squashes on the plot, if we don’t get any more sun I’ll have to bring them in to harden off. And my borlotti beans have been fattening up nicely and are now drying on the stems ready to be shelled and stored in jars.
Although I’m thinking an alternative style chilli con carne might be on the cards at the weekend, with borlotti instead of kidney beans, homemade passata and homegrown chillies which are ripening faster than I can use.
It’s a busy time when you’re a squirrel!