Harvesting Nature

Here in Tasmania, Autumn has certainly arrived, the days are growing shorter and we are once again sitting by a crackling fire in the evenings. As the arrival of winter creeps closer we have been spending time outside, drawn by the cool Autumn days, and wanting to make the most of being in nature before we are more confined to the indoors.
Walks and bike rides have been a regularity,

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and plans of last camping trips and bush walks before winter is upon us are being made.

We have been thankfully making the most of the Autumn fare that is blessing us with it’s presence, and recently celebrated Mabon and the equinox.
Blackberries have been enticing us from roadsides with their plump sweetness, and we have been bringing Autumn vegetables to the table.

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A blackberry picking celebratory tart made by Scott.

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A busy kitchen table as we all helped to prepare our Mabon meal; Pumpkin gnocchi, Blackberry crumble, and Apple and Rhubarb crumble.

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I served the Pumpkin gnocchi with a vegan creamy white sauce sprinkled with vegan parmesan (toasted sesame seeds mixed with nutritional yeast flakes),

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and we enjoyed our Mabon meal sitting around a candlelit table.

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I also shared an Animal celebration ritual with the children for Mabon. Anusha arranged our outside feast table in the shape of a flower with Maple popcorn, Strawberries, Pistachios, and slices of the crumbles.

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For the ritual we collected Autumn leaves and local nature treasures and made an Earth Wreath by laying them in a circle on the ground. We cast our circle by walking around our wreath, chanting a verse from Circle Round. We then called in the four directions by naming an animal for each direction and making their calls or sounds. We decided on a Dolphin for West (water), a Mole for North (earth), a Wedge-tailed Eagle for East (air), and a Frill-necked Lizard, because of their fiery frill that expands out to ward off predators and their need of the Sun for warmth, for South (fire).

We continued with the ritual, asking Mother Earth and the God, Mabon to join our circle, and then called in animals from all over the world, starting with the animals closest to us. We moved around our wreath like animals whilst calling out as many animal sounds as we could think of, then offered our blessings to all of earth’s creatures and asked for blessings from Mother Earth and Mabon. During this I drew attention to the animlas of our world in plight, those struggling with loss of habitat, those endangered, or those threatened by the effects humans are having on the environment, such as, climate change.

And, of course, we could not have an animal celebration and not honour the animal closest to us, our friend Laska. We brought him to our circle thanking him for being a part of our family and loving us unconditionally and then offered him a treat. After this we finished the ritual by closing the circle, and then enjoyed our celebratory feast!

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Laska gladly joined in the merriment.

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With the abundance of berries on offer at this time we have also spent time in the kitchen making jam. Naturally we used collected blackberries, and also some locally bought strawberries.

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The children were very eager to help with every step of the process. Preparing the strawberries,

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Weighing and pouring the berries and sugar (we used organic Rapadura),

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stirring the beautifully fragrant cooking jam and pouring it into the sterilised jars,

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and sealing the finished product!
The first taste test on pikelets was a great success, but we’ll certainly need to be making a lot more to last us the whole year!

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Over the next week I have plans of more berry picking, we’re hoping to camp for a night at our local waterhole, and treck up the Snowy mountains near to our home to reach Lake Skinner, a walk we have been wanting to make for years. Beyond that? More bushwalks, firewood collecting missions, winter vegetable planting…..Do you have plans of Autumnal harvesting of nature before winter sets in?

 

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