Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘solstice’

Happy Christmas from Prospect Cottage.

In Folklore on December 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

So at last it is here…Christmas 2011. It seems the radio and TV have been selling it to us for months now. Thankfully the recession that engulfs Ireland and indeed the rest of the world seems to have reduced the gross consumerism of recent years. The shops are busy but people seem to be much more sensible and selective with their purchases. A good thing in my view. I always try to buy useful presents for family members…things they really want or will find useful. At this point we are pretty good at getting it right. Some of the nieces and nephews are now teenagers and have a liking for money gifts. I’m not a huge fan of giving money so this year we gave a gift and some money so hopefully everyone will be happy.

According to the Met Office the weather is to be mild and balmy…a big change from the last 2 Christmasses when we were snowed in. The pic above of the dogs in the snow was taken 2 weeks ago but that snow quickly disappeared.

My favourite thing at this time of year is collecting foliage from garden and hedgerow to make a wreath. I usually do this before the Solstice as for me the circle of the wreath represents the continuing cycle of life, death and renewal that happens each year. The Solstice was traditionally seen as the   re birth of the Sun. The time when the Sun remains resting for a while before it once again starts it’s climb higher into the sky bringing long days and the renewal of activity. The 12 days of Christmas is said to have come from the traditions of the Celts who celebrated the 12 days the Sun remained steady in one position before starting the upward journey.

The wreath looks pretty good I think and I got great pleasure from making it. The birds have eaten all the Holly berries already so I used Sedum heads for a splash of red.

The wreath of Holly popular as a door decoration in America is said to have been brought there by Irish settlers who left Ireland at the time of the Great Potato Famine in the mid 1800s. Holly grows wild all over Ireland and most people like to bring sprigs of it indoors at this time of year.

I also made a wreath for my Mother’s front door. We did the trip down to Tipperary on Wednesday. We left home early in the morning and did’nt get back until midnight. We had a good long day there and left our pressies under the various Christmas trees. Our presents are also waiting…unopened until Christmas morning. I don’t understand people who open their presents before Christmas. Not for us.

So now all that’s left is for me to say Happy Christmas to you all. May it be happy and peaceful. Thank you to the visitors who read, follow and comment on my blog…I do appreciate it. As is said in Irish “Nollaig Shona Duit” which means “Happy Christmas to You”.

Summer Abundance @ Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening, sustainable living on June 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

Less than two weeks to the Solstice and growth is rampant, soon to reach it’s peak. The Sun almost at it’s highest point, it’s energy greatest for us in the northern hemisphere. The polytunnels are becoming jungle like, Nasturtiums, Potatoes, Grapevine seem to be growing before one’s eyes. The season of abundance, complete meals from the garden, a time to revel in the joy and beauty of nature. At the moment we are harvesting Purple Sprouting Broccoli(late but welcome), salads, Spring Onions, Strawberries, herbs and Sugar Snap Peas(my current fave veg).

The new bed which we did back in March is establishing well. It is a bit of an experiment to see what will grow here as it is north facing in the shade of the chalet. It does get some sun in the morning and for a short time in the evening. It is planted with perennial Geraniums, Sedum spectablis, Foxgloves, Primulas, Fatsia, Hostas and Lady’s Mantle. Most of the plants were from division or cuttings so cost was minimal. The area was mulched with newspaper and covered with mushroom compost which can be got for free locally. Yes, we’re lucky, I know some places in England charge for mushroom compost. An unexpected bonus from the compost is frequent flushes of Chestnut Mushrooms. Mushroom Soup, air miles free!!

Borage has self-seeded itself generously again this year. The Bees and other insects are ecstatic. The intense blue of it’s flowers would gladden the heart of anyone. Apparently the flowers were added to the stirrup-cups given to the Crusaders at their departure. They were said to give courage. Medical research has found that the flowers of Borage do indeed stimulate the adrenal glands, where of course courage begins. The seeds are high in gamma-linolenic acid .