Autumn Almost Upon Us

September 22nd 2018 is the official date for the beginning of Autumn. The time of year when the nights begin to draw in, the temperature drops and the countryside settles down for a rest.

The Cambridge English dictionary describes Autumn as the season between Summer and Winter north of the equator. South of the equator Autumn falls between March and May. The periods when the fruit and the crops become ready to eat and are harvested and when the leaves fall.

Already the fruit can be seen on the trees. Berries are ripening displaying their many colours. Farmers are gathering their harvest and collecting their grains. Straw bales are appearing in the fields awaiting collection.

We shall soon be seeing the leaves on deciduous trees changing colour then falling from the branches.

During the Autumn period people are out foraging. Foraging for wild fruits and edible berries.

Fruits such as blackberries and elderberries are picked to make wine, sloes are added to gin making sloe gin. Crab apples are used to make crab apple jelly, used to spread on toast or eat with various cold meats. Autumn is also the time when various edible fungi can be found thanks to the morning dew and residual warmth still in the air.

Children can be seen collecting horse chestnuts known as conkers. A pastime that is generations old. Children thread the conkers onto strings to enjoy conker fights in the playground.

As Autumn approaches there are signs to let you know it is almost upon us. The sun rises a little later every morning and sets a little earlier each evening. Nights are becoming refreshingly cooler. Spiders webs are suddenly appearing in your gardens. Swallows gather for their pre migration ritual. Morning dews become more prolific. The angle of the sun changes. Small mammals start gorging on fruit and nuts before hibernating.

For me, Autumn definitely has to be one of my favourite seasons.


Author: Jim Harrison

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