The weather forecast here in the North of England is for cold weather coming down from the Arctic tomorrow and leaving a scattering of snow on the tops. The builder is just putting the finishing touches to the milking parlour roof as I write - he will be pleased to get it done just in time.
In the garden the last few roses of Summer are blooming in the tub by the front door. They are so pretty - I have no idea of the variety but I have had this rose a few years and it never fails to please early and late in the season.
This morning the farmer drove me over the tops to Richmond to go to the audiology clinic to have new hearing aids fitted (in both ears for the first time - everything sounds so terribly loud this afternoon.) On the way back we saw that they are burning the heather all round us.
The grouse-shooting season finished last weekend and the game keepers like to get on with the heather burning straight away if the weather is right - and it is at the moment. The purpose of burning the heather (which they do in controlled patches throughout the moor) is to encourage the young shoots to grow back green and healthy. Grouse more or less live on heather and they eat the young shoots and the seeds they produce. Each patch is burnt once every four years. I must say that it produces the most beautiful smell which wafts over the moor as the day wears on. Columns of white smoke drift along and today these extend the full length of the moors on all sides.
Christmas cake number two is in the oven as I write this - smells good. Two down, two to go. I always feel well on course when I have done all four. Christmas Day is three weeks tomorrow it you need a reminder!
The first of the cows who overwinter in our Loose housing came in this morning. There has been such a lot of late grass this year that has been ideal for dry cows, who don't have to be fed to encourage the milk yield. But now that they are in they have settled in quickly, lying down in the deep straw and only getting up to come to their troughs when I went down there at lunch time with a few savoy cabbage leaves cut from the outside of our lunchtime cabbage. I must say I like the Winter cows in = it happens every year and emphasises a sense of continuity on the farm.
Get in the logs, get out the hats and scarves, be ready for that first icy blast!