So autumn officially started on Tuesday – 23rd September – in France.

However, it got going here enthusiastically in Creuse at the weekend. Seasons don’t gradually change here, instead the incoming one tends to leap in, boot the old one out of the way and slap you in the face! Whack, it’s summer. Smack, it’s autumn.  Suddenly the trees are turning, the leaves are falling, the mornings are increasingly nippy and the pool is chilling its way to ice rink status. I’m hoping to get a few more swims before we close it up until next May. It’s always a sad day when that happens.

The farm animals aren’t too fussed about the cooling weather. The young sheep are starting to grow thicker wool, the pigs are getting bristlier and I imagine the chickens and other poultry are sprouting a few extra feathers. The baby chicks keep nice and cosy under mum’s feathers.

You can just see a little face peeping out!

You can just see a little face peeping out!

However, the swallows have headed off. Les Fragnes was Swallow Central for about a week. Hundreds and hundreds gathered. It was fantastic to see.

swallow central2

The gleaning season has started. The nuts aren’t quite ready but we’ve picked up several bagfuls of apples and pears already for the pigs. They’re always very grateful. They need to build their energy up. Quite a few of the piglets (and we know which ones the troublemakers are) and the usually very well behaved Rosie have been going walkabout lately. Rosie popped down to say hi to one of the anglers the other day. Danny lives in Australia, a country knee-deep in weird and deadly critters, so he wasn’t the slightest bit bothered by a friendly pig snuffling round his tent at 1 am! Rosie soon headed back up the hill and it looks like she spent the rest of the night in the stable with Plunkett, the alpaca. He’s indoors recuperating from a late dose of flystrike, which fortunately we caught in time.

gelaskin plunkett pic

It’s also the season when it’s not just our cats that want to move indoors permanently. The mice decide they want somewhere a little warmer too. We discovered this archetypal mousehole in the gite hallway the other day. Someone’s done a lot of work on that!

tom and jerry mousehole2

And of course autumn is about school and routine. Rors has settled happily back into college. He’s now in quatrième (3rd year of secondary school). He was without a French (as in the language, not the nationality since obviously there’s a lot of French teachers in France!) and German teacher for the first three weeks so had a lot of early finishes, and seven hours less schooling per week than he should have been having, but finally the school’s got organised and found a prof.

Autumn means it’s time to think seriously about wood. We have quite a good stash but need more to get us through the winter. So Chris has been attacking logs with the chainsaw, then the rest of us have been splitting and stacking.

Plenty to do in autumn.