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May 31 brought the exciting eve of May Day, Waelburges Night, here on our homestead.

waelburges night bonfire ancient ritual

The evening was cool as we gathered around a table laden with various pieces of lamb and fish and fresh baked potatoes.  For drinks we had our own homemade strawberry punch and a selection of mead and berry wine.  I stoked up the fire as darkness descended over the homestead and as we watched the flames we considered the magic of this night.  We spoke about how our ancestors had perhaps gathered around a fire just like ours and told stories of their own.

As the fire burned, we were hopeful that the sun would conquer the winter spirits and grow strong so that our crops would yield us a healthy bounty this fall.  Holidays like this really force one to pause and remember just how difficult the past had been when the seasons could bring wealth or starvation.  We toasted our family and our extended kin and as the night grew long, the moon stretched out overhead.  Deep in the woods behind us we could hear the deer and in the distance the coyotes were coming out.

As the flames died low, and we snuggled into our chairs, I finished off our evening with the story of our family.

The next morning we arose early and raised the top of the Maypole.

maypole may day homestead ancient holiday

The day was cloudy and cool but we celebrated May Day as long as possible until a rain pushed us inside.  At this point on the estate, most of our main planting has come to an end and with the exception of some succession planting, it is all weeding and watering from here on out.  For us, May Day signifies this change in our agricultural year and it is a welcome time.  I look forward to the many years to come in sharing these magical holidays with my children.

May was a cool month for us with many welcome rains.  Our herb garden had many additions and while I desperately need to extend it by quite a bit, the current layout was looking rather well.

herb garden spring may day

The lavender seemed to be doing pretty well this year even though it is a pain for us to grow.  In addition, our chamomile really began to fill in.  This is the sixth year of growing the chamomile in this bed and it keeps going without any help from us.  We harvest the blooms and dry them for some excellent tea.

A few of the large projects that we completed this May:

  • Finished the additions to the orchard (6 more trees)
  • Moved all chicks and ducklings outside into the large brooders
  • Bred first round of rabbits (quite a bit behind on this)
  • Completed all primary plantings and all transplants moved into the gardens
  • Began putting in the beds for the cottage garden around the house
  • 2 Rain Barrels installed
  • Second round of hatching eggs placed in incubator (chooks and ducks)
  • 5 new garden beds put in

A very productive month!

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