Friday, 26 August 2011

30 pounds of Damsons and an Autumn walk . . .

There is no doubt about it, Autumn has arrived early last year. In fact, there were glimpses of it back in the end of July. It is no great surprise really, when we had high summer in April and the garden has been totally out of kilter ever since.

Anyway, it gave my soft fruits and tree fruits a good start, and I picked 30 lbs of Damsons this week. So far, I've given some to friends, and made a Crumble, and started off some Damson Gin, though I need to get another half bottle soonest. I will make Damson wine this weekend, and cook the rest up and freeze them.

I managed to fit in a short walk on Wednesday afternoon, and got OH to drop me off on the way back from the PO:

Above and below, lovely chunky Welsh Cob broodmare and foal.

The old farmhouse with its wonderful backdrop of Black Mountain.

I chose to walk this in reverse, as it's a much flatter route!

Looking across Carmarthenshire fields, and below . . .

The last corner before the steep downhill bit to the valley bottom.

One of the last Foxgloves of summer. They seem to flower from beginning to end of summer, the first few peeping out in late May/early June (they were early this year because of that heat-wave in April and May), and the last little fairy bells heralding the return of Autumn (early this year for similar reasons).

There were lots of bees this side of the valley. On our side they are conspicuous by the absence.

Looking across towards Horeb.

The Sweet Chestnut was amongst the earliest trees to put out leaves, and flower, but it is always the first to turn as well, and the road and verge beneath it were already bearing the first fallen withered leaves.

"Fox and Cubs" is the country name for this wild flower. It is also known as Orange Hawkweed.

White Himalayan Balsam, which looks far prettier than the pale and mid pink varieties.

It is so difficult getting a "different" view of our river . . .

The fruit of the Wild Arum Lily (Lords and Ladies) by an old long-abandoned cottage where a carpenter once lived.

Yellow Hawkweed growing on a verge.

I actually managed a little jog along here. If I am to start doing this regularly, however, I definitely need to invest in a very good sports bra . . . or run before dawn . . .

Scalloped rocks where the river carves out gobbets of stone slowly over the decades and centuries. Each spate carries down small rocks and water-worn pebbles which get deposited in the scoops in the bedrock, and then carries them on downstream and leaves them at the pebble beach where we used to skim flat stones when the children were younger.

There is a Dipper on the rock towards top right. He/she wasn't curtsying, but just looking intently into the river. A pair of them nest under the bridge every year.

A colourful display, as always, down at my neighbour by the river.


  1. Once again, such beautiful countryside photos from your walk along the Carmarthenshire lanes. The Welsh Cob foal has a lovely sheltered field to grow up in.

    Good luck with processing all those damsons!

  2. Wow we got a load of wild plums a few weeks back but thats incredible - we probably got around a third of that. Still plum jelly, chutney and gin made here from it - got some more today for plum brandy. Also loads of apples - need to get blackberries tomorrow and see what we can make.

  3. Both orange and yellow hawkweed were a summer flower of my Vermont childhood, along with the common daisies and black-eyed Susans.
    I can happily look at the same view of your river and the 'plotted and pieced' fields and pastures any time of year!

  4. Fox and Cubs is my favourite native flower, and we're lucky enough to have the conditions it thrives in. I tried over the years to grow it from seed, but a couple of years back I was given a few clumps, which we planted in the tiny strip of grass in the front garden. These have now set seed, and I will have new plants to transfer to the allotment, and hopefully more over time.

  5. Such beauty! Almost makes me wish my immigrant ancestor had remained in the highlands of Scotland (the Isle of Skye supposedly). Perhaps there would have been similar scenery. I really will get there one of these days. In the meantime, please keep posting such beautiful pics.

  6. CK - Skye is much wilder and rockier and WONDERFUL. We had a wonderful holiday there one year, but the midges were like Messerschmitts! If you Google images of Skye you will fall in love . . .

    Blue Shed - well done with growing them in your garden. They are so pretty.

    MM - our ordered scenery (thanks to the Enclosure Act) must be SO different to yours.

    Fi - I've been blackberrying too, and found that just up our lane is as good a place as any this year.

    DW - Damson processing still going on. Can't wait to taste the Damson Ice Cream!