Ripening!

The mill stream is quiet, just trickling down its course. It is still very low. The recent heavy rain has made little difference yet.  Sparrows flutter through the trees overhanging trees above the water, something that can be done easily with the water so low.

The sky is light but clouded with a stillness that feels as though there will be rain soon. The light breeze hardly unsettles the leaves and plants.

Blackberries are now out, juicy and  tasty, earlier than they would normally. They are irresistible and it is too inviting not to reach out and pick them. We have picked some and later will collect more to make blackberry liqueur for Christmas. The taste of the liqueur in the depth of Winter brings you back to the time of ripening berries and the colours and scents.

The elderberries are not yet ripe but the branches are beginning to droop with the increasing weight of ripening berries.  They will be collected for wine – with plenty left for the birds and other creatures. Hazel nuts still fall to the ground along the lane, mostly untouched – no marks of mouse or vole or cracked by squirrels.  Sloes are ripening steadily, now a bronze colour. Still a way to go.

The hawthorn slowly continues its transition to haws while suddenly, it seems, rose hips have appeared. Red and glossy and inviting. It amazes me how often I can look at an area of the lane one day and see nothing new and the next day thee is something bright and eye catching.

 

As a child,rose hip syrup was one of the things you were given, along with cod liver oil – post war 50’s babies. As a child I thought I’d try to replicate the rose hip syrup – I didn’t. Having collected the hips I placed them in a little water in one of my mother’s pyrex bowls and cooked the concoction in the oven. The result was a sort of hard rose hip toffee concrete. My mother never got her bowl back and it was inedible. My mother was good about allowing experimentation!

The snowberries are now out. They, according to the stories, will be providing food for the ghosts that roam in the dark hours.  The burrs have now formed on the Wood avens and they look, close up, like dangerous, spiky monsters – all ready to attach themselves to animals.

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