Thursday, 17 October 2013

Autumn

Isn't it funny.   We get excited when the first daffodils pop up and Spring arrives,  Summer gets us sorting out our cool clothes in a fit of optimism and looking forward to our holidays, we get excited about the first flakes of snow in Winter (alright, the feeling soon wears off but the child in all of us stands at the window and watches the first flakes fall).  But nothing evokes quite the same feeling as the onset of Autumn.

I think it is a Primeval feeling which goes back to the days when our ancestors lived in caves and spent the Summer getting in supplies, knowing that if there was not enough of them they would die before the Spring.

And so it is that  we still do this gathering. Elizabeth (About New York) reminded me of this today and said that she thought there was probably a post there.   So thank you for the idea Elizabeth.

We gather in all the crops.   In the old days my mother used to gather in runner beans and layer them in huge jars with salt.   In order to eat them you had to soak them for 24 hours in water and to be honest, they still tasted disgusting.   Now, along with all the other vegetables, we freeze them, pickle them, jam them.   Can you remember that smell of apples being kept over Winter?   We had boxes in the attic and my father laid the apples out so that they were not touching one another and then kept an eye on them for signs of them going rotten.

Pears from our old tree up the side of the house - fruits which were so hard they could have been made of wood - were wrapped in tissue paper and put in the drawers in the kitchen.   Eventually they ripened.

Wood was sawn, piled up into logs and sticks for lighting the fire.
I could go on but sufficient to say that in the end the householder would stand back with a feeling of satisfaction as much as to say, 'Right Winter, do your worst.  I am ready for you!'

13 comments:

Heather said...

I have often thought the same and can remember my grandfather wrapping apples and pears in newspaper and laying them out on shelves. Granny always had a good supply of jams and chutneys in her larder. Food was simple but the ingredients were mostly homegrown and of good quality. I still like to eat seasonal foods even though everything seems to be available all the year round.

Em Parkinson said...

I remember that smell of apples in my grandparents' dining room so well Pat - thank for reminding me. No one ever went in that room except at Christmas, but I used to sneak in and breath in the apples.

Gwil W said...

I sometimes feel a slight panic when autumn arrives. Summer has gone and dreaded winter chills and coughs and colds can't be far away. I think it's because autumn always seems so short. No sooner it's here than the leaves have fallen it seems to me and it's quickly gone.
I like autumn. I'd like it to be longer, that's the problem in Central Europe where the cold fronts march down before you know it from the Steppes. The Russian crows have already arrived in Vienna for the winter.

Cat Mom said...

Maureen here. I adore autumn, the season of taking in and letting go. What can I let go of that is not serving me or my family -from foods to beliefs- and what are the well refined gems that I wish to keep? Plus, there is the delicious anticipation of (in America), Halloween, Thanksgiving, then, of course, Christmas and the New Year. I always like the anticipation so much more than the actual event. I know, I'm weird. Viva Autumn!

sonia said...

You must have amazing stories from your youth. I was raised in the suburbs but loved visiting farms both in the US and in Portugal where we spent summers. I wish I knew what the smell of apples in winter was like (we, I can imagine)! And I also love Autumn though for some reason I'm not all gung-ho about decorating for Halloween this year as I have been years past. And I keep trying to psych myself up for Winter but I admit that the dying leaves are just a reminder that beloved Summer is fading fast...

sonia said...

You must have amazing stories from your youth. I was raised in the suburbs but loved visiting farms both in the US and in Portugal where we spent summers. I wish I knew what the smell of apples in winter was like (we, I can imagine)! And I also love Autumn though for some reason I'm not all gung-ho about decorating for Halloween this year as I have been years past. And I keep trying to psych myself up for Winter but I admit that the dying leaves are just a reminder that beloved Summer is fading fast...

psobrien said...

I loved raking leaves up into a hugh pile and then, my sisters and I would jump right in the middle of them. The smell of dried leaves was wonderful. Of course, I had to rake them again, but the pile went into my mom's garden to make compost for the next growing season. Autumn is my favorite time!
Sandy @ My Yellow Swing
PS: I'm going to use the umbrella suggestion.

angryparsnip said...

I love to read your stories.
For me Fall Is quiet different. In Tucson it is three hot months of summer then one day you wake up and you feel the coolness in the air. In fact the air looks different. So for us desert dwellers the cool mornings and evening are like your "first snow flakes" We embrace the Fall.

cheers, parsnip

Cloudia said...

Lovely sharing this deep, ancient satisfaction with you!


ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3


Bovey Belle said...

I have always had this urge to preserve things, to squirrel away stuff for the winter. I love to make jam but I am the only one who eats it, so I have had to quash that urge in recent years. I still make chutney, and used to make a lot of wine. I may get back to that, but am concentrating on Christmas drinks instead - Raspberry Ratafia, Sloe Gin etc.

We have been picking apples recently and have boxfulls in the hallway, which will go down to the cooler pantry this weekend. The smell of them is superb.

Hildred said...

I look back through memories on the years when we canned and jellied and jammed, and even further to my father-in-laws wonderful root cellar in the orchard. I have a DIL who is wonderful about supplying me with small jars of various jams from the orchard fruit, but I miss the wonderful homegrown canned tomatoes!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

It is well known throughout the land (well, in our family anyway) that I'm not the biggest fan of most things autumnal - but I do love the putting up, canning, freezing, etc. I make jams for the cold winter to enjoy on toast, freeze the berries for fresh as possible berries on ice cream on frosty nights, freeze apple pie fillings, I make pickles and relishes.

I like to leave the jars sitting on the counter after a spell of canning or jam making - enjoying to look of the plenty - and then they go off to the pantry, to come out again later to our tables. I even take pictures of the bounty - as it comes into the house and before it goes into the pantry - this part of autumn I truly enjoy.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Isn't it strange how we all remember the smell of stored apples from our childhood.
Also love the idea of the Russian crows arriving in Vienna for the Winter. I once arrived in Moscow on Christmas Day and there were hooded crows everywhere - I had never seen one before.
Thanks for sharing your memories.