Just walked up over Maggot Hill, down to Giddy Green, and back across the fields to Wool. Autumn is properly here now, and the wind across the high ground was collar-turningly cold. The hedges, though, are filled with the last of the blackberries and sloes, fat and almost overripe, to the point that even the sloes are almost sweet. Delicious!
The grey stubbles are green now with aftermath or undersown grass, and in these dry October days the maize harvest is going full speed. Here in England we don’t grow much maize as sweetcorn for the table, but we grow ever more acres of forage maize for silage making, and the lanes around Wool are full of tractors and trailers hurrying back and forth from forage harvester to clamp with loads of sweet-smelling yellow-green chippings of chopped whole-crop maize. Cows love it.
This season always makes me nostalgic. Bringing the cows indoors for the first time in the autumn, just overnight first, as the nights get chilly, is an almost festive time. The cows are delighted with their fresh, warm, fluffy straw beds, and their first taste of winter rations. By spring they’ll be totally fed up, of course, and longing to be out—but this time of year nothing could be farther from their minds!
Winter isn’t far off now, and the edge in the wind is a keen reminder, as are the poor flies settling on the black tarmac of the road, trying to eke out another few hours of life from the dying warmth of the weakening sun. The few squirrels I met were busy and preoccupied, collecting acorns against snowy days. It’s a good year for the squirrels—the oak trees are laden with plump acorns, just turning now from green to gold to rust.
Somehow autumn’s always been my favourite season, and my long silent walks alone around this lovely countryside are the best ones of the year…