What happened to autumn?

Last week we were enjoying the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, this week it’s winter.

It was only three degrees at 7.30 last night and the clear sky promised frost.

Cloud and a breeze early this morning saved us from that but it’s still very chilly.



It’s a little difficult to comprehend cold when it’s at least 30 degrees outside, but in sympathy with those of you at home, this Friday’s poem is Robert Burns’ dirge on Winter.


The wintry west extends his blast,
  And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
  The blinding sleet and snaw:
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
  And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
  And pass the heartless day.

“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
  The joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear
  Than all the pride of May:
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
  My griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please,
  Their fate resembles mine!

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
  These woes of mine fulfil,
Here firm I rest; they must be best,
  Because they are Thy will!
Then all I want—O do Thou grant
  This one request of mine!—
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
  Assist me to resign.

    – Robert Burns

Winter’s too long for my cone supply


One of the routes for my regular morning walk brings me home past pine trees behind our house.

Each time I pass I pick up an armful of cones and make a mental note to come back later with several bags to ensure my cone supply outlasts the need for fires. But the mental note gets lost in the rest of the day’s activities so I’ve been burning cones faster than I’ve been replenishing them.

That’s why I’ve just come in from 15 minutes in the pouring rain desperately searching for dryish cones and asking myself why I don’t learn that unless I make a conscious effort to pick up cones when the sun shines winter will always last longer than my kindling supply.

Winter’s white


It’s been a long time coming but winter is finally here – we had a cold weekend and a hard frost yesterday. Although it was sunny all day the ground was still frozen in the shady areas by late afternoon.

We woke up to a starry sky this morning and we’ve got another good frost. However, touch wood, the water is still running in the house taps and again there’s not a cloud in the sky so it looks like we’re in for another sunny day.

In Uruguay winter doesn’t officially begin until the mid-June solstice. Seasons don’t fit neatly into a calendar – we can get warm days in winter and cold days in summer, but it’s not unusual for us to get our coldest temperatures from July – and of course there is almost always a storm in time for lambing and calving in August.

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