September has been a busy month in rural Aberdeenshire. The big machines have been working in the fields from early morning to late evening, tractors with trailers full of barley heading to and from the farms.
The stalks initially left in neat rows for a day or so.....
...before the baling machines move in and start making "Tractor Eggs"
These spread across the landscape as the harvest progresses - each field of bales denoting a successful "Harvest Home". The bales are brought in and stacked to be used a cattle feed or bedding during the coming winter when the beasts are brought in from the fields.
We've been making our own small "harvest" too. The Rowan trees in our garden are absolutely laden with berries, traditionally thought to be a sign of a hard winter to come. Last time we saw such a heavy crop of berries was in autmn 2009, and the winter of 2009/2010 turned out to be one of the harshest in living memory.
Such a crop of berries shouldn't be wasted! A large bag of berries is gently simmered, sugared, mashed and strained.........
...to make Rowan Jelly - perfect with game, meats and cheeses :o)