This Time of Year

Summer is slowly fading away and this transition to autumn is one of my favourite times of the year.

 

tractor and plough in field on Essex Farm

This time of year, the fields are filled with the noise of tractors and machinery as the tractor and plough prepare the land for sowing next year’s crop, the hedges around the fields are cut back, the banks of the ditches are trimmed and chain saws lop the branches of trees that threaten to topple riders on the bridleway or bash the side of the combine.

Looking across the Brain Valley, Black Notley

Standing in the field looking across the Brain Valley, a warm breeze carried the smells of cut grass and hedge, freshly turned earth and fallen crab apples. It’s a truly glorious smell and one that marks the turning point of the farming year.

 

wild fruits and berries from the hedgerow

This time of year we gather wild fruits and berries from the hedgerows …

 

Arrangement of autumn berries, fruit and foliage

… to plonk them in containers to bring the colour inside.

 

compote of blackberries and raspberries

This time of year, I cook blackberries with a little sugar in a slow oven until the juices begin to run and then stir in an equal quantity of autumn fruiting raspberries to make a delicous compote.

 

Carrots, beetroot, apples and beans from the garden in September

There are beetroot, carrots, runner beans and apples from the garden. And courgettes. Always courgettes.

 

Small boy digging for worms in the vegetable garden

But sometimes, the best thing to do at this time of year is to dig for worms on a sunny September morning.

 

Harvest 2018

Harvest has almost finished at Slamseys. This year has been fast and furious with long, hot days and dry grain…

Wheat in Grove Field July 2018

Summer Rituals

Getting meals on the table at the moment is a bit of a pain as I have little enthusiasm for spending time in the kitchen at this time of year, though I can be persuaded to make a batch of Lemon Squash, which disappears at alarming speed.