“It was a fine autumn. The blackberries were ripe and the nuts were ready, and the mice of Brambly Hedge were very busy. Every morning they went out into the fields to gather seeds, berries and roots, which they took back to the Store Stump and carefully stored away for the winter ahead. The Store Stump was warm inside and smelled deliciously of bramble jelly and rising bread, and it was already nearly full of food.”Autumn Story by Jill Barklem
I grew up reading these books, my older sister had the set of four and if I asked her very nicely, she would let me read them. I knew that blackberries were an autumn fruit because I read about it but it wasn’t until I moved to Nova Scotia that I really experienced blackberries at the end of summer. I feel just like the mice, there is an abundance of food to be harvested and persevered. I don’t need Old Mrs. Eyebright to tell me that the weather is changing, there’s a nip in the air some evenings and there’s the slightest change of colour in the leaves.
I’m freezing corn, with the help of my little corn-huskers who almost beg to help me. I’m freezing peppers as is to toss in stir fries as well as roasting red peppers to liven up pizzas in January. I’ve made tentative plans to make this relish with a friend, we’ll be making it as we wait for her baby to make its appearance or we’ll be making it amidst my girls playing baby-sitter. Either way, it’ll be a welcome addition to our shelves. The pounds of fruit seconds beg to be taken home and made into jam or frozen for smoothies, my husband brings home a bag of golden plums and they are turned into jam while it pours rain. And then I feel it is only fitting to scoop the leftover jam on toasted biscuits. It seems like what the mice would do.
Do you have plans to fill your own storehouse? Have you made your own ketchup before? And now I’m off to brew some (non acorn) coffee and fill my own home with the smell of rising bread.