Finding balance

It's the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere today and Spring is officially here. Astronomically, an equinox is the moment when the Earth's equator passes through the centre of the sun, momentarily creating an equilibrium between night and day because of the way the Earth tilts in relation to the Sun. The word equinox comes from the Latin word "aequinoctium" meaning 'equal night'.

Right now, the stabilising energy that this balance brings feels really important. The world, this Spring, has been plunged into a huge amount of vulnerability and uncertainty. The chaos and changes brought by the Covid-19 ...

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Nurturing hope in the garden

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Spring is nearly here and the growing season is well under way on the smallholding by now. Every inch of windowsill space in the sunroom holds trays and propagators with seeds growing this year's harvest. When seedlings are big enough and in need of more light than they can get in the sunroom, they get moved to either the heat mat on the shelf in the potting shed, the greenhouse or the polytunnel.

This time of year is always very exciting, full of promise and wonder at the huge potential for growth and transformation held in a tiny seed. Right ...

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Imbolc, a new dawn

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1st February and we are about half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. On the Wheel of the Year, this point is Imbolc, when the first signs of new life are beginning to show. Nature is stirring, influenced by the noticeable increase in daylight hours and the strengthening of the Sun's energy. There is a sense of hope, promise and potential as the Earth, awakening from its Winter sleep, is preparing to receive the seeds of future blooms and harvests. A new dawn.

One of the translations of the word "Imbolc" is "in the belly" which, for ...

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The importance of Winter

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For the last few mornings, we have woken up to a hard frost and I noticed how much that pleased me. Winter has been mild up to now and the gardener in me has been yearning for a cold spell. Not only because I love these clear, cold days of Winter that I find so invigorating but also because I know the garden needs a period of cold weather to work its magic on bulbs, seeds and plants. It is a necessary phase in the growth cycle that ensures a good crop or flowering.

I notice in my social media ...

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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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Summer Solstice sunrise on a Welsh hill

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Before moving to Wales, we lived in Salisbury for 15 years and never once did we go to the Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge a few miles away. We probably missed out... Stonehenge at the Solstice is a big event. There were things like family life and work commitments that meant we never joined in the all-night / early morning festivities. In any case, crowds are not really our cup of tea.

Last night, tempted by the invitation over on Facebook by some Montgomery friends to gather at the Town Hill County Memorial Monument to see the sun rise on the ...

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From Africa to Wales

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Since moving here, I have learnt a lot about wildlife, especially the wild birds that visit our place. I can now identify many and recognise their songs and calls. I spend time birdwatching, which is a great way to familiarise myself with their world, record their numbers, observe their behaviours and generally get a sense of their comings and goings. Some are here all year round but some only visit during the Summer and it is always very exciting when they arrive.

One particular bird that has sparked my interest is the redstart and every Spring, I eagerly await their ...

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Making time to stand and stare

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It's an incredibly busy time on the smallholding at the moment. I have had several blog posts on my mind since the last one but very little to write them! Please bear with me and forgive my silence as the land requires all my physical and mental energy at the moment.

Since the Spring Equinox, hours of daylight are increasing before they culminate at the Summer Solstice. We have now passed Beltane, the half-way point between the two and in response to the lengthening days, nature is very busy. Plants are growing fast and for the tender ones, it is ...

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Off to pastures new...

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You may remember, dear readers, that we decided last Summer to no longer keep sheep, after a tough lambing season forced us to re-evaluate our priorities. Whilst it was a difficult decision to make, one over which we agonised for several weeks, we felt ready to take the smallholding in a different direction. Last Sunday, after eight months of trying to sell them, our three Shetland ewes went off to pastures new.

Eight months seemed like forever and at times, we felt the odds were stacked against us! First, Summer 2018 was very dry and people were not buying extra ...

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Merry Midwinter!

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“Night’s black shadows vanish, the golden sun an arc, Winter’s crystals glitter – dazzle – and banished is the dark.”

I read these lovely lines in Gillian Monks’ book “Merry Midwinter” and thought they beautifully evoked the symbolism of the Winter Solstice, which is today in the Northern Hemisphere. They resonate with the optimism that I feel deep inside me, knowing the gloomiest, darkest days are now behind us. Up to now, the dark has triumphed over the light but from today, the seemingly impenetrable obscurity thins a little to let in the delicate glow and warmth of the returning ...

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