End of Month

September has been wet

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and Autumn has crept up on us like the mist in the valley below

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as our neighbours peer in

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Colours are changing

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and fungi is spreading

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As the sap falls we do some tree work

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clearing some self-sown sycamores

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to bring light into the woodland margins

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and adding new glow to the hydrangea

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which acts as a twilight beacon

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Work continues removing the grass from the meadow

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and delivering it to the pigs

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The most recent ex-pig is safely in the freezer. Not initially planned for this destination she was carrying a bit too much fat

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but as well as these joints we do have a year’s supply of bacon and sausages

Down at the Lake, the lily has its own Autumn colours

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and insect life continues unabated

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Tomato production continues

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Egg production has been down as feather changes take place. June has got her new set

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Two recent arrivals, the Sussex Rangers, live up to their name by being the only hens happy to range in the rain

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The youngest cohort leave their greenhouse accommodation for their first daytime outing

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Solo and The Three Muscovites await

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Wild bird activity has changed with territorial song starting up again.

This Bluetit is too busy trying to work out what to do with a large peanut

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which it whittles down to a transportable shape and size

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Spider activity continues. Looking closely at this Harvestman we are amazed by the delicate legs on the complex body

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This Cellar Spider wraps up a fly

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before clinically injecting it

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As time ticks by, late born hedgehogs need help as they are too small to survive hibernation. One shed is turned into hedgehog hostel

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containing six visitors at the time of writing – after passing through de-ticking induction

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Flower colour continues

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and a strange creature is squatting in the pantry

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Autumn signs: The First Male Giant House Spider

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As the weather turns cooler and wetter this month, giant house spiders, which can grow up to 12cm long, will emerge as they hunt for female partners. “Spiders don’t specifically want to enter your home; in fact they’d rather stay away as there’s less food and it’s too dry and clean [possibly…],” says Simon Garrett, head of learning at Bristol Zoological Society. “Most species of spider stay outside all the time and never come in houses. However, in autumn, mature male house spiders start to move around in search of mates. Although most remain outside, some will move into a house if there is an entry point for them [we have lots of those]. It is this need to mate that changes their behaviour, so it seems as though they suddenly come from nowhere at certain times.”

Turning of the year

Evening twilight has started to push us indoors before we are quite ready. On this equinox day we rise to find the lowlands around us under the mist

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We get to the pigs before the sun does as they wait in the shadow of the ridge before the rays reach for morning greetings

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Day by day we continue scraping the meadow

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preparing to give flowering plants a head start on the grass next year.

Later, we add four gallons of Damson wine to our slow-bubbling collection.

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An Inspector Calls

“There are two serious brood diseases of honeybee in the UK which are currently notifiable and subject to control under The Bee Diseases and Pests Control Order 2006. These are American and European foulbrood, AFB and EFB respectively. The control of AFB and EFB disease is the responsibility of the National Bee Unit’s Inspectors who carry out a risk based inspection programmes on registered colonies across England and Wales. If you keep honeybee colonies in England or Wales, you may be contacted by your local Bee Inspector to inspect your bees.”

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Fortunately the Bee Inspector not only inspects but also dispenses good advice

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We are pleased to hear that our first bee colony is disease free, in good shape and has sufficient food stored up to last the winter.

Mind you, the Inspection did stir them up a bit
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Meanwhile Bert gets excited

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Is it to so with Lottie next door?

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