Winter  came creeping and arrived by stealth when I was away for a long weekender in Liverpool. Getting off the plane , you could feel it in the air.A degree or two lower in temperature. The week before, we had been enjoying an extended Summer/Autumn. The sun  was still shining .It hadn’t rained. Apparently it had been the driest  September here in Orchard County in some one hundred and twenty years. The apple trees were dry and the fruits were hanging low, crisp and glossy. Pullers were reporting an excellent harvest.October saw some changes. There’ll be plenty of windfalls  after this past weekend. If they haven’t already been gathered from the trees, they’ll be littered on the grass,  because a mad storm  raged in over the past few days and hammered everything to the ground.When I got back home , things were beginning to look a little ragged and careworn around the garden. There were leaves and   scattered pockets of debris everywhere.It was time to clean things up.It’s  a mad and crazy time  though . The passion flower is still improbably in bloom , defiantly ranting against the coming cold. Could it possibly still have nectar   to give away to the ever-more scarce bees or even pollen to scatter. To think I waited some three years for it to make a first floral display .Now it doesn’t want to go.  The bloom and scent of sweet pea is still hanging in the air. Down by the river  the pathway is now thickly carpeted in fallen beechnuts, crunching underfoot. The squirrels will have to leave the safety of the trees and rustle through the piles of turning chestnut leaves, to pick up  something for the winter  larder.

My garden fence was looking somewhat drunken  and queasy. It’s been there some thirty years since I nailed it up, but the addition of six foot square  wooden panels some ten years ago may not have been one of my better ideas. During high winds they tend to act like the sails on an old galleon  and catch every  whisper and the roar of  passing storms. The posts have long since begun to rock to their  now sloppy foundations. Something has to  be done before the worst of the Winter arrives and takes  the lot  on its first and last flight.  There’s always something to do  , isn’t there?Well ..good fences make for good neighbours as we all know, so I think it’s time to get some repairs done . Problem number one is that the honeybees at the bottom of the garden   have yet to cluster for the Winter and I’ve no intention of annoying them until they do . The unseasonal September has led them to imagine that the Summer is going to last all year and they were still taking down sugar syrup only a few days ago ; which means they are still actively storing. It’s best to wait a short while yet because they don’t enjoy any annoyance.You daren’t take a lawn- mower near them  , for example .They treat this chattering , nasty, noisy interloper as a viable threat and attack it like some noisy animal, or an  unholy virus. It’s best not to be attached to such a machine at times like that. When they settle, PK has recommended  a good man to advise on the best approach for  the repairs. I think it’ll be a whole new refit though  with lots of concrete.That’s really the only drawback in keeping a few hives of honeybees. They are very quick at reminding you that they came first in the grand evolutionary equation  and will always come first.They are very deft at getting their “point” across should you ever forget.

I’ll wait a little while and hopefully they’ll greet the next Spring with a whole new surrounding to navigate. If I get the project completed in time.They won’t be long getting used to that. The sun is  always stays in the same place . That’s all they’re really worried about .

These queens of the sun can always  rise above any fence, man -made or otherwise.


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