September 2011 – Preparing for Winter

As we enter September suddenly there is a chill in the air, reminding us that soon the long summer days will be over and we will be constrained by the shortened hours of daylight. The swallows are gathering and there are signs the winter will be a hard one once again. The hawthorn hedges are thick with berries; the fox returns building his winter larder; and the swallows are swarming. Like the animals I too feel the need to prepare for the winter, particularly as we were caught out the last two years having previously grown accustomed to the mild winters of West Cork. Now at the end of the month, I feel confident knowing the winter logs are piled high; the apples have been gathered and made into copious amounts of pickle and stewed apple; and the freezer is groaning with frozen berries from the summer and roasted vine tomatoes. These delights conceal the laborious hours of peeling and cooking, but it will all be worthwhile. Nothing has been wasted not even the purple grapes full of pips. These have been stewed gently and reduced until they formed a thick sweet syrup to be served with roast turkey this Christmas.

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