My favorite thing about life in the country? There is so much for the eyes to feast on. We have way more than the typical four seasons in our parts. The landscape is always changing, drawing us outside to explore and let our imaginations run wild. Every emergence of new plant or animal life excites my soul, but I hold a special place in my heart for October’s happenings. Our treescape is already taking on a golden tinge, and theoretically the humidity will soon dissipate, making way for the cool, crisp air that lends itself to flannel shirts and cozy scarves. What’s not to love about that?
While finally being able to once again take a stroll around the pond or through our woods without returning a sweaty mess, here are a few things that have piqued our interest.
We’re lucky to have several native persimmon trees in our backyard. Even though our granddaddy tree, which is known throughout our neighborhood, took a hard hit in one of the summer’s severe storms, we have plenty of fruits to harvest from the surrounding smaller trees. They are beautiful round, orange fruits that taste best when they turn to shriveled brown goo.
As I’ve collected this year’s fruit, I remembered this time last year, when I did the same harvest but never had a chance to use them before I went into labor with our daughter and suddenly became preoccupied with new-parent life. This year, I’m excited to experiment with this native fruit that doesn’t get enough culinary attention. In fact, I just borrowed a food mill from a friend and plan to process pulp tonight. More to come on what recipes emerge.
2. Glow Worms
The fireflies on our farm are amazing. When you get away from the lights of the city on a summer night and gaze through the dark forest, the show is enchanting. What I’d not noticed before, however, are the glow worms. Glow worms are lightning bug larvae, and currently our field is alight with these magical crawling creatures. It’s been fun to venture out at night to see them—treading carefully, of course.
Let me preface my excitement for these treasures hidden around the farm by saying that hazelnuts have always been my favorite in party nut mixes. And one word: Nutella. Some friends who were camping on our land came to breakfast one morning with handfuls of hazelnuts. We have some foraging work ahead of us—and perhaps a more suitable nutcracker—if we want to make our own nutty-chocolate spread, but I’m up for the challenge.
4. Jack-in-the-Pulpit Berries
I’ve noticed a few bright-red bunches of Jack-in-the-pulpit berries hiding among our brush, which I find exciting because I hadn’t noticed the flowers growing this year. Jack-in-the-pulpit is a medicinal herb whose root has traditionally been used for respiratory conditions and treating snake bites. Getting to know a new plant always gives me a little buzz, and now that I’ve spotted the seeds, I can help spread them around the farm.
It always amazes me what new things await discovery outside of our doors. It’s a constant reminder to remain curious and to cultivate this precious relationship with our land.