A Year in a Lane – Week 43

At this time of year in mid autumn, warmish sunny days and cooler nights quite often produce a mist or fog in the morning. And this year has been no different.

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As the sun comes up, the nearby tower looms up out of the fog producing some good photo opportunities for an atmospheric feel.

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Down by the, not to put too fine a point on it, muck heap, there is an old tree stump. This year it has been totally invaded by a mushroom type fungus. Like a number of other things this year, this is probably a result of a warm and long late summer extending well past its normal timeframe. This is one of the more interesting aspects. The plethora of wasps still buzzing about in late October certainly isn’t!!

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The leaves are finally turning and producing striking autumnal scenes over the landscape. The browns contrasting with the greens that remain.

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It is however, still warm enough for a bit of a lie down in the remaining warmth.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 42

There is still an abundance of autumnal sunshine which helps stave off the depression of the darker nights (clocks going back soon !!). And the animals are certainly enjoying the benefits of the mild weather. Spooner is in his favourite late morning spot in front of the wood shed.

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We saw the return of the sheep last week and they are certainly enjoying both the new grass and the sunshine. I asked the lady on the right if she would mind posing especially for the picture.

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The days are sunny but occasionally a little chilly in the wind and certainly once the sun goes down, you realise that autumn is well upon us. The temperatures in the countryside at night are often a few degrees cooler than in the towns at this time of year. Flash, as a consequence, already has his blanket on to protect him from the lower feel.

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There is still some colour in the garden, a few late roses and Cornish daisies, among others, providing some brightness.

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We are getting some lovely sunsets currently and, as anyone who has followed this blog knows, I love a good sunset. Here are the dying embers of another lovely autumnal day just before darkness.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 41

Final preparation of the field above the house is underway with the farmer touching up the grazing areas with some treatment – this time by hand. The mild weather has, he tells me, made this whole process much easier this year although a little more rain might have helped even more.

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And…. finally they are back. Everything is ready and the grass is lush enough to welcome the sheep back to the field. They do make a marked difference to the landscape for sure. Initially they all group together before eventually becoming more scattered.

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Unfortunately, this is the countryside and there is plenty of death as well as life – avert your eyes now if you don’t want to witness the remains of a pigeon which fell victim to one of the neighbourhood foxes.

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The horses have more or less cleared the bottom field now and are suggesting, once again, that they could do with moving on – Tom likes to hint by approaching the gate every time you see him. Think they have another week or two yet however.

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The yard halfway down the lane, opposite where the horses currently are, has a lot of liveries and is always busy with people coming to groom, ride, feed or even transport their horses off to the various shows which take place in neighbouring towns and villages.

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Finally, back home, a sad job awaits for the winter. The goldfish pond once upon a time had seven fish in it. A couple of years back, the herons stole five of them and then, this year, the two remaining ones “disappeared”. So much for the fake one standing guard – he’s sacked! The pond will be emptied over the winter and I am hoping to turn it into a water feature.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 40

So, unbelievably, we are into the last quarter of the year – where did that go? We have had a good run of late warm weather and although it is still pretty good for this time of year, signs of autumn are everywhere. The hanging baskets will need to be taken down soon as they are now looking rather sorry for themselves.

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The leaves on the trees are starting to turn brown – some quicker than others – here’s a typically contrasting sight at the moment on the same tree and with others as well.

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And many of the leaves are starting to fall from the trees, covering some areas of the lane almost completely.

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There is the perennial problem of what to do with the house martins’ discarded nests – they look a mess but the problem is that, if you take them down, they rebuild them the following year and leave a trail of failed ones as they start again – see the muddy blobs in between the constructed ones below.

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By way of a contrast, the horses’ winter field is lush and green and ready for what will hopefully be a drier winter than last year. They should be moving back there by the end of the month.

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In the lane, we now have two different types of hens – a few newer black ones have joined the standard brown residents. Would like to say what “make” these new ones are but I’m afraid I am not technically competent to do that hens-wise. 🙂

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A Year in a Lane – Week 39

Wood burners are very popular in the countryside as we do not suffer the same constrictions on smoke as in cities. This close-up of the fire brick at the back of my burner may look a bit bizarre but if you look closely you can see the tail and beak of a small bird which has somehow got down the chimney and become stuck and confused.

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I spent ages trying to locate the noise that I could hear in the lounge before realising that it was this poor creature flapping about in panic. Every time I opened the door to see if he would fly out, he just hid behind the fire brick. It is only the second time in about 15 years that this has happened mainly because the chimney is capped and lined and makes it very difficult for birds to enter.

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The field in the farm has now fully recovered to its former glory (or probably better) and is covered in lush grass ready for the return of the sheep in the coming weeks. I wish I knew the secret of growing lush grass this quickly – would save a lot of heartache with patches on the lawn!

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The lane itself is still looking very green given the fact that late summer was far nicer than the early part and, so far, the warm weather has continued into autumn providing the opportunity for some lovely pictures with the sun at a different angle this time of year.

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And here is the sun behind one of the weeping willows one afternoon this week.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 38

The birds tend to flock round the nearby tower and many of them nest in the crannies and even inside. Here is a lone occupant returning back home.

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The horses have been in the paddock for a few weeks now. Flash is obviously planning to go out partying as he has donned an earring especially for the occasion.

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There have been some beautiful autumnal mornings this week – differing from their summer counterparts in the crisper feel to the mornings as the sun delivers less heat  early in the day. Here’s a shot of the horses enjoying the sunshine, stepping just outside the shadow of the house to feel the sun on their backs.

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However the grass is beginning to run low in the paddock and a small deputation makes the point that it is time to move back down the road to more grass – which was duly noted at the end of the week.

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The saddest time of the year for me is when we have to start closing the garden down for the late autumn and winter months. The “eastern” patio does not get a huge amount of sun now so the table and chairs have been stowed for the time being

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There are still some lovely surprises left. These Guernsey Lilies are, I believe, biennials as I don’t recall seeing them last year – but here they are providing a late season burst of colour to the border.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 37

The field in the farm continues to grow apace – glad my lawn doesn’t grow this fast! The clouds above show some of the changeable weather we have had of late as Autumn bears down on us.

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There has still been plenty of sunshine however which is good news for those of us with solar panels – the offset of what is generated during the spring and summer makes the net electricity bill a lot cheaper. This is the side of the house with six panels on and there are another six on the flat roof facing south behind the house.

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Rubbish, both garden and household, tends to pile up and it is about 6 miles to the local tip. Coupling that with occasional clear out of whatever has found its way into the shed means that every now and then it is almost cost effective (and certainly time effective) to get a skip in. It took myself and the head gardener a whole day to fill this up. No mean feat given that the skip has to be left at the end of the driveway because the lorry would never make it up to the house.

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The most regular activity seems to be poo-picking by someone or other. We’ve touched on this before but here is a family effort by mother and daughter.

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And, after all that hard work, it’s time to relax and catch some bubbles. It is not only the lane that changes over the year – Willow has gone from baby to all-grown-up toddler!

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The late summer sunshine is there to be enjoyed by all – and if you can make it even more cosy by creating your very own summer house – what’s not to love?  Spooner is in cat heaven.

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