Autumn – My Favourite Season for making jam and raspberry vodka

Autumn is my favourite season, especially on those perfect days of vivid blue skies, contrasting with the oranges and reds of the trees. The mornings have that lovely crisp feel to them and the smell of wood smoke makes me think of Bonfire night, sausages and onions, woolly jumpers and hot chocolate.

“Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolour, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all” – Stanley Horowitz

I studied English Literature at A level – many moons ago and although a lot of the authors and poets we studied have faded from memory, I still love the poetry by John Keats. To Autumn was the final poem he wrote in a group of poems known as Keats’s “1819 odes”. The poem is full of rich imagery. I particularly love how the poem describes the progression of the season. It’s beautiful.  
To Autumn – By John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies

For me September is a bit like January, in that it is a time when I start to think about new beginnings. I get itchy feet as to what I can learn next. I have been described as a bit of a “butterfly” in that I tend to flit from one idea to another. Last week I embarked on a four week course on learning to crochet. I haven’t picked up a crochet hook (see I even know the lingo now!) in my life. I spent a lovely couple of hours learning basic stitches and managed to produce about an inch of respectable looking crochet. Not sure if I can remember how I did it. I was very impressed to see what can actually made in crochet, one lady was making an autumn style wreath featuring, leaves and hedgehogs – stunning!

A couple of Autumns ago my son and I decided to visit a National Trust property and took some beautiful photographs, using my new (at the time) digital camera. It has been in it’s case too long now, I should dust it down (literally) and try and capture some more autumnal pictures.

I really love to paint for relaxation and was really keen to paint an Autumn picture. Here’s my Autumn tree inspired by Art Sherpa. So easy to do when following a tutorial, next step will be to paint without!

  It’s lovely to try and create a cosy and welcoming space to relax at home when the weather turns chilly. Candles are lit and twinkling fairy lights, light up dark corners. This year I am looking to buy some chunky knit blankets to use as throws. I have found a couple on Amazon, the links of which I will put below. I love the handmade one! I think I would like to re learn how to knit as my next project. I would love to be able to knit my own blanket or chunky scarf.
Autumn foods are always so utterly delicious too! When I had my allotment it was this time of year when I needed to be very creative with a glutton of courgettes! I grew sweetcorn, but unfortunately they were demolished by mice, rabbits or something else, that I never found out.
We never had a problem with too many berries as they were demolished by the kids or made into raspberry vodka. It’s so ridiculously easy to make and tastes amazing!
Recipe – Raspberry Vodka

500g raspberries
250g castor sugar
1 litre of vodka
Sterilise a 1.5 litre preserving jar.
Tip raspberries and sugar into the jar.
Pour in half the vodka and shake.
Pour in rest of vodka and shake well.
Seal jar and store in a cool, dark place.
shake once a day for the first week, then leave for two – three weeks, shaking every few days.
Strain into sterilised bottles and label.
Will keep for up to two years. 

The pumpkins, didn’t quite grow as they should and were ridiculously tiny! Runner beans however, we had to give them away there were so many!
One year we were lucky enough to be given a lot of plums. I made lots of plum jam, which was delicious.
Recipe – Plum Jam

  3lb plums stoned and washed.
3lb preserving sugar.
12 table spoons of water.
Knob of butter


Simmer plums in the water with lid on until soft.
Add sugar, stir constantly until dissolved to prevent burning.
Bring to the boil and add butter.
Continue to boil (you need a very large pan)
Jam will start to look darker and thicker.
Test for setting point by dropping a small amount onto a cold plate, push your finger through, if it wrinkles setting point has been achieved. If not continue to boil.
Pour into sterile, warm jars.
Put wax disc on the top of jam.
Cover with cellophane.
Label with contents and date made.



1 Comment

  1. October 1, 2017 / 10:27 am

    I am super jealous of your art skills! I love autumn as it is just so pretty outside!!!!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

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