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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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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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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Spring refresh for our shepherd's hut

The Covid19 pandemic and associated lockdowns over the last year threw a massive curve ball on our little glamping business. We were able to re-open our shepherd's hut to guests last Summer for a couple of months then the Autumn lockdowns happened, first in Wales then in England, and we had to cancel all our bookings and re-arrange them. And cancel and re-arrange them again!

The uncertainty around re-opening, when and how, went on for all the Winter months into early Spring. Having opened in 2017, we had built quite a momentum, both in terms of bookings but also in …

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Green shoots

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With the Vernal Equinox just passed, the season of Spring has arrived and we now know for certain that light has prevailed over the darkness. What joy! With days now longer than nights, despite what the weather is doing, Spring brings us life and growth. Nature is bursting forth with buds, blossom, Spring flowers and green shoots, the kind of green only around in Spring, so fresh and new.

After the dark months of Winter, these little green shoots are real beacons of hope and promise. There has been a shift and it is time for new beginnings. The seeds …

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Leaping into Spring with a creative project

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Long-time readers of this blog will know that I enjoy being creative and strive to weave creativity into many aspects of our smallholding life, from gardening and cooking to decorating the house, upcycling, painting, wet felting and playing with and in nature. Last year, I set myself a creative project that I could carry through the whole twelve months: I took daily photographs at sunset, from the same spot, to compile a collection of sunsets throughout the four seasons. I have not quite finished putting it all together but I hope that my finished creation will show the position of …

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