Horse chestnut tree has lost all it's leaves. Warm bed for hedgehogs

Horse chestnut tree has lost all it's leaves. Warm bed for hedgehogs

Strange as it may seem the countryside can be a noisy place. Each season has it’s own sounds. In autumn we hear neighbours ploughing or hedge-cutting, in winter  hounds ‘giving tongue’ as they pursue a fox in the woods on the hill. Silage cutting in summer and early autumn, the bawling of newly weaned calves or lambs or the dull distant rumble of the night train. Each sound has a different message to give. Likewise we recognise the shrieks of magpies, the chatter of starlings and house-martins on the telephone wires and the deep throated call of the raven as it sails overhead. The regular sounds pass us by with out a mention. When we hear an bird call that we don’t recognise we might look up. Imagine my amazement when hearing a  new call and on looking-up I saw the most enormous bird take flight from the old farmyard and cruise around the end of the barn! My brain said it was too big for even a peregrine  falcon, hen harrier or buzzard. It looked like a golden eagle! But there are no such birds in Co. Westmeath or so I thought until a near neighbour recounted her encounter with the bird. It was indeed a female golden eagle who is somewhat  ‘off course’ and acting a little erratically. She has been seen and identified by the Wildlife Service. So I wasn’t ‘losing the plot’ with my initial identification! How thrilling to see such a bird so close-up.

Although I had my camera with me I didn’t want to lose sight of the magnificent bird while trying to focus, so sorry no ‘pics’

Everyone took advantage of the few sunny, warm, balmy days at the end of October.

Now the signs of autumn are all around.  A few crisp nights have changed the leaves on the beech trees to gold and  in the morning the lawn is heavy with dew or frost.

View across the lawn meadow

Beech trees and young osks in autumn colour.

As the clocks change and the days get shorter there is every reason to make use of every daylight hour out in the garden. So the last of the bulbs have been planted and windfall apples collected.

Recently planted onions, shallots, and garlic sprouting already

Recently planted onions , shallots, and garlic sprouting already. They will be thinned in spring and thinings used for salads and soups.

Globe Artichokes have been covered with a thick layer  mulch and well rotted manure

Globe Artichokes have been covered with a thick layer mulch and well rotted manure

Head of garlic which escaped the harvest is sprouting along side the remaining leeks.                           A head of garlic which escaped the harvest is sprouting beside the leeks

Summit of Knock Eyon can just be seen above the trees at Mornington

Summit of Knock Eyon can just be seen above the trees at Mornington

Leaves which have blown under shrubs are left where they have blown, just in case a hedgehog is using them as extra layer of insulation.

Many visitors have come and enjoyed Mornington during the past season. Over the recent half-term holidays several young families came to stay. Warwick’s pancakes served with Canadian maple syrup for breakfast were a hit as was his strawberry ice-cream at dinner.

Brave little pear has clung on through all the wind and rain. This conference pear tree was planted by my late mother-in-law 60 years ago. It had an exceptional crop of fruit this year.on the tree. It ha

Brave little pear has clung on through all the wind and rain. This Conference pear tree was planted by my late mother-in-law 60 years ago. It had an exceptional crop of fruit this year. It is an old variety, has great flavour and fruit takes weeks to ripen.

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