I have, as anyone who reads here and can remember, mixed feelings about August. 'The yellow Provençal August the English dream of', Iris Murdoch called it, and British school summer holidays being fairly short compared to much of the world, a great deal of hope and expectation has always been placed in what often felt like the disappointing scrag end of summer. This year both spring and summer have sometimes seemed sad and difficult, and I welcome the change in the season. We've had a man up on the roof to fix a potential source of weather worry for the winter, and are working on other areas of weatherproofing which will, we hope, make winter less of a source of trepidation, so autumn can bring it on, and I'll happily wave goodbye to August.
Yet it can be a rich, fruitful and colourful month, and I'm often surprised by my own appreciation of it. Here's some of it.
- Bee on an umbel.
- My red onion crop, grown from sets and not ever so large but really very good, sound and firm and shiny and very tasty.
- Maize crop, and those scrawny thistles which come in a very pretty blue.
- Courgettes. I bought one plant only from the market rather than growing from seed this year, and that is enough really if one doesn't love them to distraction or want to fight the battle against marrowfication.
- in amongst the bearded barley... I somehow missed photographing the wheat and barley harvest, with the straw in big lush heaps, then in big rolled bales studding the fields, and then the tractors beetling about with their wagon trailers gathering them up. We find we still enjoy the sight of this.
- Landscape looking inland.
- Another umbel, hogweed seed head I think; you're supposed to be able to use these seeds as a seasoning/flavouring, and when crushed they do have a unique spicy aroma, but I don't quite have the foraging nerve to mess with umbelliferous plants, when they're good they're very good, when they're bad they're toxic.
- Tiger moth on flowering eucalyptus.
- Blackberries. A good year for these, as it seems to be for most fruit. I've not gone picking yet, and may not do so, we don't eat huge amounts of jam and jelly, and I still have crème de mûre from last year - we don't drink huge amounts of kir either - but they are good to munch on in passing.
- Knapweed, a very August thing. There are a lot of thistley things about at this time, I like their purples and blues.
- Cob nuts, we bought these in fact, though there are a fair number in the hedges too, but not so big.
- Pumpkin in flower and fruit. Again, I bought plants, a potimarron and a butternut, but they're very stingy and will probably yield no more than one fruit each. I really will plant more seeds next year. And blog more, and read more, and carry out many other good resolves.