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.