The evenings are beginning to draw in noticeably now and it’s getting dark much earlier. The chickens put themselves to bed at dusk, and then one of us goes down to close the coop door and make sure they’re all safely inside, tucked away from any night time predators.
Last Tuesday, as I closed the Kitchen Garden gate after putting them to bed, I heard such a commotion coming from the direction of the bird table. Ted and Rufus dashed inside, but Alfie stayed there, barking and growling in his strange screeching way and I wondered what on earth was going on – had he caught another rat perhaps? Grabbing a torch from the house I shone it in the general direction of the noise – and was surprised to see Alfie nosing at a young hedgehog curled into a tight ball.
When Alfie saw me watching, clearly afraid that I was going to remove the hedgehog before he had discovered how to unroll it, he picked it up very gingerly by the tips of its spines and set off towards the tangle of shrubs at the end of the garden where I think he hoped for some peace and quiet while he figured out what to do with this strange creature. Luckily for the hedgehog Alfie’s grip slipped and I was able to catch up with them and retrieve the hedgehog. It was a youngster, but not very small, a good weight for its size and, most importantly, unharmed. I relocated it to the front garden, out of reach of all the dogs and the morning it was gone. Alfie really is a mischief – though looking at this photo of him sleeping in an old box by my feet as I sew you’d think he was the cutest little pup and never ever naughty at all!
At this time of year it feels as though not just hedgehogs, but the whole of nature is on the move, including the geese that seem to use our village with its reservoir and pasturelands rather like a motorway service station, stopping to rest as they continue their long journey to their winter homes. (I’m still trying to get a good photo of them flying over our house!) I love this poem by the early 20th century American poet Rachel Field. “Something told the Wild Geese”. There are many beautiful poems written about autumn, but this one really speaks to me….
I haven’t forgotten my thrifty stitching projects either and this week completed my Tea Towel project bag. This was initially going to be made with a lovely new tea towel that I thought was too pretty to use. However …. Alfie – need I say more? Let’s just say that when I retrieved it from the flower bed it was less than pristine! But a good wash worked wonders and I’m really rather pleased with my project bag….
The tea towel was from Thornback and Peel and is their Rabbit and Cabbage fabric. You might recognise the patch pocket on the front (that has a nifty little loop for your scissors inside), as it was a project from the May Magazine (issue 148), though it would be perfectly fine to use another scrap of fabric if preferred, I just thought the carrots embroidery worked rather well with the rabbit. The back is plain, the interior is lined with another tea towel and the base is leftover vintage linen from another project. It has another pocket inside for knitting needles and other notions and a drawstring closure. The instructions to make it will be in the September Magazine.