late summer

groundsel

This is how late summer feels at the moment – liable to blow away at any time. We veer from warm sunny days to cold rainy days and back again. Shirt sleeves one day, raincoat and wellies the next.

guinea fowl eggs

Even the ducks and guinea fowl seem out of season. One duck has been sitting on a nest that she built higher every day (like the princess and the pea) and finally hatched out two ducklings, both of which perished within a day. The guinea hen disappeared and was eventually located sitting in a patch of thistles on a clutch of eggs that she’s since abandoned, maybe realising that it’s far too late in the year to rear any young or quite possibly just forgetting where she laid her eggs. Having watched her run backwards and forwards alongside a fence for at least five minutes before remembering that she could fly over it to get to the other side, I suspect the latter.

In the fields, the growing cycle continues. The wheat stubble has been cultivated and next year’s oilseed rape crop has been sown, seed heads abound in the margins around the fields and in forgotten corners, ready to burst open. The hedges brim with the autumn colours of hips and haws, unripe hazelnuts that haven’t yet been raided by the squirrels and almost ripe sloes. There are blackberries in every shade between bright unripe green and dull overripe  inky purple and though a lot of the flowers haven’t set this year, there should be enough blackberries around the farm for Beth to pick for her Blackberry Gin.

damson crumble

We climbed the ladder to pick the last greengages from the topmost branches of the tree and then moved seamlessly into damson picking. Perhaps even more than the changing colours of the leaves, it’s the sight of the dusky, deep coloured damsons that signal the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. We stand at the tree and gorge on sweet, juicy greengages but the damsons are too tart for that and are best cooked. Damson crumble is the first thing I make, the fruit exuding a deep purple juice that oozes up around the buttery topping and then there’ll be compotes and fools, maybe ice-cream if we get an Indian summer. The weather forecast is looking as though we may get one. Fingers crossed.

31 thoughts on “late summer

  1. Jane says:

    I would like to take a spoon and reach into the screen and gobble up that crumble. Even though I’ve never tasted a damson, something that looks like that can’t be bad.

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  2. Emily Grace says:

    Thank you for this autumn preview! We still have another month of summer – maybe a little less if mild temperatures come early.

    Are you photographing with the same camera as usual? If so, this blog layout is so complimentary. Allow me to clarify, I’ve enjoyed and admired your photography from the beginning, but it has a little extra “oomph” lately, and I am wondering if it is the new layout or if you’re doing something different at capture. Just being nosey…it’s a bad habit of mine where photography is concerned. 🙂

    Hope you are doing great!
    eg

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      I’m a point and shoot photographer and any extra oomph is due to the layout so a good move to update it then 🙂 . I’m never likely to progress use a DSLR camera but am hoping that one day my photos will turn out better on the manual setting than automatic.
      Enjoy your last weeks of summer.

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      • Emily Grace says:

        Hi Anne!

        Well then, here’s to finding such a lovely layout – more oomph for the same effort – I like it! I think point and shoot cameras are excellent. I love my little Pentax MX-1 and hope to write about it again soon. These cameras really can do a lot and present really nice images, as evidenced by your photographs! If I had to choose between my dSLR with one lens on it and my Pentax. I would choose the Pentax. It just does good work and makes me happy – and makes my back and neck and shoulders happy, too!! 🙂 All that to say, please hug your point and shoot for me – and learn to work those manual settings whenever/if it suits you…auto/manual aside, PEOPLE take photos – and the way you view the world through your lens is just lovely – the light, the angle, the composition, etc.

        Best!!
        Emily Grace

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  3. theclevercarrot says:

    I have always envied farm life. I know that by no means is it an easy life, or assume that it’s idyllic in anyway. I just love nature and the outdoors, exploring, foraging, wandering. It is always lovely taking a virtual tour of your farm. Fingers crossed for an Indian summer, for sure. I’m hoping that is the case here as well. Enjoy the weekend Anne xx

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  4. thegardendeli says:

    After reading your last post about greengages, I decided to try the green ones on the tree here rather than waiting for them to turn yellow (the ones at our last house ripened to yellow). Turns out the green ones are just amazing, so sweet and juicy… way better than any I’ve tasted before. So, thank you – without you’re blog I’d still be looking at the tree and wondering when the fruit was going to ripen!

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  5. Annie says:

    You’ve reminded me I still have some of last years blackberry vodka in the drinks cupboard. Happy day.

    You’ve also got me thinking about making a damson crumble tomorrow!

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