Autumn Equinox, our invitation to pause

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

Lammas: a slow shift towards Autumn

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

Samhain blessings

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

It's Autumn!

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

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 …

Read more…

Restoring balance at the Equinox

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

And the robin sings again

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

Samhain, into the darkness we go

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

And just like that, Autumn has arrived!

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…

Nature's own fireworks

Posted on

Written by

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 …

Read more…