Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core………… Keats
Our village is a hive of industry this month as everyone is busy bottling, freezing and making jams and compotes. Pumpkin soup is a winter favourite and freezes well. Peaches must be used very quickly and can be made into juice which will keep if pasteurised.
This year was poor for cherries but now we have an abundance of fruit and vegetables. In the hedgerows there are plenty of blackberries and the walnut trees in the fields are laden. We are still eating raspberries and strawberries and the tomatoes are doing very well. We ate the first of our cabbages today and cut the last of the courgettes.
The grapes in the nearby fields are ready and a gang of pickers is moving around the village getting them in. We did promise to help with the vendange but we haven’t had the time in the past week. It is an experience which will have to wait until next year.
View over la Vallée de la Grosne
The weather has become a little cooler today. It was 10 degs when we got up this morning but with a cloudless sky and hot sun it soon reached 20 degs, which is perfect weather for going walking. There is a randonée at Azé next week, and we thought we had better get in some practice for it.
Chris always loved walking in the Lake District but he now admits that the views here are even grander. This area is very wooded and the meadows provide good grazing for the Charolais cattle. Cluny is very much a horse town with its Haras (National Stud) and there are plenty of beautiful horses too.
So we climbed the hill to the southwest of Cormatin, to the Bois de la Roche. There is a good path along the ridge through the beech trees. These trees were once pollarded but have now grown tall to form an archway over the path, giving dappled shade. We passed the statue of La Dame de la Roche, the white madonna which gazes over the valley towards Cluny.The views from this hill are stunning. Take binoculars if you go up there. Looking to the east you can see all the villages from Cluny to Cormatin spread along the valley with the Beaujolais mountains in the distance. Look the other way and. if you are lucky and it’s a clear day, you will see Mont Blanc.
Take a plastic bag too as along the way there are walnuts, blackberries, pears, chestnuts, and big rosehips. Even hops in the hedgerows.( I must look up a recipe for beer!)
It’s been a wonderful year for fruit. Our peach trees are practically on the ground with all the fruit. The tomatoes have done well too. And the pumpkins of course. These are the staple diet during the winter and recipes are swopped with friends. Soon I will be able to write a book called “101 things to do with pumpkins”. You don’t want a pumpkin do you, or some peaches or tomatoes or marrows……?