The pleasures of the orchard

      On the way back, the return leg if you like, on the morning walk with the two Jack Russell Terriers and they both go on full alert, now absolutely nothing is going to stop them plunging into the orchard. I don't know what the attraction was but the fifty yard dash to the ivy covered apple tree was covered in double quick time and that was the pair of them immovable for ten minutes
      There was no ensuing mayhem but I think a rat had scooted up into the tree well off the ground and the likelihood of meeting its maker. Sensible rat, just wait out the danger and have a doze until they both get bored. However the tree is checked every time we walk past.
      Talk about smelling a rat.

      The enforced diversion, and inevitable  standing around, made me realise that some of our regular winter visitors have arrived a little earlier than normal. The fieldfares and redwings come all the way from Scandinavia and probably the Baltic States, now there's a flock of around two hundred birds working through the orchards that are in the immediate area. The tell-tale sign is the characteristic beaking and pecking of the apples still hanging on the trees.
       When the hanging apples have all gone they'll wade into the windfalls, of which there are tons, just as there are on the tree. I'm eating them as fast as I can and my default setting is 'lets have another'. The apples pictured below are Jonnagold and they're delicious in the chilly early morning or later with some good English cheese and cider from Suffolk, Somerset or Herefordshire.
      The season of plenty is slowly drawing to a close.