All Creatures Great and Small II: And Those Not Bright and Beautiful

Ah, Autumn, season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.  A time when Humbug suffers puddle/mud dilemmas, night-time "stealth rain" periodically knocks out the electricity, as does the slightest tremor of wind, and Water Lane lives up to its name upgrading the farm with an exclusive "moated" look. The very height of Country Living desirability!

The River Stour is on the rise, so we may soon have to take the bullocks off the Marsh and autumn cultivation has been abandoned in favour of spring barley.  However, in good news, the squirrel escaped...then returned with a friend, both intent on making their way back into the covered bin.  Yes, we saw the jungle gym potential, and took it to the next level.  Welcome to the LDF Squirrel Creche.  Are you going away from home?  Work-Life balance leaving you with little "me-time"?  Leave your squirrels with us.  A diversification idea I can't wait to share with the bank manager.

I laugh, yet Humphrey is at one with the squirrels.  Forget 'Tarzana', a baby squirrel once decided Dad's wellington boot was its mother.  Humph was found standing in the middle of the lane plaintively crying for assistance as said squirrel-ette refused to abandon his wellington.

I'm not sure what's scarier, a pet squirrel or the Gollum-esque nutter (appropriate) holding precious.

But in other news, and proving once again I am not "at one" with the animals, following my tweet, Farm Dog was found cavorting in mud, puddles and a lot of onion waste (= stinky dog, avoid at all costs) with BFF from Wiston Mill, Reggie.

So last year it was complete refusal, and this year it's personal.  I am not worth crossing the muddy wastes to reach.  Given the squirrel died shortly after the photo was taken (most probably out of terror), it is proving difficult to blame him.

I shall instead focus on the lovely autumn colours as the trees begin to turn across the  Valley, providing an excellent backdrop to this year's record silage harvest!

All-you-can-eat Autumn

Temperatures are dropping and the frost  has returned.  Time for the annual checklist... Drilling sorted.  Check.  Harvest Festival. Check.   Pumpkin sale at Wiston Church.  Check.  Sweet chestnuts gathered.  Chek  - I'm typing through the pain.  Who needs gloves?  And I can hear a tiny violin....which must mean...Whoop! Autumn is back!

So, as the crops emerge and I tentatively dance up a rainstorm and play the weather game, it's time for another vintage photo.  This Massey Harris seed drill  courtesy of Grandad T's faming collection c. 1940s.

This year, I spent a frantic half hour in the role of the man on the back, running up and down the tailboard trying to eke out the little seed remaining, and inevitably running out with a few metres to go.  But, crisis averted!  After we'd got past Dad's "seasonal Tourette's" when faced with bags of seed corn - "It's Autumn! No Spring! ..Winter!..Spring!..Winter!", the correct grain was found and job done just in time for Humphrey to head off to play the flute in concert that evening.

Good news for us and for the pigeons, seagulls, rooks etc. that use the fields as an all-you-can-eat buffet to get fat for the winter.  A flock of pigeons is for life, not just for Christmas.  Fortunately, natural pest control in action - thank you to the farmer next door who's planted some far tastier oilseed rape.  Plus, this year, they've got Humbug to contend with.  And that dog believes he can fly...