Monday, 25 August 2008
A beautiful bounty
Have you noticed all the wonderful signs of autumn appearing everywhere you look? Isabella and I took a walk in the lanes and fields above Falmouth Bay on a rather dull grey afternoon to see what could be foraged. Unfoprtunately this picture is all I have left to admire as my little one ate every single berry we picked - well, with just a little help from her mama of course.
I so love the rich colours of autumn fruit: the mix of glossy berries as the light glances off each perfect, tiny globe makes me almost sigh with the need to translate it somehow onto paper or fabric or any medium at all, hence the fact that my camera is rarely away from my side. The following weeks will see me scribbling ideas into my notebook like a squirrel foraging its bounty away for a time of less colour and overburdened hedgerows, and when the light becomes that leaden tone of deepest winter I shall at least have these to cheer me until the spring arrives once more.
All this fruitfulness also heralds the start of wine making in the Poltiskofarm household with bowls full of blackberries, rosehips and sloes lined up on the worktops waiting to be turned into sloe gin or wine or cordials. The children are all past masters at knowing which fruits are worth the picking and how to judge the best time for gathering sloes (we don't wait for frost in Cornwall as it is too mild and the birds will have had the lot by the end of September). They also know how important it is not to strip plants bare, understanding that wildlife benefit from these important crops too.
We are lucky in that all the children from 25 year old Tom who really can hardly be called a child to 2 year old Isabella have a real love of this time of gathering, and quite willingly join in on the walks and the subsequent frenzy of making that inevitably follows. I love seeing them all sitting around the kitchen table pricking the hard, dusky sloes before bottling them with gin and sugar for one of the best drinks of all.
All our apple trees have done well this year and will provide the basis for crumbles and tarte tatin with its gloriously sticky, buttery juices...mmm. Yes, all we need is a little (!) sun to help things along with that beautiful, mellow autumn light and I will be a happy Pip sewing away a little autumn goodness of my own with a glass of the good stuff keeping me company.