It's funny how we shift and adapt to the seasons, sometimes without even realising. Over the summer I favoured certain dog walking routes and now I seem to have returned to those I favoured during the winter. There's not much logic to it. Perhaps the summer ones were a little shorter because it was hot. Perhaps the autumn/winter routes are full of interesting trees, fields, hedgerows. I've already harvested some crab apples that no-one seems to have spotted. Harvey and Riley have harvested thistle heads and grass seed mainly, they transport them home in their long curly ears. I suppose that's the gun dog design for protecting the inner ear from such things. When I had my two other Springers in the New Forest they used to collect mainly heather in their ears and that was a lot easier to brush out.
There are plenty of rivers and streams on these local walks. In fact this last week or so the environmental agency have been dredging them and cutting down all the stuff growing on the riverbanks. It's revealed a network of burrows, most likely water voles. It has also uncovered a whole host of interesting smells according to the dogs who have been up and down the muddy banks with their noses doing overtime.
Eventually we come to a nature reserve which is really one of the area's best kept secrets. It was created by three sisters who bequeathed the land to the community when they died. Volunteers have planted all sorts of saplings on newly acquired neighbouring land which have grown considerably in just two years. They've also introduced lots of wild flowers, most of which I've missed having been busy elsewhere for most of the summer (cricket mainly!). There are hundreds of flowers which have now gone to seed and I don't think they'd miss a few seeds would they? The top half of our garden has huge trees down each side which prevent the grass from growing healthily. We've been thinking of introducing wild flowers but it's an optimistic thought... the dogs have no respect for plants.
Autumn is most definitely my favourite season, what's not to love? Perfect temperatures, beautiful colours, seed heads galore, blue skies, muddy dogs...