Mornings arrive later as the sun struggles to climb above the eastern horizon…we slowly descend into winter.
Blackbirds swoop low across bushes in the garden, as they protect their territory from other hungry birds.
The hours between dawn and dusk grow thin and precious light appreciated.
Our ancestors appreciated the light of the day and made great effort to welcome it.
Newgrange was erected as a passage-grave and aligned to receive the first rays of the midwinter sun.
Our ancestors knew the importance of the midwinter solstice and the importance of light to all life on Earth.
Newgrange is the place to be on this auspicious morning of the winter, the solstice…
Midwinter can be a magical time here in Ireland, as this photograph shot from my kitchen window last year shows.
The light is different from all other and must have held a sacredness for our ancestors as the darkness engulfed them through November and December…
Newgrange was built around 3,200 BC and belongs to a time before metal was used.
Despite this, the construction was specifically aligned using knowledge that included details of the tilt within the axis of the earth and the exact information to design and build a window above the door lintel to receive the light from the rising sun on the solstice day.
So, as the light becomes increasingly important to us during this slow descent into Midwinter, can I make these small suggestions?
Find time to be quiet.
Explore in your environment a peaceful, comfortable place.
In this sacred space keep comfort with you.
Place a little bell here.
When you take time out to be quiet, light a candle, ring a soft sounding bell and meditate on the season of welcome light.
Drought is no longer a problem as the land in sodden with rain, but it’s not all bad!
Not that it bothers Missy in the slightest!
In fact it’s a glorious summer for the plants and Nature, as the abundance of midsummer flows through a permaculture landscape.
I am uploading today’s video as I type and thinking about the lands that have little or no rain.
It can be tremendously difficult for growers in drought conditions and I am mindful of a the wonderful work being done by by permaculture teachers all over the world as they help people design their way back to abundance.
Indeed, this is the vital message I continue to learn as I do the same…designing the best landscapes in my continual adaptation to the chaos that is climate change.
In the example here at Bealtaine Cottage, that means using stone to make raised beds closer to the cottage and in the warmth of a south-facing aspect.
It also means ensuring both east and west sides of the smallholding are kept exceedingly sheltered, for, indeed, I have noticed that the winds have blown hard from the east over recent days and heavy rains.
Usually they come in from the west and the Atlantic Ocean.
Over recent days I have been on the forage for all the crops that are free in the hedgerows and across the land.
Elderflowers are at their most scented peak and I recall similar wet conditions last year when I went in search of an Elderflower harvest.
It is interesting to keep a record of weather rather than relying on external sources.
Local knowledge is intrinsic to making plans for the next year!
On todays diary of photographs you can see the raised bed, now less than 3 weeks old and already yieding a harvest, as well as the 2nd bed currently completed and being filled with compost.
On today’s video diary you can see the most recent compost heap uncovered and the progress of the latest compost heap under construction.
Today the sky is heavy and grey, but summer rolls on and is quite marvellous.
The Earth exudes the most wonderful summer scents and the birds sing…life is good!