Although the day was supposed to be showery, we woke to clear skies with but a few thin wisps of cloud; there was work to be done. You may remember a post which told about a clutch of eggs that our Speckled Sussex had hatched. Those birds are now grown and one of the harsh realities of farm life is that not all of the animals that arrive at Pairodox may stay. We let the hen set because the laying flock was aging a bit and, with winter coming on, it was a good time for one or two replacements. The hen managed to fledge eight peeps, four pullets and four cockerels. Four was a good number of girls but four boys was four too many. We discussed it over coffee and decided to conscript a back-up rooster. That meant we had three cockerels whose names instantly became surplus, supernumerary, and superfluous. Having emptied my cup I heated water to fill our largest kettle, sharpened two knives, and gave the dairy sink a good wash. Ten hours later I sat at the kitchen table, the rich aroma of chicken-at-a-boil suffused the first floor and was working its way upstairs. As a reward for our efforts we took to the creek at Ramsey. Joanna and Mr. Darcy hiked the trail to the south. My camera and I took to the creek bed. Because I thought I might do a bit of wading, I had worn shorts and sneakers. My point of entry was immediately adjacent to one of the steel truss bridges I have so often talked about. There were two anglers in the water, one was fly fishing and the other was using a worm-and-bobber. I asked how deep the water was between where they were standing and the near abutment. They did not know but agreed that I might be able to get to it over that way. Joanna walked back over the bridge about an hour later and shouted down, Decided to take a swim I see. Getting to the abutment turned out to be quite the adventure, suffice it to say everything was wet save my camera pack which I had held above my head during the traverse. Once out of the water and back on the trail Joanna showed me the way to a small pond. Although clouds were gathering and the understory was muted, the sun showed briefly to illuminate the shallows. I’m not often a fan of such photos but this one seemed to have a disorienting bit of depth, nice color, and a sense of movement that I liked. The Equinox will happen tomorrow and fall color is beginning to blush in the high hillsides. It will be breeding season soon and the sheep are restless. The Toms are maturing, awkward, strutting, gawky. The crops have dried down and await the pickers, choppers, balers, and combines. Evidences like these are bold and cry out the change; others are barely perceptible, but if you stop and listen you may note whispering among the trees. This is the time that things end their preparations and turn inward. Many would say autumn is the time that creatures prepare for winter. If things are not prepared now, the winter will be short, for they will not survive. These realities are not bad, or harsh, they are what they are. Why disparage the seasons and the challenges they represent? This Earth will continue to spin through its orbit, winter will come and it will go, and I will soon be writing about rain and about all good things green and growing.