Friday, 3 October 2014

A fine week of weather

We have had a run of fine weather this week.  It's been warm, sunny, and the temperatures have been pretty well perfect for walking, gardening, and a spot of just sitting!

Tilly and I have seen some lovely things on our walks in the last few days.  We have walked around the perimeter of a nearby field.  It is a huge field, probably as a result of digging out hedgerows in years gone by.  Along the field edge we passed two very statuesque stands of wild fennel and teasels.

The autumn colours are now golden and glowing in the sunshine, which still has considerable warmth in it.  I can feel it, comforting, on my back. 
The weather forecast indicated that yesterday was going to be the last day before the wind and rain set in, as it has today.  So Mr Gaucho dropped Tilly and me near the law in North Berwick and we walked home from there.  

I have been wanting to make rose hip syrup for donkeys years.  This is the year!  I went armed with my folding secateurs and a bag to gather some berries.  This hedgerow, a few fields south of North Berwick law, was full of them.  Beautiful red berries, just ripe for the picking!  The blood drawn by the thorns was red too.  A painful crop to harvest!
Further on we walked passed a large sweet chestnut tree.  Along with shiny, mahogany conkers, I think sweet chestnuts and their fuzzy, spiky casings, are the essence of autumn.  Chestnuts taste good too.  There are lots of ways to cook with them.
At the moment many of the fields in East Lothian are a sea of cabbages.  These are brussel sprouts - a nightmare crop for children at Christmas, but handsome plants!

 Red cabbage plants are as beautiful as any flower.  
I have taken lots of photographs of this field.  The colours are seductive but they tease.  They change with the light.  One minute it is a sea of lavender and, as you watch, it changes to navy blue, as a cloud crosses the sun.
This painting is entitled 'A Cabbage Garden', painted in 1877, by one of the Glasgow Boys, Arthur Melville.  He was born in East Lothian, and I like the notion that the landscape he enjoyed would still be reasonably recognisable to him now - just on a bigger scale.  These day the fields can hardly be referred to as gardens!
The last field Tilly and I walked across yesterday had an encouraging mini-crop of wild heartsease, growing between the rows of stubble.  It is a member of the viola family and has a delightful, tiny flower.  To see it growing there did ease my heart.  It meant that the farmer hadn't blitzed his field with chemicals and the wild flowers, so vital for bio-diversity, have been allowed grow.  Hooray!


  1. I've been reading about making rosehip syrup too, but haven't found enough so am interested to hear how yours turns out. It's meant to be packed full of vitamin C so should be good for seeing off winter colds and flu! x

    1. Lovely to hear from you! The rose hip syrup seems fine. It was a bit of a fiddle because I was going backwards and forwards between recipes, but got there in the end. Its very sweet! Not a huge amount of flavour but I don't think I was expecting very much. Probably the most it has going for it is the Vitamin C! Hope you manage to make some. You can use any rose hips, including ones from the garden, and, apparently, those fat ones that look like tomatoes on rugosa roses! A x