My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
“Autumn Equinox” by Cynthia Jordan (courtesy of meloman80s):
“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves.”
“Autumn Leaves” by Eva Cassidy and the London Symphony Orchestra:
After a hot summer, there is hope for a warm and mild autumn. Roses are still flowering but hydrangeas are changing colour into muted shades of green and dark red. As expected, autumn arrives with subtle changes in the light, with overcast skies, longer darker evenings, and nights of easy slumber while chilly rain thrashes monotonously against the windows.
An interesting aside on equinoxes, as we have just passed the autumnal one (courtesy of National Geographic):
Rain coming down with a vengeance adds a rejuvenating sparkle to fruits, leaves and grasses alike, and is most welcome. At dawn, just after the rain, the freshly ploughed earth of the furrowed fields, still warm from the stored heat of the summer, exudes mystic clouds of chalk-blue steam. Noisy groups of swallows swoop gracefully above the dusk-etched rooftops of the barns, preparing for their winter migration.
Swallows leaving the UK for Africa (courtesy of India):
Swallows in super slow motion (courtesy of Fumihiko Hirai):
October approaches slowly, changing with each step the faded colouring of the woodlands into shades ranging from sun-bleached fawns, golden-yellows, beiges and flaxen straw-hues to vivid reds, russets, plum-purples and rich, velvety browns.
“Whispers of Autumn” by Leann Marshall:
“Sneeuwland” by Oskar Schuster (courtesy of Aesthetic sky):
The fields are tidy and barren, their harvest already a thing of the past. The season will come full with the first frost and autumn’s brilliant colouring of treetops and hedgerows. It is a time for gathering and storing of fruits, a time of making beverages. It is a time of making chutneys, pickles, plum dumplings and apple pies.
Perhaps have a go at creating the tempting treat of Apple and Blackberry Cobbler from the autumn bounty (courtesy of The Happy Foodie):
At sunset, a skein of geese fly low above the town and soon they will be no more since it is time for migration. Autumn was called in the 16th century ‘the fall of the leaf’, and rightly so; it is hard to imagine this time of the year without the rustle of a bright, ankle-deep carpet covering the ground. Children love wading through piles of fallen leaves, looking for chestnuts or acorns.
The beauty of Autumn (courtesy of Stuart Spicer):
Some stunning fall foliage in Vermont (courtesy of flannelboyvideos):
There is an abundance of blackberries in the hedgerows and wild mushrooms in the woodlands. Often hidden under trees and among wet grasses after rain, are shiny ceps, sticky fawn-coloured fungi, and which are known to experienced gatherers as ‘butter cups’. My favourites, chanterelles as they are called in France, are rusty-yellow, oddly funnel-shaped agaric. Ceps are often strung onto cotton thread, and when dry, kept in the larder to flavour and season stews. Fresh ceps and other mushrooms are delicious tossed in hot butter which brings out their wonderful flavour.
The orchard fruit harvest of apples, plums and pears is a time of storing fruit and making jams and making cider. When I was young, I loved to get up at the crack of dawn and go into the mountain forest to pick blueberries. These grew in sunny clearings on short dense bushes, hidden amongst a multitude of tiny, dark-green leaves. It would take a long time not only because the bushes were laden with blueberries but also because purple-stained hands would often stray to fruit-inked mouths. At home, blueberries were served with yoghurt or with creamy milk.
Courtesy of Herbfarmacy:
This is also the time of potato digging, a time of bonfires with their languid, wet smoke lumbering low over the fields and hedgerows, scenting the air with the incomparable aroma of field-baked potatoes. As it is such back-breaking work, a midday rest is needed to straighten up and warm up cold hands.
We diggers would sit around a fire on an upturned sturdy potato basket or a pile of sacks, rubbing our cold hands in anticipation. Oh, the sheer bliss of inhaling the hot, smoky scent of the tubers. The joy of tossing the skin-burning potato from one hand to another before squeezing it open, and then seasoned with salt and butter it would disappear, almost unaided, into a rumbling stomach. But I digress…
Ash Roasted Potatoes (courtesy of Happy Foods Tube):
By the end of November, there will be no leaves on trees because they have to protect themselves before winter sets in. The trees shut down the activity in their leaves, drawing in the sugar and protein stored there, and not producing chlorophyll in the winter months. The colour that remains in the leaves for a short time is due to carotenoid pigments that were there all along but were concealed during the warmer months by the vivid green of the chlorophyll cells. Leaf fall begins when hormones stimulate a layer of cells at the base of each leaf stalk to die and form a seal between a leaf and its branch. As these cells die, they form a corky layer of dead tissue. When the seal is complete, it takes only a light breeze to separate the leaf from the tree and send it spiralling to the ground.
Autumn mists (courtesy of Asheville):
“Lessons of the Geese” (courtesy of mtceurope) – we humans could learn a lot from their teamwork:
At this time, some birds will leave to migrate to warmer countries in search of food and sun. The migration of birds each autumn has long been among the mysteries of nature that are still difficult to fully understand and explain. There are many theories, and one suggested that it might have been a throwback to the ice age, when a severe climate over much of the world must have affected the birds’ life. Regardless of the reasons, it is obvious that migrations, although they may cost some of the species half their population in casualties each year, have logical advantages. The northern part of the globe is more spacious. There are therefore many more opportunities to nest and feed their young.
The longest known migration of any bird belongs to the Arctic tern, a relatively small (14 inches) colonial bird that breeds within a few hundred miles of the North Pole. It is also known as the ‘Sea Swallow’ as it has a similar colouring; a white body, black cap and red legs and beak. For reasons biologists have yet to fully understand, Arctic terns set out on a journey each spring and autumn that takes them literally to the ends of earth, from the Arctic to Antarctica. As they take the longest route, they may travel as much as 3 million miles in their lifetime, which could be 15 to 30 years. Now, that is some endurance and achievement…
The Arctic Tern: a small bird that migrates big (courtesy of James Wolfe):
A trip down Memory Lane, “Forever Autumn” by Justin Hayward (courtesy Cottage of the Crone):
What else can I say but Autumn is a bountiful, colourful and interesting season, to which I am very much looking forward.
An evocative autumn walk in Kipling’s Vermont (courtesy of Bryton Taylor):
“Autumn” from “The Four Seasons” by Vivaldi (courtesy of caballerohorus):
PS My potato digging experience was a result of the school trip to help the local farm and to learn how hard a farmer’s work is, and it left me with life-long memories.