Samhain

It’s the ending and the beginning of the Celtic year also known as the Autumn Cross-Quarter or Halloween.  A magical time when the veil between the seen and the unseen world becomes thin; when the line between matter and spirit is blurred.

It's almost dawn,
As the grey sky
Reaches down to the earth.

In the garden,
The rain washes every leaf
And dimples the dull puddles.

Sacred moments,
As Mother Earth reveals herself,
Communing with the world, and me.

I will be taking a break from posting here but plan to return for the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December.  However, I shall continue to read and comment on those regular blogs that I follow.  Until then, keep well and safe.

Ashley

A Fungus Foray

Last Saturday, I joined a group from a local wildlife society on their annual search for, and recording of fungus.  We visited Derrymore House near the town of Newry.

derrymore

I am not a recorder of fungus but I enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in good company, out in the park and took lots of photos.  Here is a small selection:

If you would like to know more about Derrymore House, in County Armagh here is a link to the National Trust website for the property:

History of Derrymore | National Trust

Some more of my photos:

derrymore house

If you would like to see some wonderful photos of fungus, follow the link below:

https://picpholio.wordpress.com/2022/09/30/holiday-mushrooms/

Ashley

Flax

flax

Harvest over;
The scent of retting lingers,
Everywhere.

Some weeks ago, a fellow blogger, Mark (*1), challenged his readers to write a haiku about cotton.  Like me, Mark follows the seasons in his blog. At that particular time the cotton plant was beginning to open.  Of course where I live we don’t grow cotton and so having no experience of that process I wondered if there was something here, in these wetter, cooler lands that could be written about.

What came to mind was flax, the plant from which linen is made, and not so many years ago it played a massive part in the life of this island. Finding out something about it here was easy enough; the website for National Museums NI (*2) has lots of information but I wondered if anyone still grew and produced flax. Eventually I came across a farm in County Tyrone (*3) who’s ethos was to grow and produce flax using traditional methods in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Making contact with the farm, I was able to arrange a visit for my wife and myself on a glorious late September morning. Accompanied by Helen and Charlie we tramped over their fields along with their dogs, and actually pulled some missed stems of flax. We also helped to pick some of the remaining hedgerow blackberries.

How privileged we were, hearing the farm’s story and their plans for a sustainable future. Perhaps next year we will return to see the fields filled with the “wee blue flower”.

Everywhere,
Carried on the autumn wind,
Golden memories.

Ashley

(Retting: the process of soaking the flax in water to help soften the stalks so that the flax fibres can be separated from the core and outer casing.  The smell is very distinctive).

(*1) https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/117283304/posts/4218663982

(*2) https://www.nmni.com/story/warp-and-weft-story

(*3) https://mallonireland.com/pages/linen

 

Autumn Equinox

Here in the northern hemisphere it is that time when both night and day are of equal length and from here on daylight reduces and the nights become longer.  It’s a time for preparing for the colder months but it is also an opportunity to plan for the months beyond the winter.

planting bulbs

Planting bulbs,

As the darkness grows –

Flowers for spring.

 

Ashley

On the seashore

With such high temperatures, the best place to be is beside the sea.

where the mountains of mourne sweep down to sea

There’s a line in a Percy French song that goes:

“Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.”

Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland.  Enjoy it here!  Or better still, why not visit this glorious part of the Northern Ireland coast.

shore 6

shore 5

shore 4

shore 3

shore 2

shore 1

20220810_120247

Have a great weekend,

Ashley

July

It’s almost the middle of July and the night skies are light until late.  However, if you want to look beyond our solar system, the James Webb Space Telescope has produced amazing pictures of deepest space.

Closer to home, on the 13th July here in the UK, we may see something amazing in the early evening!

enso a

Mid July;
For those who lift their eyes from the earth,
A supermoon.

Ashley

Original artwork and verse by Ashley

https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2022/nasa-s-webb-delivers-deepest-infrared-image-of-universe-yet

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-is-a-supermoon.html