I always think there is a very noticeable shift where autumn becomes winter. In the last few weeks of what is my favourite season, the leaves all drop, the rain falls more often and the days become darker as autumn sings it’s final tune and the winter months move into place. In mid-November we spent a few days at my Dad’s which is a wonderful place for seeing the change in the seasons, and having captured Spring and Summer I wanted to add Autumn to the list.
The apple laden trees of summer have given up their fruit and been cut back but the bird visitors still flit back and forth all day.
Along with the blue tits and finches, a number of Great Spotted Woodpecker’s can be seen hopping around throughout the day.
I was also lucky to spot a Green Woodpecker but not quick enough with my camera, however the constant parade of pheasants which are numerous at this time of year, kept me busy. At one point we spotted nine strutting around the garden.
Amongst the regular golden brown birds there are also black pheasants which are just stunning with their midnight blue plumage and red face masks.
The poor dowdy hen looks drab in comparison but she maintains a distinct elegance the boys just can’t carry off!
An early start for a Sheepdog trial on the Saturday morning took us up hill, down dale and deep into the foothills of the North Yorkshire Moors to a little place called Fryup Dale. The Moors are breathtaking through the autumn months with golds, bronzes and flashes of green as far as the eye can see.
Sheep graze freely across the moor and due to the cleanliness of the air and lack of pollution, their thick and heavy fleeces almost sparkle.
We arrive at the trial just before sign-ups close and Dad books his place. He will be running three dogs, Lou, Nell and Squire in what is a nursery trial for young dogs who are still learning the ways of the working Border Collie.
You may recognise little Lou who featured in the video from the Fleeced post. This will be one of her last trials in the UK before she heads off to her new home in Japan where a full-time shepherding job is waiting for her! I recently wrote a piece for the Wovember blog about growing up with the sheep and dogs which will give you a small insight into my life in knitwear.
Whilst winter can be tough with it’s dark days and less than optimal weather, there is always something going on if you look for it, and subtle changes in the landscape are beautiful to watch even at their very bleakest. If that fails to lift your spirits then be reassured that after the 21st December the days become longer and it won’t be long before the first signs of Spring are with us.
If you’d like to see a Sheepdog Trial, Dad is organising an event on Sunday 27th December at Escrick Park Estate just outside York. The trial runs from 8am until dark and you are more than welcome to pop along to watch for an hour or all day if you like! There are no on-site facilities so it is recommended you bring a flask of tea and some sandwiches, and the trial may be cancelled if there is snow or heavy fog. If you bring your dog, please note that it should be kept on a lead and under control. Maybe see you there? I’ll be at the bottom of the field helping to release the sheep!