Monday, 31 October 2011


Autumn's toes are getting chilly now. The fine ladies of this town are sacrificing hair for hat. The mornings are beautiful when at last they open their eyes to us.

And the colours bring joy enough to see us through to the other side.

In our school playground, apples patiently queue in an admirably English manner. Some have arrived in such number they burst from every door of a car; others are nestled in a basket with just a few friends.

All are destined to be pressed. Here Yuli Somme, felter extraordinaire and creator of the most beautiful natural woolen shrouds, blithely ignores the instructions written on the funnel - with no unfortunate consequences.

The resultant mush is packed in a stack of gridded tins lined with muslin,

each carefully wrapped,

then squeezed by young and old working the tightening wheel. The nectar is carefully poured into bottles 

and the leftovers taken away by the firstcomer for excellent composting.

This is our freezer. More is in our fridge. More still is in our systems already, keeping the doctor away, we hope.

Fueled by this seasonal sugar bounty, we have been getting creative. Pickle spent ages using the stick end of the brush to make the most beautiful design of dots and dashes. Them she stuck the brush in the black and covered it all up. I make art because I love the process, but it is awesome to watch Pickle do it with not a scrap of regard for the finished result (or the laundry).

I followed a recipe (almost unheard of) and made perfect playdough. We stuck our fingers deep into it, giggling a bit nervously when we couldn't see them any more. We made rings. We made moons and sausages and a little teacup. Then we squidged it all back into a lump, which was the most fun part.

Other harvests have come our way. Perfect horse mushrooms from fields around an organic farm

and a bumper haul from Chagfood: pumpkins galore plus our regular veg box, and an evening of feasting, fire and Baba Yaga storytelling from Coyopa with musical accompaniment from Rima Staines (who, it turns out, can make an accordion snore!). The children claimed they weren't scared. I can only say they must be fools.

All that has got us in the mood for Hallowe'en tonight. Many years I've celebrated Samhain in a (fairly) serious and sacred way. But this year I'm creating a new ceremony. I'm taking my favourite little witch (seen here flying her broomstick backwards - maybe it's a stunt broom) trick-or-treating.

And if any children come to our door, this is what awaits them:

Happy Hallowe'en and Samhain blessings on you all. Let's make it through!


  1. Thankyou for colour tweeking!
    We've made apple and pear juice this year, generally 3 apples to one pear-lush!
    Storytelling with music from Rimamust have been a magical evening!!

  2. Sounds magical Lunar! I love the sense of community I get from this post, and many others about this wonderful little town!

  3. What a beautiful post and blog!

    Nothing like fresh pressed apple juice. (A few years ago, my husband and I pressed an insane number of apples for juice and cider. I'd love to be able to do that again some day.)

    There is such a wonderful sense of community in your town. And so much beauty - I love the bracken covered hill in your top photo.

  4. Bounty! I love fresh apples and everything about the harvest season. And your skull with candy is awesome.
    Take Care

  5. Thanks for the prompting, gz. I'm enjoying the chocolatyness.
    Storytelling is a magic I would like to learn one day, and of course Tom and Rima wove a compelling spell.
    Christina, I also love the sense of community which happens here, so you and I can be part of an 'us' from opposite sides of our planet.
    Thank you Lynn. That's our wedding hill from the post before. I love being able to see it from my house and watching the bracken change colour.
    So good to have you back, Crystal. Some brave souls did dare pluck a lollipop from the very jaws of death! Do take good care of yourself too. I've been thinking of you.

  6. Lovely post - very glad I was part of it all - looks great up there with your thoughts. I too love the new colours - think it does look much better. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.............. Mapfle ju! (How has our girl almost learned the German for apple?)

  7. My love, it could never be so great a thing if you were not part of it. And you do make the best mapfle ju.
    For readers who don't live in my house; that's Pickle for apple juice - her new obsession (and ours).
    And I blame the neighbours for the Germanic influence.

  8. Your scenery photos are beautiful, and what gorgeous pumpkins, well done on the harvesting

  9. Thank you Ronnie. We're still enjoying the pumpkins (visually and culinarily) and glugging apple juice with gleeful abandon. Wishing you abundance, too.


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