Friday, 16 September 2016


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society, where none intrudes, 
by the deep sea, and music in it's roar: 
I love not man the less, but nature more. 
(Lord Byron)

The more I think about the ancient Celtic teaching that the year divides into four quarters the more I see the truth of it. This quarter, the one between Lughnasadh and Samhain, is the quarter of fruit and berries and of the making of seeds. This is where the quartering of the year makes sense - if you look at the lives of the plants that feed us. Samhain to Imbolc is when they sleep, Imbolc to Beltane is the time of first shoots, Beltane to Lughnasadh the time of leaves and flowers and Lughnasadh to Samhain the time of fruits and berries, the time of seeds being created so that they can fall in the ground and sleep from Samhain to Imbolc, shoot up between Imbolc and Beltane and so the cycle goes on and on and feeds us year after year.

So it's nothing to do with whether the weather is cold and rainy or not, it's what's growing that matters.

It seems that there's something to eat almost everywhere you look at the moment. The blackberries have been amazing.. This one most amazing of all, as it looked like a perfect heart!

And the mushrooms... Oh My Goodness the mushrooms...

Every day there seem to be more of them.


and more, (Daisy and Druid are just checking there's nothing exciting in the basket I now take out every day and seem to spend an awful lot of time filling - time that could be spent doing interesting things like getting the higher up blackberries down for them.)

Yesterday I found the first of the parasol mushrooms, what a whopper!

And today still more mushrooms than one woman can pick!

We dry them and keep them in a jar for winter stews. One year we picked so many that we were still eating dried mushrooms the following autumn and the one after that - which was lucky because those years there were hardly any mushrooms at all. Perhaps there's an omen here? Perhaps there is so much bounty this year because there are hard years coming.

My Grandmother always used to say that an autumn full of berries meant a hard winter, Nature was giving the birds what they needed to survive the long cold times to come.

We're certainly not the only ones who are having a frenzy of gathering,

The bees are hard at it too, not just the honey bees, the garden has been full of beautiful Bumbles too, this one feasting on the nectar from Marjoram.

And while they've been working I've been making them a beautiful new house, it's not finished yet, but here it is so far.

Gather while ye may... Isn't that what they say? Because winter's coming!!


  1. Suzi your beehive is so exquisite!! So lovely, well done, it's beautiful.
    Please could you tell me what the black berries on pink stems are?! I keep seeing them around, there's absolutely millions of them, but I was always thinking they looked like no-no berries! haha. Are they for human consumption?
    Much love to you!

  2. Hi Maz, the black berries on pink stems are elder berries, they are an extraordinary source of healing magics! The best cure for a cold ever, or great to take generally when you're run down. You can make a cordial from them or include them in crumbles and jellies. They are yummy but not really yummy enough to eat by themselves.

  3. Such and enjoyable read with beautiful pictures! I love your perspective on how the seasonal quarters relate to cycles of growing food. These kinds of observations are becoming increasing important to me now that I'm finally in a space where I can grow a bit more of my own food. Very interesting point about a year of bounty preceding one of scarcity too. The way that Mother Nature communicates with us is always so intriguing.

  4. Yes isn't it exactly that! I love that the ancient weather lore that's been passed down as 'old wifes tales' is so often accurate.