In Garden, sustainable living on July 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

As we head into August we remember the festival of Lughnasa, one of the great Celtic cross quarter festivals. A time to harvest the offerings from the land and hedgerows. A time to reap the rewards of our work in the garden. A time of abundance, of preserving the bounty and stocking up our larders for the coming Winter.

For as sure as night follows day the seasons are changing too. The wheel of the year continues…the cycle must be completed. Already some plants are starting to show Autumn hues…


 while others are still full of colour and vibrancy. But very soon they too will move onto the next phase of their yearly cycle. As all life on this planet must… 

Here in Ireland we awoke this morning to hear of the death of Meave Binchy, a wonderful author and journalist. At just 72 it seems she has been taken too early, but obviously it was her time. Meave was an amazing individual who despite having massive success, she sold 42 million books worldwide, remained a kind and warm hearted person. Always appreciative of her fans she treated each and every one as a cherished friend. She could teach us all a thing or two.  

Here in Arigna we are revelling in the abundance of produce from the garden. The Onions in the bed above will soon be ready for harvesting, hung in braids in the shed for use throughout the Autumn and Winter. The flowers are self seeders from the compost that was dug in here last Spring. I must remember to pull the Poppies out before they spread their multitude of seeds everywhere. There are lots of berries to be harvested this year. This is ongoing as they are ripening slowly  because of lack of sunshine. That makes it easier in a way as there is less urgency about the harvesting. Blackcurrants and Gooseberries have given great harvests. I freeze them in 1 kilo bags which is ideal for making small batches of jam and chutney. This produce, as well as being for our own use, forms part of our income as I sell it at local markets throughout the year. Something to keep me busy during the long dark days of the Winter.

I seem to be focused on the changing seasons this morning. The dull grey, windy day that it is is not helping the mood. What has happened to our Summers? I’m off now to light the stove and warm up the house. No berry picking today as I just can’t bear that wind which is surely going to bring us more rain later.

  1. Poor ol’ Maeve Binchy. She was a great character.

    Your garden sounds wonderful, Bridget, even if autumn is nipping at its heels. I bet you get some great misty photos as the weather turns (even) cooler.

  2. Wow, I hadn’t heard about Meave Binchy until I just read this. She’ll be missed. I haven’t read a book of hers in years, but I had a couple of summers where I plowed through a bunch of them.


  3. linked back to this in today’s post. I’d always thought ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ was a place.

  4. Hello Bridget, sorry not to have been around for a while, last few months have been difficult, bereavement, changes, but I have peeked in at your pictures and to read your stories. Take care dear heart. I am hoping for a bit of autumn heat here and some more clear skies to lift our spirits and ease our hearts.

  5. I was deeply saddened to hear of Maeve Binchy’s passing — we have lost many iconic people in 2012!
    But, as for your lovely, vibrant photos of the beauty of the harvest, it reminds us the cycle of life goes on and from death, life shall come again.
    Happy summer or sort of summer, Bridget,and thank you for sharing your precious place through this blog!

  6. the wheel of the seasons turns, as we often try to slow it down or grasp an extra day . But turn it must, just as we, move on to complete the circle of our life.

  7. It’s way to early for autumn to be arriving, but the air has that feel about it some mornings. I’m watching the swifts and swallows every day and hoping they won’t leave too soon – their departure is always a sign that summer is nearly over.

  8. I was so sorry to hear about Maeve Binchy. I love her books. My blueberries have started to turn red already and I’ve noticed the nights getting darker. Oh it’s just too depressing to think autumn is close by. Despite last weeks good weather here I don’t feel like I’ve had enough of a summer yet. Have been thinking about escaping somewhere warm but hubby doesn’t have enough leave.

  9. I refuse to believe that autumn is on its way just yet – we haven’t even had summer. My berries haven’t done very well this year except for the gooseberries they never seem to fail. Sad to hear about Maeve – I enjoyed her books and understand she was a lovely person.

  10. Blimey. I’m pleased you had a good fruit harvest – I certainly didn’t. Ho hum. Always next year. Your post title reminds me of when I worked at Ticketmaster and ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ was a hot ticket. We had some great stabs at pronunciation by the punters! D

  11. There is a sense of Autumn already and the swallows will be leaving very soon. Your gooseberries looks good… the three I have on my bush have got mildew!!
    Sad news about Meave Binchy – her warm spirit will be missed.

  12. oh, no .. I hadn’t heard that Maeve Binchy had passed away .. I love her writings and have all of her books. She was the most amazing writer, really knew how to capture human nature.

  13. Isn’t it true about August? One minute it’s summer and the next moment we are hurtling headlong toward autumn? I wonder if, as gardeners, we feel the change of seasons more keenly than most? I don’t know that others around me notice quite so much. Lovely post.

  14. The berry crop here has failed due to lack of rain…it looks like autumn because the lack of rain has turned the leaves on the trees brown, and they are dropping.
    Jane x

  15. I had not heard about Meave Binchy’s death….such a loss…by the way I loved your blog this morning I truly felt what you are talking about when I walked out the door this morning and breathed in I could smell just a hint of fall coming. Maybe I shall blog about this feeling and I am amazed by all you are getting done at your place too. Lovely photos as well! 🙂

  16. I heard about Meave Binchy’s death this morning, sad but such a wonderful writer!

  17. Rest in Peace Maeve Binchy, a great author! Our gooseberries and raspberries did not bear fruit this year at all! We ,down south in Cork are expecting gales and rain by this evening, the autumn is definitely creeping in slowly.The days have already shortened by an hour.

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