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Suddenly November is upon us, and with Samhain we draw breath in readiness for the coming winter. Already we’ve been battered by October winds, so our preparations are well under way, but the shortening days are a constant reminder that we need to be ready for the coming months,despite the unusually warm weather. This year we have for the first time the luxury of a ready store of well dried firewood, and a big pile of rings of beech waiting to be split and put inside for next winter.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this life is that your mental timescale is expanded. Worries about what needs to be done tomorrow are eclipsed by the prospect of putting away fuel that you will not need to cook your food on for another two years hence. Felling trees in the woodland that will become useful when your two year old daughter has passed her fifth birthday. Suddenly our five year ‘plan’ for establishing ourselves on the land seems almost short sighted.

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Rather than a period of withdrawal, I see the winter months as a time when we have a chance to prepare so that when the days grow longer, we are ready. Sometimes we may be preparing for a time that is far off, but prepare we must. This I think is possibly the most valuable lesson that we can learn on our journey.

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