Summer really is over now but there is much to celebrate and enjoy! With autumn comes crisp, frosty mornings, vivid shades of red and yellow on the trees, and comforting bowls of food by a roaring fire. The bounty of fruit and nuts in the hedgerows is beginning to dwindle, but there are still a few treasures to be had. Keep an eye out for crabapples to make some jelly-it will keep for ages once made, as long as you sterilise the jars properly. Even if you do get a little mould on top, the rich, translucent jelly underneath will still be perfectly good!
We took a trip down memory lane at the end of October as we visited Lark Rise Farm which is owned and managed by The Countryside Restoration Trust. Jill was a founding trustee, and a great supporter of the Trust, and they agreed to name the hedge that she helped to plant ‘Brambly Hedge’. We were honoured to be joined on opening day by Dame Judi Dench, who is Silver Jubilee patron of the CRT. 25 years down the line, it was amazing to see how the hedge had matured from the spindly little shrubs that were originally planted in to a rich, dense hedge that supports wildlife and the environment in so many ways.
The harvest in Brambly Hedge is pretty much over now, and the mice are concentrating on ways of preserving their goodies for the long winter months. Large swathes of jams, pickles, preserves and syrups will bubble and boil, and no doubt there will be plenty of cakes being produced in the kitchen to keep the busy mice going! Thoughts have also turned to checking they have enough blankets, so there will be a familiar ‘clickety-clack’ as the looms are kept busy.
If all else fails, and the rainy season gets you down, pick up a copy of your favourite Brambly Hedge story and by the time you’ve read it, things will surely have improved! Make sure you share any culinary creations with the mice on social media!
The Brambly Hedge Team