October! A wonderful month to embrace the changing seasons, enjoying the colours, the warmth that is still in the sunshine, and the last of our pumpkins, tatties, squash and berries. I love October, there is a real switch in energy, as I start to build up to a very busy shop season.
It was one of my favourite times of the year when I was wee - in Scotland we had the 'tattie holidays' which refers to the big harvest, digging up up potatoes to see you through the winter. The back breaking work that was carried out by children! Archie and I did not quite have a whole field to dig up, but we have now lifted the last of them. The temperature is dropping now, the leaves are falling in their droves, the clocks have changed, and we are slowly sliding in to the darker months.
The mornings are beautiful here in October. As we live in a valley, we are greeted with some tremendously low fog, and the morning dew has treated us to some spectacular water droplets on leaves and spider webs. This is one of the first signs of the air cooling at nights, leaving the humidity in the air, unable to suspend itself, so it settles where it can. Spiderwebs are prolific at this time of year, I like to think of them working through the night creating their silken masterpieces for us to gaze in amazement at in the morning.
Colours are still holding on amongst the plants that are all starting to die back on themselves. Watching trees and plants prepare themselves for Winter is a wonderful thing. Some plants are pulling their energies back under the soil, ready for next year, and trees are shedding their leaves, leaving behind only the tough trunks and stems.
If you follow me over on social media, you will know that I really enjoy to paint a pumpkin every year for halloween. I love the etherial quality of this process. Taking precious time to decorate and paint, whilst I then very slowly watch the paint crumble and flake off, as the pumpkin starts to decompose. I find it quite a cathartic process, which I really do enjoy.
This years pumpkin was inspired by this short poem:
'The wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why aren't we all like that wise old bird?
October is the best month to see fungi of all shapes and sizes – we’re still having warm late summer days, a bit of rain here and there and most importantly, as the nights are getting colder (this is what causes fungi to send up their fruiting bodies, or the ‘mushroom’ bit that we recognise)
This year, we have discovered new fungi, as well as seeing the classic fairy tale toadstools, like this - Fly agaric which is probably the most recognisable species of fungus, with the mushroom's distinctive red cap and white stalk. A new discovery this month was the purple Amethyst Deciever - which can absorb arsenic from the ground. The little white fairy toadstools are 'Trooping crumble Cap' - also known as fairy ink caps! Lastly, the 'Common Earthball', or 'Puff ball' as we call them in Scotland!
Lastly, as well as painting pumpkins, I have also completed a third box lid for a very special gift box, inspired by a little Goldcrest that stunned itself on my studio window.
This one will be part of a very special Christmas giveaway. If you'd like to find out more, please join my mailing list.
Thank you for reading! See you in November!