I love Autumn, it may be my favourite time of the year.
The leaves are turning golden and brown, the undergrowth is receding, the nights begin to close in and the mornings have that pinch of crisp chill.
But not all is closing in for the coming winter. September is the time when many of those things that were blooming in the summer, now turn to fruiting bodies and seeds. The blackberries are out, the maple seeds fly far on the wind and fungi abounds.
Up in the wood, I eagerly await four things in particular this time of year, three of which have already started happening.
1. The Hazel (Corylus avellana) nut drop. Louie, our dog, loves the taste of hazel nuts (so do, I'm sure, the mice and shrews and other critters that live in the wood). I've set up nut cracking stations in a couple of spots in the wood to give Louie the odd hazel treat.
As you can see, they're not quite ripe yet, but I do find a handful a day that are.
2. The brief Wild Arum (Arum maculatum) display. Once the leaves and flower have withered away, the female plants leave these odd structures-
They're a really weak design, it has to be said. Most collapse before the berries have even ripened, as the stem is rather flimsy. They're just odd plants. These berries are poisonous and an irritant too.
3. The teeny-tiny purple fungi breakout.
I've not been able to identify exactly which species they are, but I think they are of the Entoloma family. As you can see, they have an attractive lilac colouring. They sprout in the same couple of spots every year. I love fungi, there's a green species that sometimes appears in the wood at this time of year, but I couldn't find them last year, but hopefully they'll make a return soon.
4. The Spindle Tree seed pod attack. They haven't arrived yet, but they shouldn't be too far away now. I'll take a picture when they do, they're fascinating looking.
As I was walking in the wood the other day, taking these photos, I also sighted a miniature Troll, standing on a moss covered rock:
This is a Troll figurine from the cartoon, David the Gnome, which is an adaptation of the Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet Gnomes books.
It's one of my favourite little nick-nacks. I have dozens of the Gnome figures from the series too. I'll no doubt be taking pics of them, on top of some other favourite figures.
On the work front, I finished a very short story/fable/faerie tale yesterday, and I'm in the process of working on some illustrations for it. Once they are done, hopefully in a couple of weeks, I'll post it all here. This is the first in a series of these I plan on doing, with the goal of bringing them together into a book (digital or print, I haven't decided yet) in the future.
I've also recently finished my contribution to the Adventures Dark & Deep Bestiary. I didn't contribute nearly as many pieces as I had hoped and planned, it's been a very busy summer, after all. This artwork will get its own post once the book is released, which I believe will be in October some time.
The next post will be up in a couple of days, and will actually have some artwork to show, I promise.
A reminder, too: there are still prints available for anybody that wants them. All of the details are here.