Summer or Autumn

This week we seem to be on the cusp between summer and autumn. Some days we have the warmth and humidity of summer; the wheat stands tall in the fields and tansy covers the roadsides with gold. Some days you have to break out the fleece you haven’t worn for a couple of months; the wind rises and rain reminds us that muddy paws will soon be tracking through the kitchen.

Meanwhile the thistle heads show off their white down, sunflowers nod drowsily as their heads become heavier and the bella donna flaunts purple flowers and scarlet berries. Brambles arch ever higher with a few late flowers and a burden of blackberries. There is still time to pick your own blueberries too, to make pies or crumbles.

The corn is high now, taller than I am. Some potato plants are still in flower, others are wilting as the potatoes swell underground beneath the tired leaves. Huge fat cabbages, their leaves almost purple are being harvested and boxes appear under apple trees, waiting to be filled.

The red-winged blackbirds are as fussy and self-important as ever, chasing each other and a flock of tiny finches from the preferred feeding areas. This years mallard males are sitting around, wearing what looks like mini-mohawks – that presage fine green head plumage to come. Swallows and swifts swoop and gather, twittering as they discuss travel plans.

The final best of summer, the early promise of autumn. Two seasons in one day.

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