Middle of September.  Summer seems a long time away.  Weather over the past 2 weeks has been tediously wet and windy.  Now it's clear but chilly at night.

In the garden...

Ripening fruits continue to be interesting.  This is a crab apple - John Downie.  Very pretty this time of year.  It's also pretty - briefly - at blossom time.  Blossom time is important because it provides food for insects but also because it allows cross pollination of apple trees. The apple flowering season is weeks long and different varieties flower at different times.  Some varieties might require cross-pollination so it's a good idea to have a few varieties in the localiity.  (I'm sure there's some sort of permaculture principle involved here - of having 3 reasons to do something).

Also doing well in the garden are peas...

Peas are a cold weather crop.  They are one of the first things I sow in spring - in the polytunnel first of all.  (Make sure you keep the mice off them). Sowings continue through spring.  I sow again in late July and August and I'm harvesting that crop now.  They are eaten 'mange-tout' style, giving a tasty, crunchy edge to stir-fries.  They fix nitrogen in the soil too.

I'm building up beds of parsley too. Generally I plant flat-leave French or Italian parsley.  I eat loads of it and like to have lots of plants.  Need some in the polytunnel too for all-winter picking.  These summer sown plants will last till spring, when they will grow coarse and flower.

Runner beans are doing well... as are leeks, a very useful crop since they last throughout the winter and are always there to be made into a leek and potato soup (with plenty of parsley).

I'm about 15 miles from the nearest supermarket so a source of fresh food just outside the back door is important.

In the polytunnel there is a glut of tomatoes.  I've been unambitious this year and grown Gardeners' Delight and Alicante.  They are beginning to get a bit blighty now but meanwhile I'm enjoying walking into the polytunnel and eating sweet tomatoes like grapes.   It'll all be over in a couple of weeks time but the process will start again at the end of next February when the first tomato seeds are sown again.  Maybe some heritage varieties this time?

 At work I've been processing some more firewood - some beech and oak that a contractoir left last year in large lumps.

I made certain the chainsaw was sharp - oak heartwood gets like stone.  Fortunately it's very straight-grained and it's turning into the best firewood I've ever seen.

This is so lovely.  It's a joy to work with and will keep someone very warm in a year or two's time.

Local wildlife is reacting to the changing season.  House Martens are still around, but in smaller numbers.  Bats are flying at dusk, but maybe I notice them because dusk is earlier.  Owls hooting across the valley.  There is a very noticeable late brood of Red Admirals.  They are big and perfect and dry themselves on sunny walls.

 They love feeding on ripe fruit and there's plenty of that about.

It's the autumn equinox this week and light and landscape are changing.  Nothing ever stays quite the same.  Always something of interest. 

Here sunset creates the impression of fire in the pine woods.  So this weekend I managed a rather delayed seasonal job.  I cleaned the main flues in the hoiuse.  I was really pleased because they turned out very clean, with just a little soot and some inert clinker.  That's a  lot better than the oily deposits of some chimneys.  Having a good flue lining is really important here.  I lit the Rayburn and it roared nicely.   It's such a  beautiful feeling to have that little patch of warmth resisting the gentle chill of autumn.  Perfect.

It's also good to know that if the electricity goes down I've still got a source of warmth, cooking and hot water and no gas cylinders or oil tank in the front yard.  I immediately put some herbs to dry in the cool oven and got some clothes off the line and on to the drier above the stove.

And so we have the autumn kitchen.  It's a place that is never tidy - because there is always something going on and that's how I think it should be.

Just now I'm listening to...

Jiggy - Silent Place

Shush - Jim is snoozing...  don't wake him.