The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Community => Coffee Lounge => Topic started by: Fleecewife on December 21, 2021, 12:46:23 pm

Title: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on December 21, 2021, 12:46:23 pm
Well, today is the Winter Solstice and from now on our days will get longer - at last.  I don't do well in the dark days of winter so we celebrate the Solstice and its relevance to growers and animal husbanders like us.
Later today we shall be eating a wonderful meal of a Hebridean stew, made with our own sheep of course, our homegrown potatoes and delicious curly kale - simple and relevant.  Then we fell a tree, cut the new Yule log from it and burn the old one. The rest of the tree is used as fodder for the sheep and firewood for us.
Anyone else celebrating?
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Forestlens on December 21, 2021, 12:48:38 pm
Well I wasn’t planning to……but any excuse for a piss-up :excited:
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Womble on December 21, 2021, 12:57:22 pm
Yes, definitely. I'm no fan of winter at all

*stares into SAD lamp
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Rosemary on December 21, 2021, 01:44:07 pm
We had planned a gathering of chums and a bonfire, but we'll probably light the fire, some candles and toast the turn of the year.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: GribinIsaf on December 21, 2021, 09:47:14 pm

Anyone else celebrating?

Here is our Solstice walk today

https://gribinisaf.wordpress.com/2021/12/21/stripping-away-the-superfluous/ (https://gribinisaf.wordpress.com/2021/12/21/stripping-away-the-superfluous/)
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on December 21, 2021, 10:52:12 pm

Anyone else celebrating?

Here is our Solstice walk today

https://gribinisaf.wordpress.com/2021/12/21/stripping-away-the-superfluous/ (https://gribinisaf.wordpress.com/2021/12/21/stripping-away-the-superfluous/)

Thank you at Gribin Isaf. Your lovely photos and woodland walk imparted a feeling of everything on hold but just waiting to burst forth.  Daffs coming through so early- ours are weeks away still, but I was noticing today too that some of the trees have the earliest signs of buds, and small catkins are hanging in the sunshine.
In the garden we still have a few roses out, freezing and thawing.
Once we have passed the Solstice I feel a huge sense of released breath because now the days will get longer.

Actually I'm quite surprised at how few people seem to celebrate the Solstice, if only with a drink.  For land workers, which is what we all are, the changing seasons, day length and warmth or cold are what govern our lives. I think of farmers as being in tune with nature but maybe some of us have missed that.
I hope those of you who have noted today really enjoyed it.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Perris on December 22, 2021, 07:15:42 am
Fleecewife did you see / hear that latest thinking on Stonehenge is it was built to celebrate the winter solstice rather than the summer? Certainly in keeping with your remarks on the importance of this turning point in the year for people who depend on the land and its produce.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Womble on December 22, 2021, 09:56:24 am
Well, I know which one I'd be more likely to stack rocks up for as a celebration!


The nights are fair drawing out though folks, don't you think?  ;)
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: SallyintNorth on December 22, 2021, 11:58:16 am
Solstice is our #1 celebration here.  For three reasons, I guess.  Firstly and very practically, some members go visit family and friends at Christmas, but we are still usually all here together at Solstice, so we make that the "for us" (as a community) celebration.  We have a feast with a goose, Secret Santa presents are given out (max spend £10, most will be hand made or charity shop finds.)  This year we had the feast on Sunday 19th as that was the day that suited most members, and then we have a small ceremony on the actual Solstice, doing the "what we want to leave behind and what we are looking forward to" thing.  And that is the second reason we make a big deal of the Solstice : one of our members is a celebrant and just *loves* putting together ceremonies!  lol.  And the third reason is the same as all of you : the turning of the earth has a very direct meaning to land-based folk, and so it does to us.  The tipping point, the shortest day behind us, is hugely significant! 

We do do Christmas as well, for whoever is here (which is usually similar numbers but made up of some members and some visitors), very low key and to me, utterly joyful and enjoyable :).  We did presents at Solstice so Xmas Day isn't about presents at all, although of course some families still do a bit of that on their own houses.  Nothing too early so the milking team can get done, a good breakfast of our own bacon and eggs, usually a group of us sing carols in our meditation hut, which always ends up with lots of laughter, then some of us go and sing to all the animals too.  A community walk in the afternoon, an early supper with turkey for those who want it and some of our own lamb or ham for the rest, then games and music in the farmhouse, maybe a karaoke later on.  And for me, no family and no presents, so no pressure!  lol. 
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Buttermilk on December 22, 2021, 01:03:40 pm
This was our viewing yesterday.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IBIWm7Zoro&t=8s
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on December 22, 2021, 02:02:15 pm
Well, I know which one I'd be more likely to stack rocks up for as a celebration!


The nights are fair drawing out though folks, don't you think?  ;)

You don't have to choose between them @Womble  ::) at least not in this country and at this time.  They're both pagan festivals supposedly, but you don't have to follow any creed to have a good time  :D  As Yoda would say: Open your mind............  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Womble on December 22, 2021, 02:07:07 pm
As Yoda would say: Open your mind............  :roflanim:


I really want to build a henge, but Mrs Womble won't let me  :-[ .
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: doganjo on December 23, 2021, 12:46:50 pm
As Yoda would say: Open your mind............  :roflanim:


I really want to build a henge, but Mrs Womble won't let me  :-[ .
Since when did that stop you?  :coat: :roflanim: :roflanim: :roflanim: You've plenty rocks over there to build a lovely henge

Hope to see you soon  :wave: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Womble on December 23, 2021, 01:10:37 pm
Don't you have to import them from Wales for a proper henge?
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on December 23, 2021, 03:21:09 pm
Don't you have to import them from Wales for a proper henge?

The latest thinking is that the giant stones came from 20 miles north of where they stand.  The blue stones travelled mostly by water from Wales.  Take care, you might end up finding yourself in with the Jacobites and unable to get back in time to feed the livestock.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Penninehillbilly on December 23, 2021, 06:44:33 pm
Back at the millennium,  we talked about, and i was promised, 2 chunky uprights, so the low sun would shine through between them at midday, sadly like all promises it never happened.  :( .
But a few years ago  I started putting a few 'christmas' lights out, and switch on as near as I can to the actual time, as i see it, welcoming the new year. Just seems the right thing to do.
Never thought about feasting though, by the time hubs gets home, it's too late to bother (he works late most nights)
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on December 23, 2021, 11:12:51 pm
Back at the millennium,  we talked about, and i was promised, 2 chunky uprights, so the low sun would shine through between them at midday, sadly like all promises it never happened.  :( .
But a few years ago  I started putting a few 'christmas' lights out, and switch on as near as I can to the actual time, as i see it, welcoming the new year. Just seems the right thing to do.
Never thought about feasting though, by the time hubs gets home, it's too late to bother (he works late most nights)

Shame  :)  The feasting (well just a normal meal in fact) is more of a harvest festival to celebrate what's been grown on the holding that year.  The Yule log I suppose is just a bit of daftness   :yippee:  :hohoho:   We're just very conscious of how our lives turn with the seasons and depend on the weather  :gloomy: :sunshine: :raining: :snowman:
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Penninehillbilly on December 24, 2021, 12:29:55 am
I agree FW, we are only over a hill from the village, about 10-15mins walk by the track, but in many ways a bit isolated, prefering my own and my animals company than the gossip, and tend to notice more, night sky, clouds, the snow line, I love the quiet and occasional  stillness of the night, I just stand taking it in, I often suddenly feel the spring in the air, a very strange but exciting and uplifting feeling, makes me want to dance round LOL. But there will be a couple of months of rough before we get there yet this year  :) .
No doubt March will be bad because I've got the goats kidding early this year.


Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on December 24, 2021, 12:53:21 pm
There are a lot of predictions of a hard winter to come.  We've had them here a couple of times over the years and it's just heads down and get through it, enjoying the best days and hoping my scoot gets me through the snow on the bad ones  :roflanim: .  I've been in virtual isolation here since covid was first reported in China.  Luckily my husband can get out to collect food for us and for the livestock, but that's it.  I don't miss company, but he does, so a festive season alone will affect him more than me. He found a wonderful Gaelic word: Greannach, which means Grumpy, to describe himself during the pandemic.  I shall be happily planning what to grow this summer, and looking forward to lambing, which we didn't do last year.
Next job is to clean out all 35 of our bird nest boxes - each one requires Mr F to climb up a ladder to reach the box before chucking out the occasional dead chick and loads of bedding.  It's the only time I wish we didn't have quite so many nest boxes  ::)


Good luck with your kidding Penninehillbilly - I hope all goes well.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: naturelovingfarmer on January 12, 2022, 12:03:19 pm
Unfortunately I was in the hospital on solstice. My family is Norwegian-American so we had to have our Jul celebration late.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on January 12, 2022, 12:50:35 pm
Unfortunately I was in the hospital on solstice. My family is Norwegian-American so we had to have our Jul celebration late.


That was a shame for you.  The Solstice we were discussing here though is the Winter Solstice on Dec 21st or thereabouts.  For us it's a big event as it marks the change from the nights being so long and the days ridiculously short, to the days beginning to get longer quite quickly.  For example in Scotland where I live, just before the Solstice, it was almost dark by 1530, and didn't get light until after 0900, so a very short day for getting everything done outside.  In contrast by the Summer Solstice it's only truly dark for an hour or so in the middle of the night.  I wonder how the birds get enough sleep?
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: naturelovingfarmer on January 13, 2022, 01:47:47 pm
Unfortunately I was in the hospital on solstice. My family is Norwegian-American so we had to have our Jul celebration late.


That was a shame for you.  The Solstice we were discussing here though is the Winter Solstice on Dec 21st or thereabouts.  For us it's a big event as it marks the change from the nights being so long and the days ridiculously short, to the days beginning to get longer quite quickly.  For example in Scotland where I live, just before the Solstice, it was almost dark by 1530, and didn't get light until after 0900, so a very short day for getting everything done outside.  In contrast by the Summer Solstice it's only truly dark for an hour or so in the middle of the night.  I wonder how the birds get enough sleep?

Oh, because you're close to the arctic circle?

I'm much further south, so for us it's just the beginning of a 9 day holiday. I'm also responsible for calculating our calendar each year. The first new moon after the first full moon after the solstice is the first day of the year in the stave calendar. There are 13 stava, one for each monad (month). We tell when it's okay to plant certain things based on a combination of this lunar calendar and the buds on the trees. Lunar calendars are better for telling when to plant crops. It's on a 19 year metonic cycle. The picture shows a historic stave calendar but in the modern day it's arranged in a grid form like the regular calendar.
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: Fleecewife on January 13, 2022, 02:03:40 pm
I've never tried sowing according to the moon, but I have a feeling I really should look into that. It gets towards biodynamics though and I'm not into stirring bits of manure in a clockwise or antoclockwise direction, although I am strictly organic in my growing methods.  I love the stave calendar.  Do you have some links I can follow to find out more?


Yes, I do live fairly far north so we have very definite winter and summer seasons, but at least not the total winter dark of truly arctic lands.  There is enough of an effect though to make a lot of us quite down in the dark days, so the winter solstice is really significant. Our growing season is short, with late 'spring' frost in summer and early 'autumn' frosts, sometimes also in summer  ::)
Title: Re: Solstice!
Post by: naturelovingfarmer on January 13, 2022, 03:04:42 pm
Well the planting times you have to work out based on observation while using the calendar. It's different from place to place.

But the calendar goes like this:

19 year cycles
13 months in a year
28 nights in a month
7 nights in a week
4 weeks in a month
Weeks always start with moon day and end with sun day.
The first new moon after the first full moon after the solstice is the first day of the year.

From this you can do your own calculations for the calendar. I doubt the holidays will be of much interest but there are 4 of them. Ostarablot in the spring equinox, Midsommar in the summer solstice, Midwintar in the fall equinox, and Jul in the Winter solstice.