Monday, 28 September 2009

Autumn Weekends

Oh, it's a bitter sweet time of a season! So much beauty in all the colour and fruitfulness, and so much to enjoy, but it all heralds the passing of light and warmth...nothing for it - just to get out there and breathe it all in, soak it all up. So there's not much time blogging, when there are autumn picnics to be had, more chanterelles to be found, blackberries to be picked...and when that's all done, then the jam making (him, not me!) and cooking starts. And then... a pause to be thankful for all this beauty and abundance.

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Mushroom Magic

I'm just getting over a swift dose of flu and feeling a bit out of shape, but not even that can stop me from enjoying this time of the year, there are so many wonderful things to find outdoors. Lots of crafty folk love the shape and colour of mushrooms and we are no exception, even my youngest can't go for a walk without pointing out almost every one that he sees. So, our little walks can take quite some time. Mushrooms are everywhere in our local woods, in the most extraordinary colours.

We are happy to just look and enjoy, but my beloved is a good Frenchman and forager of fine things, so armed with a pile of mushroom books, he has taught me how to identify some edible varieties. This year we have hit gold - a big crop of Chanterelles.

We have been enjoying them with earthy Puy lentils, generously seasoned with garlic, parsley and lemon, or as a deluxe filling to an omelette. Aren't they the most beautiful colour?

Anything interesting to eat in your neighbourhood? Any suggestions for cooking our treasures? I'm sure there will be another mushroom hunt this weekend...

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Thursday, 10 September 2009

I always love to connect what is going on outside in nature with what we have in our home, even if it's just a pine cone we found on a walk, or a rock one of the boys has given me (I have a small bowl of such treasures adorning on our kitchen table).

Right now, there are a lot of yellows catching my eye, from bright Rudbeckias in the gardens, to ochre mushrooms in the woods, and even a few yellowing leaves on the silver birch. So, I must have had that in mind when I was making a little present for a local birthday girl. She is already (at age seven) the collector of aprons and the giver of the most elegant of teaparties. There's not a lot of girlieness going on in our household, so it was nice to have a chance to let rip and make another apron to add to her collection.

I used a bit of white linen from a old French sheet that I've been gradually cutting into, plus some Rudbeckia yellow gingham, a few patchwork scraps leftover from the boys' baby quilt, some ric-rac, and a fabric and button flower to decorate the waistband.

It was the first apron I've ever made, but it was easy-peasy and fun to do. Might even make myself one next. Although I have to say, I'd never be able to wear it with the elegance and glamour of this particular party girl!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Feathering the Nest

The early autumnal weather has made us aware that the season is changing quickly, and soon our light evenings will be gone, our energy with it, and we'll be spending our evenings close to the fire, in semi hibernation. So, a flurry of minor home improvements have been going on, hence the lack of recent postings. It has taken me a year of living in our house to finally decide on the perfect colour for the living room (paint samples, anyone?). It was white, which is fine, but not very cosy and not always soothing either.
So, two days solid of painting, plus the kindly offer of boy-amusing from my neighbour, and the room is now a deeply restful shade of grey. No, not cosy perhaps, but not cold either, and it's given me the chance to rearrange our pictures and treasured things. Everyone has their corner, my husband has the desk, I get the rocking chair and the boys have their table too. Of course, we all fight over the sofa!

It's blowing a gale outside tonight and I fear for the flowers - will they all be flat or even gone by the morning? But while I can, I'm bringing lots of them indoors. These ones are in a sweet little wall pot made by Dorinda Johnson.

Do you feel the same? Do you get a sudden burst of 'nesting' in early autumn? Seems to happen to me every year, along with the brief urge to clean in early spring. I think I'd make a good bear, busy all summer and then sleeping all winter. But! If it would stop raining and howling outside, I think I'm ready to welcome autumn.
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