L'hiver arrive

Yes winter is definitely coming. I have been slightly panicking for the last few months as I have watched our neighbours beautiful wood piles grow all around their properties. We have been so busy with end of season guests that we have not had time to concentrate on cutting, chopping and stacking our own wood. Actually the weather has been so beautiful it was difficult to imagine it would ever end.

It did of course and the weekend just gone was properly cold. This focussed our minds, and we spent several enjoyable days last week chain-sawing sweet chestnut coppice. Although this was still standing, it was dead and bone dry and it was simply a question of felling it, splitting it in situ in the woods and then hauling it down to the house using the ride-on mower and trailer. I had my son staying with us last week and he joined in with great enthusiasm.

So our own woodpile looks a lot more respectable now as you can see from the main photo. Just in the nick of time as well as we have lit the wood burner in the main house most nights this week. Our dogs are mostly rescue dogs who spent long years in freezing cold shelters in Romania. They don't ever intend to be cold again so have been delighted to see the friendly hot box in the corner of the room back in action.

Further signs of the changing seasons appear every day in the form of fungi. We were given a beautiful cep by a member of la chasse, and also found an octopus stinkhorn - the weirdest fungus I have ever seen.

Stay warm everyone.