Autumn and winter rituals

5 May 2020
Late afternoon in the chook run - a tree full of lemons and leaves falling from the pecan tree.

Shorter days, cool nights and cardigans are all sure signs we are in my favourite season - autumn. There's not much I don't like about this time of year, although, because of what's happening in the wider world, this May is unlike any I can remember.  Some of my routines change in autumn as I respond to the changing temperature and levels of light.

Closing the windows at night is the first small sign that the weather is changing.  We have our windows open most of the year but from now on, I wander around the house around 5pm, closing all windows and doors.

During the warmer months, I stand at this window at twilight and watch the bats fly from the trees for their nighttime feeding.

I've never taken a photo (above) from here before. It was 4.15pm, Hanno was still outside tidying up along the fence line and my much-loved task was to close all the windows and doors to keep the warm air in overnight. That line of trees is just above the creek that runs by our place. The direction is south-westerly.


In autumn and winter, Hanno loves collecting and squeezing our backyard oranges. Sadly, this year and last, the oranges have been attacked by insects, probably a moth, and all have fallen, not suitable for eating or drinking.

Borage - beloved by honey bees and many native bees.

Generally, March and April have been the time when we planted up our large vegetable garden from scratch. Now we've got a small cottage garden with many herbs and a few vegetables in among the flowers. We also have three orange trees, a banana, a wall of passionfruit, loquats and two lemons.

Having their porridge - good girls!

Of course, we look after our girls all through the year. Now that it's cooler and they're laying less, we increase the protein in their food because it helps with egg production. They often have warm porridge or old bread with milk. We also give them soup bones with meat still on them and food scraps.

Our winter bed.  I'm not one for matching bed linen or a multitude of pillows of varying sizes. My preference is for a bed that looks and feels comfortable, warm and welcoming.

Although it feels different every year, all these things are part of our autumn and winter and they take us right through until later October when the humidity starts creeping in again. Over the past couple of weeks, since the cooler weather arrived, I've also added the following to keep us warm and cosy:
  • Dressing gown. 
  • Flannelette nighties. 
  • Flannelette sheets and electric blanket - we put these on the bed last week. 
  • Extra blankets in Gracie's bed. 
  • Jumpers and cardigans. 
  • Skin cream on the coffee table and desk. 
  • Big pots of soups, stews and casseroles.

With the cooler weather, we've been in the garden a lot. We've been planting, transplanting, seeding, pruning, mowing and watering hoping to create a garden that will give us a wonderful place to sit and admire the beauty surrounding us. Do your routines change with the seasons too?





48 comments

  1. Hi Rhonda, according to some of the local facebook pages around the Gympie area a lot of people have been losing citrus to the citrus piercing moth.
    Cheers, Karen near Gympie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard the same thing here, Karen. We've been growing these citrus trees for 20 years and have never had this problem before. I wonder what's changed.

      Delete
  2. Hi Rhonda, Yes, they do. Since I'm in California, things are in bloom this time of year. That is a shame about your oranges. This was the first year that my blood orange tree provided fresh fruit for months. They can take quite a while to mature. I am inspired to plant more vegetables during this pandemic. I am so thankful for all of the herbs and fruit trees, and I just made a batch of soap. It feels wonderful to be stocked up on what we need. Love the photo of Hanno making juice! I always associate cold weather with knitting by the fireplace, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to grow blood oranges but it's too cold here. I always buy a dozen blood oranges over winter to get my fill.

      Delete
    2. Someone pointed out my mistake above. I meant it is too warm for blood oranges here.

      Delete
  3. Autumn is my favourite season too. I love the cooler air, the softer light, the changing colours on the trees, the promise of winter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Autumn too Rhonda and that first photo with the leaves and the lemon tree is beautiful. It certainly has dipped in temp and I put the electric blanket on and have my winter pjs and socks for bed too. I need to change the summer sheets to winter as well. Have a good week. Kathy A, Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You too, Kathy, and stay warm ... and safe.

      Delete
  5. Yes, we have 4 definite seasons where I live so rituals and routines and daily chores change as we go into Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It makes for a lot of work as I'm not a natural gardener but I keep trying :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although we officially have seasons here, we really only have two - hot and cold. I think four seasons would be a lot of work but I'd love to collect firewood and bring it inside.

      Delete
  6. Rhonda, after a 28C day last week the temperature dropped suddenly as the cold from down south arrived so the winter sheets and doona came out as well as winter PJs. It was a bit of a shock but much preferable to the dreadful heat of summer. I have been doing some veggie planting once again and making sure I only plant veggies that we actually eat. We seem to have an abundance of grasshoppers or some other pest which are somehow getting under the veggie netting so I hope we end up with some veggies down the track.,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the colder weather, I know you do too. We have those small green grasshoppers here at the moment. There are quite a few of them so I've sprayed them with pyrethrum.

      Delete
  7. I've been energised by the cooler weather as well. I feel alive again after all the heat of this past extreme summer, the crisp mornings and evenings are lovely. I especially love the sunsets at this time of year. They're richer and so colourful! We look out over the national park and the sunsets have been incredible lately. We also love watching the mists come up the valley below like a tide that comes in during the evening and rolls out again mid morning. Autumn is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh yes, the fire has been going for a couple of weeks now, the flanelette sheets are on plus warmer night wear plus socks. I prefer to feel warm. Shame about the oranges but I'm sure you will savour what upu could get.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Spring is my favourite season but like you when the sun is going down in Autumn I love to close the windows and blinds put on the lamps and cosy the house up. Helps me deal with the cooler weather.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We have four seasons although with climate change they sometimes slide into each other. Enjoying glorious spring here(UK) which is the really busy time in the garden. I know what you mean about firewood - we have lots of routine to do with the fire in autumn/winter. Getting wood, chopping it smaller if needed, gathering kindling, bringing it indoors each day, cleaning the ash from the fire and spreading on the garden or in compost bin, making natural firelighters from dried herbs and lavender stalks and keeping a supply of long matches. Then snuggle up, gaze into the flames and enjoy a cup of tea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I love the sound of that fire routine at your place, Penny.

      Delete
  11. Autumn is my favourite season too, Rhonda. We have had the fire going for a couple of weeks now, but not all day as the days have been gorgeous. One of my happy memories from childhood is my mother going around and shutting all of the blinds and turning the lamps on for evening and I still love doing this today.

    One of my Autumn rituals is to give the house a good clean, similar to a Spring clean. I do it because I know that the dust will quickly build up over winter with the fire so I want to at least start clean! I'm about to change the doona over to a feather one as we had our first really big frost the other night. As Armidale is cold in general the cardigan stays out most of the year! But the wool socks have come out, and the leggings. More big bean stews and soups are simmering on the stove too - what's not to like about Autumn?

    Madeleine.X

    ReplyDelete
  12. I too am in the UK and I love the changes in routine with the seasons, we have four definite seasons where we live. We are now heading into spring and are working at foraging for wood, washed down the local rivers in the winter storms, to top up our wood supply ready for the Autumn, we like to have this refilled as early in the Spring as possible to give it a chance to season and be dry enough. It is still cool enough in the evenings for us to have a fire occasionally.

    This is also the time when we can get out in the garden and start to sow seedlings, it is too cold for anything to grow in the winter here but some veg does survive the winter and has been providing us with a little produce as the temperatures have warmed slightly.

    We have yet to change the bedding over as it is still cool at night but I am loving that we can have the windows open during the day, letting the fresh air in and the stale air out. It is a rare night for us that we can have the windows open all night, it usually gets too cool for that.

    I find myself outside more as we go into Spring and Summer, I love to spend time outside all year round but the cooler months mean this is limited. It is good to live in harmony with what each season brings to us wherever we live in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Autumn is my favourite season too, Rhonda. I love its cooler days and gentler light. I close the house up to keep in the warmth in the later afternoon just as you do. I put out a couple of throws on our lounge and we all unearth our long sleeves, tracksuit pants and jeans. Soups make a comeback in the kitchen too.

    Love your photo of the borage flowers. I grow it here too and the bees do love it and I think it's so very pretty. MegXx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello Rhonda

    I enjoyed reading what you and Hanno have been doing as autumn progresses and winter approaches.
    My daughter's favourite season is autumn. She loves the cold weather and rain and can't wait to wear her dressing gown, warm PJs, coats and scarves. She was an autumn baby and that might be why it's her favourite season.

    Our routines change with the seasons. We have started using our wood heater and while it heats our living area I cook soups, stews or slow cooked dishes on top of the heater. Tomorrow I will cook some home grown quinces on our heater.

    The flannelette sheets and electric blankets are back on the beds and warm clothes are in use again.
    The quilt on your bed is really lovely. Did you make it? The colours are my favourites.

    We have been busy planting out our autumn and winter vegie garden. I am very glad to have my stockpile of bought and saved seeds. Seedlings and seeds are not available anywhere right now. We have silverbeet, rainbow chard, leeks, potatoes, spring onions, radishes endives, celery, rocket, and a few varieties of kale and lettuces growing at the moment. Our eggplant and chilli plants have been in production since summer and are still producing fruit.

    I was interested to read in your reply to a reader's comment, that it is too cold where you live to grow blood oranges. Is it colder than in Adelaide? We have a blood orange tree in a large pot that has produced beautiful fruit for the last seven years. The skin turns from orange to a mottled burgundy colour and the flesh is a lovely shade of maroon.
    The first thing I do when our blood oranges are ripe is make your 'Whole Orange Cake'. It has become a family favourite.

    Once again I've written a long comment Rhonda. I hope you, Hanno, Gracie and your sons and their families are all safe and well.
    Warmest regards, Maria xx.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria, I didn't make that quilt. It's an Ikea quilt that I really like because it falls down, almost to the floor, on both sides of the bed. Good to read you've got saved seeds to plant. Seeds have been fairly scarce here too. I have planted ruby chard and Welsh onions and will soon plant lettuce, turnips and radishes in with the flowers.

      I didn't mean too cold for blood oranges, I meant too warm. If we plant them here, they grow as oranges but without the red markings and the taste of blood orange. How many oranges do you get with the tree in a pot? I think that whole orange cake is about ready to form a fan club. xx

      Delete
    2. Hi Rhonda,

      one year the blood orange has a bigger crop of about 50 oranges and then the following year about 25. This year is the more bountiful year and the oranges are changing from green to pale orange. They are usually ripe in late June or early July.
      Our tree is about 1.5 metres high and the fruit is plenty for us as our young adult children won't eat the oranges as a piece of fruit due to the blood coloured flesh🤔.
      The rind of the ripe oranges has the most amazing fragrance of mixed spice. Apart from your cake which definitely deserves to have a fan club, my favourite ways of using the oranges is in biscuits and yeast risen fruit scrolls. The zest gives baked goodies an incredible taste and aroma. This year I will try making an orange curd tart with the juice and zest. Funnily enough my kids have no problems eating anything baked using the oranges.

      Cheers, Maria xx.

      Delete
  15. Yes, we have changing routines to match the seasonal differences. We are in the Piedmont on North Carolina and so spring is here, although our temps are forecasted to dip into the high 30's by week's end. Ouch!
    The sheets have been changed to lighter cotton from flannel, soups are being converted to slaw and potato salads, and the garden is getting ready to create as only it can do. Spring here is fairly spectacular, with all of the blooms and transformations of the landscape. We are blessed indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like a lovely time of year, daisy. xx

      Delete
  16. Autumn is my favourite time of year as well. Unfortunately, living in California we are gong into late spring and summer is only a month or so away. This means we are going into fire season; something that has started earlier and stays later each year. But I love getting into different routines with our two seasons too. We have never had four seasons here; but there was it seems more of a distinction between them, I would love some rain.

    The picture of your quilted bed is very inviting. I look at it often; it seems so cosy and pretty and yes; I noticed a bit of styling with the sheets and pillows there! Very nice indeed. The quilt is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lovely picture of your chook run. We give our little old rabbit porridge in Winter, and keep her warming light on until end of May. Spring is here for us now, Autumn arrives in October. Our Summers aren't too warm and quite short, but we love to have a little vegetable garden. My little greenhouse is full of life now. Come Autumn, we pack down the garden, so to speak, filling up our garden shed with empty pots. Only my rhubarb and strawberries overwinter under the snow. I love making cassaroles, soups and apple cakes come Autumn, and I bring out my wolly slippers. Blessings, Pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love winter cooking and baking too, Pam. I hope you're well. xx

      Delete
  18. Can't believe I forgot to mention lighting the fire in Autumn! The highlight of the year. All our fire wood is lined up to dry over Summer now, come september we fill our woodshed to the brim. Norwegians love their wood fires! Pam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I discovered Norwegian ancestors in my DNA recently that I didn't know I had. Maybe that's where my love of winter fires comes from.

      Delete
  19. Enjoyed seeing out your window and love your chickens. Your bed looks pretty with the quilt and sheets. I am chuckling because I have just finished packing away our heavy linens and winter clothes! It is spring here in northwest Florida. Our nights are 60's and on up in the 70's and 80's in the middle of the day. We have our small garden going good with tomatoes, green and red peppers, pole beans and bush beans, cukes and flowers. I am debating about trying 1 more time with summer squash as we have had such bad luck every time with them. Blessings, carolyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with your garden this year, Carolyn. Try planting your seeds or seedings on a mound about six inches high covered with straw or mulch of some kind. When they start growing, spray every week with milk - that can keep powdery mildew at bay.

      Delete
  20. Yes, we’ve had our first couple of frosts for the year here in Canberra. Autumn is definitely my favourite season, and I’ve been walking a lot in our glorious sunny cool days. The doona is on the bed, we close the curtains as it starts to get dark, and the heating comes on at 6.30 am. Lots of soups, and slow cooker curries on the menu.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lovely photos,I really miss communing with hens,they are such chatterboxes! My gorgeous grandson continues the tradition but of course we are unable to visit.We have planted an odd assortment of leftover seeds from our cupboard as all very local sources ran out weeks ago and we are trying to do the right thing and not go shopping except for food or drive out of our small rural area.We shall see what grows in our pot luck patch! Love getting into bed with flannelette sheets and a hot water bottle.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Always love your cozy posts! Your bed is so inviting! We are opposite seasons with Spring here. There is still snow here into the hills and along the rivers in places! Our seedlings are doing well but it will be another month before we have our last frost. We keep our bedroom window open all winter and sometimes have to sweep up a bit of snow! Lol! With a heated waterbed and qoosedown duvet it is quite snug and we keep the bathroom heated! We are doing more gardening as prices are apt to be up in the fall.God bless my friend! Xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Faye. I can't imagine sleeping in a bedroom that cold. 😳 Vegetable prices are up here too, a good reason to grow fresh produce. xx

      Delete
  23. Your home and land are so beautiful...and oh those lemons!! Already look so yummy!! Here, it is a fairly temperate region of USA...it can get cold, but not every year...it can get hot, but not every year. So layer dressing is for the most part how we dress. But I noted to Hubby this week that we need to get some of our cooler shirts and tops out now!! I love to sleep under quite a few heavy blankets and quilt...and so does he fortunately...so we still keep some on even when it gets hotter...we have A/C in this apt so it keeps things fairly even temp in summer anyway. Being we are on bottom floor, it stays cooler overall too. Due to us being just 2, once I got a little toaster oven we began doing much of our main cooking in that; in fact, I mostly use the main oven to store pots and pans...dragging them out on the rare time we use it to bake. We make bread some in a bread maker (being we have to be gluten free, it takes a long time to tweak the recipe...I did manage with one for hubby which I will not eat as it has raisins in it...and need to further tweak one for me...soon maybe!!) Thanks for sharing your days here.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your bed looks SO inviting and comfortable...love all the pinks and the softness of the whole look. Definitely looks like a place to have a good night's sleep!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just wanted to say that your handle is hilarious! ;0D

      Delete
  25. This is the time of year that I get really busy in the food garden. With all that is going on in the world I added to the food garden and am so grateful that I did. Most of our neighbours are retired and getting on in years. They all wanted to stay away from the shops. I was able to share sweet potato, pumpkin and lots of greens with them all. The passionfruit are ripening and these are now being handed of the fences. In return we have been gifted 2kg of SR flour when I was getting low, lots of fresh eggs and fresh caught fish.
    I have a carpet that lives under our bed during summer but comes out in the cooler weather. This lives on the tiles in the lounge room to keep the toes feeling less chilly. On the bed I have an empty doona cover in the summer. The doona has now gone into the cover. I did this just in time for the 4 degrees we had overnight last week.
    We tend to eat what I grow and so it is seasonal for here, not necessarily the rest of the country. Soon there will be a lot of tomatoes and lettuce being eaten. There will also be lots of warm salads served.
    I am loving not being sweaty. That is the best thing about this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't it make you feel good when you share with neighbours and friends, not expecting anything back, and it starts coming. It sounds like a great neighbourhood, Jane.

      Delete
  26. Autumn is my favourite season too Rhonda. Once the heat of summer passes its like I come alive again because the heat and humidity affects me so much.
    I too have made the seasonal change to flannie sheets. In summer I use cotton sheets and have an extra cotton top sheet on the bed that contrasts with the sheet sets, instead of a coverlet or bedspread both of which I find too hot for summer use. We have a light coverlet on the bed now that it is a little cooler but no need for any blankets or quilt as yet.
    We re-established our veggie garden toward the end of summer - or rather it commenced re-establishing itself after the late January rains.

    ReplyDelete

  27. Hello Rhonda, it is not often that I write a little note but this time I get started. Here it is spring, since the beginning of the confinement on March 17, it is a big sun and a beautiful blue sky but sometimes cool days and wind. So here we store the warm clothes and the flannels but we keep at least one on the side in case it refreshes. My husband is active every morning in the garden, we start to eat the first radishes and shallots; me is routine, cleaning, meals, sewing. I have never had heating in the rooms and we sleep better as well.
    see you soon
    Françoise Lavoisier

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Françoise, thanks for writing, it's good to hear from you. I love working to routines and it sounds like you and your husband do as well. Good luck with everything you do. xx

      Delete
  28. Oh that all sounds fabulous to me. We are enjoying the last vestiges of cool weather up in Missouri, USA. Spring has been odd this year, but I look forward to summer and fall.
    Blessings,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    ReplyDelete
  29. Having lived in Southern California my entire life, I am attuned to to our micro seasons, but in general most people say we only have two seasons, although certainly January's cold and rain is not the same as April's gentle warmth or August's fiery heat. After a lovely April, we're in the midst of a heatwave -- today it is 98°F/37°C. A few weeks ago we cleaned our outdoor spaces, bringing out the lounge cushions and umbrella, and last week I washed and packed away the cold weather bedding. I hung colored lights on the porch, just to cheer things up. I've packed away most of the candles, as we have plenty of light at supper. The fireplace has been cleaned and the tool rack and firescreen stored out in the shed.

    ReplyDelete
  30. We are slowly coming into spring in Northern Canada. The tomatoe plants were started a few months ago and are now ready to be hardened off outside. My garlic bed, planted just before winter dumped at least 6 feet of snow on us, is now up about 10 inches. It suddenly popped through the mulch about a month ago, and I worried it would freeze, but it has thrived. Rhubarb is also up, as well as the leaves on the raspberry and gooseberry bushes. I will not plant any seeds for at least two to three weeks, and the warm blankets will stay on the bed for as long. Frost is a possibility for a few weeks. The bbq has been dusted off and used once already, but it is still chilly some days for eating outside. I am looking forward to wearing my shorts a few times this summer.
    Barb

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lovely reading about your weather seasons in different places. Autumn and early Spring are my favourite times of year. Rhonda, I like your photo of the lemon tree and chook pen - it is a real Autumn photo with the coloured leaves.

    ReplyDelete

EMAIL ADDRESSES, LINKS OR BUSINESS INFORMATION WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED.

Thank you for taking the time to comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.