It is warm in Northumberland. Too warm. The Oriental poppies are blooming. Normally these bloom in June to coincide with ducklings. (Somehow we lost a duckling this morning and so are now down to 8. I still can't bring myself to put them in a pie!) The gaudy pink summer flowers are now contrasting with the crisp colours of Liquid Amber birch and the beech. And there is a colour clash..
Maybe the flowers etc know some thing I don't. Maybe all the rain we had earlier this summer felt like a winter. I don't know. All I know is my plants are acting strange. And I am still in t shirts in the house. Normally I take Eileen Ramsay's advice and wear two sweaters at this time of the year as I do not like having the central heating on. Not this year.
I want my November to be cold and frosty. Maybe even snowy. 11 years when we moved to our house, snow lay on the ground for weeks. The movers could not get the tea chests to me until a few days before we moved. Somehow, I can't see this happening here this winter.
BUT all the signs are that someone is going to have a hard winter. Geese and siskins arrived early. The holly bushes are full of gleaming red berries. There has been a bumper crop of apples and pears.
The bees are still flying and I need to take out the varroa strips and make the final preparations for winter -- namely putting the mouse guards on. Mice will try to hibernate in beehives and can thoroughly disrupt a colony. I do not worry about extra feeding as we have plenty of ivy and late autumn flowers, plus a number of winter flowers including winter aconites, snowdrops and hazel. The bees as a general rule of thumb have enough to see them through. If they feel a bit light in February time. I will give them a sort of Royal icing type feed -- apifondant.
My revisions are coming on. The basic problem with this book is that I did not make one key conflict personal and so it ended up being far more external than internal. at my wonderful editors' suggestion, I am internalising it. It is working far better. My editors are there to make the hard suggestions and to tell me to take a second look at those areas that are not working. fingers crossed that it is going to work this time. Already I can tell it is getting better.