Wednesday 28 October 2020

Mud, Leaves and Pumpkins


I'd originally had high hopes for this week. In my mind I'd envisioned bright autumn days, walking on the fells, enjoying picnic lunches on the summits, then returning home at the end of each day exhausted but happy. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. It's dismal, cold and very very wet, and disappointingly it's set to stay this way for the remainder of the week.

On Sunday, however, there was a brief window of opportunity. The afternoon was predicted to be dry and if we were really lucky there was also the slightest chance of seeing just a little bit of sunshine.

We didn't go very far. Our walk was just long enough to stretch our legs and breathe in some fresh air. Being stuck in the house is not for me and I know I can get (very) grouchy if I can't get outdoors for at least some part of the day.

Waterproofs and wellies on, we walked down the track and through the fields just past the pond.

Mushrooms are growing all throughout the woods just now. These Inkcaps appreciate the wet weather at least.

After a lot of rain parts of this walk can become very muddy, which as you might imagine, Lily enjoys very much. She also likes to walk in the nearby stream, which is the reason her wellies look 'clean' in this photograph. What you can't see is that her jeans are completely mud splattered up the back. : ) Not to mind, I'm more than used to this by now and  they are easily washed. 

Once past the clearing we walked back amongst the trees once again. Following the recent wet and windy weather the leaves have been falling thick and fast. They carpeted the woodland floor but they squelched rather than crunched beneath our feet.

Before we left the woods, we sat for a while, enjoying the sun as it broke through the sparse canopy of the trees. This is my favourite section of the walk. The light is so beautiful here and it's also where we stop for chocolate. : )

Another reason for getting out was so that we could call in at the farm and choose our Halloween pumpkins. It took us a while, as there were a variety of interesting shapes and sizes to choose from but we settled on a medium sized white one and a small orange one, and at some point over the next few days we will be carving them in time for the weekend. 

J. X

Sunday 25 October 2020

Quiet October Days


The clocks went back last night and the end of the year looms ever closer. The days are getting shorter and recently have been rushing by much faster than I am comfortable with. Leaves fill the porch, there is a small heap of conkers on the coffee table and pumpkins and gourds of various shapes and sizes adorn the mantel. 
My days have become reassuringly repetitive. During the week, once work and school are over, there is time for little else. Unless the weather is really bad, Lily will then play outside until darkness descends, only coming indoors under duress. I don't know why this should surprise me, she is her mother's daughter after all :)

One or two mornings each week I go out for a run. I relish this time when the lanes are quiet, often not passing  another person  for the most of my route, only sheep in the fields, and the occasional fell pony or squirrel.  At the moment I have to be really careful to avoid slipping, as the ground is covered with damp leaves and acorns. Any conkers I spy are quickly gathered and brought back home with me to add to our ever increasing collection.

As is always the case in October, the weather is so very changeable. Wet and windy days can become bright and sunny in a moment, but so far this month most of our walking has been done in wellies. Last weekend we enjoyed a long awaited trip into town for a new pair for Lily. I hadn't been shopping, other than for food, since March, so it felt good to be back doing something 'normal' again, albeit with additional precautions in place. And suffice to say the wellies have enjoyed plenty of use already. 

As the days become darker, I find I spend more and more of my time in the kitchen.  When it's pouring with rain outside, there's nothing nicer than hunkering down indoors, whiling away an afternoon baking a delicious cake or some biscuits. A few weeks ago I couldn't resist treating myself to an oak leaf shaped biscuit cutter I found online. I knew it would be perfect for gingerbread, especially at this time of year.

My favourite part of autumn, however, is just getting outdoors and enjoying the changing colours of the season. This deer park is one of my favourite places to walk, especially as the weather turns colder. The deer are often hidden amongst the trees, so it was a lovely surprise to see some run across the path just in front of us. 
This week sees the start of our half-term break. I hope to get out and enjoy some more walks when the weather permits, but mainly I intend to relax and enjoy my time at home. This afternoon, however, we are going to the farm to choose our pumpkins. 🎃🎃🎃

J. X

Saturday 10 October 2020

Into Autumn

Autumn days are gathering pace, and now that we're fully immersed into our school and work routine once again, it's reassuring to feel some sense of normalcy. Everyday life, although not completely back to how it was before lockdown, has at least taken on it's usual rhythm for this time of year.

We've experienced some beautiful sunny days and enjoyed some lazy weekends. Hurried early mornings and long walks have, instead, been replaced by leisurely breakfasts and shorter rambles through nearby fields and woodlands. Wearing our wellies, as it's very muddy just now.
Acorns crunch underfoot and the trees are shedding their leaves at an alarming rate, reminding me it won't be long until the clocks go back and the days get even shorter. 

It looks so beautiful in the woods at the moment. The dappled sunlight through the trees shifts in the breeze, making patterns on the ground. Squirrels appear suddenly, scurrying along collecting nuts, before quickly disappearing out of sight again.

Although it is still a little early for us, the farm shop already has their pumpkins on display. Lily quite likes the idea of a white one for a change, but that might just be because they are HUGE. I suspect I will get an orange one as well, just because. 🎃🎃🎃
Whilst we were there we bought some decorative gourds. I have them on the mantel along with some conkers I collected when I was out running this week. Without any pockets, I needed to keep them in my hand for the final stretch home, which wasn't as easy as you might think given that they were really quite large. Lily is very happy with them, however, as is Mog, who despite me having had some new cat toys delivered for her this week, much prefers to chase conkers around the hallway. But please don't worry, she never attempts to eat them.

In the kitchen there's a definite comfort food vibe going on. I love this time of year for cooking up nourishing tasty meals and I've been making some of my usual go-to dishes along with one or two new-to-me recipes which I'm sure will become firm favourites. 
In two weeks time we will have begun our half-term break, then we will be slowly heading towards the end of the year, but before then I am looking forward to enjoying some glorious autumn colour and indulging in kicking through some crisp fallen leaves. 🍂🍂🍂

J. X