Sunday, 16 October 2011

Perfect Autumn Days.

Perfect days at this time of the year are few and far between, but yesterday was a special one here in the Yorkshire Dales.

It was such for the farmer - although not for me in this instance - in that it was the first shoot for the shooting syndicate who shoot the land around our farm. The farmer is not a shooting man but he does like the camaraderie which it offers, so he goes along as a 'beater'. From my point of view they had a good day in that it takes a while for the pheasants to 'learn' to fly when the shooters approach and they never shoot until a pheasant is in the air, so for the first few weeks the 'bag' is small.
Later in the season the cleverest ones seem to learn to come into the garden out of the way - they are always welcome. I don't eat pheasant and I really don't like them being shot so the farmer and I agree to differ.

But this meant that Tess and I were on our own for the day. The weather forecast for next week is horrible, so the first thing I did was a couple of loads of washing. I have visitors for the weekend next weekend (looking forward to seeing you P and D if you are reading this) so it was nice to get it done while the weather was so nice.

And nice it was - wall to wall sunshine, slight breeze - the kind of Autumn day that we so rarely get up here and the kind that- hopefully - stays in the mind all winter to carry one through those absolutely awful days to come.

My early lunch was a large jacket potato which had been cooking in the Aga for a couple of hours -I split it and put in a dollop of butter and a nice slice of cheddar. It was delicious - not the farmer's favourite food at all, so good to eat while he wasn't here. (he took a picnic lunch).

Then Tess and I set off to walk to Red Bank - a mile each way. It was so quiet - I don't know where the rooks and jackdaws were yesterday but they certainly were not down our lane. So quiet was it that I could hear a group of long tailed tits working through the hedgerow, chattering quietly to one another as they went.

We stopped so that I coud photograph some bright red rose hips on the side of the lane and disturbed a huge flock of Winter thrushes - fieldfares and redwings. It is wonderful to see them back for the Winter - they swooped over the lane and off into the stubble field, making their chip-chip noise as they went.

Further on I took another photograph of the dairy cows enjoying the Autumn sunshine. They do love the sun on their backs and looked so contented in the field. But already the field is beginning to show signs of what the farmer calls 'paddling up' - in other words the recent rain has caused it to be so wet that the cows trample the grass down and make it uneatable. There will come a point shortly when they will have to go in for the Winter. A week or two of this lovely weather would be so good, but - sadly - rain is forecast for the beginning of the week.

Coming back through the garden I see that the 'wild' sweet pea given to me by S and N (thank you S and N if you are reading this), and which has given such good service over the Summer, is still in full flower. I do intend to keep seed for next year if I can - it is just a matter of harvesting them at the right moment.

Back home the farmer arrives shortly after we do and tells me that they have seen two foxes during the day - wish I had seen them too. I make a hearty soup for tea (pea, carrot and onion -i.e. the contents of the salad drawer plus a box of dried peas I 'found' at the back of the store cupboard) - I must say it is jolly good - just the soup for a perfect Autumn day.

Have a nice week end.


Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Really lovely post Pat :) I take it the Farmer doesn't bring any pheasant home with him?

Tom Stephenson said...

I made a game casserole last night, and today we are going to walk in the woods around Shearwater, on the first mushroom hunt of the season. The weather is perfect again, as it was on your day out yesterday, Weaver. I like all the seasons, apart from that depressing grey bit which falls between January and March, but last year it was bitterly cold so it was quite fun.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

We seem to have been blessed with more than our usual share of perfect autumn days in East Anglia. Long may it continue - though I fear it won't. The farm I worked on for many years did not have a shoot and it always amazed me how many pheasant congregated on our land when the guns were out on a neighbouring farm. Not so bird-brained after all!

Elizabeth said...

A perfect day indeed. Scenery, food.
Only thing missing was a good book ( but you probably have one and didn't mention it!)
Love these country walks with you.

Angie said...

It sounds marvelous--you are such a talented writer that I feel as if I am right there experiencing it all with you. Thank you for allowing us to tag along. :)

Heather said...

Such a lovely post Pat - I feel as if I have been with you. I made soup for lunch today - just vegs in chicken stock and a few yellow lentils, but so tasty. It's a perfect day here - I don't know what the new week holds for us.

Pondside said...

It really was a perfect day! I made the same sort of soup yesterday - the best!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love autumn days like this too, as you say it helps you through the winter.... I laughed at your description of pheasants learning to fly, they always seem to be a but reluctant to take to the wing don't they?

Thanks for your comment on my blog about doing your bit for the wildlife on your farm. I've amended my blog post as a result. I do know that many people who don't farm organically do a lot for their wildlife, and I didn't want to imply that I thought otherwise. Going organic is a long expensive process and I know some farmers have had difficult relations with the Soil Association.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for the lovely walk! It makes me more and more desiring to see the Yorkshire dales myself!
Thanks for your visit and comment. The psalms are a great comfort.

Heather said...

Thankyou for your kind comment on my blog Pat. We have followed your example this afternoon and just been for a lovely stroll in local countryside. It's been a glorious day and much too good to be inside. I am thoroughly enjoying my course but it is very time consuming. I think your life is busier than mine and I wouldn't enjoy it if I was under pressure from other interests and commitments.

Pat Posner said...

Thank you for a lovely walk, Pat and Tess! Autumn is beautiful this year, isn't it.

OK, I hope I can post this; have tried a few times lately to comment but couldn't.

T&T send woofs

The Poetry Bus said...

The perfect Autumn Winter and spring days are all summer ones, the best days are the days we never had, the best days are still to come, the best days are all our yesterdays.

steven said...

the very best food for autumn! food for the tummy and for the eyes! steven

Dave King said...

Superb, as usual. A disappointing day for you perhaps, but a fine post for us.

Mary said...

What a lovely tale of the near prefect Autumn day in northern England - I would have loved to join you on that walk. Of course you're welcome to come see my foxes, they're still walking through the garden daily!

Latest though is the big raccoon which is now awaiting collection from the back garden this morning by the animal control officer! Yes, he entered the humane trap last evening, stuffed himself with the cat food bait, and has been totally calm and quiet. He will be taken and freed at a lake area north of us, they promised he would not be put down.

Love Nature as you well know, but can't have these creatures, who could have rabies, quite so close to home!

Hope the rain is not too heavy this week.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Another autumn day to savour followed this one - so you can read account today! Thank you for the comments.

H said...

It has been a beautiful weekend and I'm delighted that you got out for a walk.

I had redwings in my garden for the first time last winter. I was so excited to see them!! I do hope they return!

Dave King said...

The rooks and jackdows were away for the Sunday to enjoy the unseasonal weather!