Posts in Autumn
Autumn Gathering 2018
All images courtesy of    Annie Spratt   .

All images courtesy of Annie Spratt.

It’s hard to believe how quickly the Autumn Gathering came around this year. At our community meet-up in October we all said how warm it still felt, but just a month later we could definitely feel the autumnal chill upon us.

Eleanor and I arrived early at the beautiful Cronkhill Farmhouse in Shropshire and couldn’t help but marvel at the space and the stunning views to be seen at each window.

Once we’d unpacked we were soon joined by the first arrivals for a seasonal cocktail of ginger, apple and a splash of gin. As the rooms slowly filled, we chose to gather on the cosy sofas and chatted as the daylight waned.

I took this time to give a short tutorial on how to insert the ‘Scraps Pockets’ everyone received in their goody bags which, as the name suggests, are pockets ready to be inserted into any garment, made from waste material from my cutting table. I had also brought along a few garments from House of Flint, which everyone was invited to try on and wear over the weekend if they wished.

Dinner was enjoyed beneath fairy lights, with a candlelit table and easy conversations carrying us into the night. Our first day ended with a calming tea ritual led by Eleanor.

As morning broke on the Saturday, Elizabeth led a meditation for those who wished to join. At the Summer Gathering the meditation she guided took me utterly away from myself, yet during this one I delved deep inside my mind without a necessarily conscious choice of doing so. It’s amazing the difference between the two, how she guided myself and others to places we may not have found otherwise.

After a warming breakfast of porridge and cinnamon stewed apples, Bex from Botanical Tales taught a workshop in which we created calendars full of intentions for the season. Each intention was written on a small piece of paper, rolled and tied to a branch with dried flowers and foliage. Each of us shall individually reveal a tiny scroll every week for the next three months. I’ve begun mine early and unrolled one in which I told myself to go for a winter picnic in the woods, which was such a lovely thing to do that I may not have made time for otherwise.

A hearty lunch and then outside we went, with Hanna from Ashleaf London leading the afternoon. She shared with us her love of leaves and made us all look a little bit closer at them as we gathered our favourites to use for the next stage of her workshop.

Within Ashleaf, Hanna is dedicated to preserving leaves in bronze, and we were lucky to be shown the first part of this process before trying it out for ourselves on our chosen leaf.

Following the day of creativity, those who wished took some time for themselves to read, write, take photographs or simply sit by the fire in quiet conversation. A special thanks to Mugdha, who tirelessly helped me to hang leaves from the ceiling for our autumnal feast that evening.

Three delicious courses ended with apple crumble before we slowly embraced the darkness and each light was put out until only a single candle remained. Eleanor led us into this dark with some words about the season and the darkness it brings. As she extinguished the final flame a shiver of something quite magical went up my spine.

The final day began and a few of us braved the cold and took a walk through the fields and lanes surrounding us. I tiptoed along a fallen tree and tried to avoid falling over before returning to a feast of bagels and plenty more cinnamon apples.

Our final activity was led by Chelsea, who took us on a foraging scavenger hunt and asked us to take note of what we found with each of our senses in turn. I noticed the smell of a holly leaf and the sound of a pinecone and felt truly present in the time spent exploring with each of my senses.

Lunch signified the end of our time here, and as each person took their leave I noticed new friendships formed and the meaningful connections that had been made over our few short days together.

I’ve often spoken of the importance of community and yet again I left this gathering feeling inspired and thankful to those wonderful people who joined us. I hope to see you all again - or if you were not able to attend, for the first time - soon!

Jessica Townsend creates slow and sustainable fashion at House of Flint. Follow her behind-the-scenes on Instagram here.

Harvest Lunch

I fill the coffee pot each day, staring outside while it bubbles and steams on the stove. The garden is overgrown, life pushing its way through mesh and bark and turf. Moss holds the lawn together and prickly grasses, long and wispy stand tall leaning only in the rain. Upturned pots and an abandoned hanging basket are notes, a memory of time passing. Another year of plans put aside as life takes over. A sudden flurry reminds me that the garden is not only for me.

Today is harvest lunch, a host of winged visitors gleaming under autumn sun gathering to take their pick. Two rowan trees lean, naked now but for soft, overripe berries which drop with the faintest breath of wind. Tiny flashes of yellow dart through the long grass, blue tits searching for the ruby morsels. A tall, dark ivy strangles one of the rowans, reaching high above its branches, it’s thick foliage the perfect spot for a blackbird family to wait its turn. Here they nested in summer, losing little ones to predators but still they reap the benefits of the ivy’s grip. High up, two crows sit watch, holding court and flapping their wings once in a while to remind everyone of their presence. A flash of red against cornflower blue sky is a bullfinch, now two, dipping in and out swiftly to grab berries from under the nose of a plump thrush. Then a swoop of starlings, young, boisterous, sends everyone into the air. Branches sway and more berries drop. In a moment, only the crows remain, steadfast. Lunch is over for today.

Yesterday, under dull skies, the garden was bleak, a burden, another missed opportunity. Today, it is a garden of Eden, a safe place where all comers take their turn. There is plenty to go around. So I’ll leave the lawnmower in the outhouse, put away my gardening gloves. For a while at least. Until the feast is over and each feathered creature has had their fill.

AutumnSarah Davy
Reviving the Medlar, Our Forgotten Fruit

Since 2016, I’ve been (as far as I know) the only specialist grower and producer of handmade medlar preserves in the UK. I’m reviving this ancient and forgotten fruit from our home in Eastgate, Norfolk. My husband David and I have planted a culinary and horticultural orchard of 110 Mespilus germanica trees on our six-acre plot. 

When we bought our Eastgate home in 2012, we became custodians of a beautiful six-acre plot with a mix of formal garden and several paddocks. We were excited. I was a little daunted, having previously been responsible for a garden measured out in feet and inches. We’d brought a medlar tree in a very large pot with us. It had been a wedding present in 2010, an eventual addition to the future garden we were going to make together.

This is also a story about Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital’s bowel cancer screening programme for 55 year olds. My diagnosis in early 2015 revealed a stage 1 cancer. It was quickly and successfully treated. The therapeutic power of our land and my kitchen - digging, planting, growing and becoming a small-scale maker - were essential to my emotional recovery. Norfolk had saved my life. I wanted to show my deep appreciation, and so the orchard and the business were born. By January 2017 we had completed the final phase of planting our  medlar orchard.  Only then did we discover that a hundred years ago this place was a fruit farm with apples and pears underplanted with blackcurrants. We have a dozen of the original Bramleys and we’ve had a bumper 2018 harvest.

We’ve planted a mix of very young bare root and slightly older container grown medlar trees. 101 of these are Nottinghams, the best variety for flavour and size. A six-foot bareroot seedling Mespilus germanica Nottingham on quince ‘A’ rootstock will fruit in its third year. Planted in a spacious hole, with bone meal, plenty of leaf mould, a stout stake and a bucket of water topped off with a mulch mat, all 110 trees will be productive this year. Medlars are relatively disease free, prefer a slightly acid soil with good drainage in a sunny spot. They love a really cold winter and cope well with long hot summers. Their yellow centred single white blossoms appear in late May and are magnets for honey bees. They are self-fertile and will fruit successfully as singletons.

There’s little evidence and a lot of uncertainty surrounding the origins of the medlar. The trees may have grown first on the western shores of the Caspian around 1000 C.E., spreading from Greece via the Roman Empire throughout Northern Europe. Stones were found in burial sites in France and Switzerland and ancient leaf impressions surfaced at Burgtonna in Germany. Carl Linnaeus’ book Species plantarum (1753) provides us with the modern binomial name for the medlar, Mespilus germanica, apparently in the belief that it was native to Germany. Maybe an apt name after all.    

It’s hard to say when medlars first arrived here. The Roman town at Silchester, Hampshire revealed medlar stones during an archaeological dig in 1903/4. These remain the only recorded finds of medlars from Roman Britain, and the fruit may have been an exotic import.  Not until the 13th Century are there clear documentary records of medlar cultivation in England: Westminster Abbey’s gardens were run by Monk Gardeners, responsible for supplying the Abbey with produce which included medlars, cherries, plums, pears and nuts.        

We know that Henry VIII helped make medlars fashionable among the nobility. Medlar, pear, damson, cherry and apple trees were planted at Hampton Court. In October 1532, Henry took Anne Boleyn to France, where he met King Francis I. Among the sumptuous gifts of swans, geese, capons, ducks and larks were large quantities of medlars.

Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, created a garden at Hatfield House early in the 17th Century. He had already obtained medlar, quince, walnut and cherry trees from a Low Countries grower named Henrich Marchfeld. He sent his gardener, John Tradescant, back to buy more stock, including “two great medlar trees” for 4s 0d and “two great medlar trees of naples” for 5s 0d.

The medlar was widely grown and eaten in 19th century Britain. Its ubiquity and popularity declined steeply after WW1, a time of changing habits and tastes. It’s possible that preparing medlars to eat just took too long.

The fruit is usually ready to harvest in late October or early November after night time temperatures have dipped. They’re inedible as a fresh fruit or cooked until they’ve been bletted (ripened) on trays in controlled, cool conditions. Off the tree, while ripe to pick, they are hard and astringent.

Bletting liberates the fruit’s fragrance and flavour; the medlar becomes soft and juicy. It may take weeks - medlars won’t be rushed – but in time they’re ready to make into delicious preserves. I work with small batches of medlars, British sugar and whole lemon. I don’t use gelling agent or liquid pectin; all my preserves are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They are gluten free.

Medlar blossom.JPG

At the time of writing, it’s harvest. I’m connected to a lovely network of medlar trees around North Norfolk. The fruit is offered on the basis that it otherwise goes to waste, many gardeners loving the ornamental blossom and the autumn colour of their own medlar tree. Eastgate Larder donates to their chosen charity, recognising the value to me of this overlooked and forgotten fruit. I blend my Eastgate fruit into every batch I make.

The clear amber medlar jelly is delicious with cheese, meat, game and charcuterie. Medlar fruit cheese, a set purée of the pulp, is simmered gently for several hours and pairs well with blue and hard cheeses. My newest product is a spicy medlar chutney, delicious with a curry or in a cheese sandwich. Bon appetit!

Jane Steward is a specialist grower and producer of medlar preserves. Find her at Eastgate Larder, or on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Pewter, Sepia and Rust

Last week I took myself off for a solitary walk. This is something I often do when I’m feeling overwhelmed or, in this particular case, a bit flat. I suspect it’s got a lot to do with our Hebridean climate: relentless rain and brooding grey skies which seem to hang around for weeks on end, oppressive and almost smothering. The mountains disappear into the thick mists leaving you enveloped in a confining, murky little world. So naturally I seized the first opportunity to escape that came along (child in school: tick; essential jobs done: tick; a break in the weather: tick) and went down past the grounds of an old country estate, along a track overlooking the cliffs and the Cuillin hills, past pine forests and down to the shore.

Yes, the views were spectacular. A boat bobbing about in the blue water and the equally blue skies dotted with fast-moving little clouds, those mountains once again in full view and sunlit. The trail continued past a little white crofter’s cottage, over a rushing burn and then curled steeply upwards into the densely-packed firs.

But I’ve always been interested in the details. I’m passionate about all things botanical and now, when summer feels long gone, there’s so much still to see

DSC_0088 (1).JPG

The bracken is blanketing the hillsides and banks down to the sea, but their bright emerald has given way to soft copper. The fronds are dry and brittle, frozen into delicate curlicues. Thistles have dried out and gone to seed. The heather is fading, the tough stems beneath bleached to silver and the violet flowers turning sepia.

Patches of gorse are reduced to masses of brown thorns. They look as though they’d be more at home in an arid landscape than this richly green island. And the umbellifers have been transformed into simple, stark structures; they could almost be fashioned from metal. Grasses are blanched too and their calico colours glow in the low autumn sun.

All this denuding allows us to really study and appreciate the forms of our familiar wayside plants. Little vessels of seeds, skeletal stems. For an artist like me, it’s a lesson in simplicity (something I’m constantly trying to achieve). Pared-back and unadorned, we can really understand what makes each species different from the next. Yes, in the warmer seasons they have their flowers and leaves. But when everything is suddenly reduced to a muted palette of pewter, sepia and rust we have to look more closely and notice the subtleties and beauty that lies beneath.


I love the verdancy of May and June, the richness of July and August. But it’s now when the armfuls of teasels, the rattling foxglove stems full of seeds come home with me to live in the workroom. Pots of them, each one asking to be sketched quickly and simply without fuss or detail. Even out in the garden there are plants which, for me, are more appealing once their time has passed. Sunflowers are at their most beautiful when their petals turn to saffron-coloured tissue paper and their seeds are on display. Lilies and poppies too, and alliums transformed into delicate wiry globes studded with tiny black seeds.

Don’t lament the lack of colour. Nature has so much magic and ingenuity to be found now that all is revealed…

AutumnSarah Hardman
Savouring Autumn

Once we’re in the heart of autumn, there’s nothing I love more than to embrace every piece of autumn’s magic that surrounds me.

I’ll come back home and warm my hands around a steaming mug of tea and empty my pockets of foraged autumn treasures. I’ll fill the home with warmth, bundle knitted throws across the beds and sofas, set candles alight and let their soft glow fill the rooms, and allow the subtle scent of spices sweep in through the kitchen as autumn treats are left to bake in the oven.


And so, until this season fades, I’ll have plenty of memories savoured from autumn to last through the grey and moody winter days.

I want to savour this season as much as I can, before winter catches autumn in its grasp. Before the trees shudder in winter’s harsh icy winds; leaving them unclothed from their robes of gold. Before the first frost forms over chilly nights, entrapping everything in its icy crystals. And before the afternoon sun is drifted off to sleep as winter’s darkness creeps in earlier.

But before winter arrives, I’ll relish this season that brings me joy and cosiness. I’ll head out into the hills and mountains where mist from mornings sweep through the landscapes and hang within the golden trees, hugging them in a mystical blanket of cloud. Sink my boots into paths of dry crisp leaves, kicking them up in the air and listening to them crunch and rustle under my feet.

I’ll get lost amongst the forests and wander off the beaten track, and let the soft autumn sun that gleams through the canopies warm my cold blushed cheeks and nose. Sit by a lake and watch as the sycamore seeds pirouette in the breeze and land gracefully upon the water. Enjoy gatherings around a crackling bonfire, toasting marshmallows and watching fireworks soar up above, illuminating the night sky with bursts of colour.

Kayleigh Wright

Slowing Down For Autumn

The concept of new starts always arrives hand in hand with January 1st as the New Year rolls out with the clock's final chime. Despite that, the bleakness of January doesn't always inspire the optimistic positivity that we might hope for. I think there's a second new start though, and it comes a little more graciously and with a lot less flamboyance. September arrives with the retreat of summer, more quietly and calmly than we might expect and with it comes the second chance we might be yearning for after the boldness of a long summer.


As temperatures begin to even out, I always find a soothing satisfaction when things start to slow down a little and a chill creeps back into the air with nimble fingers. Alongside that runs another more ineffable sense of freshness. Maybe it's the new academic term that carries with it my inexplicable love affair with crisp notebooks and sharpened pencils. I'm sure I revel in this feeling a lot more now that I'm not actually returning to school myself but there's something oddly attractive about the idea of a new school year ahead. More than that, September signals the arrival of a changing weather, as leaves begin to darken and fall and everything hums with the anticipation of a change in the air.  Just like a catchy song, I find it infectious and I drift easily into admiring the changing colours. What else might change now? What might the next season hold for me?

September also brings us closer to the autumn equinox, which this year falls on the 23rd of the month. After that day, the nights begin to extend a little longer and though this heralds a longer darkness it always seems somehow soothing to me too. It offers a time to recharge ourselves, rest a little. Like seeds begin the surface, the beginning of autumn can signal a time to go inward and then grow out. Autumn is a time of change, a gateway to the next season and while for some Autumn seems the gateway to an ending, I want to check in with that transformative part. It does define the end of summer and soon the entrance of winter with cold days and long nights but for me though, it isn't about ending but about beginning the next cycle.


It's a period that reflects reality because we all move through these cycles and as autumn starts to slow us down it also reminds us of the importance of taking things more slowly, of savouring the smaller moments. It's a time to shed what might no longer be needed, to harvest and cherish what we do need and to prepare for all that we want to come. It could be a time to reconnect with friends and families during cosier nights in or a time to enact an autumn clean and reflect and focus on the projects that might have been forgotten in the heat of the summer or even begin a new one.

Autumn always reminds me of how transitory things are and though it can bring a sense of loss to watch the summer fade, it also carries a reminder that can keep us mindful. It reminds me that just as the seasons will change so will we and that (clichéd though it may be to say) everything is temporary and that doesn't have to be a negative thing. We can use this to remember that even the hardest things will come to pass and that what can seem as insurmountable or as dark as a long winter night will come to pass too. It encourages me to try and live in the moment and appreciate what I have. We're so linked to the natural cycles around us and Autumn is a fitting reminder that everything, including us, has both highs and lows that we can keep on moving and progressing through.

The Awe of Autumn

It is Autumn. Slowly bringing us home again to the innate desire for cosy, family, connection. Warming chatter to share the wonder of the natural changes of the season amongst us. Children playing in the leaves, relishing the adventure that nature provides. It comes but once every year. It is Autumn.

We are safely within its grasp. Beckoned into nature to witness its stirring performance of transformation. Blink and you miss the spectacle of colour, the tie-dying of every piece of fauna and flora, the breeze’s change of tempo and the trees’ hoarse whispers in the wind.

May I ask you to take a walk in my company, down a woodland trail with a golden canopy to keep our stories from flying away as they fill the air. May I ask you to take gentle care to notice every beautiful detail of this season with me: let's remember it all.


I seek:

Tiny hazel caps scattered across the frosted grass.

Leaves chasing each other in the cooling breeze across meadow grass and crooked pavements.

The warmth of golden colours sends stirring feelings through our bodies, touching our souls with a reassuring 'welcome home.'

I see:

Sun-kissed skin and cold, rosy cheeks, with scarves enveloping our necks as we embrace the chill of first light.

A sea of golden leafy puddles to jump in.

A carpet of earthy colours to guide our way on a favourite trail.

The wildlife slowing down in their quiet way, forming dens and safe hideaways while gathering the trees’ offerings as they fall to the ground.

I hear:

The pure chirps of a robin’s morning chorus as the sun rises.

A soft humming in the trees as they prepare to let their leaves go from the safety of their aging branches.

I feel:

Promises of nestling down into a warming slumber as the sunsets visit earlier each evening.

The excitement of change as the long summer closes down, and the familiar sights around us transform before our very eyes.

Energy touching every flower as it curls up and prepares to fade back into the soil having bloomed so tirelessly in weeks before.

Time. Slowing down. Asking that we do the same.


What do you seek, see, hear and feel this Autumn? I hope you experience it all with awe and wonder with whatever you may find.

Amelia Goodall

Visit her Blog

The Heart of Autumn

The cold wind moans, cracking the bones of the ash trees that edge the garden. I close the stiff latch on the gate and walk down the path, watching leaves dart to the ground to form inelegant splodges of yellow. Although the afternoon has barely begun, the sky is stained with darkness, clouds rolling in above the hedges of the bridleway at the far end of the adjoining field. I’m frozen for a moment as I spot a hare spring from a gap in the fence. Even though I recognise him as a resident of this patch of land, I don’t expect to see him in the eye of the storm, and my breath catches until my fingers nip.

He’s not the only tenant around here. Fiercely decorated male pheasants stalk for seeds and grain in the tall grasses that separate the agricultural land from the domestic. Their echoing cok-cok reverberates around the valley until a farm vehicle thunders by, and they screech through the tree-tops to escape the mechanical movements.

Autumn marks the end of the harvest, but the start of the farming year. It is the season of great flux, of colours, temperatures and daylight hours; perhaps the most obvious change, though, is that of the trees. Find out more about how these natural wonders communicate, explore their importance in wild education and discover how they inspire creativity in the latest issue of the magazine.

You’ll find other roots in this issue too: those of friendship, of landscape and connection and of home. Don’t miss an exploration of how we can reconnect with our roots too, or go back in time to discover the history and mystery of a Cumbrian icon.

I hope you enjoy the season ahead.

This is an extract from the editor’s note for issue 5. To buy a copy of the magazine, visit our online shop (please note orders placed from now until October 8th will not be posted until Tuesday 9th).

AutumnEleanor Cheetham
H is for Hawthorn

A lane which winds, narrow, flanked by hedgerows. The incline steep at first, an old brewery tops the hill. Another twist, a field comes into view. Carried across the wind the sound of livestock, calling. The road levels out and opens up. Turn left or right at the fork. Onward to the top road, where brambles tangled tight with hawthorn line the stream, a gully trapping precious jewelled fruit between water and eager hands. Out of reach, until a branch is found, turned at one end. The perfect tool. Grasping now, he holds my belt while I stretch. A little further, my toe dips into the water. One sharp tug and the branch is freed. Scarlet berries hang over my head, tantalising, asking to be picked. I fill my basket. Hawthorns nestle with blackberries and sloes, nettle leaves for soothing tea and elderberries to pair with tart apples from the walled garden. Life is good now. A simple thing, a piece of fruit picked by a cold hand. Tossed into a woven basket and carried thus, to be splashed and sorted, cooled or pressed, warmed then sieved. These actions once alien are now natural. But time is passing. Nights draw in and occasions for collecting grow slim. A freezer drawer sits crammed with packages marked cooked, jam, gin, crumble. Until next year, when the sun shines long and rain feeds the hedgerows. I’ll see you then in the lane, basket in hand.

AutumnSarah Davy
Beyond the November Grey
sycamore and moss.JPG

The days are getting noticeably shorter and winter is coming. It’s always tempting to stay indoors and draw the curtains, to sit in a pool of lamplight and cocoon yourself away from the cold and the drizzle. The winds and driving rain have all but stripped the trees of their autumn finery and the world is once again grey and brown and unwelcoming.

It’s a strange time, this epoch between the golds and bronzes of October and the frost and sparkle of Yuletide. Creeping chills and damp trying to insinuate their way into the house. That feeling of trying to push away the gloom as thick blankets of cloud sit low and oppressive.


A walk may not seem like a tempting prospect. The last few leaves are fluttering down to join the rest, now sodden, on the muddy earth. Jewel-like orchard fruits are gone too, either harvested or blown onto the ground to rot where they’ve landed. So what can we see on days like these? What little – to coin an Instagram hashtag – flashes of delight?

Well: a lot of green. Lichens and mosses, dusting and carpeting tree trunks and stone walls with rich velvety textures. Emerald and verdigris, teal and chartreuse. Look too at the evergreens: the dark glossy leaves of the holly, the silvery needles of the firs.

pine with lichen.jpg

Those pale and empty skies act as the perfect foil to a flock of geese flying overhead in a V formation – one of my favourite sights whilst out walking in ‘almost winter’. And, of course, bare branches mean you’ll see more life in the trees too: squirrels darting about, inquisitive robins keeping watch over their jealously-guarded territories.

Try to embrace the starkness and the shorter days. The moody light, the glimpses into little habitats which are usually hidden from view by foliage. Small woodland pools, scattered with penny-like birch leaves, reflecting the weak sunshine and almost pearlescent trunks. Tiny kingdoms thrive on the top of fenceposts and along fallen trees. Even the decay itself, as the vegetation starts to change colour and collapse into itself, has a beauty all of its own.

moss branch.JPG
AutumnSarah Hardman
A Memory of Autumn
CC4 (1).jpg

Two tots tumble across the green scattering stacks of crisp amber leaves. The horse chestnut
shelters grandad as they play, a perfect leaning post.

Stiff like starfish they run, bundled in playsuits, hats & wellington boots. Hunting for treasure, squeals echo across the square as they succeed. A dog pricks its ears.

Deep brown conkers clatter together in pockets. At home, they will sit on a shelf until dry, dull, a memory of autumn.

AutumnSarah Davy
Falling Back In Time

Falling, falling… literally and figuratively falling.

In autumn, time falls back, at least on the face of the clock.

When you spend enough time in rural Romania, your soul will fall back in time, as you see the villagers with strong horses pulling carts up to the forests to harvest their firewood, and the few surviving looms being warped once again – maybe for their last time, until the creative renaissance sets in and young people begin weaving hemp and nettle cloth anew.

Now is the time when everything seems to fall into place, and fall out of it at the same time.

Autumn has long held the number one place in my heart for the most enduring and endearing season of all. Until now. Or rather, just this once I am taking the liberty to change my mind.

Fall can be beautifully coloured, as most years it is, but every 40 years or so nature decides on another plan. While not an entirely sinister plot, one can be frightened in a storm if they happen to be caught out in the pounding hail and slapping rain. As fall was just setting in, my husband, daughter and I were happily expecting to spend the first night in our new home as the clouds rolled in, faster than we have ever seen before, sweeping like billowing smoke over the mountain crest.

leaves have already fallen.JPG

As we trudged onward in the blinding storm, unable to see or hear each other, we were unaware of the trees falling down around us. In just 20 minutes the wind took its chance, sweeping gates off of their feet and uprooting glorious walnuts and ash, breaking firs clean in half. Clay tiles took their own fate to fall to the earth as well…

The ferocious storm, a reminder of a changing climate and the effects of unconscious consumerism, will remain in our memories for a long time. Just as there have been hurricanes and forest fires this season aplenty, life carries on and after a time everything falls into place once again.

fallen walnut.JPG

The walnut that fell? Well, that will be firewood for next summer, but at the moment it is feeding us with oyster mushrooms that spontaneously erupted when we lovingly carried it into the wood shed. Life goes on.

oyster mushrooms.JPG

Along came the rain, for more than a 24 hour stay, and do you know what appeared in abundance at the bottom of the creek? Clay. Perfect for building, sculpting and playing with. It has been there all along, buried under layers of rocks, now it is accessible for those who need a handful or two for a wood oven repair.

clay from creek.JPG

Every time you fall down and pick yourself back up, is a chance to start over. It is the ultimate opportunity for change. Any season, a single day, or a unique experience can tell us that maybe life has a different path in store for us, a challenge if you will. Since life really is about the journey, just follow along and you will find out where you are meant to be, if only for a moment, or many years into the future.

storm damage - building back up.JPG

An entire year we have spent now in Breb, Romania and it has perhaps been our most adventurous year yet. We have weathered the storms together, harvested the powerful nutrients from wild herbs, and burnt the alder and beech firewood of local forests for comfort and warmth.

Everything we need in this world is right here, around us and within us.

frosty fall morning.JPG
AutumnCheryl Magyar