Monday, 29 September 2014

Welcoming Autumn in our Woods

Although it's almost the end of September, and the leaves are showing the start of their beautiful autumnal colours, the weather has continued so mild lately that it hardly seems like conker season is really here.

We almost didn't think of going looking for some yet, but when we went for our Sunday afternoon walk to the woods yesterday we found them in plenteous supply. Perhaps everyone else is also fooled by the weather and hasn't been gathering them up yet!

Going on a conker hunt always ushers in the start of the proper autumn season for me and boys 2, 3, 4, and even 5 enjoyed hunting them down.

There is still a lot more green around the woods than browns, reds and yellows.

Calum (11), being part of the selfie generation, always likes to take a few whenever we are out anywhere!

I love how he captured their eye colour so well in this one!

Did you know that our local wood is home to some magical people?


Don't believe me?

Then who else lives in here then?

Just down from where the little people live is the duck pond, which I've shared many times before. It always looks so pretty no matter what time of year it is.

Time for another selfie by the duck pond.

(As a complete aside, do you see David's chipped front tooth? It's been fixed three times since he broke it in the Spring and then it's broken again! Sums that boy up really!)

Now, at the narrowest point of the duck pond is a bridge. But crossing over it normally is no fun, is it?

Look, another magical house!

When Calum (11) was hunting for conkers he came across this unusual thing growing but we don't know what it is.

Anyone able to help us identify it?

I love all of autumn's red berries and their contrast with the greens.

Back home it was time to check out the spoils.

These were the conkers David (8) collected.

We took home a bag full of pine cones for crafting with. I've seen a tutorial for making those beautiful cinnamon scented pine cones we see every year in the garden centre, but that I can never justify buying as they are so expensive! If we have success I will share it here soon.

And here is Alasdair (5) with his collection.

We will be kept busy the next few days stringing up these conkers!


  1. Looks beautiful! Our autumn hikes will begin this Friday. We try to get out while the weather and light still hold up!
    I also have a collection of pine cones for crafting!

    1. We should have taken your boys to this wood rather than the one we took them too, but this one isn't so suitable for the pram and we had the pram that day!

    2. Argh, autocorrect, *to* not *too*!

  2. We, too, have always collected pine cones!!! A use for the chubby, golf/baseball shaped ones: First, tie a piece of bakery twine around their tops, next,"frost" the pine cones with saved bacon fat from the refrigerator ( you could use peanut butter, but WE ate that in PB&J sandwiches for OUR lunch), and then roll/dip the bird treats in seed. Hang from tree branch!!! A wonderfully nutritious wintertime snack for our fine feathered friends!!! We also enjoyed the many acrobatic attempts by squirrels to take the pine cone from the view inside our warm homes's dining room window!

    I've also collected the long, skinny pine cones of our neighbor's white pines. THESE ARE VERY STICKY. To remove the sap, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place cones side by side on it. and bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. (Sit with a cup of tea in the kitchen to KEEP AN EYE ON THEM--smoke from PINE CONES "cooking" in the oven will bring strange looks from firefighters if you need to call them!!) Remove tray from oven! Sap will be on the foil, not pine cones! Spread paper grocery bags on your work (kitchen/dining room) table, and using tongs, carefully lay them out to COOL. Ready to string with a sturdy upholstery needle and strong thread for a garland to decorate a fireplace mantel or Christmas tree!!!

    Enjoy your boys, baking, crafting, Lego building,gardening with and reading to them in YOUR musical home , Kirsteen!!! Your wonderful blog brings back memories of the same activities my husband and I did with our sons and is a priceless testament to the time and relationship you and YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND are building with YOUR sons!!! As an at-home mom for twenty-six years this December, I can truly say the conscious choice of one spouse PARENTING full time, fully supported by the OTHER (literally, with one income on which to survive and emotionally) and encouraged by EACH OTHER, creates a FAMILY and truly makes a house a HOME!!!! No daycare provider can substitute for MOM, in my humble, been there, done that, in the trenches opinion! I never wished to miss out on all their "firsts" smile, words. steps... . I had, and am still having too much fun with them as we now, at 25, 22, 19, and 14 launch them into adult hood as such fine young men. Keep up the good work and , know time goes all too fast!!!!

    1. Thank you Jean! I am already seeing how fast time goes by!

  3. I would love to go on that walk with you. It looks so lovely. We are some what slow to Autumn also. Our garden is still producing, the leaves are slow to change this year. You have made me hungry to go up to the mountains and have a lovely walk like you did. Love the selfless… they are all so cute. I think your Conkers must be what we call Chestnuts. They don't grow in our region, but would sure love to go looking for them as you do. The duck pond is so pretty. Loved the Little People houses it would be fun to know the history of how they got there. An artist in the area? Have a great week Kirsteen.
    Blessings, Pam

    1. Pam, conkers are from the Horse Chestnut tree and are not edible, unlike proper chestnuts. The little people houses are a new addition to the woods, appearing in the last year. There is a voluntary group who take care of the woods and I think it must have been them who put them in. A very sweet idea though, Alasdair loves to see them and imagine who lives there.

  4. Check out 'Lords and Ladies' on google images to see if that is the unknown plant - it looks rather like the ones we have here in Kent. (The berries are very poisonous.)

    1. Thanks for this. We googled the images and it does look like this is what they were. Glad we didn't touch them!

  5. Such a lovely post, it made me want to go walking in the woods. Lovely photos x


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