Last Friday night we celebrated the Mid Winter feast, as we have done every year for the last six years. This is a time to gather with friends, to mark the solstice, to have some wonderful wintry food and to look forward to the slow extension of daylight and the return of summer.
In order to fit everyone in, we move our furniture out of the lounge room, which is the biggest room in the house. DD has a wonderful eye for making the decorations special each year-she makes it all very festive. We put the dining table in, and supplement it with one of my sewing tables. Seats for a crowd -the seven dining chairs we own were supplemented by some chairs we found at the tip shop for a tiny price. I was prepared to see this purchase as the same as 'hiring' chairs -ie we could donate them back to the tip shop afterwards, but DH said we have enough room in his workshop for a stack of chairs and undoubtedly there will be more parties!
This celebration is a kind of Yule fest -like Christmas but without the stress (or the heat!). DH and I like to send out our friends with whatever produce we can -this year we used baskets from the op shop and stuffed them with DH's marmalade, some lemon cordial, kaffir lime leaves, dried grapefruit (great for casserole flavour) along with a selection of our lemons, grapefruits and limes. I am amazed how our small garden (we are on 700s metres) can produce so much to share. I have a bucket of lemons out for the neighbours again today...the Eureka lemons this time.
We are now gradually returning our home to its normal layout. The decorations are packed away, the sofas are back in the lounge room. We are taking it easy for a while now, I think!
When the rain stops, DH and I like to go out for a walk around the lakes near our place. We live between two lakes -each one with lovely walking tracks. The heavy rain we have had recently has filled them up and made the birds and frogs very happy. We love to see the flowers in season.
As the weather has got colder, I have had to adapt my bread making. I have found it necessary to swathe my sourdough bowl in a thick towel as it rises overnight. I made this one in a tin rather than the banneton, in order to eliminate any possible excuse for the bread to sulk and not rise when tipped out of the basket!
We are gradually getting the winter pruning under way. DH has trimmed the grapevines which shade the northern windows and wall in the summer, and we are getting lovely sunshine in now. The Eureka lemon has had quite a big haircut, as has a rambling rose in the back garden. We picked up another compost bin for nothing, and I have placed this one under the Eureka lemon out the front. This will provide that tree with extra moisture and food -especially during our hot summers.
We did have one disaster on the gardening front, however. ALL my broccoli florets were eaten by rats!!!! Today I took out the broccoli. I will plant something that the rat does not have such a taste for, I hope. They don't seem so interested in the mizuna, for example.
My poinsettias were lovely as decorations for the Mid Winter feast. Even though I burned the ends, as shown on YouTube (!) they sadly were spent the next day. Mind you, DH tells me that the bush which supplied the cutting from which our plant grew, is about 3 metres high, so as the bush grows in future there will be plenty to spare!
Last week I finally got my scrappy mountains quilt to the longarmer. She said that she had a bit of a "window" in her diary in which she could get the edge-to-edge design done for me, so I may be able to go back this week and pick it up. She even offered to put the first side of the binding on it for me, which will be an enormous help! The drive out to her place takes us quite close to the lovely Swan Valley, so DH came with me when I dropped off the quilt and we stopped at a favourite winery and cafe on the way home. We may do this again when I go back to pick up my quilt!
A friend dropped off a whole bunch of half square triangle blocks -someone she knew had started to make a quilt and never finished it. I had mentioned our Community Quilt group, and said that we would take the blocks and see what we could make of them. Well, when I saw how many blocks were finished ...and how many bags of tiny half square triangle blocks were not sewn together yet, I thought I had better get busy. It would be good to see if I can get something together as a quilt top before handing it over to the Community quilt people for finishing.
So here we are, meeting in the middle of the year. I love this time of the year...a quiet and reflective time, with plenty of opportunity for brisk winter walks, nights by the fire, and the odd glass of wine.
How do you feel about winter - or perhaps it is summer where you are?