Gone in a Gust

13oct_fallcolor_smUsually, it is a gentle slide through September to the chills of October. A bit of briskness in the mornings, an evening when you want the warmth of sweater sleeves, the scent of leaves decaying at the margins of the driveway, and you become aware the season is drifting away from summer into autumn. But this year, on the very day of the Equinox, as if a switch were thrown, September slammed the door on late summer and flung itself into early fall. A friend sent a note saying the first windstorm left two trees down across their driveway. Smoke hangs over the woods and pastures as woodcutters begin to burn their slash piles. Mud lies in the track through the woods.

But, true to the nature of the season, we are just now in a span of gorgeous autumn days with early chill and afternoon sun, and I have to say, as much as I love September, I might love October more. The harvest festivals that come now are a notation in the seasonal round, marking this as the time of plenty when the summer crops are in storage and the autumn ones are about to fill our baskets and barrels. As I write this, a pan on the stove is simmering with pears in wine, and the scent of cloves is drifting through the house. I’ve just dug and brought in most of the geraniums from the garden. We haven’t had anything but a touch of frost yet, but a real one isn’t far away. I’m digging some things out, and putting others in: some roses I started from cuttings last spring, some Berberis I rescued from the “dead and dying” bin at one of the nurseries and that seem to have recovered from their trauma, some tulips for next year’s bloom.

It’s been a helluva year for Chanterelles in the woods. We’ve put them up in the freezer (sautéd in butter with some garlic, then frozen in 1-cup portions for future convenience) (Is it sautéd or sautéed, in English? Or sauté-ed? ). We’ve dried them, for use in stews. We’ve used them fresh in omelets, spaghettis, on toast, with rice, in a scramble, on pork chops, with chicken, with a rabbit… We’ve given them away up and down the road, and in town. It is the Year of the Chanterelle around here. The bag, of course, is the point of it all, but it’s the looking-for that is the very best, that thrashing and clambering into the woods, falling over logs and sliding down banks, the eye peeled for that flash of gold in the duff. 

13oct_chanterelle3_sm

Gold has always led men and women into folly, and chanterelling in the woods is no less wild and unseemly in its way than the quest for yellow metal in the hills.

Just writing of it, just writing, starts the bell ringing in my chest, and I grab up my bag and head again into the firs and maples and salal.

13oct_mushrooming2_cr_sm

I’m back now, and settled down.  I found a few to put in the sack.

13oct_chants4_sm

Other harvests: we have late apples now and pears, potatoes curing on a rack, still some eggplants in the garden, green tomatoes now giving permission to take them for green tomato gravy, red cabbages hoping (I suppose) to become our traditional autumn red cabbage dish (vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, apples, onions, smoked pork of some variety, bit of salt, coarsely shredded red cabbage, and let it cook until it is good).

Did I mention apples? Sometimes we share.

13oct_squirrel1_cr_sm

A thread of geese has just skeined overhead, gabbling and arguing as they go.

You ought to see the load of berries on the hawthorns in the forest.

13oct_hawthorn1_sm

There is the other thing that makes October a fine month. It’s a month when the veil begins to thin between this world and another one, the one that makes our hair stand up a little on a dark night. By the end of the month, we will be looking over our shoulders when we go into the woods because, it seems… didn’t I just feel something there, behind me?

Ooo-ooo-ooo!

13sep_spooktree1_cr_sm

Maybe it isn’t too early for my hair to shift a little.

OK, now. Just one more image of my most recent pass-time. I can’t help it. It’s gold.

13oct_chanterelle2_cr_sm

About these ads
Published in: on October 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm  Comments (10)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: http://skepweaver.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/gone-in-a-gust/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My mouth is watering at the thought of those chanterelles. Oh, yum. And what a beautiful wood to walk through to find them. Good eating.

    • Wish I could share, but I can’t think how I’d get them to you in good condition. I guess I’ll just have to think about sharing them with you!

      S.

  2. They’re huge!

    • ‘Course, I didn’t choose a little one for the portrait.

      S.

  3. One component of Susan’s compulsion to gather, I think, is the idea that this is one harvest that hasn’t required the labor of spring and summer to achieve.* Seek and, sometimes, ye shall find. This year, she’s found, and found, and found. – The grateful cook.

  4. It’s always such a delight to take a walk with you in your woods. I love that this week you posted photos of woods where I can almost smell the dampness. I posted photos of the ocean. Also damp, well, downright wet, and a very different smell. As for those chanterelles, good grief! They’re huge. And beautiful.

    • I am very glad to see the damp return to the woods. It’s so nice to have you join me!

      S.

  5. Wow, I have picked chanterelles for many, many years
    but never this size.

    • I do have to say, Danuta, that was an exceptional handful! Truth in advertising.

      S.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers