All the usual things of Autumn have gone on in the farm this week. The photographs at the top of this post more or less tell their own story.
First of all it was time to put the implements to bed for the Winter. These machines deteriorate quickly enough without leaving them out in the elements, so first the combine had to be put away. We don't own a combine as we have no arable land, but our neighbour does and couldn't find room for it in his sheds. One of the lovely things about farming communities is that they help each other out, all the time. So the combine went into our shed - just - there was plenty of room once it got inside,but the doorway was a challenge. You will see in the picture that it is tucked in quite securely next to two ancient Fergie tractors who live there permanently and are kept for sentimental reasons (I believe the first one was bought in 1947!) There is a childrens' story there somewhere!
Then it was the turn of the baler; all the hay we have been able to make has been baled, so the baler has now gone to bed. There will still be some straw in the back I'll be bound and it becomes a favourite "laying away" place for the hens in Winter. In the photograph Tip, our Border Collie, is watching the whole process eagerly. He guards the baler and barks furiously when the hens sneak in to lay.
In the field opposite our house our neighbouring farmer has put his heifers and has introduced a handsome Limousin bull. At present the bull seems content with eating the plentiful grass but no doubt he will do his job over the next few months and there will be a batch of calves in early Summer next year.
The next door milking herd (who graze our grass) have gone in for the Winter. There is little goodness in the grass at this late time of year and if they stay out the milk-yield goes down dramatically. But the young heifers are still out, eating up the last green shoots and taking an interest in everything and everybody. You only have to stand by the wire and they will all congregate there to see what is going on.
The hens go to bed very early now. Their shed (the green one in the photograph) has been thoroughly cleaned out and a good layer of fresh straw put it. In the photograph they are having a last scratch in the grass before retiring for the night. They have to be shut in as there are plenty of foxes around here.
Our vegetable garden is not a winter garden - we are on heavy clay - so it has been dug over. Except for a few leeks and a bit of lettuce under glass, it is all ready for the Winter frosts to break up the soil ready for planting in the Spring.
Logs have been sawn and stacked and we are having fires in the evening. The days are still quite warm and this week has been mainly a sunny one. But the leaves are turning, the nights have drawn in and Christmas in on the horizon.