Join me on a journey to rediscover ancient traditions, seasonal living and wellbeing practices. A ten week series for each season. Winter: resting, Spring: planting, Summer: sprouting and Autumn: harvesting. We will explore them literally and metaphorically.
You may want to get yourself a note pad, as I will be encouraging you to note 3 good things that happen to you in the week. Plus there will be periodic journaling prompts. It's good to put pen to paper but if tapping away at your keyboard or making notes on your phone is more suited to you go with that. There are no rules.
I'll post each Sunday but there will be no link to the previous week. I want to avoid people feeling that they 'have to catch up'. So if you miss a week, two or even a whole season just start again, right from where you are.
If you enjoy my scribbles, please share them with those you think would like them too.
And if at any point you would like to top up my Lavazza pot, feel free to buy me a coffee :-)
21 February: february’s full moon is called the snow moon, giving us a hint of the weather associated with this month. For many of us the snow has cleared and most days are wet and damp. But it is noticeably warmer mid afternoon and when the sky is clear, layers can be peeled away.
In our little back garden, there is a flurry of activity. We have blackbirds, sparrows and robins nesting within our ivy and the bay tree. We spotted our first bothersome gnat. And there has also been the sound of rustling amongst the fallen leaves, possibly mice, a frog or toad. The latter two have incredible homing instincts and around this time travel through the night to make their way back to the water source where born, to mate themselves. A water source doesn’t need to be a pond, it can simply be a container with water, which will be utilised if the original source is diminished. If you find spawn in your garden…clumped it’s frog and if a chain, toad.
In the garden, its now time to get weeding as the soil warms up. And you may wish to order dahlia tubers. Out and about you might see your first butterflies, hear owls hooting and woodpeckers, pecking. Keep your eyes peeled for the tips of daffodils poking through the earth, tiny yellow flowers of the lesser celandine, and for wild garlic shoots that can be picked and torn onto winter salads and egg dishes, due to their mild flavour.
Are you beginning to feel the stirrings of spring? Are you tempted to come out of hibernation? From tomorrow the moon moves into its waxing gibbous stage and lunar energy rises accumulating until the full moon on the 27 February. Seasonal energy is also rising and we enter meteorological spring on 1 March. So you may now notice a shift in energy, which would be a good time to plants seeds both literally and metaphorically.
end of season prompt: a recap of 2021 planning.
How do you want to feel this year? Over the years what has kept popping up for you? Do you want to learn a new skill? What activities did you miss most in 2020? How do you want to meaningfully contribute to the wider world?
If you are building up to a dream, be mindful that some dreams can take many years so make sure that you are doing it for you and not for others.
Will you need an influx of cash for things you want to undertake this year? Do you need to do some financial planning?
Do you have a big overarching dream that will take some time? If so decide whether this will be your sole focus for the year or whether to break it into smaller steps, so you have time for other things through the year. If the latter, what is the most important thing that you can do this year to help bring your dream into fruition?
Which projects will call for creativity and thinking?
Which will require a more physical effort?
What can be done in a day, week, month? What will be ongoing projects throughout the year?
Get out your diary or calendar and put in all your work, family and health commitments. Also ring fence nothing time, for relaxation and replenishment. We cannot give 100% to all areas of our life all of the time, so make sure that you haven’t overstretched yourself. Additionally, this will also give you a buffer for the unexpected if your plans get scuppered and you need a ‘catch up’ period.
Don’t be too rigid with your plans, life happens and so do unexpected opportunities.
Harness seasonal energy. Projects that will last for a month or longer, that require creativity and thinking start now or schedule for autumn and winter. Those that are more physical schedule for spring and summer.
Harness lunar energy. The new and crescent moon periods are good times for thinking, seeking inspiration and creativity. The full and gibbous moons provide more light and energy, so plans that are more physical or demand focus would be better suited to this time when you will have more get up and go. In addition, the full moon is nature’s signal for us to discard things that no longer serve us, so next week may be a good time to make space either physically or metaphorically for whatever you plan to pursue in March.
Gardening is good for the soul so whether you have a little patch of ground to call your own, space for a couple of grow bags or simply a few pots on a windowsill. I would encourage you to plant some seeds over the next few weeks.
As gardening also takes us outside of ourselves and reminds us of the transience of life, the act of physically sowing something will align with the intent of your plans. There will be successes and failures, which will be reflective of some things we choose to pursue this year. Seeing this in nature will help keep you grounded when it happens with your plans.
fun fact: I didn’t unearth any fun facts for this week. If you have any I’d love to hear them. However it is Fairtrade Fortnight >> from tomorrow. Although not quite seasonal living as it covers a broad range of produce and products, it is a sustainable way of shopping. As leading a truly seasonal life is unattainable for most of us.
LBGT+ month: >>
Recommended watch: ‘It’s a Sin.’ >> Written by Russell T. Davies, loosely based on his and friends’ lives. It is his interpretation of the impact of HIV and AIDS on the gay community from the 1980’s through to the ’90’s. Gripping, thought provoking, touching and emotional. Definitely a programme that will get you talking and so well written that you feel like a voyeur into people’s lives.
Recommended read: ‘The Well of Loneliness.’ Radclyffe Hall. Originally published in 1928, it was judged to be obscene and the banning of the book drew more attention to it. Opinion is divided on its merits but for many, in its day it was one of the first sources of information on lesbianism.
3 good things: happiness is created by intentional activity and studies consistently show that reminding ourselves of good things that happen each week and noting them down means we end up happier, more satisfied with our lives and optimistic about the future.
Having had over a week away from work there have been plenty of joyous moments. However the one that had me crying with laughter was making clay creations with my daughter…we are not destined to be potters!
wintery words: ‘To the Small Celandine.’ - William Wordsworth >>
my seasonal eating: I will be rustling up something featuring mushrooms and watercress. Possibly a mushroom broth, to which I’ll add noodles and wilted watercress. Or I may just fry them off in butter and have as a side with this evenings pulled pork and mashed potato.
I hope you have enjoyed exploring seasonal living in winter with me. There will be a three week pause before venturing into spring, starting at the Spring Equinox. Which happenstance is on a Saturday, so I will post on 20 March and then each Sunday thereafter.
beetroot, borlotti beans, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, cavolo nero, celeriac, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnip, potato, purple sprouting broccoli, salsify, spinach, swede, turnip, winter radishes, winter squash.
celery, chicory, endive, lambs lettuce, parsley, rocket, watercress, winter purslane, winter radish. bay, chervil, coriander, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, winter savory.
apples, forced rhubarb, pears. hazelnuts, sweet chestnuts, walnuts.
duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, muntjac, mutton, pigeon, rabbit, turkey, venison.
bass, brill, clams, cod, coley, dab, dover sole, haddock, hake, herring, langoustines, lobster, mussels, oysters, pollock, rainbow trout, sardines, scallops, seabream, skate, sole, wild turbot.
february in the garden:
It is now the last opportunity to cut back your fruit trees before the sap begins to rise.
Leave dead growth on bushes and shrubs as they are likely a hidey hole for creatures hunkering down.
If you ordered your seeds in january, you can now start sowing them indoors.
If you want to try growing some of your own produce, you can start with the following: broad beans, chervil, coriander, garlic, leeks, onions, parsley, peas, salad leaves, spinach, Swiss chard, radishes.
winter essential oils:
benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, French lavender, ginger, juniper, litsea, marjoram, myrhh, nutmeg, ravensara, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, sweet orange, tea-tree, thyme, peppermint, pine, vanilla, vetivert.