There is a chill in the air.  Fall continues, but winter is coming.  The signs are everywhere.   It is dark earlier and earlier in the evenings.  Frost covers the ground in the early morning.  The trees have shed their leaves.  Fallen leaves swirl in the wind…covering newly raked lawns.  The chipmunks, so busy a few weeks ago, have now disappeared.  The bees are also gone..There is a silence about the gardens.  The oranges and reds of October have faded to the browns of  November.  The cycle of nature continues.

But this year it feels different.  We will be leaving for Ireland on Monday.  We have decided to spend the winter there.  I have never been a fan of winter.  I am not sorry to miss the snow and the cold…but it feels strange to be leaving  Brookwood Shire. 

img_5814A friend will stay here and take care of Merlin.  He doesn’t seem too worried.

So today I spent some time in the gardens….getting them ready for winter.  There are still a few signs of life.


Alyssum is the most amazing little plant.  Even after our strange early snow  (which thankfully disappeared quickly) it continues to bloom.  It seems especially colorful against the brown oak leaves that have settled on it.

img_5822The lamium is also blooming.  It is glorious in the Spring and then fades in the heat of the Summer…but it is once again enjoying the cooler weather.

img_5825The borage just doesn’t want to quit this year.  I have cut most of it back but new plants are coming.  It will die back when it gets really cold, but for now it is happy.

img_5819The winterberry is stunning as always.  The brilliant red of its berries is a welcome sight amid the browns of November.

The squirrels have been busy in the window boxes.  They have eaten most of the Indian Corn and sampled some of the gourds and pumpkins.  

img_5821I piled what was left in the Pumpkin Patch garden.  I am sure the squirrels will find it and have a feast.  But a few seeds will be left and hopefully they will settle in under the straw and grow new plants in the Spring.

I took my “funky chickens” in from the primrose garden where they have spent the summer.


They will winter in Cluckingham Palace.  It is so lonely in there now that my girls are settled in at Whispering Pines Farm that I thought they might liven up the place.

Ireland awaits…IMG_0797

We are excited about spending time there..settling in a bit at our cottage, getting to know the town and its lovely people better…spending Christmas there…


We will return here in March….for one final Spring at Brookwood Shire. The  plan is to then sell it and return to Ireland….with Merlin…  pursuing a long time dream.  We shall see how it all goes.

Meanwhile, I will be blogging about our adventures in Ireland at Ireland Calling.  I hope you will follow along.  




About patti

I am a retired kindergarten teacher, tending a new kind of garden now, raising chickens and exploring permaculture. I live with my husband, Bill, my beloved dog, Fergus and my cat, Mighty Merlin. We have a small cottage and a tiny bit of land called Brookwood Shire. It is our sanctuary.
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