Solstice strawberries

There is a plot of potatoes out the front which basks in the last rays of sunshine each day (well the days when it isn't raining) before the sun falls behind the sea.

The most special physical aspect of our home is that it is near the sea. From the lounge and from our bedroom, you can watch the sun set across the water. You didn't used to be able to see the sea from our bedroom until one of our neighbours died and her bereaved husband and son pulled down the old shed out the front of their section.

The horizon line hosted burnt orange rays this evening as I planted my strawberries. I'd sneaked out during the day to lift the last of the potatoes, weed the onionweed which poked up in several places and to fork in a bucket of wood ash from the fire. Later I sneaked out in the car to buy some strawberries.

Winter solstice. Death and new life. If I wasn't a migrant from a culture rooted for thousands of years in northern hemisphere living, then I would be celebrating the new calendar year along with winter solstice. We were invited to a couple of Matariki events and I would have loved to go. But as with each shortest day since we returned to New Zealand, there is illness in our house. Vomiting this time. So I watched the last rays of the dying year, felt the earth through my fingers as I gardened and felt my spirits lift as I contemplated new beginnings.

Next week I will plant my garlic. I think it is about time I sowed some seed for indoor basil and coriander. I had a look at one of my compost heaps today, turned it a bit. Nowhere near the activity I witnessed this time last year. The missing ingredient is horse poo - I had loads of it in the compost last year. But then I remembered the role of comfrey as a compost activator. Tomorrow I'll be tipping some of my green magic brew onto the compost heap behind the gate.

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