Monday, June 29, 2015

the roses are fine

A little 9-patch cloth weaving in the works. I wonder if my color choices are a subconscious effort to replace the many flowers lost in the garden. Because we recently had hailstorm #6 -- I took that photo of a mound of hail the morning after. Our tomatoes have regrown their foliage so many times I don't know if they can pull off another resurgence. Cucumber, cilantro and basil plants are 3" stubs again. I've sowed more seeds but won't buy any more plants. It's just a really strange year weather-wise. 

On a happier note, the roses are fine. I've been reading and learning about roses and how rose spirit medicine focuses on matters of the heart. Love and joy are her gifts -- feelings that harden, weaken or break the heart are transformed. I don't know that anyone can feel anger or shame or any difficult emotion whilst breathing in the pure spirit of Rosa.

I'm hoping to dry most of this year's Gertrude Jekyl rose harvest for teas and syrups. A very small amount will be used fresh in the tiniest jar I can find to make tincture. By the drop rather than the dropperful fits my intention to experience plants on an energetic level.

Other summer doings around here: Japanese-indigo-dyed wool yarn washed and dried, labeling lovely simple wooden plant stakes -- a gift from Colonial Williamsburg, growing a collection of wild wood bits and pieces mostly from walks, concocting a journal52 page with a quote that made me literally sigh in relief the first time I saw it. Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life. --Brian Andreas

Today is a waxing moonday in Sagittarius -- I was moonstruck by last night's gorgeous gibbous moon. And have you noticed how brightly Venus and Jupiter shine in the west as they creep closer and closer together, night after night? They will be their very closest tomorrow evening, June 30 -- apart by only half the diameter of a full moon. If you're near-sighted, it'll look like one really bright star. 

It's getting exciting, I tell you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

take the moon by its horns

I love the old, beat-up chalkboard as a background, a tray, a frame, and a place to doodle. It used to hang in our basement for the kids to keep game scores on so it has a long history. The camera focused on the flower, a gazania -- in this case, the camera knew best. 

A new pathway for June's moon stitch ritual -- the cable chain-stitch in orange. With all the rain this spring, some valerian plants are growing up to 5-6' tall, normal is about 4'. This stand of valerian, Valeriana officinalis, the little spruce tree and the bench are in a pocket-sized wild area and if you sit there and close your eyes, you can smell the mountains. 

Yesterday was a new moon in Gemini, the zodiac sign that helps us to be curious enough to find out what is needed for real change. In general a new moon cycle brings about opportunities for change and growth. So I am taking the moon by the horns.

It's time for me to let go of the first half of the year and begin anew -- yes, right here in the middle of the year. I've been over-committed for quite some time and nearly every day of the past year I questioned why and how I got myself into the situations I did. I began planning on withdrawing from some things and limiting others. I finished out my commitments, one by one. Rather than cutting longtime threads of connection I decided to cut those threads some slack instead to create distance and rest. And here I am at the point of completion that I've held in my heart to look forward to for so many months. 

June...sitting with beloved plants...and bees...crazy big chunks of time to cut/paste/paint crazy art...needle chanting in the sewing room while the pups Daisy and Talula sleep, the ceiling fan hums and aspen leaves rustle...listening to darkness outside...knitting on the porch swing...days and days in a row with no place to be but home.

If and (probably) when life turns from being into doing again and I find myself paying the piper too much, I will have to let it all go again. Until I get it.

Wishing everyone a beautiful June, what remains.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

viola seed bombs

We're way ahead of the game with all this rain, 10.21" of precipitation already -- our yearly average is only 14.30". In 2008, we had 10.23" the entire year. Another inch is forecast over the next 24 hours. Not sure what it all means or when exactly I'll finish planting. I do know exactly what window of opportunity means, however -- it means those hours or days between rains when the soil is dry enough to work and plant. We've also had five hailstorms, one very bad that calls for replacement stock in some areas and also a new roof.

The little bouquet of flowers in a salt shaker vase was a party favor. And my sewing machine is home again after a few weeks at the spa. She is repaired, cleaned inside and out, and has a healthy glow about her. Even though I don't sew that much, I am attached to this machine and really didn't like it being away. I thought about buying a new one but only for about 15 minutes because this one is the only one for me.

In case you like coffee substitutes, Teeccino has a new line of "tee" -- dandelion caramel nut made into an iced Americano-kind of beverage is amazing, I have one every afternoon lately. Lattes would be good too, I bet.

I love old-fashioned garden violets, Viola sp. Have you ever seen viola seed capsules? They don't form from petaled blossoms like their pansy cousins -- viola seed capsules form after spring bloom from small closed-petaled, self-pollinating (cleistogamous) blossoms along the trailing stems at the base of the plant. As the capsules dry out and shrink, pressure is created until the whole thing bursts to disperse its seeds. The original seed bombs. Being self-pollinated, these seeds are true-to-parent as well. From this one small clump it's easy to see how they proliferate so easily.

I find these cloudy days are conducive to waning moonwork -- completion, letting go, resting and dreaming. A forgotten 10-month-old dye bundle was unrolled -- those wrinkles are going to be impossible to get out though, right? -- the Hitchhiker scarf dance still going slow but easier after transferring to longer needles, a completed page for Journal52: treasure, and one new book bought solely on its good title.


Q: How many fairy godmothers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Into what?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

peony moon

As the sun rises higher, the house gets darker. I never really noticed this change in light until a few years ago when I started taking more photos. I like it though, it's easier to pretend it's not so hot when the light is dim.

The peonies. They have something in common with the lilacs this year, yes they do -- these Sarah Bernhardts have endured snowstorms, rainstorms and hailstorms -- and still pushed bud into bloom in record numbers. They are the shaggiest, cuddliest flowers.

The other day I sorted through the thread nest to find green threads of various shade and size for the woven cloth. But I see one red thread in the photo, it must have been too dark to see right.

The little calendar/moon cloth was part of 2013's moon stitch ritual -- when its month rolls along, each little moon cloth gets to come hang out again. I was struck by how nicely the June cloth coordinates with the card I drew on the last new moon -- the tower. Some people don't like to draw this card because it looks scary plus the meaning is one of change which can be uncomfortable. Other aspects are an inner awakening and clearing out old patterns and obstacles. All of which can only be a good thing, in my case.

Today is a full moon in Sagittarius. It's always nice on the full moon to take notice of that which has come to fruition. I see gardens tidied and planted (mostly), peonies and roses in bloom, newly-planted aspen, spruce and juniper trees -- and the greenest grass ever. And much more.

Full moon, full heart. xo


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

a mystical kinship

Today is a waxing moon day in Virgo, the organizer. Do you find yourself making lists? I do -- that's how I know it's a Virgo moon, because Virgo days feel more detail-oriented than normal. And remember Mercury is still retrograde (more here) -- I've been reminding myself of that when things don't run smoothly -- somehow it takes the edge off. Mercury goes direct again on June 11.

The woven cloth -- thrifted linen and cotton shirts, torn in strips -- was an early project from one of Jude's classes -- it was meant to be a grove of trees, aspen specifically. But then I realized the tree trunks should have been woven with lighter cloth. How could I space that out, we have aspen trees growing all over the place? A few years ago the sun piece was added and now four years later I'm kantha stitching. The way the loose strips shrink to the perfect size as I stitch is pure magic. I think I may try using light-colored threads on the browns because of it being an aspen grove. I tried to make it another kind of grove, I thought okay this can be an oak grove or a linden grove -- but it cannot be changed -- it is an aspen grove.

One of my new journal pages for Journal52 is a simple collage of aspen sentiments. Aspen is sacred to me, there is a sense of comfort and protection about her. She whispers, rustles and shimmers, heals and helps -- and I trust her. Have you ever stroked an aspen tree trunk? It is as soft as velvet, maybe softer. Some think of aspen as a weed tree which is preposterous.

For lunch today, I cooked up a pot of fresh nettle leaves. Usually I drain off the cooking water and add sauteed onions, garlic and butter or olive oil to the greens but this was just leaves and water with salt and it was delicious. I ate most of it but there is still about a pint left in the refrigerator. Something different I'm going to try this spring is to cook it in small batches, about 4 cups of greens to 4-6 cups of water, reserve portions for eating right away, and freeze the rest (leaves and broth) in quart-size jars. Some for the table and some for the freezer, all in one sweep. This method will take up more room in the freezer but will also be less work than blanching and straining before freezing. Now that the rain is letting up, the aphids will be moving in soon and they love nettle nearly as much as me so I need to take immediate action.

Petunias are the perfect size for the little glass vase -- it's only a couple of inches high. I saw it holding one zinnia by the cash register in a shop and asked if it was for sale. They said it could be and now it's my favorite vase.

Wishing you leisurely days of doing/making/enjoying the things you love best.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

bees in a box

Retrieving a bee swarm by myself for the first time took forever in a blink of an eye. A small secondary swarm from our bee colony had been hanging on juniper branches for six days. Efforts to lure them into a hollow log-turned-house failed and they had endured rain and cold long enough. I thought about them every morning, every hour, and every night before I went to sleep. The Bee Goddess Melissa must have finally intervened because yesterday I knew I had to get them down. Immediately.


The bulky bee suit, the height of the ladder, being squeezed in the lilac and juniper brush while cutting two high-ish branches, then bringing them down slowly and safely were all part of the dream. I have to say I was terrified. And when all the honeys were reunited with their new virgin-queen mama in the cardboard box, the after-effects of adrenaline kicked in -- I felt faint, knelt on the ground, and trembled. And took this video on my phone! (The MB size has been reduced to work with (old) blogger so the smaller image is better than the enlarged and the volume needs to be cranked up. Not the best, I know.)

Last night I drove the honeys to their brand new, sparkling-white cottage.

May all our bee cousins thrive and be well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

moon of may

A trail of starflowers makes a pathway for the moon of May, part of this year's monthly sewing ritual -- pathways -- one pathway for each moon of the year.

Today the waxing moon travels under the sign of Gemini. Every two and a half days the moon shines through a different sign of the zodiac (unlike the sun which shines through a different sign monthly). We may notice a specific and pronounced emotion under a particular moon sign and before we know it, the feeling or desire is gone and we're on to the next thing. Moon signs can also affect our bodies -- today the waxing moon being in the sign of Gemini affects our arms, shoulders, lungs, and hands. That means actions taken toward healing those parts may be more effective while at the same time, they may also be more easily stressed. 

Yesterday, I thought to myself that I've not been good to my hands and probably never have -- of course it was a Gemini moonday! -- gardening, cleaning, and a new paring knife have taken their toll. It's laughable that I've gone through more band-aids in the last month than in the previous 10 years -- the knife is seriously sharp. Using my homemade comfrey salve more is a good first step, and then maybe some non-toxic nail polish from Whole Foods. You never know. 

If you feel that your flow is a little disrupted, never fear because Mercury went retrograde on May 18. It happens three or four times each year and will go direct again on June 11.  More on Mercury retrograde here. The faded but intact prayer flags are several years old, I made them in 2012. If I made them today, I think I would write the exact same sentiments. The idea is to allow them to remain in the elements, releasing their intentions as they disintegrate. 

I am addicted to watching the Great British Sewing Bee on Youtube and am now on Season 3. I want to sew something so badly but my 40-year-old Viking Husqvarna is on the blink so she and I are going to the repair shop this afternoon. Sadly (as the judges always say about mistakes on the Sewing Bee), it will take three weeks. The judges criticize quite delicately. 

Still cold and rainy here, going to have to do a sun-dance. Or stitch a sun-charm. xo