When you feel the first winds of October or see the morning mist lying in the valleys you know that summer is gone and autumn is in the air. The weather begins to turn colder , plants die back and animals prepare for winter.
Autumn is the time when deciduous trees* shed their leaves, turning from green to red, orange, yellow, gold and even purple before they fall. On a sunny autumn day it is exhilarating to stroll through the colourful woods watching the leaves blowing and dancing in the wind.
(*coniferous trees or evergreens have needles which they keep all year round)
Autumn is a busy time for everybody, clearing away leaves and tidying up the garden for winter. If you find raking leaves too strenuous you can use a leaf blower, a noisy but efficient way to clear the paths and lawn . Adding leaves, grass cuttings , sticks and straw to your compost pile will produce high quality, nitrogen-rich compost, ideal for your vegetable garden in the spring or for shrubs and tree planting during the winter months.
Animals like squirrels prepare for the winter by storing food, such as hazelnuts, acorns , chestnuts and beechnuts . Other animals hibernate , sleeping through the cold months using fat stores in their bodies and a reduced metabolic rate to survive the low temperatures. Hedgehogs often sleep in piles of dead leaves and dormice nest in wood stacks and hollow trees .
Pumpkins are a vegetable traditionally associated with the harvest festival and the beginning of autumn. They are used to prepare tasty pies and soups and are hollowed out at Halloween to make the charaterstsic “Jack-o-Lanterns”. As the days become shorter and the weather colder, pumpkin lanterns are a welcoming sight in the doorways of houses.
Bon appétit / enjoy your meal!