It seems that summer is slipping away. The mornings are a little cooler, the dew on the grass lingers for longer and in the evenings the back door no longer stands open until bed time. Although the combines are still harvesting the wheat and oilseed rape around us, the hot dusty smell of summer has been replaced by the damper smell of newly turned soil, as tractors and ploughs work their way across the stubble fields.
There’s no time for long walks in August. The North Downs Way walk is on hold as walks are confined to the farm where the hedges are checked for fruits and berries to use in jams and gin. We have a few ripe blackberries but most of them are still unripe, as are the elderberries.
The sloes and bullace are changing to the familiar blue black colour that deepens as they ripen, but they aren’t ready for picking yet.
The crab apples are ripe for picking or playing with on the footpath under the pretence of creating art. I’m tempted to make jars of crab apple jelly flavoured with spices or herbs, like mint and sage, but am held back by the sight of a shelf full of jams and jellies dating back to (whisper it) 2005. If I haven’t used a jam in eight years then it obviously isn’t that appealing but while the voice in my head shouts “waste not, want not”, I’ve been seduced by Elizabeth’s jewel like jellies that make my old jams look dull and unenticing. Perhaps I’ll clear out the jams that have solidified in the jar and make just a few jars of crab apple jelly and spiced crab apples.
For a while, Jo at Daisyley took a photo from the same spot every month , which I thought was interesting as the year unfolded so I’m going to try to remember to take a photo from the gateway to Great Forest field once a month. You’ll be relieved to know that I won’t post them all, as a picture of a field might get a little boring for you. But to start with, the view this morning from Great Forest gateway looking north west as I took a walk around the farm.