It’s beginning to look a lot like solstice

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Last 25 December we had a picnic in the limery

As many of you know, we don’t celebrate Christmas Chez Snail, although we do have a nice relaxing day on 25 December. The thing that we celebrate here is the solstice – the real turning of the year, the time when the light starts to return and we look forward to the abundance of the coming seasons. Some would say it’s pagan, but for me it’s a primal thing – deeply embedded in all of us – a spark of hope as the days start to get longer and the prospect of summer calls to us. So, the solstice is a genuine reason to celebrate, which we do with food (not presents).

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Solstice lights in 2015

This year on the solstice we are going to be eating pork…ethically sourced of course. I’ll be cooking it long and slow to create ‘pulled pork’ and I’ll be baking bread rolls to serve it on. There will be a leafy salad and various home-made condiments and then we’ll finish with some sort of cake made using the abundance of eggs that our hens are still laying. We’ll eat in the limery – the source of so much abundance over the past year, and we’ll celebrate the coming of light with light – beeswax candles and fairy lights.

If you are in the northern hemisphere perhaps you too will raise a glass to the prospect of summer, and if you are in the southern hemisphere I hope you will be revelling in warm log days and the bounty of summer*.

-oOo-

* Of course, if you live in the tropics, such points in the year mean little and I hope that you will be enjoying your mangoes and papayas as often as possible!

Longer days

So, here we are on the other side of the solstice and looking forward to the days lengthening…

Chez Snail we don’t ‘do’ Christmas, but we do celebrate the solstice – the turning of the year and the promise of more light. We know that there’s a long way to go before the spring arrives, but we love the fact that the longest night is behinds us.

We were hoping to enjoy a solstice walk with the dogs, but the dreadful weather transpired against us, so I spent the afternoon in the limery having a good clean up, harvesting the rest of the chillies and getting it ready for the first sowing of seeds in the new year. Once it was all clean and tidy we were able to enjoy the promise of summer in there in the form of a glass or two of Kir made with Herefordshire framboise (raspberries truly are the taste of summer) along with fairy-lights and candles.

Today, a very slightly longer day than yesterday, we awoke to the promise of sunshine.

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The promise of a dry day

And, indeed, the clouds cleared and we were able to take the dogs for a walk on the beach. I know we haven’t seen the end of the rain, but at least we will be planting seeds in a couple of weeks…

Pass it on

It’s day four of Zero Waste Week and I’m looking up…

… at my lampshades, that is.

A few weeks ago I happened to mention to my niece that I liked the lampshade in her bedroom. So she gave it to me. Well, not there and then, but once she had got the replacement she was planning to buy anyway.

So today’s avoidance of waste has been to replace this lampshade in the hall:

In the hall

In the hall

With the one from my niece:

Lily's lampshade

Lily’s lampshade

Then take down the torn one in the kitchen:

I do like paper lampshades, but this one only lasted 14 years!

I do like paper lampshades, but this one only lasted 14 years!

And replace it with the one from the hall:

Looks wonky because it was still moving when I photographed it!

Looks wonky because it was still moving when I photographed it!

Then dismantle the torn lampshade:

Ripping it up

Ripping it up… the paper has gone on the compost heap

So that I have the metal rings to use to make a crochet lampshade:

They need soaking to get all the remaining bits of paper off

They need soaking to get all the remaining bits of paper off

Which I will have in my office, and the lampshade that’s currently in there can go in the utility room where there is no lampshade at all at the moment.

How about that for using your resources wisely and producing zero waste?

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