For the first time in a lot of years we have grey squirrels. Why? Well the answer to that question is obvious if you walk round the boundaries of our fields - our nut trees are laden with hazelnuts. The farmer says that when they are ready he will shake as many as he can down so that we can get them rather than the squirrels. But one question continues to niggle me. How do the squirrels know?
We honestly never see one, so there can't be any all that near to us.
This means they are coming from a distance away. Do hazelnuts smell? We have never seen any signs of squirrels so it can't be that they patrol every year to see whether the trees have nuts on. Does 'odeur de h azel ' waft around the surrounding area and do their sensitive noses pick up the scent? Whatever the reason - they are here in force and piles of broken nut shells lie under the trees. But I don't begrudge them their little feast, so good luck to them if they get them all before us. I just wish I knew how they did it. One of the mysteries of the countryside.
The hunting (fox hounds) season has not begun yet but the hunt came round this morning cubbing. They come round early (7am), just as it is getting light, bringing their young hounds as well as some of the more experienced ones and they look for fox earths. They are not intent on killing the cubs, they just wish to have a rough idea of where they are and to give them 'a bit of a run around'. I don't approve of fox hunting, but the farmer does and it is his farm so I tolerate it and keep quiet. But my sympathies always lie with Reynard. 'The unspeakable pursuing the uneatable'
is my view.
Tom managed to be the first to mention 'Season of mists.....' I have always felt that it is 'season of bonfires' and as I go around, that evocative smell of burning leaves, grass and foliage, which means quite often that gardeners have been tidying up for Winter, seems to be everywhere. I love it.
The other things which are everywhere this year on the trees is horse chestnuts (conkers). Does anyone play 'conkers' any more? It used to be secret which method you used to make them hard and unbreakable (vinegar, roasting, soaking) and giant conker fights abounded when I was a kid. Does anyone play the game now?