The weather was amazing this summer (relatively speaking, after some miserable ones – our expectations are low here) and continues to be eerily mild and sunny into winter. Today is a beautiful December day. The sun is low in the sky and everything is glowing softly. Even the suburbs look pretty.

Sun low in the sky over mountains

We’re so unused to dry summers here that the talk on the radio shows has been about how beautifully orange the autumn leaves are. Apparently this is because dry weather concentrates sugar in the cell sap, speeding up the manufacture of red compounds. Those of you who are used to warm summers are probably thinking duh but this is a bit of a novelty for us. We’re easily pleased obviously. I was driving down to a friend in the country at the weekend and passed through an avenue of intensely orange trees, gorgeous.

I’ve being growing vegetables for the past few years and this is the first time the salads have lasted so late in the year. The day we have to resort to buying nasty shop-bought salads, having eaten lettuce fresh from the garden for the previous six months, is always a low point. So far this year, we haven’t reached it.

rows of green lettuce

And I just opened the last jar of rhubarb chutney made from our summer glut. I had about 12 jars in all and it’s been handy for small gifts over the last few months. As well as being really nice with cheese and pork. One warning – this stuff is like a bubbling, spitting volcano while it cooks and I ended up with a burnt hand when I gave it a stir. There’s probably a simile there about how to handle an angry, simmering woman. An irate woman is like a saucepan of chutney. Approach with care.

jar of rhubarb chutney

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