I weaved my way though the towering sunflower stalks, growing in the kitchen garden. Aiming for a flower, in the middle of the patch, to photograph. The others around it were beginning to fade. Petals twisting. Edges drying. This one sunflower bloomed later and was still looking good. Head not hanging down, as if inspecting its feet, like its fading companions. It’s nearing judgement day. Do I bring the sunflower seed heads in, to store for the birds over winter? Soon, I think.

I stepped carefully over spaghetti squashes, growing between the stalks. Mindful of their trailing stems. Not wishing to cut off their last gasps of nourishment. Easier now that the leaves have died back. A sign that the time has come round again to harvest the squashes.

I grab a few apples from a nearby tree to replenish the fruit bowl. A daily routine, now the hornets have gone, or maybe diverted elsewhere. Using my jumper as an improvised apron to hold the red, glistening apples.

There is a shift. Up to now, I’ve ventured out to the kitchen garden to pick what I need and no more. A handful of runner beans, a crate of sweetcorn or just enough tomatoes to feed whoever is at home. Now, I have to gather all that is ready. Preserving them for later.

The number of windfall apples is scaling up too. The Boy and I spent time after school today gathering them. The barrowful of apples is destined to be made up into apple and rosemary jelly this weekend.ย One of my favourites. I’ll add sage and mint to the next two batches. Nothing is wasted.

In a few more weeks, I will rally the family and we’ll bring in barrowfuls and crates of apples from the trees. I’ll mumble about storing and processing them. I’ll do it. I love having all their growing-season goodness over the winter, but it feels like an Olympian task each year.

I’ve also been gathering hops from the hedgerow in our lane. Each school run, I collect a few more. The Boy is developing the skill of spotting them. These are destined for sleep pillows.

Also collected the seeds of our poppies and shasta daisies. They put on a beautiful display this year.

The children are back at school and routines are returning, as if we never left them. We are slipping soundlessly into autumn.

I’ve missed the children. It’s quiet, but it does give me time to gather my thoughts and plunge into work undisturbed.ย  I’m gathering ideas for handmade gifts too. Lists are growing.

I’ve started sewing my next project. A skirt. Darts added to give shape. No gathers. They really don’t work on me. Never have done, but with all the gathering going on this week, it would have been fitting to make a gathered skirt.

Joining in #wotw

14 thoughts on “Gathering

  • Friday 8 September, 2017 at 10:47 am

    You have been busy out in the garden, with plenty of plans for the gathering season. It’s lovely that everyone gets involved, and that the return to school has gone so well. Do enjoy your jelly making x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  • Friday 8 September, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Wow! You have been busy! It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful harvest. x

  • Friday 8 September, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Your veg patch and apple trees sound heavenly. Can I ask you about tomatoes? I’ve got 3 lots growing with lots of fruit but they are still green. Shouldn’t they be red by now? They seem so late to not be turning. Your apple jelly sounds divine. If my veg patch would be a quarter as productive as yours next year I’d be thrilled!! #wotw

    • Friday 8 September, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Good news is that some years, I’m still gathering greenhouse tomatoes in November, so not too late. Try removing some of the leaves which might be blocking light. Keep the tomatoes warm too. If they are outside, it might be worth covering them. Also helps to have a ripened tomato among them, so don’t be too hasty to pick. Same trick works if you pick them, but that is last resort. If nothing else, green chutney is delicious.

  • Friday 8 September, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    How lovely to be gathering your harvest in and preparing to store it all although I can well imagine what a big job it is. We’ve managed to grow sunflowers this year too and I’m hoping to keep the heads for the birds as well. #WotW

  • Friday 8 September, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Wow, look at all that food,amazing X h wotw

  • Saturday 9 September, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Lovely photos – and I’m super impressed at your gardening skills! ๐Ÿ™‚ #MMBC

  • Sunday 10 September, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Hi Cheryl, summer is over, but how nice to be able to store the fruits of summer for the winter! A mammoth task for sure. but it must be so worth it. The only thing we have in abundance is oranges, but they won’t be ready to eat for a few weeks yet…. I’m with you on gathered skirts, I think darts are so much more flattering, but then I rarely wear skirts, but when I did.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


  • Sunday 10 September, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Its so weird when they go back to School isn’t it? I feel the same like the house is so quiet x

    • Monday 18 September, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Like a deafening quiet.

  • Monday 11 September, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    What a lovely article to enjoy over coffee this afternoon, and beautiful photographs ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been enjoying looking at your crochet posts, too. I’ve finally got around to investing in a ball of wool and a crochet hook….I hope I don’t get all in knots when I try to learn x

    • Monday 18 September, 2017 at 11:08 am

      I’m sure you won’t. Enjoy the learning curve. It is a great hobby.

  • Tuesday 12 September, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    It must be so satisfying to be recovereing such a great haul of fruit and veg from your garden and surrounds. We have one apple tree and we’ve got so many apples this year – I’ve become very competent at making apple crumble haha!!
    I agree with you about the quiet and emptiness of when the children go back to School. September is such a transitional month.

    • Monday 18 September, 2017 at 11:06 am

      It really is. The thought of shopping from my garden, instead of the supermarket, keeps me gardening.

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