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 ...

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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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Autumn gatherings

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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 way, I can feel it in my bones. We must finish our harvesting before the rain begins”. Right now, it feels just like that at Upper Cefn-y-Pwll… we are preparing ourselves for Winter ...

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A natural nod to Halloween

Halloween here yesterday was an uneventful affair: neither the commercialised side of this festival - with all its spook, blood and gore - nor trick-or-treat'ers found their way up to our remote location!

Halloween, Samhain (ancient Pagan Celtic festival meaning “Summer’s end” in Gaelic), Nos Galan Gaeaf and Calan Gaeaf (Welsh for “the first of Winter” interestingly) and the Christian All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day celebrations all intertwine at this time of year. Traditionally now is the time when the harvest is in and our pantries - and freezers! - are filling up; we remember our dead and honour our ...

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Autumn Equinox... an invitation to pause, reflect and reset

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Today is the Autumn Equinox, a celestial event when all points on the Earth, as it travels along its trajectory around the Sun, receive equal amount of day light and darkness. The long Summer days have gone and we are not yet at the time of long Winter nights… at the Equinox, we are in the middle of the Sun’s journey between Solstices. Our days are approximately the same length as our nights right now and with this, nature teaches us about balance and harmony.

During the Summer, our energy and focus tend to be on the world outside ...

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Harvest time

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It is a busy time on the smallholding at the moment with the harvest of fruit and vegetables that are ripe for picking as we approach the Autumn Equinox. It is a time to gather the fruits of our efforts earlier in the year when we sowed seeds and tended to the plants that have now reached the end of their growing life. The kitchen is a hive of activity right now as the abundant produce needs to be either bottled for the pantry or cooked/packed for the freezer.

I have been busy gathering courgettes, peppers, beans and tomatoes ...

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Past and present... old and new

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With the end of October approaching, the wheel of the year draws near Samhain - or All Saints or Halloween - and enters its darkest times between now and Midwinter. Certainly, the weather this week feels more wintery with gusty winds, noticeably less sunlight and dropping temperatures.

It is a time when the house becomes a warm and cosy sanctuary: I have made thick curtains for nearly all the windows and our woodburners are very efficient at keeping us warm. We are preparing the house – and ourselves - for winter! We have taken out the old Esse range cooker from the kitchen and ...

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First day of Autumn... some reflections

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Autumn begins today with the equinox marking a time in the year when day equals night. This is a time of balance before dark wins over light as we head towards the longer nights of Winter. There are many signs the new season is here: we have put extra layers on the bed; we have ordered a supply of logs; we are harvesting apples and organising their storage; we are tidying up the plants and taking away the last vestiges of their growth now turned to decay; I have picked a few figs and made little fig and almonds cakes ...

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