Summer is slowly fading away and this transition to autumn is one of my favourite times of the year.
This time of year, the fields are filled with the noise of tractors and machinery as the tractor and plough prepare the land for sowing next year’s crop, the hedges around the fields are cut back, the banks of the ditches are trimmed and chain saws lop the branches of trees that threaten to topple riders on the bridleway or bash the side of the combine.
Standing in the field looking across the Brain Valley, a warm breeze carried the smells of cut grass and hedge, freshly turned earth and fallen crab apples. It’s a truly glorious smell and one that marks the turning point of the farming year.
This time of year we gather wild fruits and berries from the hedgerows …
This time of year, we pick baskets of fruit, berries and foliage from the hedgerows to cook, preserve or simply plonk in containers to bring the colour inside.
This time of year, I cook blackberries with a little sugar in a slow oven until the juices begin to run and then stir in an equal quantity of autumn fruiting raspberries to make a delicous compote.
There are beetroot, carrots, runner beans and apples from the garden. And courgettes. Always courgettes.
But sometimes, the best thing to do at this time of year is to dig for worms on a sunny September morning.