Yesterday we had our first proper rain in months.The wind was blowing hard last night and I surfaced from sleep more than once, hoping that the hops were not being too battered and blown about - or even blown over. And then I awoke in the early morning to this view from my bedroom window. When I leaned out to look the wind was cold, so cold - the cold of autumn, not summer. And if you look closely at the trees on the left you can see them blowing frenziedly in that wind.
And the light had changed - today it seems that the sun has suddenly become perceptibly lower, and when I ventured out into the garden the early morning sunshine was soft, and cast long shadows.
Everywhere the signs of autumn were visible. I was almost blown along the gravel path towards the gate, and the last of the raspberries gleamed rosily in the cold and the sunlight.
The crab apples trees in the orchard are festooned with fruit that is ripening with a promise of jewel-like jellies to come.
Clouds were scudding across the sky as the tassels of sweetcorn were blown hither and thither. This is the most successful sweetcorn crop that we have grown for several years, and we have already started eating the sweet and succulent cobs - don't put the pan on to boil until you leave the house to harvest the cobs, eat them immediately they are cooked, and then the taste will be like nothing you can buy. The sugars start turning to starch as soon as they are picked, so we have been sending the Ploughboy out into the dusk to cut the cobs for supper, whilst we sit at the table in the warm kitchen, watching the water boil.
Now the pumpkins are ripening gold and orange, and their foliage is dying back - these are the largest we have ever grown: I think they have enjoyed the land prepared for them by the pigs, and topped up with mushroom compost.
Jack Be Little are the tiniest little gems, which have crept over the rabbit fencing.
Kep looked mournfully at our willow windbreak, planted in the spring. The rabbits devour the plants as soon as they venture above the tree guards, and all our new planting has suffered from the lack of water. The yellowed marsh grass behind is tangible evidence of the dry summer.
But there are other blessings: there are rosehips in quantities, food for overwintering birds, and I leave the browning skeletons of thistles standing until the birds have eaten their fill of the seed.
Most of the Bramley apples have been picked but there are small ones left for us to scavenge in the weeks to come, when they have sized up in the absence of competition.
And the Head Chef has a log pile as long as this winter, and the one beyond, and maybe even the winter beyond that. So we can light the fires and be warm, and I won't think about the thick grey-white dust which coats every horizontal surface all winter long, however much I try to dust it away.
The shadows are lengthening, the light is becoming soft and grey, and my mind turns to the knitting of socks and handwarmers, the wearing of wellies, and the glow of firelight. The summer is over and gone, but the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness brings its own special joys.