The last few autumn leaves are still clinging onto the trees, but a couple of morning frosts in the last week are a reminder that winter is not far away.
While the thistles have already died back to spiky rosettes, my mahonias, which look so exotic, are looking their best as they come into flower. Mahonia is a very important bee plant, for our honey bees will still occasionally come out on warm winter days and there will be very little for them to forage on. Without plants like mahonia, they will just be using up energy worthlessly.
Gerry, too, has been getting into the spirit of Christmas, bringing home plenty of presents. I'm not sure who these presents are for though. I suspect they are peace offerings for Angel, who has never liked him since she moved in, despite his most patient efforts. Maybe it's because we had Mr Charlie Brown, a friends puppy, in the house a couple of weekends back, but something has persuaded Angel to be slightly more tolerant of Gerry of late.
Anyway, I went into the kitchen this morning to find a poor vole curled up next to a large tuft of grass.
Gerry often pounces into the grass and brings everything away in his mouth, vole, grass and all. This sort of gory find is not unusual, but I was somewhat surprised to then come face to face with these presents placed just inside the patio doors.
It seems Gerry had a very busy morning and it wasn't his last catch of the day either.
On the plus side, he has been catching voles since he moved onto the farm and there certainly still seem to be plenty around!
There are still plenty of kestrels, barn owls and little owls around.