It's Autumn!

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Oh dear, oh dear... are you still with me, dear Readers? A whole four months have passed since I last posted on this blog, a whole season and more! The combination of a busy Summer season and some procrastination on my part accounts for this gap in my more regular musings. I remember the beginnings of a Summer Solstice blog formulating in my mind, then one about the joy of first harvest but I have had to let go of both of these as time passed and neither of these write-ups made it out of my head unfortunately. Being a …

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Spring refresh for our shepherd's hut

The Covid19 pandemic and associated lockdowns over the last year threw a massive curve ball on our little glamping business. We were able to re-open our shepherd's hut to guests last Summer for a couple of months then the Autumn lockdowns happened, first in Wales then in England, and we had to cancel all our bookings and re-arrange them. And cancel and re-arrange them again!

The uncertainty around re-opening, when and how, went on for all the Winter months into early Spring. Having opened in 2017, we had built quite a momentum, both in terms of bookings but also in …

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Green shoots

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With the Vernal Equinox just passed, the season of Spring has arrived and we now know for certain that light has prevailed over the darkness. What joy! With days now longer than nights, despite what the weather is doing, Spring brings us life and growth. Nature is bursting forth with buds, blossom, Spring flowers and green shoots, the kind of green only around in Spring, so fresh and new.

After the dark months of Winter, these little green shoots are real beacons of hope and promise. There has been a shift and it is time for new beginnings. The seeds …

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Leaping into Spring with a creative project

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Long-time readers of this blog will know that I enjoy being creative and strive to weave creativity into many aspects of our smallholding life, from gardening and cooking to decorating the house, upcycling, painting, wet felting and playing with and in nature. Last year, I set myself a creative project that I could carry through the whole twelve months: I took daily photographs at sunset, from the same spot, to compile a collection of sunsets throughout the four seasons. I have not quite finished putting it all together but I hope that my finished creation will show the position of …

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Imbolc, when the earth awakes again

I can tell it’s a cold morning before I have even left the cosy warmth of the duvet. Yet, it’s just gone 7.30am and light is already peering through the curtains. Days are getting noticeably longer now and this puts a spring in my step. I come downstairs to light the fire and to turn the calendar to a new page. Today is the 1st of February and the Celtic festival of Imbolc, the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, a celebration of the re-awakening of the earth. Winter is receding and there are signs …

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The simplicity of Winter

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I recently came across this quote by John Burroughs: "The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of nature, after such a career of splendour and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread." It resonated with me deeply and inspired this blog post, the first of 2021.

This time of year is a quiet time for me on the smallholding. Nature in deep Winter is asleep …

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Peak darkness at the Winter Solstice

For us in the northern hemisphere, since the Summer Solstice in June, the Sun has been on a waning trajectory, resulting in days gradually getting shorter and nights longer. Today, on the Winter Solstice, our journey through the darkness reaches its peak, the sun at its lowest point before beginning its new ascent towards peak light. Peak darkness is the time when we begin to ask “How much longer are these dark days going to last?” and even wonder if the darkness will continue forever. Of course, we know in our heads that the light will return, but our hearts …

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Befriending the darkness

Today has been a misty day up in the hills and it went dark just after 4pm. When out for a little walk earlier, I noticed how the landscape has now transitioned out of Autumn with all the gorgeous colours now more or less all gone. Winter is on the threshold, ready to come in. I am aware that my energy levels are low and my gaze focuses inwards. I personally feel ready to surrender to the whisper of Winter.

At this time of year, when days are short, cold and gloomy, it is easy to pine for the long, …

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Calan Gaeaf Hapus!

Tonight is Noson Galan Gaeaf in Wales. This translates from the Welsh as Winter's Eve: Nos(on) is the night (before), Calan (or Galan when the spelling of the word has a mutation applied to it) means the first day and Gaeaf is Winter. It originates from the ancient celtic festival of Samhain, celebrating the end of autumn and harvest season and the beginning of Winter.

If we divide the year into light and dark, we are now about to enter the darkest segment, between Samhain and the Winter Solstice, when the light returns to us once more. For me, this …

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Apple Day

This year has been a good year for apples, so it would seem. Our trees have been laden with them and our trusty cooking apple tree (possibly a Bramley) has produced baskets of large red and green fruit. We have now harvested them all and are slowly going through the many crates filling the floor space in the kitchen. We daren't light the woodburner in there so as not to spoil them before we have a chance to process them.

Today is Apple Day and I thought I would make a contribution to this 30-year old autumn celebration by giving …

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