There’s a definite nip in the evening air, prompting us to clean out the coalrange & get her going. I must admit I love this time of year, feeling snug indoors, dinner simmering on the range, & a long evening ahead to do all those things I never get around to in the Summer.


Our Gingko tree is just turning yellow, with a bit of luck we’ll get a frost in a while & all its leaves will drop at once, leaving a golden ring about the trunk. I think this is the time to collect the leaves to make tincture, but haven’t made it myself.

Our Sweet Chestnuts are just starting to drop, another good reason to have a fire in the evenings. There are plenty of recipes for using chestnuts on the internet. If we’re very efficient we’ll boil some up, peel them, then freeze them to turn into shortbread, cakes & put into casseroles. The simplest way to eat them is roasted. Remember to cut a slit in each one, otherwise they tend to explode in a spectacular fashion. We put a dozen or so on an old coal shovel, onto the embers of the fire. Roast for about 20 mins, shake them around from time to time, they start to smell really good. Tip them out into a teatowel & leave for 5 mins to sweat, this makes peeling them a whole lot easier. You can sprinkle with salt or eat them just as they are.  They don’t keep long, unless you put them in a container in the fridge. Incidentally this is also a great way to get them to sprout, if you leave them buried in you fridge until spring, you’ll find some will have started to sprout. These can be happily potted up & will grow on.