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By The Barn

Angela Sargent

11 Dec 2018

Well, if this month carries on the same as previously our cattle will still be outside as the ground is so dry! This will save us using straw for bedding, as we didn’t make enough during the drought, but offsetting that will be extra silage being fed to keep them in condition.

The ridge and furrow pasture land, having carried livestock for hundreds of years, looks thirsty but has provided many field mushrooms this Autumn.

The Windfall apples still strew the orchard, with tooth marks here and there and deep brown bruises blemishing the yellows and reds of the skins. Providing food for many a small mammal, bird or insect, they will eventually rot down and feed the plants and trees themselves.

December also once saw the festival of Saturnalia - in honour of the Roman god of agriculture and also giving us the ‘Lord of misrule’.

Of course, it’s also the pagan winter solstice (Yule), one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world, held on the shortest day and longest night. It marks the first day of winter and the Oak trees and Mistletoe that grew on them, were considered sacred.

The Celts thought that the sun stood still for 12 days, so would burn a Yule log to banish spirits and bring good luck for the coming year.

So you see, all our modern traditions are mixed up with ancient ones, but agriculture has a link with most, as it meant life or death to ancient man, as it still does in many countries. Merry Christmas!

Follow Angela on Twitter @bythebarn.

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