Autumn is well and truly with us now. Maybe in towns and cities it is not quite so evident, but here in the countryside the signs are everywhere.
My tall Scots pines, the windbreak close to the prevailing wind side of the farmhouse, are dropping pine cones and pine needles by the thousand. The pine needles often end up in the guttering of the house; the pine needles blow up and down the drive, gradually being swept into piles until they are quite easy to gather up.
The cattle - milk cows, beef herds, suckler herds,
fill the fields, eating up the remaining grass now that silaging has finished. It has been showery for the last few weeks and the grass has grown apace so there will be no need to start on the silage yet and it should last well over the winter, with no shortages.
Walking down the Lane this morning with Tess I was struck by the dearth of hawthorn berries. There was plenty of May blossom but now there are none of the swags of ripe berries for the winter birds. But the rose hips are there, pushing out into the Lane and fully ripe. I was tempted today to cut some to take with me to my new home - I love them so. But then I decided that the birds need was greater than mine and I left them to give pleasure where they were.
The rooks go no further during the day than our fields - swooping across them in the strong west wind, landing in the ash trees and complaining to one another about the conditions for flying I suspect. If you are close enough the noise they make is quite deafening.
There is a feeling that all Nature's creatures are making preparations for the coming of winter - laying in stocks of food, making snug places to spend their time, making the most of any sunny, warmish day.
Oil tanks are being filled, logs are being sawn and stacked (the farmer had a goodly quantity left from last year so the folk coming into the house will start with plenty), all the signs are there.
Now the forecast is for a warm week-end, so let's make the most of it.