April Handcrafted Faves

Easter Eggs by Craft Factory Boutique
Flower Earrings by Amber Sky
Moon Print by Birch Bliss
Fox & Flowers by Becca Who Designs
Flower Crown by Kis for Kani
Flower Light Garland by Light Blossoms
Calming Flowers Bath Soak by From the Earth Apothecary

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March Handcrafted Faves

Floral Crown by  By Yana Accessories
Easter Wreath by Botanika Studio
Deer Pillow by Fab Funky Pillows
Flowering Redbud Trees” photograph by Country Dreaming
Air Plant Crystal Kit by AURAMORE
Moth Wings Cape by Costurero Real
Red Fox Woodland Pillow by HCJ Designs

June Is Here!

 

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Fuschia

 

And so is June’s Forest Witch Newsletter! You can sign up through the link if you’re not already on the list. It’s at the least a once monthly email, though sometimes you’ll get smaller emails concerning special things like last month’s early announcement of my Hogwarts House Tea Blends.

Besides that… it appears I’ve disappeared from this blog for 23 days! Holy moly! Now, I do have that little image on the right column that says I’m blogging without obligation, but it sure has been a while for the time of year when I’m most eager to communicate!

Well, it’s been super busy! Each week has had many tasks and projects to do, lots of it concerning the gardens here, my new raised veggie and herb bed for example (though it cost a bit to set up, I’m trying to work smarter, not harder, especially since now I’m running a small business!).

The husband-man and I bought our first car last week, which meant nearly the whole week was full of car things, discussion, phone calls, scanning documents… But in the end, I think we’re both really happy with our new, adorable vehicle!
Now… if only it were electric, and batteries were better! But I think we’ll see that in the near future 🙂

 

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Hibiscus & Ivy

 

I have a feeling it is finally going to slow down a bit, but I’ve definitely come to realize that my birth month is one of the two busiest months of the year for me (the other being December). And that’s fine by me since I love the start of gardening season, and being outside, and sitting on patios, bonfires, sunshine, flowers, bees, birds, and good company.

There’s a few more odds and ends to be done for the garden anyhow, but not a whole lot more of the labour and time-intensive things. Although later this summer, I plan on building a greenhouse, and perhaps a cold-frame contraption for my new raised bed. We shall see what I can accomplish with my resources and know-how. 🙂

 

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Strawberry

 

And as for teas, oh, I have some big plans, BIG PLANS I SAY!! Actually, if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll know what those plans are! But I am quite excited about them. The process is a little lengthier, but I’m hoping to finish the project within the next week or two!

Oh, summertime, you are one of my favourite times. Though to be fair, I love all the seasons when they come. I’m excited for many trail rides, drives to the beach, the beach itself, lots of gardening and harvesting and canning/cooking! I have plans for what I hope will be a goodly sized crop of raspberries this year, two jams, a regular and a seedless for my mama. Oh, it all just fills me up with an indescribable joy!

I hope you are enjoying this time of year as much as I am!

Mia

 

Welcoming in the May

Well, hello there, dear gentle reader!
You may have noticed it is quiet here in terms of anything spiritual, and that’s mostly because it’s been quite busy! Spring is always a season of getting shit done, and shit has most definitely been getting done around here!

I’ve been fixing up the bathroom here, and let me tell you, these arms are not meant for doing ceiling work! 😛 And perhaps that’s a reason I should be working them out, lol.

Then I’ve been filling out many orders and working on recipes that need to be reblended or slightly tweaked. Then there’s the SECRET project that I was wanting to get out last week, but other things keep taking up my time. However, I’m still super excited about it, and hope it will roll out within the next two weeks.

Spiritually, things have been quiet, but looking back, there’s always a bit of a lull this time of year, and I think a lot of it has to do with said busy-ness! I am going to be getting out to the gardens, so that will give me that meditative time, therefore I will have some quiet time for the spring and summer to sit with my Gods. 🙂

And as for the gardens, I’m done with in-ground. The weeds are just the flipping worst, and I never want to do it again… ok, now that that drama is done… I’ve decided to make a couple smaller raised beds. No huge garden anymore since I never want to grow potatoes again (Colorado Potato Beetles are the worst! Go back to Colorado!!). I want to grow things that are expensive to buy in the store.
I’ve already begun buying berry bushes, currently there are raspberries, blackberries, white and red currants, and a goosberry bush. I did have blueberry bushes, but unfortunately I live with mow-happy weirdos (no offense, family, I love you), and they were mown over. So blueberries are on the list again this year.

And then in the garden proper, the husband-man wants tomatoes for paste making, I want some for salsas, and then a million kinds of basil, more herbs, zucchini, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, onions, pumpkins, butternut squash, and a few other things I’m likely forgetting.
And since that garden will be smaller, I can have more flowers and be able/have the energy to take care of them elsewhere.
ALSO…. MULCH!

Anywho… that was just a bit of an update on where I am right now… and I wanted to add that the May newsletter went out yesterday! You can find it here, and please do subscribe if you are so inclined! You will receive a lovely little coupon in the first email too! For the most part, I do a once-a-month email, but when I have secret projects, or sales, there will be other smaller letters to let you know first by email! ❤

 

Mia

Very Happy Ostara!

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I’m hoping you all are having a beautiful day, whether you’re being witchy, or simply enjoying the turn of the season ❤

I spent about 20 minutes out on the deck, wrapped up in my fuzzy blanket and enjoyed the sun while the doggies hung out. It got a bit cold here, but really, our warm weather has been really warm (record-breaking) this year, so I’m cool for colder weather right now. 🙂

Ostara Tea

Ostara

A simple, sweet treat of shortcake topped with delicious strawberries and blueberries.

Enjoy whilst planting seeds for your summer garden, taking walks in the wild to see the returning life, both bud and creature, and to celebrate the longer, warmer days!

This is a lovely, light and sweet tea that I’m sure I’ll be sipping often as the weather changes and I dream of the warm summer days to come!

You can find Ostara tea here, and if you’re looking for other seasonal treats, look no further than here!

Back in the Garden

Finally!

Now, I currently don’t have a proper working phone to go take pictures of what I am doing at the moment, but I hope to get my new phone within a week or two! Also, I am not bringing my good camera out, I just know I will drop it and break it.

But in the garden! It was lovely. I spent over 3 hours digging. I am getting rid of all the little paths between the two sets of beds, and having just two very large beds with a central path in between. I was worried I was going to have to actually dig out the paths like I did last year, however I had gotten one of those hand tillers (with twisty spikes on the end that are also quite good at twisting weeds out), and it seems like that is sufficient (and much quicker) to dig out the grassed paths!

I was pretty impressed that the ground wasn’t soggier than it is, but I can’t say I’m unhappy about it 🙂
You may also be wondering why I’d be so happy about digging. About back hurting work (and I don’t have the nicest of backs to be sure). I also suspect those who enjoy gardening get it though.

I think it’s something hardwired in us as it wasn’t that long ago that most people were still growing their own food, unless they lived in cities or were rich. It’s only been the tiniest blip of human history that we haven’t been farming. And at this time of year, when we finally get to sink our tools in the thawed earth, there’s so much promise, excitement and hope for what is to come.

As I dug, I said a prayer to Freyja and Freyr. I suspect I’ll be doing a rite at some point soon before seeds are sown, as well as a blessing over the new seeds that were purchased this year and last fall along with the rest of last years’ seeds.

Now that I now better what kind of problems I will be facing this year, I also have things planned to keep the garden better nourished and protected. Things such as netting for the brassicas (which were hastily eaten last year by cabbage white butterflies), netting to protect my peas from wee bunnies, and a vigilant eye as well as a spraybottle full of garlic and cayenne to keep the Colorado potato beetles at bay, and some better placement of tender lettuces and spinach so that they don’t turn bitter.
I’m also planning on lining the beds (which will cost less now that I will have just two big beds, and not twelve beds with an enormous amount of perimeter) to keep out the grass. Plus weeding. I gave up a bit last year, and that’s fine since I had to see what gardening on this lot of land is like. I have been planning the beds in a way that utilizes companion planting, so I’m hoping no other pests than the white butterfly and potato beetles will show up this year.
The potatoes will also be going into potato towers, so we shall see how that works out as well, as last year, some of the in ground potatoes rotted. If you’re curious, I’m planning on making the towers from chicken wire and hay, pulling leaves out between the wires so they have lots of sun access as the plants grow upwards.

The gourds will also be grown up structures, I’m going to have a think about it, but I’m already leaning to tomato towers for them, as even the pumpkins aren’t overly large (I have two different kinds of smaller pumpkin seeds). And hopefully my eggplants will make a show this year as well.  My rhubarb is staying in its spot, and I will have to dig up and put some plant food down for my berries.
Speaking of plant food, this is the year to build a little compost area out back. I really hate throwing out all the lovely food scraps knowing it could have helped make a lovely food source for the garden, so hopefully the pallet gods will be nice to me this year and provide me with what I need to have a nice big pile. If not, I am going to look into what else is available.

There’s lots of things planned for the garden, and lots of things planned for how I’m going to process and preserve all the food (also buying a dehydrator this year for my herbs mainly, and then to make fruit chips, veggie chips, all good dried things). It’s funny, last harvest time, I was thinking about this spring, and now that spring is here, I’m thinking about the coming harvest.

I’m a busy, busy bee with growing and my new shop, The Forest Witch (tarot readings, yo!). I hope you are all enjoying the lovely spring. Well, so long as you’re somewhere that spring has actually come. If you are in the southern hemisphere, happy autumn harvests!!

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 – Going Inward

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Radiance by Brenda Lyons (Falcon Moon Studio)

It seems after the stormy year that was 2013, it’s time for lots of work and building and rediscovering all the things that have been accumulating within. I’ve been taking a fantastic course from Anni, called The Greystone Path. After having watched many of her videos on Youtube (Mirth And Reverence) had to sign up. She has such a warm and open way of discussing the whys and the reasons; how each of us will experience differently, and that all of it is valid.

It very much seems that I need to get my butt in gear, to begin something (as is very much the point of the spring season, no?), I’ve been feeling that for quite some time, and this course seems to be very much what is needed. Although it is slightly geared for newer folk, with explanations into things which (for me at least) have been studied, the inner work has been fantastic. She has us creating or working with an already established an inner landscape in meditation, exploring the Elements at this point, as well as what is already within our own selves. The course is one of being very much mindful of thought and action, which has already been quite a focus for me lately anyway. Of course, I highly recommend it for those who are really looking to delve much deeper, and to really solidify their own practice as Anni provides small rites to perform, making it easier to start small and build upon the foundation, figuring out what works for you and doesn’t along the way.
As an aside, although it is more Wiccan based, it is highly open for your own interpretation if you don’t necessarily follow a strict Wiccan path; it’s all about what works for you to open up to the Divine, however you see it.

 

Because of Anni’s wonderful reminders that all experience is valid and of worth, a lesson I keep revisiting while learning to really trust myself and my spiritual experiences is that there is validity in my interactions with Other in just the mere fact that I learn more about myself, and continue to grow. At this point, whether the interactions have all been from Other, or just in my head doesn’t matter because the insights have been perfect when I received them. I also think that this whole notion that what I experience could be just me imagining or Them actually interacting with me, is a very interesting and mysterious piece of the whole that is my spiritual experience.
Strangely enough, it’s in the moment that I feel I’m just making it up, and only in retrospect, through the lens of memory that certain experiences seem more real, more vivid. As time goes on and my ability to let go of control to allow things to happen as they will in meditation, the more I see where my hand has guided something, and where it has not. Although the doubt is still strong at times for me as we have yet to live in a culture that raises people to accept that there is this solid, real spiritual side to things, the doubt does play an interesting role in it all. We do live in the scientific age which has us questioning everything, looking for hard evidence, proof that what we experience is real. I don’t think this inquisitive head-space is a bad thing, I think it’s good, it’s why we have begun freeing ourselves from forced religion and aristocracy (though we’ve still such a long way to go before we’re done as other things have stepped in to replace them).

In this long, meandering post, I guess in the end I’m going inwards, have been incredibly introspective, focusing on specific roots I will be sending down to begin really establishing myself in the life and spirituality (which are very much one and the same) I wish to have at this point. I’m certain this idea will change with the seasons as I learn and experience more (a constant endeavour). What works for now may not work later, and that is when those things will be thanked, cut, and burned to make way for whatever I wish to cultivate next.

Pagan Blog Project – L is for Lilac Wine

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I’ve been inspired by the glorious perfumes that fill the air in spring. Where we live, there happens to be a Lilac tree in the back yard, and after a weekend of rain in May, which gives such a fresh, sensuous side to the delicate flowers’ smell, I decided to collect enough fresh flower spikes to make a gallon of wine. Thanks and prayers were offered in return, of course.

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Freshly cut.

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A beautiful meditative task plucking the flowers was.

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Lilac tea steeping.

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Some of the flowers left while straining them out.

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Smelled amazing. Final concoction all in it’s jug, as all my other carboys are in use.

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An ancestor decided she wanted what was left of the lilacs.

Here is the recipe I used to make the wine. If you’re leary of using lilacs, the flavour is quite similar to jasmin.

1 Gallon Lilac Wine
3/4 lb Lilac flowers, no stems/branches/leaves
2 lbs sugar/5 cups
Black tea bag
1 tbsp lemon juice
25 raisins
1 packet Red Star champagne yeast

Remove the flowers from the spikes, ensuring there are no green bits left.

Rinse the flowers.
Add half a gallon boiling water to steep them. That’s about 2 litres.

Steep anywhere from 1/2 hour to overnight. I had made a tea beforehand to gauge the strength of flavour and aroma. The different colours of Lilac have different strengths in aroma.

Start the yeast about 1/2 hour to an hour before pitching it in warm water with sugar and a few raisins.

Strain out, and press as much of the the liquid from the flowers as is possible. Add the sugar to the floral tea, mix until dissolved. Add brewed black tea and lemon juice.

Place in primary fermenter, fill with warm water (about 25°C/75°F). Leave enough room for yeast water and some head space in case it bubbles a lot. Shake or stir the primary fermenter to get lots of oxygen in there.

Add the yeast. Place airlock, and keep an eye on it in case it bubbles a lot. It shouldn’t cause much problem though as there is little solid material in it.