The Wheel of the Year and Sustainable Action: The Spring Equinox

The Druid's Garden

I began this series of posts with examining sustainable actions for the winter solstice. Today’s post celebrates the current holiday–the spring equinox–and suggests activities for sustainable and spiritual actions that are appropriate for this delightful season. (I will note that these activities are appropriate for readers who reside in the Northern Hemisphere who are coming into the springtime–for those in the Southern Hemisphere, look forward to my Fall Equinox post later in the year!)

A few words about the spring equinox–the spring equinox is a time of balance, when day and night come in equal parts. The spring equinox is a great time to clear away the old habits and clutter that no longer serve us and that pull us back into unsustainable patterns and behaviors. The spring equinox is also a great time to start new activities, hobbies, actions, or even reorient our way of seeing. Given the…

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Hereford in the Snow

rambling ratz

Following on from my post about the poppy display at Hereford Cathedral in the snow, here are some more photos from my walk into Hereford City during the Mini Beast from the East’s blizzard.Photo of blossom in snow

I thought this blossom looked very pretty in the snow. At first I thought it might have been blackthorn, but there were no thorns and some green shoots were showing, so I expect it is some sort of cherry plum type thing.Photo of blossom in snow

Far more easy to identify is Holy Trinity church, a Grade II listed building dating from around 1870.Photo of Holy Trinity Church

In the grounds stands a memorial cross dedicated to the men of the parish who died in WWI and WWII. For more information on the memorial, the wording and the names inscribed see this website.Photo of war memorial in churchyard

Regular readers will be familiar with the Bulmers woodpecker. This is my only photograph of it in the snow.

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Astronomical Spring

rambling ratz

It was astronomical spring, the vernal equinox, on 20th March 2018. For a brief period it did start to seem spring-like once the Beast from the East had left us, although being the UK obviously it rained. photo of cherry plum blossom and blue sky

The cherry plum buds of pink cherry plum blossom

One of the local crows decided they were a tasty snack.Photo of crow eating cherry blossoms

The daffodils bounced back.Photo of yellow daffodils with rain drops

The primroses have mostly been eaten, I think by slugs, but I managed to snap one.Photo of yellow primrose with rain drops

The sunshine and the mahonia blossoms brought out the bees. There was a large buff-tailed queen bumblebee but she was too busy to pose for photos. The male hairy footed flower bee was more accommodating. Check out those hairy feet!Photo of hairy footed flower bee

I was very happy to see that he was joined by a female. She has black hairs and doesn’t have the fancy moustache. She also moves too fast for my camera!photo of female hairy footed flower bee

There was also a…

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Golden milk ( in french and english )

Qu’est ce que c’est?

C’est un lait de coco aux épices ( curcuma et poivre ) bu comme un remède dans la médecine traditionnelle ayurvédique. Il est utilisé pour se soigner mais aussi pour son délicieux goût, de plus le curcuma lui donne une jolie couleur or.


Quels sont ses bienfaits?

Ses bienfaits sont principalement dus à l’association du curcuma et du poivre. En fait c’est la curcumine du curcuma qui va intéragir avec la pipérine du poivre piper negrum.

Ses propriétés principales sont:

– régulateur du cholestérol

– anti-inflammatoire et antiseptique

– antioxydant

– régulateur du métabolisme

– détoxifiant pour le foie

– boosteur pour la mémoire et la fonction cérébrale

– analgésique (surtout pour les migraines)

– effet minceur

– digestif

– renforce le système immunitaire

– soulage les troubles neurologiques

– régulateur pour l’hypertension artérielle

– antidépresseur

– soigne les problèmes de peau

De plus, dans sa version traditionnelle, il possède aussi les vertus du lait et de l’huile de coco:

– protection cérébrale contre les maladies dégénératives

– antifongique

– vertus amincissantes

– équilibre hormonal avec action sur la thyroïde et les glandes adrénalines

– facilite la digestion

– contre le diabète en stabilisant le sucre dans le sang

– contre les maladies de peau telles que l’eczéma ou le psoriasis

– anti-cholestérol




Ingrédients pour un mug:

– 1 mug de lait de coco (ou un autre lait végétal )
– 1 cuillère à café d’huile de coco
– 1 sachet de thé Yogi « Chaï Curcuma »



– Portez à ébullition le lait de coco ( personnellement j’utilise un mélange de lait de coco et amande )

– Retirez du feu et ajoutez le sachet de thé, laissez infuser 6 min

– Retirez le sachet, versez dans un mug. Sucrez si vous le souhaitez. J’ajoute un peu de poudre de cannelle par dessus

– Dégustez



What is it?

It is a coconut milk with spices (turmeric and pepper) drunk as a remedy in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to treat itself but also for its delicious taste, turmeric moreover gives it a pretty golden color.


What are its benefits?

Its benefits are mainly due to the combination of turmeric and pepper. In fact it is the curcumin of turmeric that will interact with the piperine pepper piper negrum.

Its main properties are:

– cholesterol regulator

– anti-inflammatory and antiseptic

– antioxidant

– metabolic regulator

– detoxifying for the liver

– boost for memory and brain function

– analgesic (especially for migraines)

– slimming effect

– digestive

– strengthens the immune system

– relieves neurological disorders

– regulator for high blood pressure

– antidepressant

– heals skin problems

In addition, in its traditional version, it also has the virtues of milk and coconut oil:

– cerebral protection against degenerative diseases

– antifungal

– slimming virtues

– hormonal balance with action on the thyroid and adrenal glands

– facilitates digestion

– against diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar

– against skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis

– anti-cholesterol



Ingredients for a mug:

– 1 cup of coconut milk (or another vegetable milk)
– 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
– 1 tea bag Yogi « Chai Turmeric »



– Bring the coconut milk to the boil (personally I use a mix of coconut milk and almond)

– Remove from the heat and add the tea bag, let infuse 6 min

– Remove the bag, pour into a mug. Sugar if you wish. I add a little cinnamon powder over

– Taste




Poppies at Hereford Cathedral

rambling ratz

Sunday 18th March 2018, the UK winter was having its last hurrah with the « Mini Beast from the East » bringing biting Siberian winds and even more snow. As you know I can never resist a little stroll in a blizzard; this time I visited Hereford Cathedral.Photo of Hereford Cathedral in the snow

I thought the art installation currently there, « Weeping Window » would look good and even more poignant in the snow.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

This work was created by artist Paul Cummins and designed by Tom Piper. Along with « Wave » it formed the basis of « Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red » at the Tower of London at the start of the WWI Centenary in 2014.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

It can be seen at Hereford Cathedral until 29th April 2018 after which it will go on tour. You can find more details on their website or search #PoppiesTour on Twitter.Photo of poppy display Hereford Cathedral

The cascade comprises several…

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Rodent pollinated Massonia.

The Arty Plantsman

As regular followers have probably noticed, the genus Massonia is a particular interest of mine. These bulbs (related to Hyacinth) from South Africa are mostly insect pollinated but there was speculation for many years that some species may be pollinated by rodents (mice and gerbils especially).

Some of the evidence:

  • There is a superficial resemblance of the flowers of some Massonia species to flowers of certain low-growing Protea shrubs known to be rodent pollinated. Here is a picture from Johnson and Pauw’s paper in Annals of Botany in 2014, showing a mouse at a Leocospermum (Pincushion Protea) flower:

Johnson and Pauw

  • They share a yeasty aroma with those Protea.
  • The nectar forms large open pools in the flower tube but is far too viscous for insects to take up through the proboscis.

In recent years several scientific studies have observed rodent pollination taking place in Massonia and the closely related Whiteheadia:

Whiteheadia bifolia…

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Repurposed Greenhouse from 9×18′ Carport

The Druid's Garden

I have always longed for a greenhouse.  As a homesteader in MI, I only had small hoop houses that I moved over crops, and while they worked great, they did not afford the flexibility that a larger greenhouse has.  When I bought my new property in the fall, I knew that I was finally going to be able to put up a real greenhouse! And so, this post describes the construction process of the greenhouse from a 9×18 foot used carport.  These instructions will include a step-by-step process for creating a hobby greenhouse using very lay-person’s terms, since that is all I have.  Two people built this project in a weekend.  This post will focus on the structure–I will have one post on bed preparation and insulation of the beds of the greenhouse to prevent frost issues, and a 3rd post eventually on the cob heatsink wall that I am…

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