The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to 2018
By Lia Leendertz
A guide to help you reconnect with the seasons, through gardening, eating seasonally, moon gazing, foraging, celebrating feast days and picking bunches of seasonal flowers
About the book
The book revives the tradition of the rural almanac for a new audience. This is planned as the first edition of an annual publication, each edition split into 12 monthly sections. It is aimed at readers who want to connect with the seasons, through gardening, eating seasonally, moon gazing, foraging, celebrating feast days and picking seasonal flowers.
A set of tables each month will give it the feel and weight of a traditional almanac, providing practical information that gives access to the outdoors and the seasons, useful for expeditions, meteor-spotting nights and beach holidays. There will also be essays on each month’s unique nature, folklore and stories, seasonal recipes and ID charts relevant to the month.
The aim of the almanacs is to give you the tools and inspiration you need to celebrate, mark and appreciate each month of the year in your own particular way.
Each monthly section will contain:
Information tables: significant calendar dates; the phases of the moon; sunrise and sunset times; king tides; equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days; food in season; what to sow and harvest in the kitchen and flower garden; a forager’s guide; the sky at night (meteor showers, planets visible, lunar eclipses); festivities (Samhain, Wassailing, Divali, Midsummer, Hallowe’en etc).
A recipe using seasonal ingredients/relating to the month’s festivity: Cider cake for wassailing in January; Blood orange tart in February; Potato kugel gratin for Passover in April; Beltane wine for May Day; Broad bean, pea shoot and pecorino salad in June; Sticky cinnamon figs in September; soul cakes at Hallowe’en.
A short essay on an aspect of the month, some historical, some practical, some contemplative: In August: Who is John Barleymow? Where do swifts go in September? In October: The story of gourmet garlics and how to plant them; in December: the tradition of the midwinter fire.
An ‘ID page’ related to the month: Identify trees by their bare buds in January; cloud formations in April; hedgerow flowers in July; beach lifeguard’s flags in August.
My hope is that you will refer to your almanac all year long, revisiting it again and again, and looking forward to the next edition as the year draws to a close.