Today the Sun Shone Down

Admittedly, down might be an overstatement. At this time of year it shines across

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But welcome, non the less

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Sunrise is becoming earlier

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The end of light slightly later

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Things are moving

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Waking

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Glowing

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Rising

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Waiting

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And beneath the surface things are stirring

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12 minutes and 27 seconds

Today not only was daylight today twelve and a half minutes longer than at the Solstice but, maybe more importantly, the sun rose one minute earlier than at that time:

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The Blue Tits certainly got excited, prospecting…

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…inspecting…

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…testing the view…

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…and then actually camping out for the night:

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We got excited too. The sun was shining through last year’s remains

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melting the overnight ice

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and illuminating new life

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2021

It has been a slightly odd year. For example, here we are at midday on the last day and outside the temperature is around 12 degrees,

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and, more to the point, it has been there for the last thirty-six hours.

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So, time for a quick look back.

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At times, family have appreciated a place to escape to,

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and we have been able to provide peace and quiet when work needs to be done.

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Our vegetable growing has been more organised

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and our Charles Dowding inspired new compost bays attained our Construction of the Year Award.
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The greenhouse

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and tunnels

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have been put to good use. The cherry crop in the larger tunnel was the best yet
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As well as the inevitable glut of Runner Beans we enjoyed expanding our growing of Broad Beans and Sugarsnap Peas

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We grew our Aubergines in the greenhouse, instead of a tunnel, and had better results.

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Having, towards the end of there year, removed some of the sycamores which were shading the greenhouse we hope for more light and more Aubergines next year

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As always, we thought the tomatoes would never ripen but in the end we had a reasonable crop

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Both our bee colonies survived last winter and seemed to prosper
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We even took some honey.

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We raised new hen stock from several batches of hatching eggs, using both incubators and Broody Claire.
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We managed to sell a lot of eggs during the course of the year.

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to which the Ducks occasionally volunteered a contribution

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The Rabbits

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had a happy year in their summer camp before returning inside for winter. However, they were very resistant to the idea of breeding.

After living with us for six years,

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we said goodbye to Bert at the advance age of eleven

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We enjoyed the Tulips in the Orchard

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and the Dragonflies round the Lake

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although butterflies were less plentiful

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Jessie was active

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and Maisie wasn’t

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Normal activities continued

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We made our annual batch of Elderflower champagne

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and returned to making country wines

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All

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in all

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Stripping away the superfluous 

We set off on our Solstice walk

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with the idea we would look for signs of new life arising.

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We could see some…

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…thrusting daffodils and reserved oak buds…

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but things gone were more in evidence

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We found that the story being told was different from the one we were seeking.

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Trees stood still and stark – inscrutable

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Having stripped themselves bare

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and passed on their surplus

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revealing the buzzards’ hidden nesting

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they are concentrating on keeping their feet in the ground

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holding fast

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into the mystery of what is down below.

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Some have had a rough time this year

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some are bent and battered

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some have given up

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but most know when to concentrate on the inside.

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A few attempt seasonal decorations – grand dressing

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or hidden globes

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but most are happy to remember

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wait

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and pause

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Winter Warmers

As temperatures drop improvisation is needed

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to keep things at a cosy 21 degrees

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beneath the table

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From here today we moved the last batch of Autumn fruits to the shed we call Wards

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These were harvested back in October

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A bumper crop

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A good washing

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and a bit of scratting

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Turned this

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into this

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So we added 30 bottles of Crab Apple wine

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to 30 of Blackcurrant

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30 of Plum

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and 30 of Rowan

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Oh, and another 30 of Rowan

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Provisions ready in case we are snowed in.

Phoenix Time

Tonight the Mourning Moon rises up

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as the leaves slowly filter down

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The wood is thinning out

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Hazel crumples and crispens

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and Beech emits a final glow

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The Starlings have moved in to observe

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couples sit and compile tourist memories

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Some flowers choose to persevere, the Japanese Ash

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and co-patriot Honeysuckle

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the Late Lupin

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the Everlasting Rose

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But under cover of these activities preparations are already being made for new life

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Tree Season

Each year our greenhouse has been getting less and less light as sycamores filled more any more of the sky around it

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So the time had come to let the light shine in

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Fewer sycamores

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more light… more kindling

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and more firewood

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for adding to the stack for use in twelve months time

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Lots of trees to be planted this season too and getting ready a bit of goodness

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which has come from here

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which has come from under here

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and been maturing for a couple of years since it was part of the compost toilet

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Subterranean Swelling

The Moon is waning

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The leaves are falling

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But elsewhere things are rising

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We are still clearing the year’s growth from the Meadow

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but a large part of it

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has been razed

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and we can see evidence of underground activity

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Those sophisticated organisms have been there all year but now is the time

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for them to stick up their heads

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The fields around us, which are reseeded with mono culture grass every few years, show very few fungi in contrast to our diversity

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We know that now it is the turn, beneath this surface

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of annual seeds and perennial roots to have a rest ready to erupt in the new year. Meanwhile, these are in charge:

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Rise Up

It is the season

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when things erupt

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pushing up from the unseen

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in strange forms

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and guises

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It makes us realise

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there is much unknown

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beneath our feet

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waiting to take over

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when the time is right

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They know what they are doing, being fungi

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or…

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It has always worked

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Can we do they same?

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