A Week in Books: Bonfires, bee bread and poetry with petals

On a Sunday evening, I like to clear the shelf next to my desk, in preparation for the week ahead. There will always be a pile of books that have accumulated beside me. I enjoy the moment when I scoop them up and shelve them again, the titles on the spines evoke a diary of the days just passed:  

A Week in Books.

Copyright: Tiny Potager

The Art of Fire: The Joy of Tinder, Spark and Ember by Daniel Hume

The first of the maple leaves fell this week and their orange-yellow colours brought to mind flickers of flame and evenings by the fire. Every year, at around this time, I bring The Art of Fire down from the shelf.

Copyright: Tiny Potager

I long for a fire when it is too cold to be out at night without one and the breeze whisks the smoke upwards in spiral. A hot drink in a mug, just a little too hot to hold with bare hands, can be clasped between woolly mittens, whilst we watch the flames dance. In the chillier months fire brings light to the darkness.

For now, I am content to browse The Art of Fire, reminding myself of all the different ways to build up a small campfire and of why “over loving” a fire never comes to any good … although I know I shall still enjoy poking the embers back into life all the same.

“The fire in the woodland glade with paper lanterns in the canopy above”
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No matter what page I turn to in my book, I am left feeling like the fading summer will not be so hard to part with after all.

Soon … the kettle was dancing over the flames; at last we could relax in the knowledge that everyone was safe and dinner wasn’t long away…

The Art of Fire: The Joy of Tinder, Spark and Ember by Daniel Hume

Wildlife of Britain by Dorling Kindersley Pocket Nature

This year, amongst the familiar white flowers that dot the hedgerows (as below), we noticed a new variety, with pink candy-striped flowers.

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A quick check in the nature guide told us that it was not a mutation, as I had supposed, but a different variety of the same plant, known as field bindweed.

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England’s Heritage Food and Cooking by Annette Yates

The recipe we chose for this week was a “Kentish Cherry Batter Pudding”. My sons enjoyed it straight out of the oven, eaten with dessert spoons whilst still in the cake tin. We are going to try creating our own version, with Autumn’s seasonal apples and blackberries.

Copyright: Tiny Potager

Dancing with Bees by Bridget Strawbridge-Howard

Throughout the summer, hundreds of bees have visited our little garden and some have even made a home here. Chapter one of Dancing With Bees takes a look at what happens beyond the bees’ visits to the flowers.

I had always assumed that the pollen brought back by worker honeybees was fed directly to the larvae, but I could not have been more wrong.

Dancing with Bees by Bridget Strawbridge-Howard

Strawbridge-Howard goes on to explain that pollen is actually indigestible by bees and has to be fermented into bee bread. There is, therefore, a great risk to bees from the human use of fungicides, which destroys the wild yeast required for this process, depriving the bees of the food they need to nourish both themselves and next year’s generation of pollinators.

Copyright: Tiny Potager

Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems by Kate Coombs

Storms swept across Britain towards the end of the week, sending delicate summer flowers swirling up into the air like confetti. Gardeners throughout the country watched nervously as sunflowers and hollyhocks, runner beans and dahlias swayed precariously on their thin stems and cane supports.

My little daughter helped me to gather up all of our fallen flowers; those which were too small for a vase, we laid out on the table.

We fetched our poetry book, turned to the storm page and I let my daughter decorate the words with her windfall.

The poems have a metre to them that brings such a sense of calmness, even as the storm rages on outside.

Is there a book that you like to read as autumn approaches?

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. John says:

    Beautiful photos, I love the art! It’s so wonderful how you and your little girl have so much fun together. 🥰🇬🇧


  2. Your week in books is wonderful.


  3. Bravo! You made me want to read every one of them.


  4. Jo says:

    I’ve been loving the art you share on Instagram and share your fascination with bees. Remarkable, complex little characters.


  5. buddy71 says:

    wow! you have leaves turning fall color and where i live, we are still having summer temps and yes some leaves are turning color but that color is brown from the heat and no rain.


  6. Such a lovely post. Where on earth did you get that “baby acorn” sleeping in the leaf??? I need one of those!


  7. I love your “The fire in the woodland glade with paper lanterns in the canopy above” and the shot of the bee. When we lived in Ohio, we had a wood-burning stove inserted in our fire place and had a fire most days in winter. With a blower, the living room, dining room, and rooms above them were all kept warmer with less use of the furnace. I did miss that stove when we moved. Here in Arizona, our rental house has a gas fire which we may use sometime in the winter, but less for warmth than mental joy.

    I don’t have specific books I read for autumn but a series that comes to mind when you mention bees and beekeeping is the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King, a series I’ve read multiple times. I’ve also just started “A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings”, about beekeeping in Oxford.



  8. Sandra says:

    This is such a lovely series, Beck. You have me thinking about books for this transitional point in the calendar. I have summer-themed and autumn-themed but there is this period as summer wanes and autumn whispers…. I shall be watching now for books which fill the gap.


  9. A delightful summary.


  10. nanacathy2 says:

    A lovely post, pink bindweed is very pretty. I love your flower pictures.


  11. Nancy says:

    I loved every morsel of this post. The art is in incredible. Your children are learning the love of nature and baking.
    Happy day to you!


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