It has been an extraordinary autumn. Morning after Morning up here on our hillside we have woken to golden light and heavily dewed grass. We face South East and the morning sunlight pours in through our bedroom window, pooling gold on the carpet. Outside everything is still flowering and glowing. By lunchtime it is warm enough to eat outside.
On many mornings the sky has been full of sun while the valley below us is brimming with mist.
But by lunchtime the world emerges bright and clear and warm.
Sedum throbs with bees and butterflies.
Everywhere berries are ripe. Cotoneaster herringbones its way up the stone wall by the drive.
The walnut tree is laden with nuts in their glossy green cases which stain your hands a vicious black.
In the edge of the hen enclosure I find this huge fungus, the size of a small plate, ignored so far by the chickens. They are moulting and looking a bit scraggy, their feathers lying on the grass. There are very few eggs right now. We let our hens stop laying in the winter. This happens naturally when the days shorten sufficiently although you can keep them laying by providing artificial light. We prefer to leave the natural course of things to play out.
I have planted many more new daffodils, Actaea, Cheerfulness and Minnow, up round the shepherd's hut. I used to try to do this with a bulb planter, taking out a core of soil and trying to achieve a good depth of planting, but now I try to do it for the least effort possible. The best technique for our stony soil seems to be to lift a sod halfway using a small spade, leaving one side still attached, cram as many bulbs as will fit underneath, and stamp the sod back down again. I still have all my tulips to plant, both for pots and for the cutting garden, but they won't go out until November.
More sunshine please!