Winter Solstice

One of my aims for this year is to learn more about the special days of the year following the Pagan calendar. I have always been interested in the changing of the seasons and the solstice, but I want to learn more. I plan to post on each special day this year with a reflection on what is happening in my garden and what I am up to.

December 22nd 2015- The Winter Solstice

IMG_0407The Winter solstice falls on Tuesday 22nd December this year. This is the day with the least amount of day light and the midday sun reaching the lowest point on the horizon all year. We like to string up fairy lights, cosy up in front of log fires, have a hot chocolate from a Kelly kettle in the woods and light and candles. These are our family traditions of lighting these darkest days of the year and marking the winter solstice and celebrating the exciting run up to Christmas day. (Just 3 more sleeps kids!)

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Noticing how mild it is, 10 degrees C today! It doesn’t feel like Christmas!

Feeling relaxed, happy and grateful to be having lots of lazy mornings this week

Wishing for Santa to hurry up and come!

Eating a lovely breakfast of scrambled tofu with rocket and tomato on sourdough toast

Wondering if my homemade raw chocolates are set yet so I can do a taste test!

Wearing hybrid clothes today, jean-leggings and a jumper-dress hahaha

Watching Luther – I love him

Listening to the howling wind

Drinking, yep, drinking again after having a booze-free December

Planning what I need to cook today to take to various meets up we are invited to

IMG_0410 IMG_0411   IMG_0415  IMG_0418 The chickens are definitely the most interesting thing in my garden today!

IMG_0419 IMG_0420 IMG_0416There is not a whole lot growing at the moment, but the herbs and greens are still doing well. We’ve only had one very mild frost here so far this winter, so the garden is still full of green things but it is very muddy and wet.

 

 

Twelve principles for twelve months – or not!

So its another big fail for me on this task. I hold my hands up and admit that keeping up with my monthly principles blog post has been rubbish this year. My life has filled up with vital tasks and some days I feel like I am just barely holding onto the roller coaster!

In November I was due to look at ‘Use biological resources’ and December was ‘Small scale intensive systems’. My brain is too full of Christmas tasks left undone to tackle these now. So I am going to give myself a free-pass and quit this.

So here is a beautiful photo that I took last easter in Wales instead!

Happy Winter solstice everyone xxIMG_5970

 

My garden in December

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Harvesting My garden is currently brown, muddy, messy and rather abandoned. But that is OK, as my attention is focussed on the inside at this time of year. I have been gathering pretty branches, holly, ivy and dried seed heads from the garden to decorate the house for the festivities to come. We are still getting 3 eggs per day from the chucks, not bad for this time of year. The cockeral has still yet to crow so he is still around ruling the roost, the girls like him a lot!

Planting I finally got around to planting the spring bulbs yesterday. In the end it was an easy task as I decided to use large plant-pots rather than dig holes in the cold wet ground. The pots are lining the steps to the deck where they can sit quietly all winter, waiting for their chance to shine come the spring. I like having bulbs in pots because you can easily move them to where they will best be seen when they are in full bloom, then stash them out-of-the-way to die back.

Thinking An old Willow tree has crashed to the ground this week, it amazingly fell directly into the only clear space available, narrowly avoiding our greenhouse, next doors shed, the trampoline and the compost bays. I am grateful for that at least and I am pretty sure the tree will spring into life again from the trunk. The kids are enjoying the fallen tree, it brings a new aspect to the garden and provides exciting places to play and hide. We will get around to cutting up the tree soon and storing it for next years firewood, but currently there is just too much to do.

Feeling I am finally feeling well again after two weeks of suffering with the dreaded, full-family pre-Christmas cold. We have all been laid low and suffering for weeks. I have been dosing myself up with vitamins, manuka honey, whisky toddys and lots of fresh greens and garlic. I am almost ready for Christmas, the kids break up from school tomorrow and we have a few surprises up our sleeves for them. They have really enjoyed putting a bauble everyday on the ‘tree’ (pretty branches in a vase) We have also had fun making Christmas cards together and lighting candles and the logburner to cosy up in front of to light up the long dark evenings of December. We are almost at the Winter Solstice now, so it always feels good once the light levels begin tipping back the other way.

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Note the fallen Willow tree filling the left-hand side of the back portion of the garden. This was where I had proposed to build a poly-tunnel, I am so glad I didn’t!

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The chickens love coming right up to the house and sitting on the deck, seeking out the last rays of evening sun.

Weather stats

Thursday 18th December 2014

Cloudy and mild with a little drizzle

High 13 Low 5

Sunrise 08:12 Sunset 15:50

 

My garden in December

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HARVESTING – Cooking apples, Holly for decorating the house, the occasional egg (only one per day on average at the winter solstice)

PLANTING – Not planting anything this month

THINKING– About Christmas celebrations. I have been doing lots of preparations for having a simple Christmas day, just myself, hubby and the kids. We are hosting all the extended family on Boxing day, that is going to be great fun but madly busy! The last few weeks have been crazy with school plays, trips, Christmas dinners, carol singing, tree decorations etc. The kids have finished school and pre-school now, so it’s full on family fun time. I am looking forward to seeing the kids open their gifts on Christmas day. Oh and of course I am looking forward to all the festive food, especially Christmas pudding, nut roast, cheese and mulled cider, yum.

FEELING– I always feel tired and run-down at this time of the year. I am glad to reach the winter solstice and start seeing the daylight return little by little each day. In the New year I tend to start feeling refreshed and have renewed energy for my projects. I have decided to take a little break from my Permaculture diploma work over the Christmas season. I was feeling frustrated that i couldn’t fit in my working time, so by mentally making this a ‘break’ time, i feel better about my absence!

The garden is looking a little neglected and very brown this month, but it is a good time to see the structure of the space and see with fresh eyes what works and what needs changing next year. In the new year I plan to draw up a design for the food production zones of my garden. I also want to consider moving the chickens.

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WEATHER STATS

Friday 20th December 2013

Frosty morning, some bright sunshine, windy

Max temp 8  Min temp 7

Sun rise 08.13   Sunset 15.51