Pressing and storing the apple harvest

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As promised in my last post, and before winter claims what is left of lingering autumn feels, here is a little account of how we pressed our homegrown apples into bottles and bottles of lovely, organic juice.

One crisp and sunny morning in October, we drove our 60 kgs of harvested apples, mainly Bramleys, to Newtown, where we had hired a pressing, juicing and pasteurising facility. A couple of years ago, we had tried juicing at home with a small, domestic juicer that some friends had lent us and the process was slow, messy and very noisy! The machine had …

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Rosemary for remembrance at Samhain

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The Wheel of the Year has turned some more and we have now reached Samhain, the major festival in the Celtic calendar that marks the end of the cycle of birth and growth and the start of the dark half of the year. Summer is well and truly over and the final harvest is all gathered in. The life cycle is complete; it is the point of death and decay. Nature now enters a quiet, fallow period with the seeds of the harvest fallen into the nurturing folds of the dark earth and waiting, dormant, for their time to begin …

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Autumn Equinox, our invitation to pause

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We've arrived at the Autumn Equinox, the point of balance when days and nights are just about equal in length for a little while before the darkness gains. We are invited to pause and reflect so we can move into the transitional season of Autumn and prepare for a restorative and rejuvenating Winter.

We now leave Summer behind and step into Autumn. There is a nip in the air and we have had a few dewy and misty mornings. Fungi are sprouting up here and there. The colchicum autumnalis in the meadow are up and counted up for the botanical …

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Lammas: a slow shift towards Autumn

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It's Lammas tomorrow, the festival on the Wheel of the Year that marks the mid-point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. The high energy of Summer is now waning and as we move into the month of August nature offers us the very first glimpses of Autumn. Have you noticed any signs where you are?

Here in the Welsh hills, the landscape around the smallholding is dominated by the purpley-pink blooms of rosebay willowherb that mingle with the creamy froths of meadowsweet and the vigorous and abundant green bracken. At home, the fruit trees in our orchard are …

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The fullness of Summer

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Once again, the gap since my last blog offering is bigger than I would like. I had planned to send a Summer Solstice post out but several things conspired against its timely dispatch. First, I was troubled by some lower back sciatic pain that slowed me right down in the garden at the height of the busy season and I have avoided sitting down at the computer for too long to give my body a chance to recover. Secondly, my mum came to stay with us in June and I made sure to spend as much time as possible together …

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Soaking up the joy of Nature at Beltane

The daffodils, with the wood anemone and the wild primroses, have carried us from mid to late Spring. Now, at Beltane, the tulips, the bluebells and the cowslips are the stars in our garden and meadows. Something to awaken and delight all our senses.

Everything is greening up and the pace of growth is now much increased. Nature is at its most active and oozes Physis, the life force energy, for us all to see and attuned to. Our newest hens have started laying their beautiful blue eggs. We have planted out the first crops in the potager: peas, broad …

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Springtime inspiration

The Wheel of the Year turns and we are now at the Spring Equinox, a moment of equilibrium when night and day equalise and the start of the light half of the year. We briefly rest on the point of balance before allowing ourselves to jump into the new season with both feet!

Spring bulbs are popping up in the garden and adding delightful nuggets of colour in every corner. The crocuses in the grass in the little woodland are my favourite. I plan to add to them each year to create a crocus lawn as time goes on. Seedlings …

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Preparing for new growth at Imbolc

The start of February is upon us and on the Wheel of the Year, we have reached the Celtic festival of Imbolc today in the Northern Hemisphere. We now move into the last phase of Winter that will take us to Spring and I have seen, heard and felt small but ever so delightful signs that the Earth is waking up from its Winter sleep. The first snowdrops are popping up on the green grassy banks along our lane and I have spotted the first wild primrose in bloom in the garden; there are fresh shoots on the honeysuckle climber; …

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Winter Solstice, a chance to take time out

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Today is the Winter Solstice, the point in the year that marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Not only is it a celebration of the returning light in the Northern Hemisphere but it is also the start of a new season: Winter, when nature is dormant, wildlife hibernates and the trees that have shed their leaves now put all their energy into their roots deep underground. Winter is a fallow period for us on our smallholding too as we have learnt to use the time to reflect on the growing year now finished and plan …

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A Winter offering

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You may remember that, in the Spring, I talked about the creative project I set myself for this year: to create a nature mandala per month with items foraged from our garden and our land. The aim was for each mandala to be a artistic expression of me, my life, my inner and outer worlds on any given month as well as a creative and imaginative record of what is around in nature at that time. I am pleased to say that I have captured the mandalas on photographs and have had them collated into a 2022 calendar.

The calendars …

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