We’ve passed midwinter here in Australia, and the days are slowly but surely getting longer. Of course, we still have the coldest month to get through, but this week in Canberra has so far consisted of some beautiful clear, sunny days. Yes, the mornings have been cold (-5C or so), but the blue skies make it all worth while.
To celebrate the darkest part of the year we attended two midwinter festivals at our children’s school, one for the kindergarten and one for the rest of the primary school. In the kindergarten festival the children walk along a candle lit path, just after the sun goes down, carrying their own handmade lanterns. As they walk they sing “See the little Lantern’s shining shining bright, oh how we love to see their light”. They walk to a hidden grotto where they deliver seeds collected through the previous term, asking Mother Earth to care for them until Spring.
My daughter Mikaela turned six a couple of weeks ago, and a friend gave her three beeswax candles and a little bowl to stand them in as a birthday present. Each night at dinner time we have been lighting one of these candles, which sits in the middle of the table while we eat, telling ourselves that it represents the sun’s light which is returning for longer each day now, and that when the first candle has burned all the way down, then Spring will surely be nearly here.
Last weekend we had a tree surgeon come and drastically prune back a hedge along the side of our yard, and take out one big photinia and a dead banksia, to make way for some fruit trees. In the mean time our yard and house feel far more exposed, but both the chooks and the house are seeing more of the North winter sun, which is rather nice.
The kids have been having a lovely time building a fort out of the huge pile of mulch which the tree surgeon left out the front of our house.
Winter is a time of hunkering down and waiting for the sun, but it can also be a time of clear thinking and energy. I’m looking forward to planting out two fruit trees we have sitting in pots, a nectarine and a pear, and thinking a bit more clearly about what to do with our back yard, now that we can see it better. How to make best use of the sun for ourselves and our vegies, how to make sure the dog and the chooks both have plenty of room (without the dog eating the chooks), while still making it a productive and also fun place for our family.
A few mid-winter and mid-summer posts that have caught my attention:
DIY Sprouting Jar Tutorial for You and Your Chickens – from Living Homegrown. I fully intend to start spouting just for my chooks!
Greenhaven Goodlife on Disaster preperation and taking responsibility. Do you have a kit ready?
Tricia at Little Eco Footprints is getting Excited about a waterless urine diverting toilet, which I think in a sustainable world just as to be somewhere in all our futures, especially after watching this TED talk from Nick Ritar of Milkwood.
I keep reading about Lacto-fermented vegies, but I haven’t tried it yet and I’m still not sure if we’d actually like them, but Annie at Haphazard Homestead (I love that name), has almost convinced me with Lacto-fermented Love.