Autumn hues

The rain over the last few days has turned the lane at the back to little Venice. Lyra likes a good paddle in a puddle, so is unperturbed. I’ve seen a bit less of the pheasants there though, so perhaps they are more picky and have taken to higher ground. A few have appeared further up the hill in the wood right at the back of the house and and one bold boy (could it be big Henry back again?) has been perching in the plum tree on the washing green. I was returning from the compost heap along the back track with a barrow of logs this evening (I operate on the principle that one ought never travel with an empty barrow so it was apple mash out and logs in) and disturbed him. He took off back to the wood in high dudgeon.

One by one the stubble fields around us are being ploughed over and returned to cultivation. Lyra and I are now having to range further and further to find a good stubble field to romp in (I think we both love the crunch and crackle underfoot). Alas, on the last outing but one I managed to drop the lead. I thought it would be easy to find turning back to retrace our steps (orange lead, bare field…) but no – we have now been over there four times and still no sign….. Luckily the field is opposite Tom and Sue so I was able to convince Lyra to visit Sue (in hope of biscuits) and then secure a length of rope to serve as a substitute lead for the road stretch of the way home. Lyra was quite taken with the hangman’s noose style lead and spent a good deal of time on the way home chewing the knot.

The trees are colouring up beautifully now, especially the yellow maples. I spent this afternoon barrowing leaves to the leaf store, but have left the maple leaves on the path as they look so lovely. I can’t begin to think what Keats was thinking of with his “pestilence driven multitudes” ….We strolled down to the Hirsel recently to admire the calves again and the walks amongst the trees are glorious.

The discovery of some strange mushrooms in the orchard whilst apple picking led Lachlan and I to conduct a full scale fungus safari in the field and garden the other day to see what we could find. It appears that there are liberty caps in the field which may go some way to explain the distinctly odd behaviour of the cows, who are still performing the Calgary stampede every time Keith takes the bins out. Another discovery, of recycling in action, was that the birds have been using the cow’s hair as nesting material.

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