Spring bulbs and a walk in the park

Today was a very foggy day the mist didn’t clear until lunchtime. We couldn’t see across the valley from the bedrooms. I love the dislocation that comes from fog the way that sounds are dissociated from their origin and the restricted vision that caused objects and people to loom out of the mist close at hand like a Dr Who villain.

So with this in mind we went to the park for a walk. I took great delight in the Autumn colours. anthocyanins and carotins are spendid. There were enough leaves to kick through like a child.

We saw most of the urban ducks we would expect in a park. Mallard, Tufteds, Pochard, Wigeon, Shovelers and lots of Gadwell. Moorhens, coot and blackheaded gulls were abundant. In the trees flocks of mixed tits Blue, Great and Long Tiled movedr though with flocks of Finches Goldfinches and Cheffinches. at one point a Nuthatch appeared and jackdaws had obviously opted for a lie in as they were still everywhere instead of dispersing as they normally do at first light.
We found a wounded fallow deer stag one eye closed, its muzzle swollen and a truly weary expression on its face. We gave it a wide berth as we hoped it would recover. I suspect it had been rutting and been wounded in a battle with another stag.
As we arrived home the mist finally dispersed and we had a lovely sunny warm autumn day. I indulged myself in one of my favourite pastimes at this time of the year, I plant spring bulbs. Something about small bulb shoots emerging in early spring gives me such a happy feeling as it spring is on the way and the world is still working. We now have numerous tubs containing Red Riding Hood tulips, Daffodils, bulb irises and Muscari.
a lovely Sunday and worth remembering hence this entry.


autumn fruits

This week at work someone gave me a huge bag of cooking apples. A  very welcome gift as our trees haven’t produced much fruit at all this year. So this morning we started to make chutney

The difficult part is mincing the onions as we all end up in tears. In addition minced sultanas and apples look distinctively unappetising. However one we had weighed the fruit minced it and measured out the sugar and vinegar we just have to stir the mixture occasionally and heat it slowly until all the ingredients combine into a thick rich chutney. Meanwhile the house smells of vinegar and onions and apples and sugar a real smell of autumn. Once the process is complete the mixture will be spooned into sterile Kilner jars and sealed and will last us all year with a pot being given to the colleague who supplied the apples.

Here is the recipe if you are interested

1.5 kilograms of apples peeled and diced (or minced) 3lbs

1.5 kilograms of onions peeled and diced ( or minced) 3lbs

0.5 kilograms of raisins finely chopped or minced (1lb)

the juice and grated rind of 2 lemons

700g of demerara sugar (1.5 lbs)

600ml of vinegar ( 1 pint)

Place the ingredients into a pan and bring the pan to the boil. Simmer the mixture until the ingredients combine into a thick brown consistency without excess liquid. Sterilise the jars by either heating them in the oven or by pouring boiling water into them. Sterilise the rubber seals as well. Our chutney keeps for over a year (if I can stop the family from scoffing it sooner)

It doesn’t look very appetising being sludgy brown in spite of this the smell is wonderful and the taste is light and fruity without too much spice. It goes well with cheese, poultry and pork.