What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Hurricane Gonzalo brings an End to Autumn Glory

It has been a most glorious autumn. Dry, bright, sunny, warm, long golden days. The trees have really been showing off.

We’ve had beautiful walks kicking through piles of pretty leaves

And making long shadows in the early mornings. Long legs, small dog!

All my spring bulbs are planted and our new garden has had a few extra weeks to get established before winter sets in for real.
Harvest was celebrated. This year I followed a rainbow theme on the Communion Table running the spectrum of red to purple in fruit, vegetables and flowers. It was only during the worship service I realised I had forgotten to cut open the water melon for the reddest of reds! Oops.


All the golden glorious-ness however came to a very abrupt halt with the stormy arrival of the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo which created such havoc in Bermuda. The heavy rain and wind cleared our avenue of trees of their leaves in a couple of hours.
Now the clocks have turned back. British Summer Time is over.
The hens rise after 7am in the murky dawn and tootle off to bed around 5.30pm.
Days are getting shorter. It’s less than 9 weeks to Christmas!


Writing 101- finding my way

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today, write about finding something.
Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.
I walk every day. There are certain routes I have taken a thousand times. I have lived in this city all my life, but I’m always looking to find new places of interest or beauty.
Over the past few days I’ve been taking pictures of my walks using my humble phone camera. So today’s post is less about the words, more about what I’ve found under my feet.

wild flowers by the wayside on my Parkrun on Saturday. So pretty


Mr G and I had a romantic getaway for one night by the seaside. Lots of long walks along the shore. Finding many interesting colours of granite and filling my pockets with pebbles and shells






I can’t believe it is October 1st! Trees are arrayed in wonderful fiery colours lit by the warm sunshine. Bushes are bursting with berries. Apples are ready to be picked. Harvest is here.




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A Golden Season


Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my dad’s leaf blower, clearing up the last of the leaves to fall on our property and getting tidied up for the arrival of winter. It is hard to believe that Sunday is December 1st! The Gillybirds have had a lovely mild, bright and mostly dry autumn. We have moved the coop, but on sunny days when they are free ranging they head back to their old favourite spots in the sun for a pleasant time of dust bathing. The dogs and I have enjoyed pretty walks along paths strewn with golden leaves, and only in the last week with the arrival of a light dusting of snow have we had to get our thick coats and mittens on.
As other friends have been clearing their gardens the hens have scratched their way through piles of nasturtium leaves- thank you to W and S for those. Colonel Saunders has molted a little, and egg production is on average two daily rather than three, but sometimes only one. Most days the girls are let out at 7am, it is still dark and they grumble a little, but the past two Sunday mornings they have taken their revenge by making a spectacular riot before 6.30am. I am not amused, and I suspect, neither are our neighbours. But at the other end of the day they are tucked up safe and warm by 4.45pm. It’s a short day when your body clock is regulated by sunlight. Thankfully, with all there is to be done in anticipation of the Festive Season, we can switch on the lights and keep going until a much later bedtime.
Bright sunshine and low winds in Ireland this year have combined to produce one of the most spectacular autumns in years. In September, the weather was drier than normal and temperatures reached a high of almost 24 degrees Celsius. In October, temperatures were above average. Hours of sunshine were also above average.
Writing for the Irish Times, expert horticulturist Eileen Murphy, from Teagasc Horticultural College at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, said that when autumn begins, the shortening days and lengthening nights trigger a reaction in deciduous trees. A protective barrier forms between the tree and each of its leaves, so that when the leaves fall the tree is not exposed to disease. “That happens every autumn and it has happened this autumn,” Ms Murphy said.
Inside the leaf during the day, the process of photosynthesis using water, carbon dioxide, sunlight and green chlorophyll creates sugars, and those sugars are normally transported to other parts of the tree. But when the tree has already created its protective barrier, the sugar tends to be trapped in the leaf. Daytime sunlight and cool nights cause the leaf to turn the sugars into a red pigment, anthocyanin.
“Normally in Ireland we get dark autumn days so there isn’t an awful lot of sugar produced and there isn’t a lot available to make the red pigment,” Ms Murphy said. “But this year we’ve got a very good, prolonged period when it is sunny enough for sugar to be produced and it’s trapped in the leaves and it is producing the red pigment.”
The visibility of autumn colour can also be shortened by high winds and stormy weather, but conditions this year mean trees have managed to hold on to their leaves much longer. And I have tried to capture some of this beauty on camera.





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On our Anniversary – Reasons to be glad you are not an angler fish

In a list of monogamous creatures man (or for that matter, woman ) is not mentioned. Gibbon apes, wolves, termites, coyotes, barn owls, beavers, bald eagles, golden eagles, condors, swans, brolga cranes, French angel fish, sandhill cranes, pigeons, prions (a seabird), red-tailed hawks, anglerfish, ospreys, prairie voles (a rodent), and black vultures — are a few that mate for life.
Of course, it depends on what you mean by “mate for life.” These creatures do mate for life in the social sense of living together in pairs but they rarely stay strictly faithful. About 90 percent of the 9,700 bird species pair, mate, and raise chicks together — some returning together to the same nest site year after year. Males, however, often raise other males’ offspring unknowingly. DNA testing reveals that the social-pair male did not father 10, 20, and sometimes 40 percent of the chicks. Now that would make an interesting episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show.
Some of these species of birds are – macaws, crows, ravens, sea eagles, geese, doves, hummingbirds, eagles, cranes, and owls. Black vultures actually actively discourage infidelity. All nearby vultures attack any vulture caught philandering.
Given the opportunity chickens are polygamous, however the Gillybirds live a happy rooster – free life – enjoying the late summer sun, feasting on windfall apples and overripe tomatoes, although the evenings are getting dark by 8pm. Tonight it the first evening I have closed the coop door shut to give them protection from the cooler autumnal air.
Having celebrated 23 happy years of marriage with Mr Gillybirds at the weekend, I have been dwelling on the joys of sharing your life with that one special person.
One species of fish is absolutely monogamous. In the black darkness of the deep sea, the tiny male anglerfish (perhaps one tenth the female’s size) detects and follows the scent trail of a female of his own species. Once found, he bites his chosen one and hangs on. His skin fuses to hers, their bodies grow together (he gets his food through a common blood supply and becomes essentially a sperm producing organ). They mate for life — a short life for the male.
Happy Anniversary Darling!


Mr and Mrs Gillybirds- lovebirds for life ❤

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