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.

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.

Dandelion Wine

When I went out with my doggy this morning, with the intentions of playing with her for a while, and hopefully her potty break, I realized how much yellow I saw in the hedgerows around my house. Then it came to me, I must make some dandelion wine! Here are pictures of the process:

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Fresh picked flowers, stems still need to be removed, and a good rinse.

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Steeping in boiled water.

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Sugary dandelion flower tea.

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All the ingredients in the carboy. It’s now happily fizzing away 🙂

If you’re looking to make your own dandelion wine, here’s the recipe I used for one gallon:

5 cups of dandelion flowers
8 cups sugar
2 litres boiling water
1 sliced orange
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp yeast (or one wine yeast packet)

Collect the dandelion flowers, rinse them well and make sure all the stems are removed.

Boil your water, pour into a big bowl (I used an ice cream bucket). Place flowers in the water, stir well so that all the flowers are as submerged as possible. Steep for four minutes.

Take out the flowers, and add the sugar to the water. You can adjust the amount of sugar to suite your tastes, but I wouldn’t suggest going lower than 6 cups. Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.

Slice your orange and place in the carboy (or whatever you’re using to ferment it), add lemon juice and yeast.

DO NOT ADD WATER UNTIL IT HAS COOLED! Otherwise, you’ll kill the yeast when you add the water to the carboy.

Add the water to the carboy when slightly warmer than room tempurature, and stir or shake so that it is well incorporated.

Place an air lock on top. You don’t want it to be very full because in a short while, your wine should be fizzing and foaming, which will push the oranges up to the top, making it hard (especially in a carboy) for the gases to escape.

In about two weeks, give or take depending on how warm the wine is, the bubbling will stop. Siphon out the liquid, leaving the lees on the bottom of the carboy (the icky left overs from the yeast and oranges). Strain through some cheesecloth if you want to make sure there are no particulates floating around (I don’t care so much, lol), and store in airtight containers (mason jars, flip-top bottles, etc).

Voila! It’s recommended that you wait at least a week before drinking it.

Happy home brewing!

Little Jenny Wren

Blue Wren by Heidi Willis

LITTLE JENNY WREN
Little Jenny Wren fell sick,
Upon a time;
In came Robin Redbreast
And brought her cake and wine.

“Eat well of my cake, Jenny,
Drink well of my wine.”
“Thank you, Robin, kindly,
You shall be mine.”

Jenny she got well,
And stood upon her feet,
And told Robin plainly
She loved him not a bit.

Robin being angry,
Hopped upon a twig,
Saying, “Out upon you! Fie upon you!
Bold-faced jig!”

-Mother Goose

Mead!

So, I wanted to check on my mead babies, took them out of their dark closet and placed them in the light to find that they had clarified! So I decided I’d take them off the lees (the icky yeast husks at the bottom of the bottles). I racked them all and tasted them, and man, I am so excited! They are definitely drinkable now, but I really want to wait a few more months because the alcohol is quite hot, lol.

My medium mead with no other ingredients other than honey, yeast, water, oranges and raisins.

My strawberry melomel.

Mead flavoured with allspice and clove.

A pumpkin spice mead.

After having taste tested the pumpkin mead… I have a strong suspicion it will taste like pumpkin pie! I’m so ecstatic, you have no idea!

So, going along with my productive weekend/Monday… I also made up a big batch of peanut butter cookies last night too! I feel like a busy little bee! All the while… I’m doing my homework and practicing a plethora of musical/witchy things everyday lately! Wee! 😀

Imagine my surprise and delight at how beautiful and clear these were!

The Month of The Vine

Image from Wikipedia

Celtic Name: Muin

Latin Name: Vitis (along with another name depending on the variety)

Dates: September 2-29

Parts Used: Grapes, leaves, wood, juice, seeds.

Medicinal Qualities:
Grape sugar is different from other sugars chemically; it doesn’t need the saliva to enter circulation within the body. This means that there is a fattening and warming action that aids with restoring energy and repair after the effects of fevers have taken hold, however, this action is not suitable for gout or inflammation.
Grapes in the diet also aid in anemia when eaten daily.

The leaves and seeds are an astringent. The leaves were used previously to stop bleeding and hemorrhaging. The leaves are used today dried and powdered and used on cattle to cure dysentery.

Image from Botanical.com

Magickal Qualities:
As the month the vine presides over (September) is a time of harvest, it makes sense that the vine is worked with in magic for harvesting, whether it is physical or spiritual. It has both masculine and feminine qualities. You can work with the vine for magics of joy, faerie workings, excitement, spiritual initiations, sacred knowledge, rebirth.
It increases fertility: placing a wreath above your bed aids in becoming pregnant, and on your child’s first birthday, hanging vines around the house ensures a long, fruitful life.
It is a wonderful tree to work with for all sorts of fertility, abundance, prosperity, money, happiness, and a sense of ease in life.
We musn’t forget that grapes are turned into wonderful, delicious wine. Wine is used to aid in connecting to the Otherworld, breaking down the barriers our minds put up around us. Though, each person reacts differently to different mind-altering substances, so it may work well for one, but not another. Wine is used to celebrate, to lose ourselves to revelry and our more primal selves concerned with our own happiness and pleasure.

Image from Wikipedia

 

Ritual Drunkeness

Maenad with Pan

Sometimes, in order to let go of our “real-world” mindsets, we witches use substances such as alcohol and entheogens. These enable us to get past our socially-minded constructs and get into contact with our purer, more intuitive mind, and therefore, the other realms, spirits and the Gods, as ritual helps us in sober states to achieve this. Ritual can be greatly enhanced, and the connection with Them stronger without our reality-based minds constantly intruding in on our spiritual mind.
For me, a bottle of wine does the trick. Within the first few sips, I feel my socially trained “me” drifting away, and the spiritual, “true” me coming through, making herself known. We know that most intoxicants get rid of our inhibitions, and it is quite true, and within witchcraft, it is quite a good thing (although, only if properly used: I never get drunk out of my mind; a bottle will allow me to be free without the feeling like I’m going to be sick, that I’ve poisoned my body). I feel, for me, that I can call upon the powers within me and without, without being world-weary, without thinking of how crazy all this is, how crazy magic and the Gods seem to be.

There is some mainstream thoughts that whilst doing spellwork, or ritual, one must be sober, and connect with the spiritual mind and world as such. While I agree, that perhaps group/coven work may be a little controversial with taking mind altering substances, I mostly practice alone at the moment, and with the right people, I believe it could be a powerful experience. I’m also not one who really follows others’ views, unless I have verified for myself that they work for me. The thing about being a witch is that our beliefs can be based on what we, ourselves, experience first hand, as it should be. What works for one will not always work for everyone else, which is why the big religions are losing such favour. Despite the fact that they fill you with fear of nasty after-lives, it’s all spectatorship, never direct involvement, and the thought that what is good for one, is good for all. How are you to be moved with deep, spiritual feeling without participating, and Hel, without figuring out how you can improve your connection to your beliefs by finding out ways to enhance the connection to the Divine?

If using substances can enhance (not hinder), then use it. But, and a big but at that, you must find the balance of the ecstatic feeling brought on by substances, and pure, destructive drunkeness in order to truly be able to use it properly to connect with the Divine. Know what your limits are, if a few sips is enough, then it is enough. If a puff is enough, then it is enough. Do not take more, lest you should experience something you are not prepared for and may be quite damaging.

Yay! Haus Of Gloi Emulsions!

So I received my new emulsions in the mail about a week ago now. I wanted to give them both some time to make their impressions on me! And, boy have they!

Let’s talk about Moon Dog first!

This scent is very sweet, but with depth. I loooove it! You can definitely smell that sandalwood on the top with the coconut. Now, the coconut isn’t terribly strong, but it’s what makes the blend so sweet. And for some reason, everytime I put it on, I feel like I’m smelling cedar as well, which is interesting as there’s no cedar in it, and I know I’m not actually smelling cedar. The nutmeg and clove are subtle, but they create the rich depth to the scent. It’s simply delicious!

The other one I got was Depravity!

I think this may just be my favourite so far. It smells like incense and sweetness. Again, the coconut isn’t really saying too much, but oh, it blends so well with the amber!!! The nutmeg and clove again create a deep, rich base. The “spilled wine” is absolutely amazing, gives it a big of a point, and I actually had some red wine the one night while wearing this on my hands, and I swear, the wine tasted better (it was a pretty good wine too, lol). This one is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy decadence!

So, I am going crazy over their stuff! I’ve ordered two bar soaps last weekend as well! The one is “Honey Tree”, and the other “The Brier Path”. I haven’t used bar in a long time, but I’ll see if I can get enough lather on my loofah. I’m quite excited! I will let you know about those as well when I’ve used them! 😀

And this weekend saw me with my own body care work! I made my first batch ever of deodorant! I’ve been scouring the internet for the past two months on more natural ways of keeping fresh, and fell upon this recipe which a lot of bloggers seem to love. It’s also incredibly easy to make, and fun if you own a few essential oils of your own to make a scent for it! I chose lavender (cuz it’s anti-bacterial), sweet orange, coconut and clove. Can you tell I love coconut?? I sure couldn’t! Lol. Just tried it out yesterday, and seemed to work pretty well, but we’ll see how it stands up to a whole day of moving around and such and walking to and from school! Will also keep you updated on this 😀

Homemade Deodorant
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch
5-6 tbsp coconut oil

In a small bowl, sift the baking powder and corn starch until it is completely blended.
In a separate bowl, scoop out the coconut oil. I had to mash mine a bit with a fork. Then I added a few drops of my essential oils (I’m sure fragrant oils would work just as well!). I continued to mash the coconut oil around until the eo’s were blended in. Then add it to the powder, mix well, and place in a container! 🙂

If you’re going to try this out, let me know how it works for you! I’ve read in a few blogs, that there may be a bit of a rash around week two, but after, it’s smooth sailing!

 

 

 

Full Moon Offerings

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