Nasturtium flowers ~ October 2015
Yesterday was Samhain, Cetlic New Year.
The day was a pleasant, bright and sunny day. I even found myself working in a tshirt for parts of it. A complete contrast to the days of autumnal rain earlier in the week. Last night was clear, with a thousand stars in the sky and the moon visibly waning and low behind the houses and trees…
The day was marked with a ‘clearing bonfire’ on the field… A smaller affair than had been planned with just me and mother there, hiccups with the house roof being replaced had called a halt to plans of having friends and dinner there, perhaps next year… Some of the piles of broken up pallets, rotten pieces of old chicken houses and kennels a long with other unidentified pieces of timber have gone making way for what is to come. There is still more to go but it is a nice start, a beginning.
Samhain Fire ~ 2015
The forest has turned from it’s summer green to the autumn reds, yellows and oranges and swirls of leafs have began to fall on the more blustery days. Next year has already started to take shape; the AI man has visited Bridie and the billy has been turned out with the girlies.
Samhain: consolidate, clear and plan, first months of study, goats mated, preparing the ground for growing. Winter Solstic: prepare for spring, lay hedges Imbloc: Lambing, longer days Ostara (easter): kidding, field working weekend, clocks go forward, growing session begins Beltane: … Summer Solstic: calving, growing session, first year graduation Lammas: second year of study Samhain
The seasons have slide their way smoothly from one to the next here; the mornings have a chill to them and I had began leaving for work in the dawn light before the clock change. The harvest moon bought with it heavy rain and winds to bring down the first swirls of bright yellow, orange and red coloured leaves and since Samhain some of the dark evenings have held the promise of bright frosty mornings but as yet first light has only revealed rain soaked grounds or views hidden beneath a layer of mist.
Changing forest; October 2013
The sheep have busied themselves searching out acorns before the wild boar begin to creep closer to the village edge in search of easier foraging and trips out with the goats have been spent underneath the sweet chestnut tree searching out the larger nuts before the goats snaffles them up. Sweet chestnuts are my old nanny’s favourite autumn treat.
At the end of September I spent some time reorganising my front garden to make it more of a usable space instead of an ‘unfinished projects’ staging area. I cleared the spreading mass of alpine strawberries, cut back bushes and removed a compost bin from the only area of soil and found space for two raised beds. These were filled with home made compost, leaf mould and well rotted manure from the patio’s potato buckets and now boast a mixture of cauliflowers, purple sprouting and leeks. On the table in the kitchen there are paper bags of onion sets to fill in the gaps.
After more alpine strawberry clearing I have managed to turn the rest of the ground I have between the steps and the patio into two separate-but-connected areas; one has been planted with kale (which I hope will recover from the caterpillar attack) mixed with wallflowers and I shall add garlic to the area. The other patch is defined by being between a winter flowering heather and the new raised beds; this area I have added spring bulbs to borage and self-seeded feverfew amongst a few paving stones I have added for access. In the spring I plan to sow poppies, sweetpeas and sunflowers and hope some of them survive the slugs.
During the summer we have downsized on the number of goats we have and thankfully have managed to find lovely homes for the three ‘rescue pet’ goats we had. We now have our six breeding females and a meat wether. It’s so nice to be able to spend time out on the greens with them without having to arrange for two people to be there. The reduced feed cost has also meant that we have been able to think more carefully about the feed we use and have changed to a goat mix that has no GMO ingredients; something we are trying more and more to be aware of in all areas of our purchases.
Bella and Broiny grazing the green back when we had some sun: August 2013
Earlier in the year we had scab in our flock of sheep, the better summer we have had has helped them recover but it has meant that none of the fleeces have been suitable for sending off to be tamed and so we are keeping everyone on for this winter. (Fingers crossed it will be mild and they won’t need too much extra feed.)
My new chooks; roosting for the night: October 2013
During some time off work in September I also got myself some chickens for the garden at my house. I had been toying with the idea of getting myself some hens for a while, there is nothing like collecting your own eggs from your own garden. Me and mother had gone to collect some hens for her and in amongst the barn of fowl to be rehomed were three small black chicks. I wanted them as soon as I saw them and so they also came back with us.
They have already grown a lot since I first got them and are much more use to people, where they came from was an amazing place where the chickens were safe to just run free (seemingly no fox problem there) and in the spring a lot of the hens had gone off to nest and returned with their chicks in tow a few weeks later. The fourth hen I have I don’t think has anything to do with the chicks but they were quick to follow her lead and she is very pretty.
Posted in chickens, Day-to-day, garden, goats, New house, poultry, weather
Tagged chickens, garden, goats, harvest moon, Samhain, sheep, sheep scab, Winter
Tonight is all hallows eve, or Samhain , but I much prefer the way all hallows eve sounds. To me this time of year has never been about spooks or trick-or-treat but has always stood for the Wiccan meaning of the day; a celebration of those lives who have passed. It is the start of the dark time of year, so always fits well with the clock change, but not dark in a sinister or foreboding meaning but in a soft and gentle way. The start of time to rest and regain strength for the next season.
I haven’t really marked the occasion for many years but have today by visiting my dads grave for the first time. I took some of the sweetpeas that are still going strong, spurred on my the warm spell a few weeks ago, in the front garden