Thursday, 10 September 2015

Elderberries at last! the pleasure of picking, the delicious smell of them cooking, I am making a nourishing syrup for sore throats and colds, packed with goodness - small pleasures but, for me cooking and bottling berries  is one of the best times of the year.   The door to my blog is ajar and the steamy smell of berries simmering might almost creep through if you breath deeply.  These are my favourite Autumnal colours just now, deep reds, greys and purples.

I found some bark in the woods during the Summer, dried it and as it was in the most convenient cylindrical shape, used around glass candle votives to shed a gentle light.

Ambercat  is growing her Winter coat, she changes colour in the Winter going a darker gingery stripe (in the Summer she goes very white underneath and light ginger).  The woods are wearing a rustic cloak with browns and yellows and the little meadow beyond is full of brown thistles and golden grasses, ripe blackberry and elderberry. 

 I have never seen so many sloe berries- a sign of a hard Winter ahead perhaps.

I made up some lavender bags from odd silk paintings that had no purpose and backed them with muslin to freshen the wardrobe and deter moths.

I used lavender picked from the garden, just two little bushes gave enough for 8 bags.

We have a new bread maker, the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house is unbeatable, do you make bread? it is enjoyable to do by hand but my machine will do all the work for me overnight, lazy luxury!

We like rich colour in this house - food included!  hubby made giant couscous with mint and coriander, tomato and red onion, very colourful and great in packed lunches with a little feta cheese or tuna. I am interested in the colour of food lately, I think it matters - red and green foods are vibrant and give energy, don't you think?

My bag of cyclamen was five pounds in the market.  I added ornamental cabbage to  the last flush of geranium and filled a tub.  Climbing roses still linger, the chiminea has been made ready as there is a definite chill in the air.  I am looking forward to wearing extra layers, I like the feel of soft woollens and heavier clothing - do you have a favourite cosy thing that you wear? I have a lightweight blanket from Ikea that I wrap around me when I sit in the garden or drape over me if sitting in the conservatory on chilly mornings.

I haven't read any 'proper' books lately, nothing has got my attention but coffee table books have been coming back from the library.  This Kevin McCloud book is worth buying I think.  The home design tv programs he hosts are more as an observer than an advisor, his book reveals how knowledgeable and creative he himself is, he has opened my imagination to the power of colour and I have learned how colour can change light and mood, size and proportion in a room.

This is how the woods near the windmill looked at the weekend.  Beyond here are fields with woolly sheep, the odd horse with signs asking passers by to phone if the horse 'causes any trouble' although I can't imagine a horse would get up to much in the woods other than eating things or maybe running up and down this path for a bit of fun.  Badger Kingdom is situated above the left bank, I wonder if many people know it is there, as it's an underground kingdom of chambers only visible in Spring when the burrows have been disturbed.  Right now everything is no doubt going on under the surface as they bed down for Winter.  We bed down too, we like the evenings drawing in, hot dinners, heavier bedding, the prospect of the last episode of Dowton Abbey coming soon and another series of Home Front.

This seemingly empty footpath with a few twisty trees is home to bats, boxes have been placed by the local Council, some are quite low, about 5 ft from the ground (I thought they would like to be higher), I will come back one evening soon in the hope of seeing them.

  Thank you for visiting and I hope you will leave a comment if you have time to chat.  I will be back in a while,  Today I have my paint brushes out and feel like dabbling so bye for now.....


  1. Hi Betty! Oh, it's SO nice to hear from you!
    Your berries smell good! (smile)
    I love the lavender filled silk bags, too.
    I agree with you in regard to color. It's kind of mysterious and wonderful, how color makes us feel.
    I can tell you are longing for a cozy fall. Me, too!

  2. Such a colorful, beautiful post, Betty. Am trying to sniff your elderberries.

    The couscous looks delightful!

  3. Dear Betty
    Lovely to hear from you again. Colour is so important for mood and emotion and the effect the 'wrong' colour has seems to be underestimated sometimes. I like your lavender bags. I have made some lavender shortbread which is a real taste of summer and absolutely delicious (though I say it myself). I do like autumn, but don't like the loss of the light so much. I like the look of the book too - I shall go and investigate!
    Best wishes

  4. A post bursting with colourful and industry! You have been busy.
    I love giant couscous, I like the Wetherspoons superfood salad when we have lazy lunches in the pub.
    The bark is gorgeous and the lavender bags are very funky. xxx

  5. I'm making Crabapple jelly at the moment. Have never tried using elderberries but imagine the smell is amazing!
    The scented bags that I have of yours are still lovely and live in a drawer with my nighties!

  6. You've been incredibly busy! The lavender bags you sent to me are keeping the moths away from my wool, as is the little felted heart. I haven't heard of giant cous-cous. Where do you get it? I watched Kevin McCloud's programme about people who lived in places off the radar. Some of them were really inspiring. Great post, Betty. It's great that all my old favs are back to blogging - just like the old days!! Have a great weekend. x

    1. I think we got it from boring old Tesco to be honest but I will check.

  7. A beautiful post Betty & I can feel your enjoyment of the autumnal season you are entering. I love your lavender bags, great idea to use up the left over paintings on silk. Your cyclamen were a great bargain, they give such a long lasting colour I always think. I love Kevin McCloud's t.v programmes when he is on over here - I always watch him. Have a happy weekend Betty x x

  8. I have never heard of elderberries. Maybe they do not grow in Oregon. I am so curious as to how they smell and taste! Darn being so far away!

  9. The lavender bags are gorgeous. I laughed at the idea of posting a sign about the horses. :) I'm so looking forward to the last installments of Downton Abbey. I'll miss it! My online friends are creating an urge in me to produce shiny jars of jam and other preserves. Smells lovely! Enjoy dabbling with your paints!

  10. Lovely to see you posting Betty and I'm glad I spied your shoes beneath the curtain!
    I enjoy these seasonal posts of yours, taking us through the woods observing nature.
    The wildflowers in the English countryside are a sight to behold, we don't have them everywhere in NZ.
    I wouldn't know what Elderberries smell like, but going by their rich colour I imagine they are lovely.
    Your posts are like reading my book 'Beatrix Potter a Journal', your observations of nature are a treat to read - charming!

  11. I love elderberries too! So rich in colour. They make amazing jam!

  12. I absolutely love elderberries. I have a huge elderberry shrub that always produces a lot of fruit. Unfortunately, the past few years a vine has engulfed it. And I've been too lazy to tend to it! Did you know that in folklore, witches lived beneath elderberry shrubs? I always check mine for evidence! None...yet :)

  13. Oh you are really stocking up the nest for winter! I love the idea of growing a winter coat- I think I'll look inside my wardrobe and drawers this weekend to cobble together one for me too! I do love peeking into your woods x


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