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Monday, October 27, 2008

Samhain

My pumpkin! Watching the pansies!

HAPPY SAMHAIN EVERYONE!

Samhain is the Pagan Festival on 31st October that celebrates the end of the harvest season. Lying midway between the Autumn Equinox (Mabon) and the Winter Solstice (Yule), it is popularly regarded as the Celtic New Year. Like Halloween, it represents the tipping point between autumn and winter, and certainly it has been exactly that in Cumbria this year.

I returned from my travels to find Cumbria in the full mellowness of Autumn.

My research site, Roudsea Woods and Mosses National Nature Reserve, filters the autumn morning sunshine...

...while the trunks of silver birch trees reflect the sunlight...

...and fallen leaves gather on the surface of a flooded gully...

... while fruits of the Spindle Tree ("bishops' hats") provide an unexpected splash of colour


The stragglers of the summer migrant birds have finally departed, to be replaced by flocks of invaders from the north. The thrushes from Scandinavia like this handsome Fieldfare with his grey head and rump and black tail...


...and the Redwing with its bold eye-stripe and red underwing are now in evidence.

(Click on the pictures to locate the source)


Birds like this Marsh Tit (my study species) are coming back to feeders to snatch a sunflower seed

And then came winter...

Almost without warning the wind turned northerly and overnight saw the first frost of winter.

Cumbria awakes to find the fields covered with a layer of hoar frost...

A frozen flooded meadow catches the dawn light

Water freezes into crazy crystals

Samhain sunset, a few minutes from my doorstep

Fruits of the season, a variety of apples, pumpkin, mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts, turnip and a of course an apple pie with full cream custard, washed down with vintage cider

11 Comments:

Blogger TCA said...

Vintage cider? You're on a slippery slope!

Some great photos. What was your minimum temperature? Got down to 3.2C in Hambledon.

W

8:45 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Lovely photos Maalie! Loved the frosty ones. Was the vintage cider slightly warmer than room temperature, as it should be?

By the way, hot sake is wonderful!

8:49 am  
Blogger simon said...

the weather here is utterly nuts!

LAst week we had a 38c day, followed by a -2c day - snow, hail etc. today 36c and tomorrow 22c with rain....

So, I am pleased your seasons are ok!

10:28 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

Happy Samhain, Maalie!

Your picture of the hoarfrost landscape make me almost wish for cooler temperatures here (oh well, almost, but not quite *smile*).

That Redwings is beautiful,
I don't think I've seen one here.

12:47 pm  
Blogger Angel... said...

what a great photos.. thanks for sharing with us.

4:14 pm  
Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

As always, there's a nice ethos to your seasonal blog posts.

4:51 pm  
Blogger Merisi said...

Oh, overnight,
a pumpkin creature crept onto the window sill! Did it frighten the goblins away? It seems to have an eye on the pansy, though. Very scrary.

7:30 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Thank you all for the kind comments. Winter seems to have decided to stay in Cumbria.

TCA, pobably about -3. Ice om my car every morning, even at sea level.

Merisi, well I didn't SEE any goblins, so it evidently worked! But it certainly attracted the local kids, I dispensed a couple of dozen choccy bars!

8:50 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

You are right about Samhain being the Celtic New Year. Father Harry told us so at Mass this morning.

All Saints' Day used to be on May 13th but the early Celtic church changed it to November 1st to coincide with Halloween, and bring a Pagan festival into Christianity. So, he went on to say, don't blame the Americans for trick and treat, it was the 'bloody Irish'!

12:50 pm  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

nice pumpkin head and cracking early morning misty photos there!

10:04 pm  
Blogger Catharina said...

I love the pumpkin! And the last picture makes me want to go and back an apple pie. Mmmm...

6:00 pm  

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