Twenty three days into 2023 and sorry, I’ve been absent from blog writing recently, due to a few health issues and other, time consuming things, such as publishing my ninth book, Poetry for Wild Spirits.
I’ll be honest… the last year was tough on several fronts for everyone, so saying goodbye wasn’t hard.
There was a very late start to summer but the rain brought in a huge hay harvest, for which farmers are always grateful but, as you can see, the landscape is already preparing itself for an early autumn. We wake to misty mornings and cool temperatures although it’s only recently, Alban Hefin/Summer Solstice/Litha. Longest day seems to have begun the sudden careening toward autumn, before any significant summer weather.
Wee alpine strawberries are multiplying, wild blackberries are in flower and slowly berries will ripen to give winter fruit, dried and frozen. The first raspberry harvest has been wonderful and as hawthorn, rowan and elderberries begin to ripen early too, same applies, with the apothecary stocked with weather medicines from nature.
In the orchard, apples and pears hang in pairs and multiples, fattening and ripening fast with all the ‘Europeanesque’ weather we’re experiencing. I don’t think I’ve ever known a summer morning, starting at 5 degrees.
Truth be told, I feel right at home with memories upsurging from my UK country childhood, running wild through wet grasses but sadly, our promising cherry crop had too much water and not enough sunshine to ripen them… possum had a ball but I hope they don’t have belly ache from all the unripe cherries. Tiny seedling cherry trees are already setting roots, where Ms Possum, dropped the seeds.
Everywhere glistens with dew droplets and the scent on the air is of soil, much and ozone.
Even hazelnut trees are laden early with their little packages of bon-bon style cases… these will be roasted or ground into a course powder for cake making.
Storm birds returned to stalk amongst the tall grasses and reeds, hunting frogs and bugs, digging their long bills into the sodden soil like spears.
Storm clouds gather daily but often circle around us, giving just a little more rain than the ground can hold but still, with tanks and waterways, ponds and dams full to overflowing, we never complain for this is the life blood of the land.
Slowly but surely, after all the delays through covid lockdown and wet weather, my little studio is taking shape, delightfully. Today, the last coat of oil goes on and we’re waiting for the tiler to return to do the floor. Then I can begin to move in and the electrician, coming back to install the PowerPoints and lighting etcetera, will have to work around me… I’m all done waiting!
Meanwhile, squashed in the corner of the dining room, my work continues for the next collaborative art exhibition in early April… autumn themed, which just happens to be my favourite palette of colour.
It’s wonderful to be able to put to use the eco inks I made from various berries and leaves, this time last year.
As they begin to take shape, I’m finding my stride. Although health issues slowed me down for quite some time, I’m beginning to feel inspired again…
And so… we head at a frighteningly fast pace on the downward slide toward the dark half of the year, barely having lifted our eyes from the last one. In just a couple of weeks it will be Lughnasadh/Lammas but our hay and grain harvest has already been gathered in a little earlier than usual.
Extraordinary sunsets and sunrises… weather patterns are pure insanity and we can’t ignore the facts of climate change, staring us in the face.
What are you doing to help combat this?
Do you think it’s too late and we’re doomed?
What are your visions for future generations or are you someone who says… oh well, I won’t be here in xxx amount of years and so pay it all forward?
I thought to add this as I begin to communicate again in blog form, a year and a day of this land-loving life of mine, about how things can be grown, preserved and how to have a pantry groaning with foods that you love, without necessarily all the pickling, fermenting and bottling, that is often too time consuming for the average household in the daily workforce and who don’t live on an off-grid farm in the wilds of the Victorian highlands. We have the advantage of solar power and perhaps soon, a little wind turbine will be the booster, rather than a generator for winter days to help charge the batteries, so for us, freezing and dehydrating foods are good options unless you really love fermented or pickled foods.
I would like to know how one would live on jars of pickles, relishes and chutney, no matter how yummy they may be, however as I watch trends of the in things unfold, rather than easily grown or readily available bulk foods. No matter where you live, it’s always possible to find a market to buy seconds (aesthetically unpleasing to the fussy eye, due to hail damage etc.) in the way of fruit and vegetables or big bags of grains, bread mixes and so on and turn them into staples for your pantry. Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s possible to beat inflation with bulk buying foods, someone else has grown and perhaps using a verandah or a sunny kitchen bench spot for growing fresh herbs, salad greens and micro sprouts.
All of the plants above will grow for you in pots too, even if you only have a tiny verandah on your apartment… a whole wall of growing things is easy to construct for very little.
Another fun thing to do, is for a group of like-minded souls, to take it in turns to share power costs and food/goods and to spend a kitchen day, processing storables for the pantry.
There are so many ways to make these practical, saving solutions work for you, despite a busy working life…
…and so my thoughts, having strayed in this direction, would love to hear about your dreams, goals and how you are tackling the world at large these days?
What are your dreams for the world and for your family, friends and even those across the oceans in war-torn, drought or flood ridden countries?
Where do you go in your dreams
Are you sure you’re awake
Do you follow your heart
or react for reacting’s sake
Where are you, when you’re dreaming
Is it a peaceful place
Do you travel to lands of beauty
to a sacred, greening space
How do you feel in the morning
are you truly here
or are you really still dreaming
’til small whispers of truth appear
Do you dream of a journey
Do you know where to
Is it long and exciting
In the dream are you still, you
Does it feel like a memory
written deep in your cells
to an island of apples
and a deep, icy well
Who travels with you
or are you alone
Do you feel you are lost
or are you travelling home…
…with warm wishes and blessings from Beyond the Gate Studio
Poetry for Wild Spirits can be purchased from the author by travelling to…
Epub/kindle version can be purchased at…