June 18: midwinter gathering

It’s not quite midwinter yet – the solstice is officially a few days off – but we’re very close to the longest night of the year. It’s dark in the morning when I get up, and the sun sets remarkably early. But winter isn’t quite the same here as it is in Europe; in WA, winter is the season of growth and fertility. Summer is when things die and hibernate to survive through the heat. So in spite of the cold nights, and the periodic rain (more than average so far this winter!), I like winter.


I like the cold, clear nights when the stars look like holes in the sky and the air smells of wood smoke. I like the cosy mornings cuddled under the covers. I like the way seedlings poke their baby leaves out of the ground in search of sunlight and rain. I like sitting beside a roaring bonfire (or at least a pleasantly warm and fierce campfire) with friends and family, toasting marshmallows and drinking wine and sharing stories. So tonight, I’m having some of my friends and family round for a bonfire night, to celebrate the middle of winter and the successes of the year so far. We’ve had a kangaroo tagine cooking all day, and we have potatoes (somewhat pre-cooked, since last time it took ages for them to cook properly) prepared to roast in the coals of the fire, and marshmallows ready to go. We have a spice and orange juice mix for mulled wine, and an enormous pile of dead wood to warm us through the evening.


The rest of the day has been busy – the silkie eggs in the incubator have started hatching, so we’re keeping an eye on them. There’s lots more wood to drag around to the wood pile, although we’ve dragged a LOT already today. All the jacaranda and wattle tree seedlings have been transplanted from paper seed cups to individual tree tubes (we did the wattles yesterday, today was the jacarandas). The pieces of tree for the cat climbing toys are varnished and dry, ready to come inside. We have another chicken coop to finish wiring up, for the last lot of chicks, my pretty gold laced and gold laced blue wyandottes (who are now getting too big for the baby run, and need some space of their own), and a vegetable garden to sort out. Farm tasks are never-ending. Still, tonight we rest, and celebrate. 🙂