Thursday, December 18, 2008

happy solstice, and the end of 2008

I want to wish everyone a very happy solstice (summer or winter depending on where you are in this great big world). Here in the southern hemisphere, its a time to celebrate the sun and be outdoors (although the weather hasn't been all that sunny - but the rain is well and truly welcome...). Although I'm not a Grinch, I find all the traditional christmas things a little silly in summer, they are symbols of winter, and were the traditions of the winter solstice - ever green trees, lights, fake snow, big filling roast dinners etc etc. We are a bit different, and want to celebrate the seasons, so for us, although its Christmas its a time for all things sunny and summery.

Anyway, I want to take the opportunity to look over the year that 2008 was. For us it was a year of great challenges, good and bad. Its been a year that has been driven very stronly by our goals, of where we want to end up in life, and of reducing our impact on the earth.

The biggest things to have changed my life this year are the arrival of our little boy in May, and the loss of my beloved pony Brandy in October (she had been with me for nearly 18 years). Both presented challenges to me, and have made me realise that I have more strength and courage than I have ever given myself credit for.

We have too much grass...

So we all wish you a good 'festive' time regardless of what you believe or what you do, enjoy a rest from the usual things and spend some time with those you care about.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My precious

I think that raspberries are just wonderful. They are nice to eat, but they are also SO easy to grow. I think that if I were in charge of the world I would make it compulsory for every house to have a small patch! My patch is a rather wild one, it started with just a few suckers that my mum gave me, and each year they multiply. I keep pulling them out of the path and planting them up at the farm or giving them away to others.

This year has been a good year for raspberries (well, actually, I can't think of when we had a BAD year for raspberries!!). I only watered them the first summer that I put them in, and occasionally a bucket of water from the washing machine, and yet we get bucket loads of berries, about 1kg every 2 days for a couple of weeks.

I've already made one batch of jam, and am about to make a second. Our daughter loves them, and helps pick them, and has eaten tonnes of them! The only down side is that each variety only fruits for a short while, so to have a long crop you need a few different varieties.