Litha ✨

It has been an intense month!

Restrictions have slowly subsided and now we’re in la nueva normalidad here in Asturias.

For me it has been quite an adjustment as the past few months I’d nurtured my inner hermit, and was loving the seemingly limitless free time and break from planning and organising. Just being.

Thus returning to the old rhythm has inevitably brought some stress and anxiety. Trying to fit everything in and maintain the momentum we’ve held with the land and garden during the lockdown.

Baby steps are good: seeing people one or two at a time, slowly figuring out which markets we’re going to be able to sell at. The Cabranes Tenderete had looked as though it would happen, but was postponed a few days before due to legal complications and fear of the risk of fines.

As a kind of solution, and just because it would be amazing, we’ve started organizing a local artesan market in our village. The town hall have been really helpful and supportive of the project, which makes things so much easier.

As of this Monday, new regulations were released, so we have a meeting on Thursday where we’ll see what’s possible in light of the new norms, and hopefully pick a date for the first market.

It would be perfect to be able to sell so locally – saving transport costs, fumes, and bringing together local producers from the community.

I’ve been spending more time reading articles and writing this month, and was inspired by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Leah Thomas to write an article on Environmental Justice.

As permaculturalists, people who care about the world, climate change and the environment, it is essential that we equate the importance of human rights with efforts to save the planet.

I want to keep learning about intersectional environmentalism and find out what actions can be taken from here to support the movement. So far reading, learning, donating and supporting has been possible, but it would be good to work on how things can improve here on a local level.

“Even if there isn’t a single Black person in your entire mountain town (and there probably is), you should be fighting racism.” – Sara Boilen in Anti-Racism in (white) Mountain Towns

Our first big group gathering was for Litha, the summer solstice on the night of June 20th.

We drove with our neighbour to a friends’ piece of land far at the end of the valley. It was dark and we were tired, and started to doubt if we were going the right way.

The road is an old, rickety, rocky one-way and I couldn’t make it up a steep hill. I revved the car in first gear and steam started coming out of the bonnet, so we rolled back down in neutral and parked in a clearing, reopening the bottle of wine from the night before.

Defeated, I made a flower crown out of the surrounding shrubs and Nik put on his headdress of plums whilst we waited for our other friend to come past and take us all there.

When he arrived, there wasn’t space for us and all our stuff in his van, so with some Dutch courage and advice to take a good run at it, I zoomed behind him and we made it up the slope to the finca with a burning bonfire. a green man full of desires to burn, and bongo drums.

It was lovely to celebrate midsummer in the pagan way. Some of the kids – and adults – jumped over the fire as is tradition. My long skirt was my excuse not to.

The next day we walked to a nearby pool of the bluest water, and Nik & I had a swim. Someone claimed the water got hotter the further you swam in.

This was a lie.

Yoga helped us warm up and dry off after a certain dog had shaken himself free of water on top of our clothes as we were swimming.

We ate tortilla around the bonfire before leaving in the dark and the mist, only able to see a few feet in front.

Even with just three days away from the land, when we returned everything seemed to have grown threefold. The corn is now taller than me, and the potatoes are ready to harvest, and the onions are bulging out of the ground.

This month we have harvested and plaited the garlic and prepped and planted the tomato beds. Super pleased at it feels like a big step forward in self-sufficiency. We have over 100 bulbs!

We tried to get the most urgent jobs done: harvest mustard; plant beans, water and weed, before it was time to socialise again and we went to another friends’ cabin to celebrate San Juan.

It was really lovely to see everyone, catch up and watch more fire jumping. (Oops, I was wearing a long skirt again.)

Now we’re going to try to get the land and garden to a good place before we go on our long-awaited five day walk across the mountain ridge. We’re also waiting for Nik’s boots to arrive before we can set off..

It would be good to do it as a final marker of the end of lockdown, to prepare for the commencing of busy-ness and organisation.

How are people feeling about ‘the new normality?’

Did you do anything special for summer solstice?

Sending postive summer wishes,

Peace and Pollen x

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