There’s something about late summer turning to autumn that fills me with a quiet excitement. Maybe it’s because I’ve always worked in education that September is my new year and I feel anticipation like starting a new exercise book, the thrill of new pens and pencils in my pencil case!
Today is ‘officially’ the first day of autumn and it’s a beautiful morning at The Lint Mill. The mist is dense along the river and it clings low to the grassy paddocks. This morning everything feels ‘other worldly’. It is very still, the animals are calm and quiet and the early morning holds the promise of a lovely day ahead. Perhaps we will have the kind of golden October we had the year we moved here, four years ago. In any case, mornings like these are to be cherished.
On this first day of autumn it feels a good moment to reflect on the summer past. It has been the most glorious of summers, the warmth and long sunny days reminding me of the summers of my childhood. It has been a summer where we have lived outside, making the most of the long days, eating on our picnic table, taking time to relax in the cottage garden, and making endless jugs of homemade lemonade.
It has been a summer of abundance too. The cottage garden has never looked lovelier and the borders have been bursting with colour and fragrance for months. Many of the plants have just started to fade but others are still in gorgeous bloom; the hollyhocks are still lovely and the verbascum and the roses are enjoying a second flush. The roses fill the chillier evening air with their old fashioned, heady musk scent.
The kitchen garden has flourished in the summer’s warmth and has given its fruits generously this year. We’ve been awash with cucumber, tomatoes, beans (runner and French), and of course we’ve had the inevitable courgette glut. The jugs of cut flowers from the cutting patch have been plentiful. The patch is still in full bloom and still supplying sweet peas and zinnias for our guests.
The carrots, potatoes, cabbages, kale, onions and fennel have been bountiful this year and we have plenty to see us well into the autumn months.
There is much to be thankful for and the meaning of the ritual of the harvest festival seems to arrive unannounced by any school assembly. I remember struggling to school with my basket of cabbage, potatoes, tins of Heinz soup and baked beans. This year our kitchen garden is thriving, our pantry is full and there is only one word to describe all of this…blessed!