Happy Winter Solstice!

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Posted on       Darkness Nature Mindfulness Light Winter Solstice Woodland


Today is the Winter Solstice, an important point in the calendar as it marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is a celebration of the returning light that goes on gaining strength until the Summer Solstice in June. The Winter Solstice also marks the start of a new season: Winter, when nature is dormant, wildlife hibernates and the trees that have shed their leaves now put ...

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Snowed in!

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Posted on       Smallholding Snow Ice Livestock Weather Winter


After a weekend of heavy snow fall, we are snowed in! Peter stayed at home today as there was no way he would attempt to drive down the hill to work. Getting out of our drive alone would have been a challenge with 18 cm of snow and a fair amount of ice too!

Once the sheep were fed with plenty of fresh bedding in their shelters and hay in the racks and once we had broken the ice off the drink...

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Home is where the hearth is

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Posted on       Fire Woodburner Warmth Cooking Soul Hearth Home Gathering Winter


At this time of year, governed by the decreasing hours of sunlight, we spend much more time indoors. Days are short and we begin to retreat inside from just after 4pm. The hens take themselves back into their coop from around that time and I pack away their food in the shed for the night. I do a final check on the sheep too and then begin to prepare the house for the evening and the night: top...

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The gift of memories, rest and relaxation this Christmas

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Posted on       Christmas Gift Voucher Holiday Shepherd's Hut


I know Christmas is several weeks away yet but some people like to get organised early and we have come up with an idea for a gift that is not a "thing"!

We are offering gift vouchers for stays at our shepherd's hut. They are available in multiples of £60, which is the cost of one night at the shepherd's hut, with breakfast is included. You can purchase as many nights as you want and we wil...

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Samhain, gateway to Winter

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Posted on       Nature Outdoors Samhain Mulch Compost Transformation Mindfulness Winter Seasons


Celebrated by the Celts, Samhain is the festival that marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the darkening months of the year. At mid-point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, we are now entering darker times as we journey through the last quadrant on the Wheel of the Year before the Winter Solstice when the light returns. The clocks went back at the weekend and I hav...

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A (not so gentle) introduction to hen keeping

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Posted on       Chickens Hens Nature Animals Smallholding Trauma Learning Livestock


Two weeks ago, we purchased four hens and their coop. Their keeper, from just over the hill from us, was moving away into rented accommodation and could not take them with them. We collected the coop first and got it ready for the hens. Betty, a Splash Maran, and her brood (a Light Sussex, a Speckledy and a Blubell) arrived in cardboard boxes at night time and we transferred them into their own...

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Reflection and contemplation at the Autumn Equinox

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Posted on       Meditation Contemplation Darkness Change Equinox Wellbeing Nature Mindfulness Autumn Seasons Trees Reflection


The area where we live is rich in ancient woodlands and, at this time of year, it is a delight to witness our hillside change colours: the lush greens of Summer are now being replaced by the golden and rusty tones of Autumn. It is a beautiful scene that not only takes my breath away but also offers a wisdom to me.

This show of yellows, oranges and reds is an indication that trees are respond...

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A milestone in our smallholding life

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Posted on       Homegrown Self-Sufficiency Smallholding Livestock Low-Impact Lamb Meat


This week sees us reach an important milestone in our smallholding life, an event that we have seen coming and been preparing for for the last five months. On Monday, we took the concept of "homegrown" to a new level by taking two of our lambs to the abattoir.

It was very hard and, if I am honest with myself, I am not completely at peace with doing it. I feel conflicted as I wrestle with th...

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Autumn gatherings

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Posted on       Garden Wood Autumn Gather Bounty Preserve Winter Lambs Hedgerow Harvest


This time of year always reminds me of the Brambly Hedge stories by Jill Barklem that I used to read to our children when they were little. Particularly, Autumn Story with its evocative descriptions of harvest time and the beautiful illustrations of delightful mice gathering berries, seeds and roots to be stored away for Winter.

In that story, old Mrs Eyebright says: “Bad weather’s on its wa...

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The garden as my mentor

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Posted on       Garden Weeds Plants Self-Care Nurture Health


At this point in late Summer, the garden is looking full: still productive but with an untidy, crowded appearance. Plants, flowers and vegetables are now showing signs of having passed their best and beginning their decline towards decay. This is consistent with the time of year as the Autumn Equinox is only about three weeks away. However, there is something else that contributes to the unkemp...

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Website by Thomas Leese. Illustrations by Claire Leese.