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Autumn – the year’s last, loveliest smile

Autumn Crimbotrees

Changing of the Seasons

The autumn equinox occurs this Sunday 23rd September –  at 0254 to be exact – and is the mark of the change of seasons from summer to autumn. Not that we need telling; it’s perfectly obvious given this week’s weather that we can pack away the garden furniture.

The autumn equinox is one of four days (two equinoxes and two solstices) throughout the year that mark the change of the seasons. Together with the spring equinox, the summer and winter solstices mark the beginning of spring and winter respectively.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs every year on September 21 to 23. Derived from Latin, the word equinox means “equal night”. On the day of an equinox, day and night are of approximately equal length all over the world, as the Earth’s rotational axis is neither tilted away from nor towards the Sun.

Autumn Family Fun

What we really love about autumn is the crunch of leaves underfoot, the chilly days and the promise of winter and the festive season. Generally, the telly is quite good as the nights draw in, but it’s wise to make the most of the milder autumn weather before winter is fully upon us – and there’s some great family fun to be had in Scotland in autumn.

Wish Upon a Star

After dark, October is a good month to go meteor watching. First, the Draconids are expected to reach their peak between 7-8 October (and the good news is that there’s no moonlight to spoil the show). If the Draconids are a damp squib, there’s another chance to wish upon a star with the Orionids making a welcome return on October 21-22. With no specialist equipment needed to watch the cosmic fireworks except warm clothing and a deckchair to lie back in, autumn stargazing is bound to be a hit with the whole family.

Pick Your Own Pumpkin

Autumn is a great time for foraging if you know what to look for. Halloween has become a much bigger deal here in recent years, and you can even pick your own pumpkin. Try Craigie’s Farm Pumpkin Patch in South Queensferry from October, or for a complete family fun day there’s the Pumpkin Festival at M&Ds Theme Park from 13 to 21 October in Strathclyde Country Park. There’s spooky storytelling, Halloween games and of course pick your very own pumpkin.

Nature’s Bounty

If you prefer your foraging on the wild side, try your hand at picking sloes (after the first frost is best) to make sloe gin. All you need is 450g sloes, 225g caster sugar, a litre of gin – and patience!

  • Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.
  • Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.
  • Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.
  • Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle.

Although sadly the bramble is past its best for picking by the end of September so the bramble jelly will have to wait until next year – there’s still good news – the shiny conkers are ready to pick and plentiful in forests and parks.

Get Ready for your Crimbotrees Christmas Tree

In between pumpkin picking and sloe gin making you might find time to start preparing the house for the arrival of your Crimbotrees Christmas tree! Watch the website for details of this year’s tree sales and order your fine Nordmann Fir Crimbotrees tree online for collection or delivery in the Edinburgh area.

Pumpkin Festival M&Ds Theme Park

Craigie Farm Pumpkin Patch