Seasons


I am trying to live a life more in accordance with what my ancestors would do.  It is not possible to totally recreate their life, as if I did I would be living in a long-house, which is a one room house with the fire in the middle and the animals inside for warmth.  You can just imagine what The Authorities would say if I were to try that – plus I’d fall badly ill within the first week as we don’t have the immunity to diseases that our ancestors did.  So I decided to follow the seasons instead.

When I read Irish texts they mention two seasons, Summer and Winter instead of four.  I’m also going to be following those two and doing tasks that are applicable to both of them.

Summer is a time for doing things outside, and in the period from Imbolc to Samhain I will be concentrating on the outdoors.  I now have a jungle, sorry garden, which I will be redesigning this winter, so next summer I will be doing lots of gardening.  I will also make an effort to take whatever I am doing into the garden to do – as long as there is not an unseasonal rain shower.

Winter is the time for doing things indoors.  I will be concentrating on my knitting and crafts skills, as they were traditionally done in the long winter months, when it was cold and people didn’t have as much to do.

One myth that seems to have sprung up about Winter is that vegetables don’t grow in the Winter.  Farmers often have winter crops : some of them are kale and turnips (called swedes in England), of which the swedes are often used to feed the sheep.  Wintergreens also grow in the Winter, hence their name.  Rosemary and thyme are herbs which are available all year round.

So I have divided the time between the eight festivals and allotted tasks which I will do in that time.  This means I have eight seasons instead of the usual four.  I’ve done this because I think it’s a good way to divide the year up into seasons, instead of using the weather, which is very changeable here in Britain.

This year we had a long winter, short spring, average summer and we seem to be getting Autumn weather at the moment.  Someone once said that you can get four seasons in one day in Britain, which is true.

I can see people saying “wait a minute! they didn’t have eight seasons…” which is true, but different plants come into season at different times.  It just so happens that cereal crops ripen in August, but elderflowers are in season in June and elderberries in September – if you are having average weather conditions.  So that is why I am having eight seasons.

This is my plan so far for living in accordance with the seasons, like my ancestors did.  It’s just a rough plan and will change as it goes along, so I will keep you updated with how it’s going.  I do wish I had more activities for each season, but it’s a start.

Summer

  • Walks – once a week if possible
  • Identifying wildlife
  • Weeding the garden

Winter

  • Knitting and any crafts
  • Tidying up the garden
  • Doing research
  • Identifying coniferous trees

Winter Equinox to Imbolc

Spring cleaning

  • Sort out books and clothes
  • Sort out magazines
  • Clean sideboards
  • Clean under everything

Imbolc to Spring Equinox

End of Winter

  • Polish hat
  • Get winter coat dry-cleaned
  • Wash winter scarves
  • Wax ends of scarves

Spring Equinox to Beltane

Planting Season

  • Put plans for garden into effect

Beltane to Midsummer

Floral season

  • Make elderflower cordial
  • Make infused oils from flowers
  • Make bath salts

Midsummer to Lughnasadh

Hot season

  • Make ice creams and sorbets

Lughnasadh to Autumn Equinox

End of Summer

  • Wash summer coats
  • Wash summer scarves

Autumn Equinox to Samhain

Berry and Nuts Season

  • Pick hazelnuts
  • Pick blackberries
  • Pick elderberries and make cordial

Samhain to Winter Equinox

Dying Times

  • Get skeletons from leaves
  • Make plant food
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