Friday, 29 October 2010

Autumn

Autumn is here and with it darker days have come. We change the clocks this weekend and some how this seems to make the shorter days more noticeable. We also shut the hotel this weekend and the time seems right. For us a more restful period begins and a time to recharge our batteries and prepare for the spring when we open the doors to guests again.
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Autumn crocuses in the wild flower meadow by the hotel

Autumn is a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and Asturias has a rich helping of both. Cold clear nights can give birth to morning mist in the valleys, creating an eerie calm; a cold white blanket covering the lower lands only to be gracefully lifted by the rising sun revealing a radiant blue sky. Other days the skies turn grey, reminding us the possibilities of summer are gone and the chill of winter is on the horizon. That’s when we’re glad of those hard summer days work; cutting down old trees and preparing wood. It will soon be time to enjoy the warmth of an open fire and gaze endlessly at the magical forms of the dancing flames.

Autumn morning with mist in the valley taken on the farm.

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. For us our major harvest is finished as we have picked all our apples a couple of weeks ago. They’ve now been pressed and are slowly fermenting ready to be enjoyed as natural cider this coming season. Now we have other harvests to tend to; pumpkins, beans, peppers and aubergines. These are crops we have sown in spring and then nurtured through the summer months. Now we are storing and drying these fruits ready to enjoy them through the winter months and the coming year.

Different types of pumpkins just harvested from the vegetable garden
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Mother earth is kind as she allows us to harvest her gifts of life. There are many crops where we do nothing, just wait till the moment is right and then harvest her offerings. Like the parasol mushrooms which this year have appeared on our farm in the hundreds. All we do is harvest them when they are at their best, no cultivation from us is necessary nature does it all. Then we prepare them for our guests who can enjoy their delicate falvour in the restaurant whilst enjoying each others company. Walnuts have also abounded this year and they are now slowly drying waiting to be shelled ready for the coming season.

A Parasol mushroom in the orchard just ready for picking
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Walnuts drying on the hotel terrace.

Autumn is also a time of exceptional beauty as seen in our wild flower meadows which are alive with a mass of glorious autumn crocuses. Fungi of all shape and sizes come and go puzzling the mushroom collector who, whilst admiring them, wonders on their identity and edibility. The trees prepare for the dormant season and with it grace us with a spectacle of autumn colour. Then their leaves fall silently covering the paths and woodland floor providing food and habitat to a range of hard working creatures that help nature’s cycles to carry on as the seasons follow.

An unidentified fungi on the farm!

The hotel yesterday.

2 comments:

Stories and Pictures said...

Autumn is a great time of the year - time for storing energy, charging batteries and winding down - We hope you all enjoy your break and come back next year fully charged.

Barry Axford said...

Attractively lyrical prose accompanying apposite images of autumn thet we in the town do not see. Keep posting uplifting blogs that take us through the holiday hiatus that is winter.... whet our appetites for the year to come! I enjoy all your observations and musings Nigel & Joanne. Barry.

Welcome

Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.