Winter is the time when Mother Nature rests, awaiting the Spring to bounce forth and bring life. The Winter Solstice is the time the days are the shortest and the nights the longest. From this day forward days will continue to lengthen, nights to shorten. What does that have to do with the Homestead? EVERYTHING!
Sheep in Winter
To many folks, the thought of lambs coming in the winter when the weather is the coldest is unthinkable! We’ve found they actually grow better, stronger, and bigger when born earlier in the year. We’re lucky that our winters aren’t the frigid, deep snow filled, misery that is further east of us. We mostly get rain, occasional snow, temps in the 40’s-50’s for highs, 20’s-30’s for lows (of course we have gotten colder but not usually for more than a few days at a time). We tend to start lambing on the full or new moon closest to the Winter Solstice, which for this year falls right on the days leading up to and including Christmas day, much to my family’s dismay!
Here’s a couple of informational links for you to peruse:
Some pictures of lambing season last year:
Chickens in Winter
Really the only thing that changes in the winter is that the chicken coop windows are shut against cold winds. They still free range our orchard during the days, have free choice layer pellet and water, get fed fermented chicken scratch with cracked corn added (we add a little more cracked corn as it helps them stay warmer in the winter digesting it), and they get their black soldier fly larvae (dried of course). We are still getting 9-14 eggs a day from our girls and hope this continues through the winter.
They don’t mind the snow too much, it’s the rain they’re not overly fond of:
Orchard in Winter
The summer veggie gardens are mulched with straw for the winter, some veggies like Kale and Onions are still out there growing. Come late January/early February is the time to prune the fruit trees and shrubs so energy is put into productive branches and not suckers or branches that might rub against others, potentially causing disease. Also in February we will be planting more cold season crops such as peas, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, beets, carrots, etc. It’s also a good time to plant the perennial, Rhubarb. Otherwise this time of year is great for doing the planning for the summer veggie garden as well as landscaping ideas for the food forest and the yards.
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Here’s a view of our mulched bed with Kale in it:
Woods in Winter
Our Winter woods walks include some great views of the frozen landscape when it gets that cold. In fact we get something called Hairy Frost that is reportedly caused by a certain kind of fungus growing in dead wood. It only occurs at the 45th parallel in the world!
We also get the occasional fungus down there and in late winter start seeing some blooms from the Oso berry bush.
Wise Woman All Year Round!
Amy loves to make crystal grids and here is the one made for the Winter Solstice:
Winter Solstice/Yule Crystal Grid
Center is Red Garnet for vitality with Selenite to the left for cleansing energy and Red Jasper to the right for motivation. To the top and bottom of the Red Garnet are Unakite for compassion. In the next circle we have Bronzite for nurturing and Angelite for connection. The outer circle has Bloodstone for unity and Clear Quartz for mental clarity. Outside the circle is a Tree Agate palm stone, to the left, for nature connection and a Scolecite palm stone, to the right, for new beginnings.
For more information about Energy & Crystal Healing head on over to:
Here is the intuitive guidance for the Winter Solstice as well:
Winter Solstice/Yule Reading
The Yule/Winter cards:
The Hunter brings anarchy and chaos, followed by regeneration. Winter is a time of frozen hearts. It’s about the end of a cycle, mourning loss, acceptance of what needs to die, solitude and hibernation. The Spirit Guardian of Winter tells us it’s time to retreat into the silent, deep place within you. Meditate and look for Messages from Spirit. The Winter Fairy speaks of rejuvenation, of rest. In Alchemy, Winter is about Solace and Mother Earth’s pause. Winter opens the portal to the divine. Don’t get caught up in the gloom or isolation of this season; rather spin toward the Sacred light.
The Yule Reading:
The energy of this reading is in Antimony. Wildness, fierceness, and hunger. Antimony became known as the Grey Wolf of Alchemy due to its unpredictable and often destructive nature. You need to channel the Grey Wolf’s energy toward creativity. Express yourself. The Seven of Wands is about standing up for your beliefs, courage, defending, taking action. On this Winter Solstice you will need courage in expressing yourself, in being creative. It’s time to take action and defend your beliefs. Winter is about letting go of what needs to die, mourning it, and moving on. Take time to rest and rejuvenate but know if your beliefs and how you express yourself are challenged or attacked, you will need to defend yourself and have courage in your convictions. Meditate and look for guidance from Spirit. There may be peaceful solutions to these challenges from a divine perspective.
Card images from: The Green Wheel Oracle by Danielle Barlow, Dark Light Oracle by Alexandra V. Bach & Caroline-Anne Eschenazi, The Sacred Forest Oracle by Denise Linn, Fairy Wisdom Oracle by Nancy & Amy Brown, The Wild Unknown Alchemy Deck by Kim Krans, and Wizards Tarot by Barbara Moore.
For more information about intuitive guidance please head on over to:
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Next blog post will be for the New Moon, Friday, December 23rd.
See you then!