The Breezes Taste of Apple Peel …

 "September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret."
-   Alexander Theroux, 1981

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The autumn equinox will soon be upon us – September has flicked her skirts and laughed in the face of dreary August.  She has showered us with sunshine, and one last lingering look at summer.  For that I am grateful.

"Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain so yellow
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a young and a callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember
Then follow--follow, oh-oh." 
Try to Remember, Lyrics by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt

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The garden has been filled with bees and butterflies and all flying things  settling to collect pollen whilst there is time.  Soon the flowers will wither and seed heads will form ready to scatter themselves over the newly dug earth and continue to delight and surprise next year when the earth warms and spring bulbs emerge.

"Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
And you walk under the red light of fall
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentle chill of fall.
Here as we move into the shadows of autumn
The night that brings the morning of spring
Come to us, Lord of Harvest
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us ..."
Autumn Equinox Ritual

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The fruit harvest has been good – freezers and jars and trays have been filled with the bounty.  Farmers in their trusty tractors have been trundling up and down the fields bringing in hay and grain - and foragers have been out and about with bags and baskets collecting berries, apples, sloes and damsons from the hedgerows – soon the mushrooms will show their faces as the season gets cooler and the mists   lay across the fields in a ghostly manner.

"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.
"
-   John Updike, September

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The year is slowly  passing with one last hurrah for summer and the race is on to complete all those gardening jobs that have amassed – saying goodbye to all those annual flowers that have done a sterling job in blooming all summer – emptying the container plantings and replacing with spring bulbs – gardening seems to be about keeping one step ahead  - so much to be done, so little time to do it in.  Change is coming – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but soon.

"the air is different today
the wind sings with a new tone
sighing of changes
coming
the harvest gathered
a flower, a nut
some mead, and bread
a candle and a prayer
returning the fruits
in thanksgiving
to the grove
and receiving
it's blessing
again"
-   Rhawk, Alban Elfed

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The nights are chill and fires have been lit, log piles replenished and kindling collected.  The kitchen is filled with the scent of sauces bubbling on the stove – windfall apples, bruised and battered, and cherry tomatoes for pasta.

It is gloomy this morning – grey and misty – I sit by the open window and hear a robin in the tree outside – in the distance I can hear the sound of the hunt master blowing his horn and the pack of dogs barking and yipping as they collect to swarm across the fields excited to begin the chase.  A sure sign that autumn is upon us.

Comments

  1. Good Morning Elaine,

    A beautiful autumnal post...........your words feed the soul.

    It is a most wonderful time of year, I float around the garden rather than walk :)

    I do so loathe hunting. I never understood the point in killing an animal for the joy of it or because it is a country tradition.
    We have local hunts.............when I hear the horn my heart sinks.
    That is one part of autumn I do not like :(

    So pleased to hear you have lots of bees and butterflies. It has been a poor year here for butterflies, although bees seem to be doing quite well :)

    Have a lovely weekend.........

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    1. As far as I'm aware, no-one hunts for the 'joy' of killing (a few might perhaps). Here in France it is simply to control numbers, as well as having something for the pot. Without our hunters we would be overrun by Wild Boar and Roe Deer; it's bad enough as it is.

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    2. Hi Cheryl
      It has been a busy weekend - the weather has been perfect for working in - I love these later summerdays. But isn't it getting dark early - I went out to water the plants that I have just put out (including those Sisrynchriums which have trebled in size) at 7.15 and I could only just see what I was doing. That is the only thing I don't like about this time of year - I do miss lingering in the garden until late.

      The wonderful Erysimyum has been covered in butterflies over the last few days I am definitely going to take some more cuttings from it - it has been a joy with practically all year round flowering - definitely a wild life magnet.

      Have a lovely week.

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    3. Hi Cro
      Thank you for your comment on hunting. Shall we agree to disagree about some hunting for the joy or thrill of it.

      As for hunting for deer rabbits etc I have no problem with that. I eat both so I would be a hypocrite to even think it.
      Fox hunting on the other hand is a sport....we do not eat fox.
      Dozens of dogs hunting one creature is not a fair balance.
      If a fox is killing the farmers sheep I do not have a problem with it being shot....it is swift and necessary.
      I know those who hunt and, I live alongside the farming community.

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  2. Great minds etc. I've just posted about 'September Song' as sung by Lotte Lenya and others. September is getting into our blood.

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    1. They played it on the radio today and I thought of you.

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  3. Wonderful post with beautiful photos.. Where has this year gone. It's been a great year in our garden for bees, butterflies and all the other lovely pollinators.

    You're right about all those jobs that need doing before the onset of Winter.. and time is slipping away to get them all done... Busy, busy..

    It's raining today.. much needed in this part of Suffolk though so not going to complain.. Enjoy your weekend :o)

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    1. I have been busy today emptying the pots of annuals and replacing with bulbs and pansies. The garden is starting to look a little bare and it seems a shame to get rid of what bit of colour there is but I have loads of bulbs to put plant - I have been getting a couple of packets every week and it is surprising how they mount up. I went to look at the bulbs I had saved from last year and the mice have eaten all the tulip bulbs - so it's a good job I bought plenty more.

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  4. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. Flighty xx

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  5. What a lyrically beautiful post, and I refer to your prose, though I do enjoy the quotations, too. In contrast, I sit in the pre-dawn morning in my chair with the door open, waiting for the sun pop over the barn roof, the cool air cleansing the house that has been shut up all night; the doves call to each other above the rattle and roar of the nearby highway. None the less, we feel the same season's change here. The blue jays are hollering, too, telling me that they are out of peanuts. I didn't realize that the English still hunt with horses and dogs. Have a wonderful weekend, Elanine. A beautifully written post that I very much enjoyed.

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    1. And may I say what a beautifully written comment Ann - fox-hunting has been banned but the hunt still meet - the hounds now follow a pre-laid scent trail I think. Have a lovely week.

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  6. This quiet, mellow, period is so beautifully summed up by both your photos and words.
    I have relished the lovely Indian Summer we have been enjoying, and now feel ready to put both the garden and the summer to bed and enjoy the fruits of the autumn.

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    1. I still have lots of jobs to do Rosemary - I just hope the weather holds out a little longer so I can crack on and get them finished - I'm not one for gardening when it's cold.

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  7. For some reason September this year feels quite special, I guess it is the still warm days and wonderful, bounty in our gardens. Your words and photos reflect the season perfectly:)

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    1. I agree Rosie - I can't remember such a good September for quite a while - it makes you not want to miss a moment doesn't it.

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  8. A beautiful ode to autumn, Elaine xxx

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  9. Beautiful post. It is still summer where I live, hot and no sign of autumn yet. But, I won't complain because of what's to come after.

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    1. I would be quite happy for the weather to stay as it has been just lately - of course it will change but I am relishing every bit of it.

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  10. Awww, what a wonderful post, you sum autumn up so very beautifully and have left me feeling whimsical and a little melancholy, but in a good way. Yes, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.... Your pics are lovely, so much still in flower and I did enjoy the quotes, poems and lyrics. I do love autumn, once it's here!xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina - September seems to make people wax lyrically doesn't it - it will be a shame when the winter woollies have to come out but I am still in my shorts at the moment - not sure for how much longer though.

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  11. The poems are all so beautiful. September was a beautiful month!

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    1. Although the mornings are now heavy with mist - by the afternoon the sun comes out - it has been a beautiful month so far.

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  12. It was all over far too soon (though parts of my garden are hanging on rather beautifully). Reassuring that I'm not alone in feeling a little overwhelmed by all that there is to do. Dave

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    1. I will be digging out a whole border soon to try and get rid of my ground elder problem - not looking forward to that - and I know that it will be just as bad again next year. Hey ho.

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  13. A beautiful post, Elaine. Keep enjoying the fall and all it has to offer.

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    1. Thanks Diane - I certainly will - hope you do too.

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  14. I love the fact that our country has seasons. It gives us variety - and something to look forward to. It is very different in places that have the same climate conditions all the time.

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    1. I agree Mark - each season has its merits.

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  15. Oh what a beautifully poetic post friend! And such gorgeous blooms still showing their faces in your garden! I am with you on the garden staying one step ahead of us. It is always such a fascinating time of year! Wishing you all the beauty that comes with Autumn! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Thanks Nicole. Surprisingly quite a few plants are still flowering and I am enjoying them whilst they last I promise.

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  16. Ah Elaine - what a lovely and sweet post. Your poems and words along with the pictures adds a certain nostalgia to this writing. Like me I am sure you are a bit sad to see summer truly go. Yet there is still so much to do before winter arrives. Hopefully lots of warm sunny autumn days to get those last minute chores done! Hugs

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    1. Hi Debbie
      You are right about there being a lot to do in the garden - I do like to get it all sorted whilst the weather is still workable. I hear that we have rain possibly coming - the garden desperately needs it - but it will be sad to see the end of the lovely weather we are having.

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  17. Such an evocative post - I can almost smell woodsmoke ! It is a lovely feeling to store logs and food, to keep us going through the dreary old winter!

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    1. Thank you Jane. Knowing that you are well stocked up makes you feel you can cope with anything that winter throws at you.

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  18. It feels much colder down here today. I prefer spring and summer but the autumn harvest and colours are so magical too. Sarah x

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    1. I prefer spring too but this autumn has been splendid so far - what's not to like.

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  19. Hello Elaine,
    What a beautiful post. I really enjoyed your poems so well chosen for this post. Your flowers are stunning , a picture.
    Here Autumn has arrived. September coming to a close, our skies today are grey.
    I am late with comments. Had a busy summer.. Am catching up each day.
    Happy week
    val xx

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    1. We are still getting sunny weather although it is decidedly chillier especially in the evenings - hope you enjoyed your busy summer and tell us all about it on your blog.

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  20. Lovin' your new profile photo Elaine....new hairstyle too? :)
    Yep....autumn is here, leaves are falling & occasionally there's that wee nip in the air. But summer is hanging on on there....and there's still plenty to enjoy. Beautiful post x

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    1. Ha ha - it's a picture of my fantasy self Jane! Yes, the last remnants of summer are hanging on - and I'm hanging on with them.

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  21. Lovely choice of poems Elaine. Nice to see so much still in bloom in your garden, it does definitely feel like Autumn is here, that nip is in the air and my jumpers came out of storage today!

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    1. Thanks Paula. Yes the season is moving rapidly along. No jumpers for me yet but I guess it wont be long.

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