Early winter musings
Elevate artist Hannah Lefeuvre lives off-grid in a small holding in Somerset. She loves to write a daily journal and finds great comfort in the handwritten word on the page. We hope you enjoy reading her reflections and observations, including some excerpts from her diary and maybe it will evoke thoughts of your own experiences of gardening and nature…
Our morning begins before dawn: the Rayburn is lit and hardy breakfasts await. Electric lights are conserved and quiet activities occur before 8:00am. As we approach winter solstice, our focus turns to maximising daylight hours. The majority of our solar panels face east, so the main electrical consumption occurs in the first part of the morning. Water is pumped and lithium and electric bike batteries are charged for later in the day.
Weather permitting, outdoor work occurs before late afternoon, including a deep cleanse of the dense, shady garden areas. Trees and shrubs are felled, coppiced and pruned, and piles of logs are stored for next year. Leaves from paths become mulch for fruit areas, while piles of willow lie in damp spots, ready for crafts.
The long, quiet evenings are a sanctuary for crafts, candles and music. Christmas gift making begins from early November and each year, we enjoy extending our creativity with the resources we have available. This year, silver birch logs, dogwood and willow branches have inspired miniature Christmas trees, individual tree decorations and winter wreaths. The winter vegetables continue to bring joy and colour to our plates, and many an apple crumble is enjoyed at this time of year, as we work through our fruit stores.
Whilst these seasonal activities bring us great comfort, we cannot escape the challenge that this winter will bring for so many. I would love to be talking with patients at the bedside at this time, but for now, I hope hearing about our home and garden will resonate and lift your spirits a little.
More from Hannah and the Elevate artists
During the spring and summer 2020 Hannah Lefeuvre recorded 13 audio Garden Musings about the nature surrounding her and living off-grid. You can listen to all episodes of Hannah’s Garden Musings here
Download ‘Elevate your mood’ Issue 4 (pdf)
Send us your contribution
We love to include some of your own reflections in future posts and in our monthly print edition ‘Elevate your mood’ or quarterly printed tabloid ‘Take the time’. Why not write a few lines, try a poem or send us picture on the general theme of winter into spring? Email to ArtCare or send to ArtCare, Block 29, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury SP2 8BJ.