Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Darkest Night

For me the 21st of December is almost as important as the 25th later in the week. Today is the winter solstice, the longest night and shortest day. This day was celebrated by many cultures in the past, celebrating the victory of the sun over the darkness as the days begin to get longer again and we move towards spring.

On the solstice we normally invite friends over and have our Christmas presents then so we can all open them together instead of waiting to open them when none of us are together on Christmas day. It's great to catch up with old friends and newer ones as well as finding the perfect mix for mulled wine and cider recipes!

While we're all cosy in our house with a fire, food and friends the wildlife outside is just beginning the yearly battle with the cold. While it's going to start getting lighter and we'll have longer days it isn't going to get warmer but colder over the next few weeks. Some animals, like hedgehogs, hibernate but others, like robins, stick it out looking for scraps of food to keep them going throughout winter. 

Finding food is hard, especially when there's snow on the ground and with frozen ponds water get scarce too. Making sure there's food out for the birds and a bucket of water for animals to reach is an great way to help the wildlife in your garden, and what could be nicer than seeing a robin on Christmas day and watching the wildlife in the garden to pass the time as the days lengthen again. 

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