Summertime

I always say that I love each season as it comes, and I do! They’re all my favourite when I’m enjoying them. And right now, I’m in love with Summer.

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There’s been lots of barbequing, watering and weeding in the gardens, riding on the trail, and just generally enjoying being outside in the warmth and the green. Flowers have been blooming, lavender, a second round for the fuschias, hibiscus, and now the portulaca has begun to flower its many different coloured blooms. The strawberry plants are sending out shoots for new strawberry babies (which I think is telling me I need to plan a strawberry bed).

It’s so easy and peaceful outside right now. Sure, it may get a little overly-hot now and then, but that’s what a shaded deck and cold iced tea (or beer) is for!

I know I’ve mentioned my favourite place in the world, Kincardine, before, and we finally got out there yesterday to enjoy the beach. That place calls to me, and once it’s possible, I know we’ll be moving there. There’s nowhere else I’d really rather live. London was good, very tree-dense for an Ontarian city! There are plenty of different kinds of food to be had too. Vancouver was gorgeous, feeling like a small town with how many trees there are, and space between houses. The enormous, fantastic-smelling cedars, and the mountains, they are something I really do miss (not to mention the people <3). Moncton, I could really care less about. I was born and raised for a while there, but meh. I never found it appealing, to be honest. I could totally live in Nova Scotia or PEI, but not New Brunswick so much, unless on the coast.

But Kincardine. My love. I told my husband-man that I’m married to Kincardine. That when we move there, it’ll have as much priority as him, lol. In a sense, I’m probably not wrong about it though. It’s a place I actually want to go out into town and walk around. I feel safe there, and people are incredibly friendly (a woman yesterday sung happy birthday to my mom because she heard my dad say so at the DQ counter; I asked mom if they had known the woman when we lived there… nope!).
What I think also helps is that the town celebrates it’s Scottish heritage, which translates often to the old importance of hospitality. I find that’s something that isn’t really emphasised in North American places where there is not any sort of specific culture (even a North American culture). Plus I’m in love with all the Celtic culture that’s celebrated there. There’s a Celtic festival every summer, Highland dancers, Celtic musicians, and Scottish Games. And a bag-pipe band every Saturday in the summer.

The husband-man also asked if perhaps I was a selkie from around Kincardine. I said there may be different kinds of unseelie creatures there, from long before the Scots came to occupy that bit of land… but I wouldn’t put it out of mind that perhaps a selkie or few had come over and made their home there.

I don’t think I’m kidding when I say I’m in love with Kincardine.

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But besides all that being in love with a place, enjoying the summer with my gardens and trails around here has been good. I collected my first garden haul with my niece, so we’ve got snap peas, yellow wax beans, raspberries, three kinds of basil, rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme. The herbs will be drying, later harvests of basil will be made into pesto, and the rosemary thyme and sage into a healing salve with some plantain. But this little batch will be dried for spicing food.

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So as for the shop, there has been frustration with Canada Post and the Postal Workers’ Union being wishy washy about whether or not they’re going to have a service disruption. Looks like they won’t let that come to pass, so that’s good!
I have some tea ideas to be working on, and reworking some older recipes that need a quick update to my current tea making system. AAAAAAND… a very SEKRIT PROJECT! This is unlike what I’ve done before, and I am so excited about it, I. CANNOT. EVEN. 😀

And so, dear gentle reader, I hope you are enjoying your season, whether it’s summer or winter, and I offer many blessings of the wilds and waters.

Mia

Trees

I decided I was finally going to do some decorating above my living room altar. I had recently picked up the multiple candle holder in the center of the bookshelf there, and I really felt the wall needed to be more witchy too. It was bare, and it told me it felt a bit naked.

So what have I put up on the wall? Prints of the trees of the Celtic Tree Calendar. I was going to see if anyone would guess what it was, but I hate making people do that, lol. I just want to tell you all everything now. Ok, not really everything, just certain things.

I’m probably going to take a picture in daylight so you can see it better at some point. Oh, I just want to point out the dark blob you see up in the right hand corner is a willow ball I made this spring. I love it.

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Partly inspired by the Aunts’ sitting room in “Practical Magic”, and partly inspired by my love of Trees, this is what happened. I printed out the images of the botanical drawings of Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé, and since I wasn’t about to nail the plaster wall to crumbling, I picked up some ombré scrapbook paper and made frames so it didn’t look like I had just taped up some pictures. The frames took FOREVER. I actually worked on this for a whole waking day. But I’m also a perfectionist, so that didn’t help.

I’ve been thinking about making my surroundings more accessible to my witchyness, things that will keep my mind where I’d like it to be, and also make my surroundings more prettyful. I really need to work on the shrine for my Gods, which is in my bedroom. But I haven’t yet come to a conclusion of how I want it to be. I’m assuming more interacting will guide what ends up happening for it.

 

PBP – New Garden Images

This is an update on the garden… things are growing! “Well, duh,” you might say, and you would be right in saying so.
I gathered a small harvest of the Swiss Chard on Wednesday for dinner, my mom and I loooooove the stuff, I think we’ll need a bigger patch of it next year. I would have liked the lot of it on my plate, alas, there was me, my mama, and the Man to feed, so none more for me. It tasted divine, I’ll have you know. I’m ever grateful for the food these plants provide me and my family.

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This is a look at the whole veggie garden. It doesn’t seem like it’s doing overly much from the picture, or even when you look at it from afar, I think it’s because what’s in the beds are for the most part green, and the grass in between is as well. I’m hoping to line each bed at the end of harvest season and even a few of the far ones out for next year. I’m not sure yet if I’m leaving the paths in between as grass, or if I will be vinegar-ing the grass and putting perhaps wood mulch? If you have any good suggestions, I’m willing to lend an ear! We’ll be getting some horse and cow manure from my sister’s farm in the fall, and I hope that will help the sandy beds retain more water.

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This is the big, leafy rhubarb. It’s been doing really well getting settled in its new home. We had a goodly amount of rain on Monday as a storm rolled through, and this among many other plants just decided to get ginormous overnight. I can’t wait til I can make some custard and rhubarb pies, and rhubarb strawberry pies… yum!

 

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These are the zucchinis, there was supposed to be 5, but only 3 came up so I reseeded the other two on Tuesday night. I’m hoping this will allow for a longer zucchini season, as long as they germinate and grow.

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Lovely, frothy carrot greens. They got quite big the day after I thinned them out. Unfortunately I only read after the fact that you can eat the greens. They smelled terrific, and I think would do very well in a salad.
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Mmm, beets. I thinned these out in the same sitting as the carrots, but these I already knew I could eat. YUUUUM! There were quite a few young plants that I pulled up, leading me to think about sowing fewer seeds (especially for plants which the greens cannot be eaten). Yet, even the carrots and beets, I may sow fewer and just eat the greens when I harvest the roots. We shall see.2014-07-02 205 This is the beautiful Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard growing away. I love it when you can begin some harvesting, it’s a slow process, a few things here and there, and then the trickle of food becomes stronger, heavier, fills up your baskets quicker, until you have a glut of things at the height of harvest season. Aaaah…. I love me the processes of nature and life.2014-07-02 206 The salad patch. I have four different lettuces, although the two red salads I sowed don’t seem to be particularly prolific. Ah well, always next year!2014-07-02 207

I cannot wait till these onions are all done so I can cook em all up and eat the greens. I may freeze the greens. If I like these kind of onions, I will let one or two go to seed for next year (seed collecting is definitely part of my gardening plan).2014-07-02 208 Where are you, oh cauliflower head? Please hurry up so I can drizzle cheesy sauce on you.2014-07-02 209

Pumpkins! I’m very excited for these as I want to roast some seeds, and make some pies and breads and soups. Oh, how I love Thee, Pumpkin!2014-07-02 2010 My beans have finally started climbing up their poles! The day after that heavy rain, this is what I saw. It’s an amazing feeling watching the things you care for, tend, and love growing so well and happily. They hear my songs all the while I water.2014-07-02 2011

I cannot tell you how excited I am for my basil patch turning into pesto. CAN. NOT. TELL. YOU. I have sweet, Genovese, and cinnamon. 2014-07-02 2012 The Canada day petunias doing ever so well hanging on either side of the front door to our house. I always found they had an interesting smell, sweet, yet something deeper, and darker to them. 2014-07-02 2013 Potato flowers! They’re so pretty, and you can’t tell at all that they are related to the tomatoes and bittersweet nightshade in the following photos at all, can you? Oh, the solanaceaes!2014-07-03 08 I have always loved touching and smelling tomato plants. I was adjusting them on Wednesday night, as they are growing like crazy, and my hands continued to smell like fresh tomatoes all the night long. Well, until I had to wash my hands. 2014-07-03 081

I helped this bittersweet nightshade (which now has a gagillion berries all over the place) earlier this spring (when I couldn’t tell what it was), by pruning it and situating it more sturdily onto the wheel it has claimed as a trellis. I’m glad I did. I love the sweet little flowers, and when the berries turn red, they look like little jewels dripping off the stems.
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My Magical Place

I want to share a few pictures of my favourite place to go when I need to do some magick. It’s off the trail I frequently ride on. I’ve been going here since I was 15 or 16; it is an incredible place of power. When you walk in off the trail, you go down a short, gravel hill between an ash tree and another (I can’t remember). When you get to the bottom, there is a little stream on the right that flows down to the river in front of you between two very large black willow trees. I think willow may be my tree, seeing how it has played a prominent role throughout my entire life.

I laid down in what seems like a perfect place to rest between four of the willow on the right’s large, strong main limbs. My head leaned back on one of them, and I could look up into her swaying branches and leaves above. Right now, there are little white fluffs of willow seed floating around in the air, making it that much more of a visually magical place. The sun dances between the leaves, and when you close your eyes, the shadows and light play across your eyelids, almost like the sun reflected on water.

I met with her spirit, she showed me some things that are bound to pass for me, and I made some magick with her help.

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This is my view if I turn my head to the left, laying in her arms. The trees and wildness speak to me. There’s a reason why I’m a Forest Witch. My magick is strongest with the trees’ guidance, and beneath their bodies swaying in the winds. I get to this point on the trail, and the farther I go in, the more I feel home, feel free, and feel the thrum of all that lives around me.

 

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On the way back, I take a picture of what I believe to be mullein (and after some Googling, find that it is). It’s the only one I could spot on the entire trail, so I may have a better look next time I go.

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And now for something completely different (not really, as my garden is a magical place too), here is one of a few pea pods I harvested yesterday 🙂
They were sweet, delicious, and I cannot wait for more! Once harvesting gets underway, I will be a busy bee preparing all these vegetables for storage by freezing and canning.

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Riding on the Path

The man and I just picked up our one speed cruiser bikes yesterday. I’ve been out once today and I believe I’ll be going out with him tonight before he goes to work. I’ve named her Mona… although her name just came to me 🙂 I’m thinking she needs a bigger basket on the front end, and I shall be seeing about a basket for the back.
I wanted to go for a long ride yesterday, but there were a lot of people on the trail, and my muscles needed a little while to get used to it. We also picked up one of those non-powered lawn mowers for between the garden plots. Let me say, that although I had to get down and hand prune some of the bigger, thicker “weeds”, it looks much better now!
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So today, at lunch, I took Mona out for a ride. I didn’t expect to take any pictures, but I needed to when I got in there. It smells divine on this trail, so very sweet with flowers in some areas, then you can smell the river, and marshy, algae filled areas. It’s so very loud with birds now. Yesterday, a sweet rabbit didn’t want to leave the path until I got rather close (of course I went slowly).
This is past the bridge for the road that runs over the trail, where it starts getting much more wild.

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These flowers love this area. They’re along most of the trail, dark purple and light, pink, and white.
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The Saugeen River, with its brownish water. Don’t worry, it’s quite safe, much tubing down the river to be done in the summer. Although, not sure how warm it will be since this past winter was so terribly cold.2014-06-09 123

Taking a moment for a drink, and a picture. 2014-06-09 124

This is farm country too, and a large farm or two can be seen while travelling.2014-06-09 125

This is the section of the path near the end that I like to call the Sun Path. As you can see, there isn’t enough growing on either side of the path for much shade to be given as there is farmland. I thank Sunna for her warm light as the breeze passes by me. That’s the nice thing about biking, it may not be breezy out, but you can make your own if you keep on peddling.2014-06-09 126

Looking back from the end of the trail. It didn’t feel like it took very long. 2014-06-09 127

The rolling hills of Southwestern Ontario.

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These beautiful birch trees sang to me on my way back home. Then I realized I should be singing too. A song of greeting to the forest land came to me, and I sang it a few times on the way home. Perhaps with all these songs coming to me, I should be getting them recorded. It seems things always come back to that, but I am being truly inspired by being out and about, as they say. (I am Canadian, you know, it works well for me 😉 ). 2014-06-09 129

PBP – The Love of Green

This morning, I luckily got out in time before a downpour to check on my garden. I had noticed yesterday that there were seedlings above the soil, but it was much too humid and hot to bother with staying in the direct sunlight to take pictures. This morning, after off and on downpouring yesterday, and rain through the night, it was much more pleasant to walk around in the sun to check on things. I guess I won’t be needing to do much watering for a little while.

As I was walking around a few days ago, I noticed at the back of our property, just behind the fence that houses a swampy area beyond it, there is a grapevine happily growing away, attaching itself to the fence and the pine tree that stands behind it. I was shocked for a moment, as I have been thinking of grape growing, but didn’t know how it would do in my climate, and there it was, just doing its own thing all by itself. I’m thinking I may harvest some leaves for dolmades at some point. Yum. We’ll also have to wait to see how the grapes turn out. I wouldn’t mind using them for food, but would love to make some wine if I think the grapes would make a decent one.

Apparently there are grapes growing in the back yard :D

Apparently there are grapes growing in the back yard 😀

This cattail stood the test of this long, frigid winter and hangs out, wafting in the winds. I wonder if the fibers have been used to make yarn before? Must Google.

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This lovely, red branched bush is producing flowers, it looks like they will become berries later in the year. Before we moved out west, these bushes had not been on the property, so it’s a new addition, as well as some ferns that have made their way to the fence.

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These beans are coming up quite well. There’s a strange uncertainty that happens when you plant all your seeds, and then there’s nothing left but to water and wait for them to turn into seedlings. I thought a lot about the seeds not producing anything, that all my planning and hard work digging out the plots would all be for naught. It might yet be for naught if some freak weather happens, or some pest or animal comes in and makes a meal of my young plants. Alas, only time will tell.

Bean

Kentucky Wonder Bean

These willows are providing much for me this year. I’ve always had an extreme fondness of Weeping Willows, they were one of my most favouritest trees to climb when I was a child, and now they quietly watch as I putter in the garden. I tell them my secrets.

Weeping Willow

Weeping Willow

This is the delicious Swiss chard coming up. I decided I wanted colourful veggies, and so I picked out Rainbow Swiss Chard, along with some rainbow mixed carrots. Next year, I want purple cauliflower.

Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard

Rainbow Lights Swiss Chard

My potatoes are finally starting to show their sprouts above the dirt. The red more than the Yukon Gold at this point, but I am excited.

Norland Red Potato

Norland Red Potato

This flower, which loves growing around here as I see it on the hiking trails all summer long, has graced one of my garden paths since we can’t get the ride-on mower in there. We’re planning on getting a non-powered push mower with a basket on the back to do the paths and a very steep hill that I’m thinking may eventually house some flowers.

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This rhubarb slowed for a while after I planted it in ground, now more leaves are starting to pop up, so I’m quite excited for rhubarb pies!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

The onions just kind of shot up over night two nights ago. One day, there were a few little spikes of green coming out of the soil, maybe half an inch long, now there are many, even up to three inches above the soil.

Dutch Onions

Dutch Onions

I’m singing blessings to my seedlings each night as I water them. It puts me in a trance, and then I just hum the tune as it now holds the power of the words to be sung with it. So far, the land seems to be happy with my endeavours, and I’m making fairly regular offerings.

It is so incredibly good to have dirt beneath my finger nails and staining the bottoms of my feet again. Playing in dirt releases chemicals that makes you kind of high, and rightfully so.

Delicate Breakfast

As you know, I made that delicious jam last night so that we could enjoy some crepes this morning.

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I warmed up the yummy jam in the pot. The smell was amazing. This is probably my favourite jam so far!

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Next came the pouring. I had to do it a few times before I got the consistency of the batter right and the speed of making the circle. After came figuring out how long to wait until I flipped it.

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Next was painting little lines of jam on the inside of one side.

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Then rolling and dusting with powdered sugar.

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Then watching the jam ooze out when the fork was pushed in to make bite sized morsels.

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All in all, it was a delicious breakfast. There’s something fancy and frilly and fun about making foods that take time, are probably a little more complicated than they have to be.

The Glory of the Moon

The Glory of the Moon

Miaerowyn – July 22, 2013

Spring!

ImageOh, I am ever so happy when spring comes back each year. I’m quite affected by the dark part of the year, and February/March are icky months for me. We’ve just had about two weeks of beautiful, warm, sunny weather, which has kicked me into doing mode, getting ready for the coming warm weather and summer!

So, there has been a change of plans, we will not be moving back to Ontario this year. We will be staying for another couple of years, but once we want to start having babies, that’s when we shall move back, buy a property and build what I hope will be a self-sustaining homestead. Big veggie garden, chickens, some sheep and goats… yep. Lol.

So how have you been?