Tag Archive | Autumn

Trees and conservation


When I was living in Tennessee, I noticed lots of things which were different to over here in England. One of those things was the trees. The trees are very different, all of them. They are all beautiful but different, rather like people! I noticed that there were many more trees in America but that they were being mown down to be replaced by buildings of concrete. You can see it clearly from the aeroplanes. When I first went over, I saw the roofs of the shopping malls and I thought they were large car parks, but the sheer expanse of concrete covering the earth is alarming.

Please stop it!

You don’t need to do so much building. When a shop goes out of business, you don’t need to move on and build more, you just need to revamp what you have.  America is such a big country, huge, massive! that it is thought the land is endless but it isn’t. Pretty soon you will lose your trees if you don’t stop the endless building. I saw it at first hand. Living in Knoxville, we were on the west side. The east side came first, I believe and now a large part of that is derelict, just left to decay. Sad, very sad.

In England we have done the same in years gone by and that is why I say ‘stop it’ to you over there. Keep what you have and appreciate the beauty.

Here is a quote from one of my favourite books:

‘Over many centuries, ancient Britain was transformed from a land covered in natural forestation in which clearances were made to a ”land of clearance” with only isolated patches of forest.  However, the average person still had the security of working the land.  This changed drastically as the peasants were thrown off the land by the institution of the General Enclosures Act of 1845 and while Britain became dangerously deforested by the demands of industrialization, there was a rise in the amount of new species of trees planted as wealthy landowners landscaped their gardens and estates.  On the one hand the rough grazing land of the peasants was taken from them, enclosed and cleared of growth for the plough, while on the other, having cleared so much land, landowners had to literally remake copses in order to house the game they kept for sport.

When timber became the long-term crop of private woodlands, new species of trees were introduced and established.  These were mainly fir, larch and spruce, and they were planted alongside our fastest growing softwood, the Scot’s pine.  During the twentieth century, great conifer plantations arose as a result of the need for quickly produced timber, especially during the times of world wars, after which they became purely commercial producers.

The Forestry Commission was founded in 1919, and it advised private landowners to acquire and plant trees on any land unsuitable for agriculture.  While the Forestry Commission has been guilty of planting acres of sombre, uniform conifers, it has in fact also been successful in arresting the decline of many of our remaining deciduous forests, specifically the seven National Forest Parks.  It is heartening to realise that a new generation of foresters (or woodmen) are now concentrating upon replacing areas of hardwood trees, for deciduous woodland shows the seasonal beauty of Nature in its fullest glory.  New forests are being born out of sympathy with nature rather than for monetary gain and the skills and wisdoms of old are once more taking hold.’

from ‘Tree Wisdom’, by Jacqueline Memory Paterson


Celebrate Mabon


I love everything about this time of the year when day and night are brought into balance with the Autumnal Equinox. All our endeavours in the garden have come to fruition (hopefully). Some things have done better than others. This year, in my garden, we have had a bumper crop of runner beans and tomatoes. The tomatoes have been slow to ripen, as usual, because the sun has been hiding but indoors, on the window sill, the tomatoes are happy to turn red and we have been enjoying their fruitful taste for a few weeks now.

The blackberries are also ripe and tasty.

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The harvest moon is one of the most splendid things we can ever hope to see, isn’t it. It hangs in the night sky like a great big heavy ball, full of abundance and ready to pop. Who could not wonder at such a spectacle.


I think that at this time of the year we all have an overwhelming urge to thank somebody for all this abundance, but who to thank? God is the obvious choice, but are there many Gods? After all, there are many Saints and we can pray to which ever one we choose depending on our circumstances.  When I took up Wicca as my main religious interest, I took a deeper look at the Gods of old, of whom there are many. Whilst retaining the God I was brought up to worship, I no longer see him/her as the only one. I am drawn to the Goddess Freya, a Norse Goddess who seems to call to me sometimes. Perhaps it is my Viking roots, who knows.

‘Freyja : Sometimes known as Freya or Frea, was the daughter of the sea god Njord in Germanic mythology and sister of Freyr. She was an important fertility goddess and a member of the Vanir, one of the two branches into which the Germanic gods were divided. After a war, the Vanir seem to have been supplanted by the younger Aesir, who were led by odin.  When peace was agreed between the two sides, Njord went with Freyr and Freyja to Asgard, where they lived with the Aesir as a token of friendship.’ taken from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology by Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm.


I think the most important thing about harvest time is that we must share what we have with others less fortunate than ourselves. We mustn’t keep it all but spread it around. Spread the love too. We all need it. Most of us have something in our lives which is giving us trouble. Perhaps if we share the trouble, it will lessen and not be such a burden on our shoulders. I need to take my own advice for even in my idyllic world there is trouble. My eldest son has recently lost his home and finds himself homeless, living on a beach in the south of England and this is giving me a lot of grief. Many times in the past he has returned home to the cottage but it never lasts. He no longer wants to live with his aging parents and we, for our part, need a quieter life now. He cannot find work and he has no proper address. It all seems very hopeless and yet when I look at the fruits of nature, I think that maybe tomorrow or the day after, the fruits of his life will appear and he will be whole again. He has troubles in his mind and these are very hard to cure, if not impossible. The troubles are not visible. If he was missing a leg, people would feel sorry for him, but when there is nothing to see, the help doesn’t come. We all turn away because none of us knows how to cope with it. His situation has done untold damage to the family in general and to those other people who love him too.

So back to Mabon, this time of celebration. A time of stability perhaps and a link to the past when we all lived in smaller communities and it was incumbent on us to help our neighbours. In this day and age many of us don’t even know who are neighbours are.

I refuse to be discouraged in my life and will carry on as if all is well. Perhaps if I do that, I can sow seeds of happiness for the future. In the Wiccan year, we are also coming up to New Year, which starts after Halloween. It is a good time to be thankful and look to the future.

I wish you all a joyous Mabon.


Lighting the fires.

The last two mornings here at the cottage have been very misty and foggy. So, it’s time to light the fires and cosy up. Personally I don’t mind the dank, dark mornings and the early evenings when I have to draw the curtains at 4 o’clock. I’m definitely not a summer person, although I do like my garden during the summer months. That’s mainly for the flowers though, not the heat.  We didn’t get any heat in England this summer, nor much sun either, but I made up for that when I travelled to Tennessee and spent a few weeks with dh in the hot humidity!

After I’d been there for three days, I got a spider bite, which necessitated a visit to the hospital emergency room!

For the next 5 weeks I was unable to wear any sort of footwear except flip-flop sandals or Scholls! It is almost better now – six weeks later. I had to take strong anti-biotics. Just as the antibiotics were finishing, I developed a wheezy cough, which was annoying both day and night and would not go away! Eventually I went to the doctor who did a chest X-ray and an asthma test. Both were normal so he prescribed Nasonex, a nasal spray for allergic conditions. I had to take that once a day at night for six weeks! Considering I had arrived in Knoxville with a very sore back, I was not doing too well was I? and I began to long for my cosy cottage back in England.

Worse was to come! My dh started having panic attacks about coming to England. As you know we were going to bring the cat, Millie, and stay in England for three months with the idea that dh might like to consider moving here permanently. He just isn’t up to it!! So we are destined to remain apart and I’m not at all happy with that situation.

Anyway, I’m back in England, thrilled that I’m going to be an Oma again next May and for what comes in between, let’s just wait and see…

Here are some lovely pictures of the beautiful trees around the area where I live in Knoxville:

A Woolly Scarf to Keep You Warm!

The other day the wind was chilly!  I got to thinking about a little boy, 4,500 miles away and so I got out my knitting needles and some bright, pumpkin coloured wool.

I started to knit and the knitting began to grow…

The needles were sharp, just like the wind.  They flew on the breeze as the leaves began to come down.

With my tape measure I measured, yes that’s coming on…

The pattern had told me just where to cast on…

I looked at the end result with a puzzled frown. Something is missing? I know a fringe must hang down.

Something to tickle a dear little face with smiles and giggles all over the place…

As the clock ticked, the winds blew; a cat slept in the room

…and a certain little somebody is going to get a parcel in the mail soon!

A Grandad is someone who has silver in his hair and gold in his heart!

It’s the first day of Autumn.

‘Autumn prepares us for the change from warm to cold as we head towards winter.  The days are shorter and colder, the colours of the leaves alter and fruits are ripening, but we feel invigorated.

For many, Autumn is the most vivid and wonderful of the seasons, bearing comparison to a growing personal maturity and a delight in the ripeness of life.  Now is the time for completing outdoor tasks and drawing inspiration from nature’s myriad activities.

We too can plant seeds that will dwell on through the colder months and germinate as projects the following Spring.  Let’s make an effort to acknowledge the harvest this year – either at Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving.  Let’s note the changes, celebrate them and respond to them.  Our senses and energy are heightened by the blend of sunshine and crisp, cool weather. Enjoy it!

Herbal Therapy

Try never to miss the magic of a moment.  At this time of the year, as the sap of trees and flowers returns to their root systems, we too are preparing to turn inward.  Use these last magnificent days to prolong the joy of the harvest.  Gather in your late summer herbs and make herb pillows and amulets from the bounty of garden and hedges.  Amulets are small pouches stuffed with different herbs chosen for love or success, into which some of your own magic words have been spoken.  Cut lavender and rose for love pillows, mint to rid yourself of negativity, majoram and rosemary for protection, lemon balm and basil for success in business.  Make simple pillows or bags and give some as gifts.  If you haven’t enough of your own grown herbs, buy one or two pots and harvest from them.’

from Titania’s Book of Hours

John Clare (1821)
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The summer-flower has run to seed,
And yellow is the woodland bough;
And every leaf of bush and weed
Is tipt with autumn’s pencil now.

And I do love the varied hue,
And I do love the browning plain;
And I do love each scene to view,
That’s mark’d with beauties of her reign.

The woodbine-trees red berries bear,
That clustering hang upon the bower;
While, fondly lingering here and there,
Peeps out a dwindling sickly flower.

The trees’ gay leaves are turned brown,
By every little wind undress’d;
And as they flap and whistle down,
We see the birds’ deserted nest.

No thrush or blackbird meets the eye,
Or fills the ear with summer’s strain;
They but dart out for worm and fly,
Then silent seek their rest again.

Beside the brook, in misty blue,
Bilberries glow on tendrils weak,
Where many a bare-foot splashes through,
The pulpy, juicy prize to seek:

For ’tis the rustic boy’s delight,
Now autumn’s sun so warmly gleams,
And these ripe berries tempt his sight,
To dabble in the shallow streams.

And oft his rambles we may trace,
Delv’d in the mud his printing feet,
And oft we meet a chubby face
All stained with the berries sweet.

The cowboy oft slives down the brook,
And tracks for hours each winding round,
While pinders, that such chances look,
Drive his rambling cows to pound.

The woodland bowers, that us’d to be
Lost in their silence and their shade,
Are now a scene of rural glee,
With many a nutting swain and maid.

The scrambling shepherd with his hook,
’Mong hazel boughs of rusty brown
That overhang some gulphing brook,
Drags the ripen’d clusters down.

While, on a bank of faded grass,
Some artless maid the prize receives;
And kisses to the sun-tann’d lass,
As well as nuts, the shepherd gives.

I love the year’s decline, and love
Through rustling yellow shades to range,
O’er stubble land, ’neath willow grove,
To pause upon each varied change:

And oft have thought ’twas sweet, to list
The stubbles crackling with the heat,
Just as the sun broke through the mist
And warm’d the herdsman’s rushy seat;

And grunting noise of rambling hogs,
Where pattering acorns oddly drop;
And noisy bark of shepherds’ dogs,
The restless routs of sheep to stop;

While distant thresher’s swingle drops
With sharp and hollow-twanking raps;
And, nigh at hand, the echoing chops
Of hardy hedger stopping gaps;

And sportsmen’s trembling whistle-calls
That stay the swift retreating pack;
And cowboy’s whoops, and squawking brawls,
To urge the straggling heifer back.

Autumn-time, thy scenes and shades
Are pleasing to the tasteful eye;
Though winter, when the thought pervades,
Creates an ague-shivering sigh.

Grey-bearded rime hangs on the morn,
And what’s to come too true declares;
The ice-drop hardens on the thorn,
And winter’s starving bed prepares.

No music’s heard the fields among;
Save where the hedge-chats chittering play,
And ploughman drawls his lonely song,
As cutting short the dreary day.

Now shatter’d shades let me attend,
Reflecting look on their decline,
Where pattering leaves confess their end,
In sighing flutterings hinting mine.

For every leaf, that twirls the breeze,
May useful hints and lessons give;
The falling leaves and fading trees
Will teach and caution us to live.

“Wandering clown,” they seem to say,
“In us your coming end review:
Like you we lived, but now decay;
The same sad fate approaches you.”

Beneath a yellow fading tree,
As red suns light thee, Autumn-morn,
In wildest rapture let me see
The sweets that most thy charms adorn.

O while my eye the landscape views,
What countless beauties are display’d;
What varied tints of nameless hues, —
Shades endless melting into shade.

A russet red the hazels gain,
As suited to their drear decline;
While maples brightest dress retain,
And in the gayest yellows shine.

The poplar tree hath lost its pride;
Its leaves in wan consumption pine;
They hoary turn on either side,
And life to every gale resign.

The stubborn oak, with haughty pride
Still in its lingering green, we view;
But vain the strength he shows is tried,
He tinges slow with sickly hue.

The proudest triumph art conceives,
Or beauties nature’s power can crown,
Grey-bearded time in shatters leaves;
Destruction’s trample treads them down.

Tis lovely now to turn one’s eye,
The changing face of heaven to mind;
How thin-spun clouds glide swiftly by,
While lurking storms slow move behind.

Now suns are clear, now clouds pervade,
Each moment chang’d, and chang’d again;
And first a light, and then a shade,
Swift glooms and brightens o’er the plain.

Poor pussy through the stubble flies,
In vain, o’erpowering foes to shun;
The lurking spaniel points the prize,
And pussy’s harmless race is run.

The crowing pheasant, in the brakes,
Betrays his lair with awkward squalls;
A certain aim the gunner takes,
He clumsy fluskers up, and falls.

But hide thee, muse, the woods among,
Nor stain thy artless, rural rhymes;
Go leave the murderer’s wiles unsung,
Nor mark the harden’d gunner’s crimes.

The fields all clear’d, the labouring mice
To sheltering hedge and wood patrole,
Where hips and haws for food suffice,
That chumbled lie about their hole.

The squirrel, bobbing from the eye,
Is busy now about his hoard,
And in old nest of crow or pye
His winter-store is oft explor’d.

The leaves forsake the willow grey,
And down the brook they whirl and wind;
So hopes and pleasures whirl away,
And leave old age and pain behind.

The thorns and briars, vermilion-hue,
Now full of hips and haws are seen;
If village-prophecies be true,
They prove that winter will be keen.

Hark! started are some lonely strains:
The robin-bird is urg’d to sing;
Of chilly evening he complains,
And dithering droops his ruffled wing.

Slow o’er the wood the puddock sails;
And mournful, as the storms arise,
His feeble note of sorrow wails
To the unpitying frowning skies.

More coldly blows the autumn-breeze;
Old winter grins a blast between;
The north-winds rise and strip the trees,
And desolation shuts the scene.

Time for one last picnic.

Box Hill Picnic Excursion

Two or three more of the chosen only were to be admitted to join them, and it was to be done in a quiet, unpretending, elegant way, infinitely superior to the bustle and preparation, the regular eating and drinking and picnic parade of the Eltons and the Sucklings.

It was now the middle of June and the weather fine; and Mrs. Elton was growing impatient to name the day and settle with Mr. Weston as to pigeon-pies and cold lamb, when a carriage-horse threw everything into sad uncertainty.  It might be weeks, it might be only a few days before the horse were unseeable, but no preparations could be ventured on and it was melancholy stagnation.  Mrs. Elton’s resources were inadequate to such an attack.

from Emma by Jane Austen 1816


Saturday is the first day of Autumn and Autumn is my favourite time of the year but today I am thinking about picnics. A late summer picnic can be fraught with wasps, which torment us and cause us to almost lose heart, yet still we yearn to eat outside. Basking in the late summer sun so mellow and warm is the perfect way to look back at the summer and remember all the good days we’ve had. It’s a time to think about the new friends we have made and the new places we have visited. It’s a time to enjoy for one last time the cucumber sandwiches and Victoria sponge cakes which taste so nice with a hot cup of tea.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my friends, new and old, who follow my Blog. I appreciate your visits and your comments and look forward to celebrating the new season with you.

So as the summer ends and we start to hear the wind picking up and warning us of the changes to come, I’ll leave you with this lovely picture to remind us to be thankful for the people and things we have in our lives today.

photo: anon

God Bless xxx Oma

Fibre – Gorgeous Autumn colours to spin with.

I bought this beautiful Autumnal fibre last week at a local wool shop. Isn’t it just gorgeous? It’s Targhee fibre and feels quite fibrous to spin with especially compared with the Merino fibre I’ve been spinning recently.  It is not difficult to spin with though, it just feels different.

I think it’s going to make a lovely yarn for this time of the year.

Here’s a closer look. So many colours combining to remind us of fallen leaves and shedding trees.

That’s not all I’ve got to remind me the season is changing. Check out this wonderful pumpkin that leaped into my shopping cart last Wednesday.

Have a great week everybody.