It has been the most beautiful of days here today. One of those days in early Autumn when the beauty and warmth are almost painful because you know they are coming to an end for another year. The sun has been out from dawn to dusk and as most of our windows face South, the house is still full of its warmth.
Friend S has let me have a jar of her honey and we are treating ourselves to a spoonful each on our morning porridge. The label on the jar says 'summer honey' and it sure has the taste of Summer in it.
Creatures are beginning to plan for Winter. As far as I can see the House Martins and the Swallows have all gone South. We haven't seen a hedgehog for a night or two, so we assume they are bedding down in our hay barn to sleep away the winter.
The farmer has bought a new field. It sits amongst his existing fields so it made sense to buy it and add it to the farm. He is altering the fencing patterns and last week he took down a stretch of wooden paling fencing and piled it up in a neat pile. This afternoon he gathered the pile up on his tractor to bring it back to the farmyard and as he lifted it, a stoat jumped out and the pile fell apart. There was evidence inside that the stoat had decided that this was a jolly good place to make a winter home. Sadly he will now have to find somewhere else near to the rabbits. There are plenty of stone walls near at hand and that is where they usually live.
I suppose you could say that we are all beginning to batten down the hatches in the same way really. Wood piles are being stacked up, oil tanks filled, sacks of potatoes bought, crops in our gardens are being harvested before the frost. Our runner beans showed the first sign of frost on the leaves this morning. They will stand absolutely no frost whatsoever, so the first real frost kills them off.
Leeks on the other hand really seem to like frost, so as soon as there has been a real sharp frost we shall begin eating them. Folk pickle and jam and bottle and store up for Winter even though our supermarkets make such things unnecessary. I think it is an instinct in all of us (dare I say particularly women) to store and make ready.