Winter has arrived at little haven and the wheel has turned once more, having crossing the threshold of the Winter Solstice. The temperature has dropped below -2 more than once (-4 scheduled for tonight brrr), and the frost in the morning has given the property a beautiful and stark appearance. The birds greet us in the morning, reminding us to throw out some seed and their little bird bath has a thick layer of ice that we need to break for them.
The alpacas appear to be loving the cooler weather thanks to their thick, warm fleece. They are together in the paddock now and luckily Voodoo has ceased trying to show the younglings who’s boss, and instead has become protective and is on constant guard duty. He even likes to keep an eye on me in the mornings when I go to let the chickens out of their coop, which I find adorable as he is terrible at hiding.
Winter has never been my favourite season but I admit there is something magical about it when it becomes a frosty ,white wonderland, when your breath steams in the morning air and at night you can snuggle up by the fire with a good book or podcast and cups of hot coco. The spider webs outside become dazzling displays of sparkling water droplets and frost and the hit of icy cold air in the mornings is more invigorating than any cup of strong coffee.
Another positive is the celebration of the Winter Solstice, resulting in the days becoming noticeably longer from the next moon cycle. Inside, candles have been regularly lit as a nod to our ancestors, music played, fires burned and rooms decorated to give it that festive feel. A bottle of vodka that we had mixed with sour cherries that had been infusing for many weeks was ready to be opened and the warmth that it spread through our bodies kept away any winter blues.
Of course with the dark season that is Mid-Winter, it wouldn’t be complete without mention of the stag who is the symbol for this time of year from old European traditions. Ancients believed the stag carries the sun in his antlers and is a symbol of rebirth and rejuvenation. So with that in mind we visited a nearby deer farm on a beautiful, sunny winters day and saw the majestic stags and were also fortunate to make a new friend – an adorable little miniature goat that would follow us everywhere. As a result we now are considering goats at little haven…
So the cold and sickness aside, Winter definitely has its perks and I hope if you are in our hemisphere that you are keeping warm and if in the north you are not taking that sunshine for granted!
Summer has well and truly arrived at little haven with the bird bath proving to be very popular with the local bird life, heat waves that has seen temperatures soar to as high as 44.c, summer storms with massive downpours, and the paddocks looking so bare it is hard to believe they will ever return to their previous green, flourishing state. (But they do and they will).
Luckily around the house its still quite green thanks, in part, to the shade of large trees. The alpacas are clearly thankful their fleece has been sheared, though some days it is still too warm and they have been seen dipping their heads into the drink troughs. It is making us contemplate purchasing them a kiddy pool to cool down in.
The vegetable garden needs to be watered once daily to cope with the heat and we already are planning ideas for shade structures for next year. On the plus side, the mixture of hot weather and heavy downpours has seen the garden flourish and we see new growth every day.
We also painted our old rocking chairs that we found at an op shop and one from Facebook marketplace and they look as good as new with their bright white new coat.
Also we upgraded the compost into a large two bay system out of recycled wooden pallets which makes me excited about the wonderful compost we will be able to produce. If only 16 year old me could see me now – excited over compost!
In many ways summer, like winter, is a time of rest. Except instead of cold days with tea by the fire we have lazy hot afternoons, cooling off at local swimming holes, reading books under the fan or planning out next season’s garden activities. However you like to spend your summers remember not to push yourself too hard during this season and always find some time for rest and rejuvenation.
Wishing you a very happy new year, Eve & Tom and all the animals
from little haven.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and creative ventures, a perfect time to launch this little blog of ours. While winter has its stark beauty & promises of cosy fires and hot chocolate indulgences I have to admit that I was longing for the warmth of spring more fiercely than normal. Spring is my favourite season, I always feel revitalised, full of energy ready to go with all those projects we have been planning during cold winter nights. I struggle to restrain from planting my seedlings too early, as I know the spring’s frost are still to come so I plant seeds in trays instead and spend time enjoying the spring flowers & the buzzing of bees that have appeared in great numbers all around the garden.
Our two latest alpaca additions, Odin & Merlin, are doing well while their older brothers Voodoo & Spartacus alternate between being fiercely protective of them to asserting their dominance in their special alpaca way. Even though they have enough grass now, we still occasionally treat them to some lucerne & pellets that they love.
The brassica flowers from last season add colour to a rather bare veggie patch however the heirloom spring onion with its crimson bulb is still going strong. Simply having the veggie patch ready to go, after a lot of hard work over the winter of creating the beds, shovelling soil & compost and layering with straw and newspaper, is such an exciting prospect and I promise myself, ‘soon’ I’ll fill it with tasty things for summer.
The rest of the day is spent mulching & pruning quite a bit of rosemary that would be used for dinner and decorating the house and after such a rewarding, yet tiring, day what a better way to end it then with a cup of herbal tea and reminding myself to enjoy every moment of this wonderful season.