I’ve finally accepted that I might need to put the Saltwaters away for the year. Early September toys with me always. Those Indian Summer days which can feel hotter than July, the bright skies and warm evenings, the chilly mornings which suggest boots and cardis but have you shedding layers an hour later. I muttered more than once last week while scouring my wardrobe, ‘what do people wear in Autumn?’.
Once my birthday has passed I seem to fall into step with the changing season and this week I’ve been excited for all the month ahead holds for us. It’s a time of festivals of all kinds and we love dipping into them in our own way.
Here’s some things we’ve celebrated so far and some things we’re looking forward to this Autumn:
Autumn Equinox / Mabon
A simple family meal this year. Nature treasures strewn all over the table at the last minute as the sun dipped behind the houses and we really did feel a little bit Autumnal. This season’s food for me is all about warming and hearty, cooked in a big cast iron pot and no doubt involving the abundance of squash I’ve accumulated from somewhere.
For this meal we had a Smoky Squash and Bean Stew with green beans and fresh corn cooked in. The recipe is from River Cottage Veg and is called Porotos Granados – don’t ask me how that’s pronounced, I’ve no idea, hence it was rechristened in our house. It smells amazing bubbling on the hob and my lot like to eat it with a ton of garlic bread. It only seemed right to have apple crumble after. And before we tucked in we talked about our gratitudes.
A constant feature in these weeks of Autumn. The local pick-your-own orchard, that I’ve probably written about before, is such a treasure at this time of year. The varieties of apples take it in turns to ripen so that from the Discoveries of August to the Russets of November there are always apples to pick.
Two things happen when we visit. We always pick too many and somebody always eats too many in the name of taste-testing. This year the boys even decided to get organised and choose our Christmas tree. I’m so not ready to think about that yet.
This is a Christian festival originally, but it’s often celebrated in a more general sense with the theme of harvest and of preparing for the season ahead, as the light fades towards the Winter months.
Our children’s school celebrated Michaelmas yesterday. Our eldest went on his first Michaelmas walk to the woods with his teacher and classmates, followed by a barbecue lunch and lots of hard work planting bulbs in the garden. Michaelmas is about harnessing our strength and readying ourselves and our surroundings for the darker months ahead so the work they do is beautifully symbolic of this. He and his classmates came out glowing.
Our little one had his first Kindergarten Michaelmas celebration too. Parents attend this one as well and it’s such a lovely morning. First a lovely circle time song was sung in the garden, then the children worked with their parents to planting bulbs in the garden. You can imagine how happy the children are to see the bulbs they planted springing up all over the garden come the Spring! It’s quite a sight after the many years of this tradition, so many spring flowers.
After the hard work (which our son absolutely loved – must put him to work more often!) there was a feast and the loveliest puppet play about a little girl bringing gifts to Mother Earth and Mother Earth giving her a gift back.
As we left, the children were given their own gift from Mother Earth (via the teacher obvs!). Two little crocus bulbs wrapped and tied in red tissue paper. The excitement in those shining eyes had my eyes shining a bit!
We planted N’s bulbs beside our front path today. He was so happy. And we’re so looking forward to seeing them popping up when the light returns in a few months.
Next up is a Kite Flying outing which the kindergarten parents organise. I’m not entirely sure where this tradition stems from, except for the fact that this term is all about feeling our own strength and the kite shows this beautifully. We go to a place which is always always windy. Crazy windy. Except last year I picked the only day that saw not a breath of wind up there. Ha! Hilarious. Let’s hope we’ve picked a better one this year.
It’s so lovely to see so many local orchards establishing Apple Day traditions. We’ve been going to a farm near us for a few years now and like all our family traditions our boys look forward to it so much. They’ll often start talking about it as the date approaches when we’ve not even mentioned it, as though these seasonal rhythms are deeply ingrained. I love that.
In November we have a 7th birthday to look forward to. We worked out a couple of years ago that indoor parties don’t quite work for our eldest and his friends. They love to roam and they don’t notice the weather so why not get them outside. This year a woodland party with a campfire and a sparkler on his cake is what he’s requested. Yes, my love, I can certainly do that.
We usually grow a few pumpkins but this year the strawberry plants took over the bed and I didn’t have the heart to dig any up, they were going so strong. Besides, there’s a pyo pumpkin field somewhere around and I’m feeling all the heart eyes about getting my two in there with a camera in my hand. Not that it’s going to work out as romantically as I’m picturing it. It never does hey?
Home & hygge
There are plans afoot to cosy up the lounge a little and spend many evenings snugged up with the fire and some lovely beeswax candles. I also had a new essential oil diffuser for my birthday so I’ll be mixing up all kinds of warming blends. Can’t wait.
And while I’m cosied up there will no doubt be something in my lap to work on. Because, oh my, I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. Lots of things to complete for my Handwork course, plus very long lists of all the things that need to be made for our school’s Advent Fair toy stall (thank goodness for an army of parents helping out) and I’d ambitiously decided to knit two jumpers and a hat. Mad woman, honestly! For small people of course, by I’m a pretty slow knitter.
So, yep, that’s where you’ll find me this month. Picking fruit and vegetables, finding any excuse to celebrate something and cosied up with needles, thread and yarn.
What do you most look forward to in Autumn?