Indian Summer- Monday September 1902

Surely, the Indian Summer has come. Such a warm dreamy brightness, with a benignant caress in the air. The binder is off to the wheat field. If I have an hour’s writing to do, I like to be outside, partly for the sake of the sunshine and fresh air and partly to be away from interruptions. A rug and some cushions against a stack of old wood within easy call of the farmhouse suffices.

Some kittens are playing among the wood and mother comes with a sleek fat mouse for their lunch. After they have despatched it, they kneel for a drink from her but she turns upon them with a snarl and walks off with a maternal growl. The kittens, only half awed, follow at a respectful distance.

In the deep, dewy grass some young ducklings lie blissfully preening their down and rubbing their bills. Further in the field, through a tender haze, I see a mare and her foal and a group of calves constantly making a moving picture.

Some London children we have with us are in noisy rapture over every moving thing they see and dreadfully afraid they miss any incident. If they go to the harvest field, will they miss seeing the pigs fed?  They have an affectionate admiration for the pigs at feeding time, only to be rivalled by their enthusiasm over the calves at their milk pails. Each child has a switch with which they gently flick the calves’ sides and then, oh bliss, they may assist at driving them into their house for the night.

The first night when there were fewer milkers — owing to the harvest — and butter was to be churned to make tomorrow morning easier, the engine must take the pet and one of the lamps refused to burn.

To my chagrin, I could not put this right and someone had to come from the byre to put in a fresh burner, causing vexatious delay. That one did not burn perfectly either but the engine worked alright nevertheless.

The children are wild with excitement never having seen butter made since they were too tiny to remember. They see the scalding water go into the churn. “Oh yes. You boil the cream! That’s it.!” with other conjectures equally ingenuous.

Nothing will tear them many yards away from the delightfully revolving churn and, when one of us says, “It’s broken; it will soon be ready,” they cry out in alarm, “Oh, will it be all spoiled when it is broken?” But nothing was ever so delicious to their sight and taste as those granules of butter floating in a sea of milk.

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