I saw old autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence,
Thomas Hood. 1799-1845. Ode to Autumn.
I got up before six this morning to let the dogs and cats out. I sat on the wall and daydreamed, while the cats ate their food - my function being to stop the dogs from edging the cats out and then gobbling their food.
All seemed still and quiet, but when I analysed the silence I heard several different bird calls, the sound of the river across the road (overlaid by the sound of the aeration pump working at the trout farm!) the sudden, panicked squawking of a startled pheasant, the crowing of a village cockerel, something was making a racket some distance away, possibly one of the peacocks from the Watermill, the wind was rustling the upper leaves of the big ash tree - though rather strangely not the others, and then, somewhat closer to home, the sounds of two dogs struggling to contain themselves as they watched the cats tuck in to breakfast! I took pity on them and brought them back inside for their tasty treat of a little liver and a handful of dog meal.
After a quick cup of tea I decided to take Toby along to the watermill to see whether we could find out what had been making the noise.
As we passed the entrance to the trout farm - and sure enough the aeration pump was bubbling up - I looked away to the right and along the old railway line and to my surprise there was Mr Peacock doing his best to look invisible as he hurried back into cover. I wonder whether he is an escapee?
We continued under the old bridge and along the road and there was the most wonderful sight (though the trout farm may not agree) of a field of prehistoric-looking grey herons. They took fright when they saw Toby and I and we were treated to the amazing view of probably two or three dozen herons taking off. I tried to take a photograph but failed miserably. Sorry.
The watermill was looking as lovely as ever, even on a dull morning. The birds and the wallaby were getting pretty excited because someone was making the rounds with their breakfast. I took a photograph - but as I had forgotten to take my specs with me it was very much a point and click and hope for the best...
the wallaby is on the right-hand side,top third, to the left of the fencepost, his head is light against the dark entrance of his shelter. I wonder whether he ever dreams about the day he escaped and came to visit us before hopping off to the trout farm.
Toby and I strolled back through the field, the barley has all gone and just the straw remains, waiting for the baler.
As we approached the little side gate to our garden we were met by the sight
of Sparky and Bennie enjoying a play-fight while they waited for us.
This is the harvest for today - more spinach soup to be made for freezing, runner beans to be prepared for the freezer, and the odds and ends for tea. Thankfully the courgettes, although still plentiful, are slowing down.
The addition of a couple of lovely sharp cooking apples to the spinach soup recipe really does work. I can fully understand why your Pa became addicted to spinach soup when he worked in Germany. With the addition of crusty bread, or garlic bread if I am spoiling him, it becomes a meal in itself, especially if it has had some parmesan cheese added!
We have 8 litres, so far, in the big freezer in the summerhouse. That takes some preparation and chopping - thank goodness for blenders, at least I didn't have to push it all through a big sieve the way we had to all those years ago, when I learned to make soup at school. Isn't it funny how some things can transport you instantly back in time..
Talking of time, I must get on and do a few jobs. It was fantastic talking to you this morning. Good to know that you are enjoying teaching. Do your friends all cycle to work too? Look after yourself.