Writer, zoologist and gundog enthusiast, Pippa blogs on life in the countryside

One week to go!

Just a week to go now until our first shoot.   Ploughing is almost complete and so we can set about the business of putting out gunstand markers for each of the ‘drives’  on the farm. 

These show the ‘guns’  where they have to stand during the drive. 

The markers are little weather proof numbered cards each of which slot into the top of a split hazel stick.   The sticks are then pushed into the ground.    There are ten of them for each drive as we have ten guns.

The bizarre heatwave of the weekend has given way to more appropriate October weather with some blustery wind and a little fine drizzle,  but the ground is still fairly hard which makes driving the peg holders into the soil a little tricky.  

We finished marking out the first drive this afternoon.  Just another nineteen or so drives to go!

The  dogs are getting fitter by the day and are now running lots of long retrieves up and down the meadows to build up some muscle and stamina in preparation for what is to come.  We have sharpened up brakes and steering,  and are almost ready!  

The pheasants are now foraging about over the farm during the day,  and returning to the safety of the pens to roost at night.

apple treeThere is still plenty of leaf on the trees,  and not a lot of autumnal colour to them yet,  but other signs of autumn are well under way. 

 This year has been quite an extraordinary one for apples,  there are piles of them everywhere, and the remaining few are now tumbling on to the ground. 

This is one of the last trees to hang on to its fruit.  

Around the oak trees the ground is crunchy with ripe acorns and if you stand still for too long under any tree,  you are likely to be struck smartly on the head!