Autumn brings out the pyromaniac in me. Even more, I mean, I'm already fascinated enough by fire. But I really feel I should be geting together large piles of wood which will burn at this time of year. [livejournal.com profile] olethros' mother kindly brought in some bags of timber for us a couple of weeks ago, and I lit a fire on Thursday evening last with some of that, only to be baffled. I'm not sure what the wood is; on initial examination, it looks to be a softwood of some kind, but it's hard as the hob of hell, utterly resistant to a hatchet, and only burns when completely surrounded by other burning material. Then, though, it goes for hours. Eventually, surrounded by flaming turf briquettes, it got going. I shall experiment with kindling and other burny things.

We've had roast beef two weekends now - first an ordinary supermarket-bought beef roast, and then, this weekend, a good rib roast from a butcher in Dun Laoghaire. The difference was incredible; last week's was good, certainly, but this week's was fantastic.

We picked blackberries on Saturday at [livejournal.com profile] caturah's house (and got well fed, while we were at it, which was very much appreciated). The picking involved crossing a river, scrambling up a small cliff, and proceeding around a reservoir. It was pretty successful; we ended up with about 2kg of berries, and the season clearly isn't fully in yet, so we'll go back in about two weeks time. We picked some rosehips as well, for experimental purposes, and I note that it'd be a good place to look for elderflowers, for anyone so inclined.

I made jam from the blackberries yesterday, and [livejournal.com profile] inannajones made blackberry crumble. The crumble is absolutely excellent, although I'm not entirely happy with the jam - it set so hard it's almost chewy, which is not a problem I've had with blackberry jam before. I'm going to reduce the sugar content for the next batch, I think, or use a mix of jam sugar and ordinary sugar.

The first batch of pickled cucumbers that [livejournal.com profile] inannajones put down a while ago were deemed ready for eating, and they're great. I like pickles, and since they do nothing in terms of adding weight, I can eat them until I turn blue if I want. I'll be pickling more cucumber, and also some peppers, onions, and more experimental goods later this week.

And some of the rosemary I dried during the summer has now been deleafed and put into a jar, and a fresh bunch brought in. I'll be making some rosemary oil, and anyone who wants some dried rosemary should let me know; I'll have more than we can use in about a month's time, and we tend to use fresh anyway.
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gothwalk: (autumn)
( Aug. 25th, 2005 01:27 pm)
The changing of seasons has become more important to me over the last five or six years. When I lived in Wexford, it was just there, unavoidable and unquestioned, and apart from adjusting my expectations of what I could do on a given day, I don't recall paying much attention to seasonal things. Then again, what fish pays attention to water? My first two years in Dublin, however, were impacted by the changing seasons so very little that I'm beginning to wonder if I spent them in a bubble. I don't recall having a different coat at any stage, for instance; always the same blue velvet jacket.

Now I'm noticing elements of change, more and more every year. Leaves appearing, turning, falling, weather changes, equinoctal storms (not as reliable for the last two years), seasonal fruit, temperatures, changing clothes and fashions, and the reactions in myself.

As summer becomes autumn, I find myself thinking about switching to a coat with sleeves (and muttering vaguely, because my autumn/spring coat doesn't have as many pockets), changing my listening from the punk and reggae of summer toward baroque and medieval, getting in firewood and other burnables, making jam, soup, stew. Considering whether I want to make apple jelly - [livejournal.com profile] mr_wombat and [livejournal.com profile] cartographer have an apple tree in the back garden; I'm sure if I ask nicely I'd get access - or if the whole straining performance is too much bother.

Even in a city house, I find there are preparations to be made - making sure that we have decent draught excluders this year, bringing the ash bucket from the barbeque to the sitting room fireplace, finding wherever the various fire tools have gone, buying in candles, and moving stuff around in the shed to accomodate the garden furniture.

I'm enjoying all of this.
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gothwalk: (autumn)
( Aug. 16th, 2005 07:52 am)
It's already starting to feel more and more autumnal in the mornings, and we've lit the fire twice during August so far. I'll usually light a fire before I'll turn the heating on. However, good and all as firepacks and briquettes of various breeds are, very little beats an actual wood fire. So, does anyone know of a place within (preferably South) Dublin that's selling firewood by the bag yet?
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