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

Oregano

From wikipedia.org

From wikipedia.org

Latin Name: Organum vulgare

Common/Folk Names: Kekik (Turkish), wild marjoram, winter marjoram, Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano, mountain mint, wintersweet

 

From FoodUniversity.com

From FoodUniversity.com

Medicinal Uses:
It has been shown to be most likely effective for riding oneself of intestinal parasites.

Oregano has proven to be high in antioxidants, and in tests, it has shown antimicrobial activity against certain strains of listeria.

In traditional Austrian medicine, oregano consumed as a tea or used topically as an ointment  is used to treat respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system disorders. This hearkens back to Hippocrates’ use of oregano as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments, along with use as an antiseptic.

From homegarden-journal.com

From homegarden-journal.com

Magical Uses:

Ruled by the planet Venus, the element of Air, and associated with Aphrodite.

Work with it for luck, happiness, tranquility, health, and protection. It can aid you in letting go of a loved one, or deepen existing love.

A crown of oregano worn during handfastings will bring happiness to the partnership. If also worn on the head whilst sleeping, it is said it will aid in psychic dreaming.

Because of oregano’s ability to bring joy, work with it to celebrate joyful occasions, or to bring more joy into your life. Wreaths or bundles of oregano can be left upon the recently deceased’s grave to ensure they find joy in the next part of their journey.

Of course, with all culinary herbs, use it in your food to impart the joy and happiness of oregano to your friends and family. Being easily recognizable as an important ingredient in Greek and Italian cuisine, it conjures up images of large family dinners, all are laughing and telling stories to each other, enjoying each other’s company. Keep these images in mind as you stir that pot of spiced tomato sauce, or as you mix together that olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano dressing.

Musings on a Rainy Day

Rainy Willows

My Full Moon cakes have been taken away from beneath these willows. The smell on the breeze of damp earth is intoxicating. It’s one of my favourite smells. While it had stopped raining as I took these pictures but a few minutes ago, the sky is falling once more, gently on the greening world outside as I sip my Earl Grey and type away.

Much of my past few weeks since returning from the East Coast has been spent sweating away under the sun, digging out my garden plots. Alas, the rain has come and now my plots are riddled with puddles. I’m hopping the puddling will be solved after I run the tiller through and add some sand from some of the other plots. I’m itching to get the seeds in the ground, but it seems everything this year wants to be late according to the seasons and weather, so I’ll just have to be patient.

Plots

My mom and I went out over the weekend to pick up our rhubarb, raspberry, and blueberry plants that will in a few years be a good source of lots of jams and pies and other tasty desserts. The raspberry, especially, looks very happy out on our deck, many new leaves have come out over the few days we’ve had it. The peas are also on the deck waiting to be planted, and are looking very happy for all the light access.
We even dug out the front flower beds and put in a mix of wildflower seed, I’ll let you know how well that works out as at the end of the season, you cut it back and it’s supposed to reseed itself for the following year.

It’s been an excellent few weeks, even with my body (mostly my back) aching from all the intense work. I stupidly did some digging two days ago whilst the weather was humid and hot. So when yesterday came around, and it was cool and non-rainy, I was too exhausted to do anything. However, the day was spent writing a ritual for the Full Moon, as I already knew what I needed it to be for. The kitties were being mischievous during the affair, if you wanted to know.
As I said in a previous post, it’s really nice having all the energy worked out of you so that you just do, you don’t think. The ritual last night lasted much longer than I thought, and even the kitties didn’t keep my attention from what was happening in my circle. Again, being cleaned out by exhaustion is purifying, and it certainly helped me weave my magick.

Puddles

I’ve also been struck by how naturally noisy it is here in the country. I don’t mean the vehicles that drive by (we are on one of the busiest roads in this small town, with transport trucks going by at regular intervals during the day, including the Beer Store truck that honks as he passes our house), but by the birds here. And by plural birds, I mean a ton. Robins, Red-winged Blackbirds, Finches, Chickadees, Woodpeckers, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Canadian Geese, Mourning Doves, a Hawk of some sort (they always fly much too high for me to pick out any specific identifying colours), Gulls, Blue Jays, an occasional Raven, Common Blackbirds. That’s all I’ve been able to hear/see so far this spring. It’s amazing all you’ll find when you pay attention. On top of that is the hum of things at night in the swampy area behind our property that leads into a wood.

Oh, and the crows, never forget the crows. They wouldn’t let you anyway.

It’s a happening time indeed, for which I am grateful. Even my best friend is about to have a baby at any moment. There’s no time for dilly-dallying.
I must say I’m happy for the break in too much computer time, but that’s what people do now (year-round even, Gods forbid) since we live in the age of the Internet. Having Google at your fingertips is great, and all the world’s knowledge, but going out and really experiencing life for yourself is still needed. I won’t say best, there is a time for experience, and a time for study and reflection. They are both needed and important.

This rainy week has had me on edge again though, I’m so close to having all the plots dug and ready, so close to planting the seeds in the earth, yet even if it was all ready, it’s much too wet for planting seeds at the moment anyway, as you can tell in the photo above with the puddles.

I suppose I should just get this posted as I’m on baby watch 😀

I hope your spring season is full of wonder and work.

PBP – Hellebore

Hellebore, image found here: http://www.broadviewgardens.co.uk/

Hellebore, image found here: http://www.broadviewgardens.co.uk/

Please note that hellebore is quite poisonous and should not be used by those who haven’t knowledge of how to work with poisonous herbs.

Latin Name:
Helleborus niger (black hellebore is the traditional magickal herb, called black for its roots, as the flowers are usually pink or white)

Common Names:
Christe Herbe, Christmas Rose, Winter Rose, Melampode

Parts Used:
Root, rhizome

Image from Botanical.com

Image from Botanical.com

Medicinal Uses:
Please do not use hellebore for medicinal purposes, the following is a recounting of historical medical practices concerning the herb.

Hellebore is a severe purgative, emmenagogue, and anthelmintic (rids the body of parasites), but is an extreme narcotic.

Previously employed quite frequently to treat dropsy and amenorrhoea,  as well as proved useful in the treatment of hysteria and nervous disorders. It was generally used in tincture form, but applying the tincture to the skin proved a violent irritant. 

Since it is so poisonous, foxglove and dogbane were used more often as they weren’t nearly as poisonous as hellebore.

Magickal Uses:
Associated with Saturn, Mars, and the element of Water.

Was once used to bless cattle against evil spells and baneful influences. In fact, there was a specific ritual performed whilst digging the roots, the details of which have been unfortunately lost with the passage of time.

An ingredient in incense meant to consecrate talismans of Saturn. It was, according to Agrippa, used as well to raise spirits of Mars.

Scatter hellebore that has been powdered in front of you as you move and you will be invisible.

At one time used to induce astral projection (but not recommended as again, very poisonous), along with exorcism rituals. It is also employed for banishing and necromancy.

Photo by  Archenzo Moggio.

Photo by Archenzo Moggio.

New Year, New You – Relax, Don’t Do It!


So, because I’ve been given a very special permission slip from Deb over at her blog: Dropout Dilettante, I am posting this New Year, New You prompt OUT OF ORDER!! Shocking, I know. I’m a big fan of order, it’s true, so this is a bit difficult for me to do! Whenever I start watching a new to me show, I have to go back to the very beginning and watch every episode in its proper order.

Anywho, so for this prompt, I’m not supposed to really work on any goals half-assedly (as the requisite New Year resolutions would be, then failed, then abandoned), and treat myself to something lovely, all for me. I’ve been eyeing my bathtub lately… I think it may be time for a nice, hot bath with herbs and oils and salts, and candles all over with some music on my headphones. I would like to take more baths, I was a huge bather when I was in middle and high school… I think it should become a thing again, perhaps before my weekly ritual? Yes! Lol, by George, it’s a plan! Ok, we’ll see how it turns out.

Happy treating yourself to something! 🙂

Full Moon Offerings

Made a special blend of oils herbs and wine to offer Her tonight.

New Imagery?

So I just found out earlier this week, we can now upload background images to wordpress blogs! It’s about time, I must say! So as soon as I discovered this, I decided to make myself a background. I love Photoshop, I really do! I decided to go with some written words because, well, this is a blog, I do write here!! lol. And some feathers and birds because they are creatures of the air, and air is associated with communication, ideas, thoughts, creativity, the mind. I thought it was appropriate 🙂

How do you like the new look?? 🙂

Anywho… strange things a-happening yesterday. We went out to get groceries, etc, and for some strange reason, I was so disoriented and felt very weird. It was like I couldn’t look at enough around me, and for the life of me, I couldn’t focus visually on one thing very well. Had to give the shopping list to the man so he could make sure we had picked up what we needed. Needless to say, it was very strange and I was glad I wasn’t out and about alone. It seemed to clear up when we got some food… strange, very strange. If anyone has experienced this or knows what it is, I’d love to find out! That’s pretty much the first time it has ever happened to me though.

I’ve been thinking about plants again! He-he. I just can’t stop it. The winter weather here in the Pacific Northwest is just so different, that although we’re still in January, I feel like Spring is just around the corner. I feel sorry for my family in Ontario who are dealing with three feet of snow, and crappy winter weather, but am glad all I need are a good pair of rubber boots and an umbrella, lol. This year, I want to finally grow the lovely witchy seeds I bought over a year ago. I think I will buy a few more seeds some witchy (belladonna, henbane, clary sage, angelica) and some for foods ( chiles (jalapeno & ancho), I already have some nice tomato seeds, so salsa and tomato sauce here I come!). I’m also thinking of growing from a bought avocado and getting some seeds to grow my own bay laurel tree. That would be wonderful. Although, I will have to sit down and really think about what I can realistically grow because my apartment is quite small, and the windows don’t bring in an enormous amount of light. I’m also not sure if I will be able to make a little garden in the yard.. will have to chat with the owners about that one!
What are you folks planning for your gardens, witchy or otherwise?

Dreaming of Green

It’s not even the new year yet, and I’m thinking about gardening! I’ve been perusing the internets, looking at those nifty AeroGardens, alas, they are much too expensive for a student such as meself, and apparently for best results, you should continue buying their seed packets and parts. So… I was looking into alternatives, and have found a few.

Basically, there are aero ponics (which is what the AeroGarden is), and hydroponics. I know this is totally gonna make me sound like I’m going to grow the sticky icky, alas, I assure you, I will not be growing the sticky icky, lol (I really don’t want any trouble with the law, thank you very much!). So, both ways are soil-less; aeroponics suspends the roots in air (hence, “aero) and you have a mister spraying the roots with nutrients and such, and give occasional breaks to the roots of being misted; then there’s hydroponics which suspends the roots in water (hence “hydro”), and you just make sure that you have a way of getting oxygen in the water, basically a fish tank aerator.

This is a basic image of what aeroponic gardening would look like:

And here is what a hydroponics system would look like:

 


So, have any of you tried any of these methods… or have other methods to share? From all the reading I’ve done, these seem to produce more yield because the roots are directly getting the nutrients and such, and from all the pretty pictures and videos of beautiful greenery, I think it might be a good thing to check out! Right now, I’m just going to start my seeds in a tray, and make sure I have a lamp on them so they get enough light (cuz in a basement apartment with not a lot of light, I don’t want my plant babies dying on me!). Then, when they’re about ready to be transplanted, I’ll figure out which kind of ponics I’ll go with, lol. That just made me think of “hooked on phonics” 😀

Basil

I love basil. It is one of my favourite herbs to add to food, and to work with magic(k)ally. There are a ton of different kinds, and each one smells so delicious. It is quite a powerfully fragrant herb, and is also used in powerful magic(k)s in the Craft, as it can be used for exorcism.
It is believed that basil got its name from the Greek basileus “a king”, because the smell of this herb is “fit for a king’s house.”

Latin Name:
Oncimum basilicum

Parts Used:
Leaf and stem


Herbal Usages:
Basil can be used for mild nervous disorders, dried leaves used as snuff (to be inhaled through the nose), which is  said to cure nervous headaches. A drop of essential oil on your pillow (or a facecloth inside your pillowcase) will help insomnia and depression.
Works well for tired muscles, or wandering rheumatic pains. A poultice (a moist mass of bread, clay, meal or other adhesive base, combined with herbs and heated, spread on a cloth and placed on an inflamed or aching part of the body) helps to heal wounds because of its antibacterial properties.
Also said to cure warts, and is great for acne.
An infusion will help relieve gas and stomach pains, is said to stop vomiting and calm nausea. The infusion is also really good for chest infections, and bronchial troubles.
Great for repelling insects and treating bites.

Associations:
Mars; Scorpio; fire; masculine; kings; scorpions; leaving a leaf under a pot would turn into a scorpion

Magic(k)al Workings
Sprinkled in each corner of all rooms in the home, and using in bathwater will exorcise negativity. Will bring good luck to a new home.
Mending lovers’ quarrels as well as being worn to encourage two people, who may be in danger of a big blow-out, to have sympathy for one another and avoid argument.
Used in charms hung or placed in vehicles for safe travel.
Leaves are carried in wallets to attract money, and aid in financial needs. Carried in pockets when gambling for luck, and sprinkled across the doorway of a business to encourage it to flourish.
To foretell the success of a relationship, place two leaves on a charcoal. If they separate while burning, the relationship will not work out. If they lay there quietly burning, the couple will be successful in their relationship. Sprinkling basil over a lovers’ heart keeps them faithful to you.
Basil incense is used for purification before ritual; can also be burned for vision quests. Juices are also used in flying ointments.
Lastly, many potions for love, health, money and protection are made with basil.