September - Enjoying Autumn

Thursday 11 October 2018

Autumn has always been my favourite, especially September. 

I'm sure when I was younger it was because September is my birthday month though.

I love every season when it begins - the build up to Christmas at the start of winter as well as the first few snows (snow in March/April is a little less exciting); the new plant growth, getting out into the garden again and promise of warmer longer days at the start of Spring; and the long stretches of daylight and eternal optimism of a sunny summer when summer begins.

But I think autumn is my favourite season of all.

It's hard not to love the beauty of the trees as they change their colours, and we love getting outdoors and walking in the woods more in the autumn than we do at any other time of the year.

The boys have been collecting conkers every time we go our for a walk since the start of September.

Our nearby woods have some very old apple trees tucked away in a little known section of the woods, so there are plenty of apples waiting to picked and not very many people picking them. This year has apparently been a very good year for apples and we have been collecting a big bag full every week throughout the month of September.

As I said, September is my birthday month and this year I got some lovey home made cards from David...


(you know that's a 1 and not a 7, right?😂)

And from Fraser... 

Grown up birthdays on school days are fairly ordinary days, but the boys were all up extra early so that I could open my presents before school.

My husband Andy was working away down south until late at night so wasn't with us for dinner, but I made my favourite dinner of homemade Lasagne (a gluten and dairy free one)

And Calum made a beautiful free from Victoria Sponge for my cake. It really was lovely and light.

We video called James, who is still working in Stornoway, so that he could also join in singing Happy Birthday.

Every September I take down my summer crochet wreath and hang up my autumn one.

We've found plenty uses for all the apples we've been picking. 

As well as having apple crumble for pudding every Sunday (one of Calum's favourite puddings), I made a batch of Apple & Raisin Chutney and a double batch of mincemeat.

Storm Ali, in the middle of September, brought some really strong winds to our area and there were a lot of trees and branches came down. There were also some champion puddles left behind afterwards too.

Conker hunting never seems to lose it's attraction with the boys.

I love the light in the late afternoon on an autumn day.

More apple baking, some Apple and Cinnamon muffins (and my new to me charity shop china)

More autumnal walks. We have so many great woodland walks all around where we live.

Look at all those brambles below! We've also been picking lots of these, and adding them to our apple crumbles.

Evidence of my bramble picking!

Fraser loves the swings!

At the end of a particularly long walk little legs sometimes need some extra help.

I do love the long hours of daylight in the summertime, but I also love the nights drawing in in September and the chance to light all the candles and have a cosy evening in.

I got a little ahead of the game this year, and one Saturday when we were having a quiet around the house kind of day I got our Christmas cakes baked. A larger free from one for us and a smaller not free from one for my in-laws.

Even more apple baking, at the suggestion of one of my American Instagram friends, was some Apple Butter made in the slow cooker. I think this must be a bigger thing in the US than here as I hadn't really heard of it, but it turned out lovely.

This is a Mary Berry recipe that I adapted to be dairy and gluten free. It's an apple and cinnamon cake, with a layer of grated apple in the middle, and it was really, really good!

Fraser and Ally have been sending some letters to James, with drawings they have done for them, so he drew a couple in return and posted them to them. They were so happy to receive letters in the post and to see what was in them.

Even more outdoor fun.

I bought these mini squash in Aldi with the intention of using them for cooking, but then I thought they looked so pretty that for now I'm using them as an autumnal decoration on our fireplace.

We saw the first frosts of the year a few mornings this month, earlier than I seem to remember them in the last few years.

Thankfully I still had Fraser's mittens at the very bottom of my bag, where they had been since last spring, so that he wasn't too chilly taking his brothers to school.

I rescued some of our sunflowers from the garden that had been almost flattened by Storm Ali and brought them inside. I think they complement my autumn squash quite well!

At the end of September we had the delight of James coming down for a weekend visit. Ally and Fraser were particularly pleased to see him again after about 7 weeks since he left.

Fraser decorated this chocolate cake for him coming home.

And one final thing I've been loving about September is harvesting and eating our home grown carrots. I hadn't tried growing carrots before and am delighted with how well they worked. We planted some ordinary orange ones and some heritage carrots that are yellow or purple. It's a simple pleasure, but the taste of a home grown carrot that's been pulled up and cooked straight away is so much more superior than a shop bought one.

We still have plenty left in the ground to last us for a good few more weeks and I don't think I could ever tire of digging up home grown veg for eating, even if it does need scrubbed more than the veg from the supermarket!