I took this picture this morning. I think it sums up the year pretty well.
I’ve been really looking forward to this Autumn’s foraging season. I’ve moved house, and so I need to learn my new patch, but as I live in rural County Durham I was anticipating an easy ride.
At first when I found nothing I put it down to not knowing where the best bramble/elder/sloe patches were. Talking to my new neighbours I realised that all is not well out in the hedgerows, and there really is nothing to find.
The year started off fairly well. We’d had a relatively mild winter. Early spring was mixed – both hard frosts and warm sunny spells. Then it rained and rained through late spring and summer. September and October have been pretty decent, but the damage had been done. No insects and no sun makes a bad combination for hedgerow fruits.
It’s not Halloween yet, but this morning many parts of the North East woke up to snow. Not much, and it’s nearly all melted now, but it’s still October.
I took my picture this morning near my house in Wolsingham. The elder tree that grows beside Waskerley Bridge is still bearing green fruit. Not just a few late-flowering clusters, the whole tree is green, and most of the berries are still very small. They are not going to ripen.
I may be disappointed at the poor wild harvest this year, but at least I can take myself down to the supermarket. This is going to be a hard winter for wildlife, regardless of whether today’s weather is an indication of more snow to come.