“Ode to Autumn” by John Keats has always been one of my favourite poems. It’s one I find easy to remember and there are lines that always trigger a feeling of delight. The very idea of a “season of mellow fruitfulness” of the sun “conspiring …to bless” conjures up vivid images of abundance.
This year, however, I’ve been thinking about how realistic Keat’s view of autumn really is. In our house it’s less of mellow fruitfulness but more like mushy fruitfulness as the pears fall from the tree whumph on the ground and split open. I’ve picked all the ones that I could reach, what’s left and there are loads of them, have to wait until the reach the point where Nature decrees they drop, or are blown off by the wind.
The path leading through the trees is littered with them and every day I go to check which ones are salvageable. These I take in, the others I leave for the wasps to feast on.
Once inside, the pears have to be closely watched. If you don’t judge the moment right then they will sink into slush. If you do, they taste absolutely amazing.
We’ve never had a harvest like this in all the twenty or so years we’ve lived here.
Other crops have done well too. The blackberries are still going, only a handful or so, but they are ripe and plumptious. The courgettes were great. I had plenty to give away and loads to freeze in ratatouille.
The garden is still bright with nasturtiums and mushrooms have sprung up in the rhubarb patch.
And we have a pumpkin. This has survived being moved from its original bed, which is the site of the greenhouse to be and is tethered to the ground by a very frail looking stem, but it’s glowing a brilliant orange and very shortly will be taken in to be turned into its Halloween self.