Mid-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…


Winter colour and crops

Hannah pushing wheelbarrow filled with Christmas wreaths along country lane

Throughout December, I spent most evenings making wreaths for our community. The process of assembling brings nature’s details into focus, and this winter, as well as noticing the classic complimentary green and red tones, I have been struck by purples and yellows, available in berries, flowers and the occasional young teasel. On many wintery mornings, I could be seen walking through the village, with a wheelbarrow of wreath deliveries. It seemed a creative way to share the diversity of our winter garden and connect with the community. I savour this timeless tradition and hope that the arrangements were also enjoyed by passers by, before being put back into the hedgerows to compost.

Meanwhile, as some parts of our garden go back to the soil, there remains a fine array of produce available, in cold stores and in the ground. Root vegetables are scrubbed, roasted and turned into warming soups, while apples are abundantly stored, for cakes and crumbles. At this time of year, we enjoy red cabbage, brussels sprouts, chard, parsnips, carrots, kale and potatoes. Berries come out of the freezer, jars of tomatoes are opened and fruit compotes lie in wait for the remaining winter months.

As soon as mid-winter’s day arrives, I dig out my daylight hours chart and observe the detail of increasing minutes and seconds of daylight each day. I open the curtains just before dawn and soak up each minute of light, as it gently infuses our home. The three weeks either side of winter solstice are the most challenging for solar electric and this year we are benefiting from an additional lithium battery system, to ease the long dark evenings. By early January, we can already feel the extra length in the late afternoons – hooray!

The vegetable crop rotation plan has been drawn up for the new season and our seeds have been ordered. The spring bulbs are starting to sprout. It’s time to dust away the winter cobwebs, enjoy the fire, food and log stores and envision a brighter 2021.



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 5 (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 spring? Email to ArtCare or send to ArtCare, Block 29, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury SP2 8BJ.