Thursday, 25 October 2012

A Tonic for the Turning-In


DOWN IN THE FIELD WHERE OUR VEGETABLES GROW, the sunflowers die and the mists hang low...


In this pigeon-blue of autumntime, there's a quietness all around. Sounds only bounce as far as the droplets of fog suspended in the air, and all you can hear are the earnest cracks and squelches of the folding in of the year. The distances are grey-green, and all around us the plants curl and bow and turn in toward brown and root and rot.


These once glorious-tall Sun Kings are making way now for the Hag of Winter's ominous approach, as the birds take the last of their seed.


The fennel stalks stitch a beautiful umbelliferous ochre lace through the dew.


And our community comes together to bring warm things, red things into these shortening days...


Yesterday I spent the day down at the field with good friends tucking in the herbs against the coming cold, trimming shallots and brewing a berry tonic with pickings from the hedgerow and field.


Into it went haws and rosehips, raspberries and blackberries and one or two lonesome elderberries. These were simmered slowly for a couple of hours in water and then the delicious crimson mixture was stirred with honey and strained into bottles. We'll drink this over the next few days; a red medicine for heart and blood and eye.


And on the night of the Chagfood harvest gathering, we told our story beside the fire, where cider was sold from the wagon and children's faces were bright and impatient for a tale under the clear October sky. That day they had been pressing apples and threshing wheat. That night, once again, I was heart-full and thankful for these people who are my village, who are my tribe. These people with whom I share vegetables, these people who I meet in the lanes and the shops many times a week, these people who love this place like I do, these flame-lit people sat on straw bale seats around me on this night of gathering-in: they are my harvest, they are my nourishment and my tonic.


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A small postscript about my etsy shop:

I've just listed a handful of original watercolour sketches of which this firelight gathering below is one. They were painted quickly without drawing in pencil first as an experiment in what-will-be! I'll not be making prints from them, so this is a one-off opportunity to snap up a rarity!


And from the beginning of November until Christmas, all purchases of prints or originals from my etsy shop will include a free extra print, so long as stocks last, so keep your eyes peeled. Christmas cards will follow in due course too...

23 comments:

steve said...

The back of that wagon looks like a jack o'lantern. Most Halloween-y!

Suz said...

sweet

Charlotte said...

Wonderful that you got a harvest. Stories, though are always welcome and nourishing.
All the best for warding agin the Hag.
Charlotte.

Heather said...

Your 'red medicine' looks delicious and the fireside storytelling must have been a delightful and magical occasion.
Your watercolour sketch is amazing.

Snippety Giblets said...

Lovely ! I love the look of the hips and haws :) I'm very glad that you & Chagford found each other xxx

olive said...

reading your post brought back memories of picking rose hip berries, taking them to school and being paid by the pound weight. they were then sent on to make rose hip syrup. we were so rich with out pennies..... love the gathering pictures, looks so warm and welcoming. thanks for sharing. xx

Julia said...

Even in death the sunflowers are beautiful, aren't they? The berry tonic brewing is just lovely!

Ms. said...

You are all so in the right place, on the right path and at the right time. Just visiting, even this way, nourishes me like a blood transfusion!

Lynn said...

Such a beautiful, soul-nourishing tribe you're a part of.

I love the looseness, spontaneity, and movement of your watercolour sketch. Lovely!

Ronnie (RR) said...

Your tonic looks lovely, might try that recipe. The photos of your evening are so cosy, it looked like a magical evening.your watercolours are brilliant, looking forward to your Christmas card this year too.

Nanita said...

Oh Rima, you are truly blessed to live in a beautiful community of like-minded people! It warms my heart to stop by for a visit here :-) xxxx

Pixie said...

You are always that little reminder to me to remember who i am and what i truly believe.......xx

by Teresa said...

Love love love the fireside gathering images, the caravan most especially thrills me. I will go check your Etsy shop to see what I can see. I am kind of bereft that I don't have a village of friends like yours. You are lucky. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

the wild magnolia said...

i loved the festival visit. and always the art.

Mo Crow said...

thank you for all your poetically painted posts Rima !

Els said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and your words: you all have a pretty good "harvest" over there ! Enjoy ! You are só rich !

till-vidas-ara said...

Hello Rima! I found you beautiful page through Ella Averbukh in Brooklyn. I bought some wonderful neckwarmers from her and found her friendship. now I have travelled through your world with a feeling I love...the wishes from my heart..
and I will be back soon to take place at your fire

love Lycke

Aneta said...

Joyful, uplifting, thank you!

laoi gaul~williams said...

gorgeous-i wish my village community was like yours...

Em said...

Oh, the fire is so lovely! Beautiful water colour.

I love every piece of the sunflower's life and have spent some happy days sitting and watching goldfinches made bold by the feast of seeds, flying back and forth to the dying flower.

Thank you for reminding me.

Isabel said...

Beautiful words & pictures, thanks for including a link to the Chagfood blog :)

Mokihana Calizar said...

You continue to inspire me with your eyes that see, and words that tell. Beautiful. Inspiring me to write this http://makuaoo.blogspot.com/2012/11/making-cider-poems.html.
Blessings of the season from the Woods of Whidbey.

herhimnbryn said...

A post to nourish me, heart and soul. Thankyou lady R.