Tuesday, September 02, 2014

August collage



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.
  1. Bee on an umbel.
  2. My red onion crop, grown from sets and not ever so large but really very good, sound and firm and shiny and very tasty. 
  3. Maize crop, and those scrawny thistles which come in a very pretty blue.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Landscape looking inland.
  7. 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.
  8. Tiger moth on flowering eucalyptus.
  9. 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.
  10. Knapweed, a very August thing. There are a lot of thistley things about at this time, I like their purples and blues.
  11. Cob nuts, we bought these in fact, though there are a fair number in the hedges too, but not so big.
  12. 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.

8 comments:

Ellena said...

Thanks for bringing back good memories about
-Courgette flowers freshly picked and dipped in batter and deep fried
-walking the fields after the wheat had been harvested and collecting the wheat heads that had fallen off and taking them to the miller in exchange of some flour. For me it was an after the war fun activity, for my friend a must. We refugees(from Berlin) received bread through UNRA but
the people that made room for us
in small villages did not.
-Cobnut bushes lining some of the roads. I thought they are called Hazelnuts. We kids picked them green and juicy.
-My first sighting of a Tiger moth
Sorry for writing as much but less well as your friend.
You made my bubbles burst,Lucy.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Lovely photographs. Love the tiger moth.

Roderick Robinson said...

All those specialised words - umbel, hogweed seedhead, knapweed, tiger moth (but not alas the biplane sort), potimarron. Here in Hereford we'd say you were flaunting.

Doing away with August would deny my birthday a home on the calendar. I should be at work, ruthlessly editing; instead I'm engaged in epistemological speculation: how would not being born affect me now, reduced to speculation myself rather than sagging flesh and creaking bone? What is the difference between unborn and inconceivable? Unable to look forward to an obituary with all those weaselling qualifiers: "on the other hand", "much as he...", "when aspiration fought achievement - and won". A non-incorporeal idea lacking the tangible experience of the taste of first-growth claret.

I comfort myself with the thought that the differences may be not be as extensive or even as noticeable as I'm inclined to believe. I am a slave to your wishes.

Isabelle said...

Oh, you do take such lovely photos. Happy September.

polish chick said...

i, on the other hand, fear september, given that the last two really put me through the emotional wringer. though i love school and always have, the shortening days scream, "change" and i despise change; it fills me with unease.

beautiful photographs. although i feel i repeat myself with this sentiment, it remains true - you have a great eye for the unusual composition!

marja-leena said...

Beautiful photos, Lucy! I agree about August, especially this year because it was too hot. September is usually a wonderful shoulder season and we've even had rain so I don't have to water as much. Hopefully I'll get some much needed gardening jobs done this month! Hope yours will be pleasant.

marly youmans said...

Lovely list!

I wouldn't mess with hogweed either. It's dangerous, as are other plants in that family. Michael came back from California with the most hideous allergic reaction I've ever seen--very painful--and I was tending toward blaming the umbilliferae.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

Ellena, I appreciate all that you write and your frinedship! I do believe you represent some form of Everywoman for our age, so many times and places you have lived in. We like battered fried squash flowers too, but there rarely seem to be enough at any one time to do it, they have a very short shelf life. Gleaning ('glaner') is something our elderly neighbours remember from childhood, though it tended to be more to feed the pig or other livestock, but it was a necessary aspect of the child labour they quite cheerfully provided. Tom tells me cobnuts, hazels and filberts are not quite the same thing, I'd probably have called these hazels.

Bruce - they are pretty moths, aren't they, often flying by day.

Robbie - a slave to my wishes eh?

Isabelle - and you, are you getting used to not going back to 'school'?

PC - thanks, yes, it is a bittersweet time, but I always like it, more so since I've been with Tom as September's his birthday month and we usually do something nice.

ML - I like 'shoulder' season!

Marly - yes, I remember a big scare when we were kids about giant hogweed, warning not to play with the hollow stems. As with many plants though, the seeds don't necessarily contain the same properties, but still, I won't mess!