Samhain blessings

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The clocks have gone back, the nights are long, the last of the harvests are now all in... and tonight, it's wild out there with high winds battering our hillside and rain lashing on the windows. It's Samhain, the celtic festival that takes us into the darkest weeks of the year. Summer is well and truly over now.

Yesterday, I spotted a soggy rudbeckia standing alone in the big pot by the woodsheds, the last one, poised to give in to the elements and give up blooming. Today, it was a clump of forgotten about and now decaying poppy seed …

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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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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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Restoring balance at the Equinox

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This afternoon, at 2.31 pm, the Sun crosses the celestial equator (or the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth's Equator) from South to North and the Autumn Equinox will occur. At that particular point, days and nights are of equal length, a moment of balance between light and dark, a threshold between two seasons.

As I write this, the scene on our patch of Welsh countryside is typical of Mabon time. Looking out, the landscape is still mainly green with only a few dots of autumnal yellows and oranges here and there and the blue sky continues the …

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And the robin sings again

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It's still another two weeks till the official start of Autumn at the Equinox yet there are plenty of signs that Summer has retreated and Autumn is settling in. There is a chill in the air, the colours of the landscape are changing and nuts and berries are abundant in the hedgerow. But there is something else that heralds the new season: the robins are back singing their Autumn song.

During Summer, robins are conspicuous by their absence, so much so that they seem to disappear. Of course, that's not true as they don't migrate (most don't anyway) but they …

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Samhain, into the darkness we go

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I am sitting at our dining room table, the fire lit in the woodburner behind me warming my back and the sweet scent from the orange and clove candle flowing through the room. It's just before 5 pm and I have just come in from shutting the hens in their coop, having taken themselves to bed already. It's dark, cold and damp outside and I am glad of the warm and welcoming, cosy room where I can settle down to write my thoughts and reflections about Samhain, the ancient festival on the Wheel of the Year that falls today.

Samhain …

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And just like that, Autumn has arrived!

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Oh dear, once again, I notice the date on our last blog post is three months ago!! How time flies!

Autumn is well and truly here on the smallholding now and we begin to look to Winter, putting some things to bed and giving in to homely and cosy vibes of scented candles and warming fires.

The harvest is largely in now with apples and tomatoes in crates ready to be processed. Apples will keep for a bit longer, cooking with them as we need. I have been making jams and chutneys with the green tomatoes whilst the red ones …

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Nature's own fireworks

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Aren't the Autumn colours beautiful? Such a fiery riot of reds, yellows, russets and oranges.

Like quiet fireworks, they illuminate our woodland-rich landscape during the daytime, just as fireworks and bonfires illuminate the night skies at this time of year. The rolling hills of Mid-Wales are a real kaleidoscope of colour as the trees continue to hang on to their burnished and rusty leaves.

In our garden, the display of autumnal colours is just as dazzling with the copper beech, the rowan and the ornamental cherries being the stars of this blazing spectacle! Their rich ruby tones have been particularly …

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September is here and change is in the air

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Is anyone else feeling that Autumn has been in a bit of a hurry this year? The end of the Summer seems to have occurred rather abruptly with cooler temperatures and unsettled weather pushing their way through August with much haste and determination. I have so enjoyed the long, hot days of Summer, a “proper Summer” of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out on the patio for weeks, with glorious sunshine to help us feel well from the increased amounts of vitamin D being absorbed through our skin, where our water butts ran dry a couple of times (even in …

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Reflection and contemplation at the Autumn Equinox

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 responding to the weakening power of the sun, the shorter days and the dropping air temperature. In preparation for Winter when there is not enough …

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