It’s harvest time again over in my part of the world. Not that I live on a farm or anything but I try to get my hands on a bit of freshly picked produce when I can.
I’ve always loved this time of year with it’s crisp sharp air and bursts of slanted sunshine so I’ve been feeling very satisfied to have found some quality time to enjoy the last snippets of pleasingly mild weather before the big lock down of November, December and January. There have been several jaunts across the fields to collect my favourite blackberries, so abundant, so juicy and so free!
I love making the effort to gather these wild berries every year and of course they taste much better than shop bought ones. Well worth the scratches and stained hands that are the inevitable result of hedgerow foraging.
And there is always the bonus of picking the odd bunch of pretty weeds to grace a rustic corner of a windowsill somewhere. Clover and buttercups mainly, with a few stems of wild grasses thrown in for good measure. Just as pretty as any shop bought flowers if you can cultivate an appreciation for their less cultivated nature.
My recently acquired bargain-bin Emma Bridgewater wellies are a bit late for this years festival season but perfect for negotiating muddy potholes and smelly cow pats – the inevitable bedfellows of any serious walk in the country!
Home from the fields and back into the urban jungle the harvest continues in my modest little garden. there’s no room for an allotment area or anything even close to it but I have had some very gratifying success with my second-year crop of apples. The five that grew last season have been succeeded by closer to 50 this time.
They’re quite small and not up to the usual supermarket beauty parade standards but that only makes me love them more! I probably need to do some pruning to maximise next year’s crop, but I’m not sure how so I will be off scouring the internet to look that one up. I don’t have the greenest fingers in the land, but hopefully this little sapling will get the TLC it deserves and not end up consigned to a silent disappearance among the more dominant foliage in the borders – the sort of foliage that has proved it’s survival credentials by actually thriving under my not so vigilant or expert care -or the garden Rambo’s as we like to call them.
Over the years a fig tree, clematis, blueberry bush and some Livingstone Daisies have all mysteriously disappeared from this very spot while I wasn’t looking. Seems like the apple tree might be bucking the trend!
Now the grapes are a different matter entirely. There’s absolutely no stopping them, they’re evidently much more Rambo than Shrinking Violet, and we have fruit hanging from all three walls of my courtyard this year. The vine continues to pour down its bounty on us just outside the back door and is now beginning to display the annual spectacle of autumnal patterns and colours.
It’s been nice enough on some days to sit at the garden table and get a bit of hooky in, and with plenty of goodies to keep nature’s own sugar rush topped up I’m a happy bunny!
It is getting markedly chillier though. But that’s good because the lowering temperatures are inspiring me to push on faster with my new autumn berries inspired poncho.
Lots of squares have been leaping off the hook during the evenings this past week. I have a full compliment now just awaiting the yarn end darning marathon. Not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to hold fast to my resolution to darn each square as I go. Once I get that hook in my hand I’m an unstoppable crochet machine and just find myself dashing on to the next square as soon as the previous one is finished and tossed into the basket.
Here are a few of the wiggly wormy culprits, waiting patiently in a quiet corner of the lounge, ready for my next spare batch of ten or twenty minutes. Slowly does it, I’ll get there in the end!
Still, there are worse jobs than sewing in a million ends while enjoying the autumn air and a cake or two with a big pot of tea – a more unhealthy form of sugar rush here, but what the heck. Initially I thought the ghost was looking a bit shocked about the amount of calories on my plate but in retrospect it’s probably because I stuck knitting needles in his eyes.
I’ve also been weaving in at the kitchen table while hubby cooks something delicious on the other side of the room.
…Pogo likes to join in when he can…
Or I’ve been sitting on a squishy sofa with warm feet in fluffy slippers…
…as a sleepy Mojo gets on with his own type of cosy in the corner. If you can’t wear fluffy slippers then tucking your paws into a fluffy blanket will have to do!
This really is the sort of job you can do anywhere, and in little bite size pieces too. I’ve packed a few squares, a tapestry needle and a pair of scissors in my handbag and have so far darned in some ends on the bus, in the car, waiting for a dental appointment and even in the queue at the post office! Though I try to be neat and tidy I think I may have left a trail of yarn ends most places I’ve been in recent days. If anyone wanted to track me down they could probably follow a forensic trail of wool, like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs, right back to my front door. Just as well I’m too busy crocheting to get up to no good. The litter squad might be on my case though!
All that intermittent darning is paying off and I’m around two thirds done with it all now.
I made some notes for my poncho earlier on so I would know how many squares to make but also to remind myself of the yarn type, weight and shade and the hook size I used. I find it’s all too easy to forget those details after the briefest of time lapses if I don’t scribble it down as I go along.
So far things are adhering nicely to my intended plan and one half of the poncho is ready to be joined. After the monotony of dealing with stray yarn ends, making the finished squares into a useful piece of fabric is always a thrill.
I can’t wait to be wearing my new blackberry and raspberry poncho. It’s going to be a really warm and toasty addition to my winter wardrobe and will remind me of the autumn sun. I’m going to have many hours of happy hooky, cocooned in there over the next few months, especially as I frugally keep the heating off when it’s just me in the house during the day. I’d better be off then, those ends won’t weave themselves in, more’s the pity.
I’ll be back to share the fruits of my labour with you very soon!