The temperature reached 19 C in the Southeast of England today, around 8 degrees higher than average for this time of year. It does not feel as though winter's nearly here. Yet the clocks changed back to GMT this morning, marking our passage into the new season and bringing dusk forward by an hour.
There was a definite sign of winter last week. Hundreds of redwings and fieldfares flew over and into our village as they arrived in the UK from Scandinavia. It was a dramatic sight (you can see beautiful images of it here).
Starting today, Mrs Thriftyhousehold and I will be hosting Making Winter week around the beginning of each month until February. We'll be sharing what we've been making and baking. I will be dragged outside for lovely walks, apparently. We may knit things. She will be trying to convince me that this season has good things to offer.
The ceremonial first lighting of our open fire is, I have to admit, quite a good thing. Recently I remembered Diana's beautiful homemade pinecone firelighters. I was lucky enough to receive some in the post from her a year or two ago and I was keen to make some for myself. Mrs TH had beeswax, old candles and an astonishing array of essential oils. I had a huge bag of pinecones.
We melted the wax and added a few drops each of clove, orange and black pepper oils,
dipped the pinecones and left them to dry on some newspaper.
They smelled wonderful, as Diana says they looked rather 'frosty' after their dipping and the whole process took just half an hour.
Yesterday there was a nip in the air and I built a fire using our homemade lighters. The pinecones flared up, crackled and the smoke was scented. They made made the whole process a joy.
It was a good start to the new season.
These pinecones firelighters make such good presents (I was thrilled when I received my little bagfull). I think they would be great used to light small campfires and outdoor firebaskets too. Huge thanks to Diana at Pebbledash. She shares a full tutorial here.
I have been taking a few other steps to embracing the approaching winter:
Kristina has been helping me to find a cowl pattern suitable for knitty beginners.
I spied and tried a warming and delicious Nigel Slater recipe last week
I baked Rebecca's apple cake recipe and will be doing so again. It's perfect for the cold weather.
More on these stories later...
The Making Winter flickr pool is beginning to look rather seasonal and lovely.