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.

video

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

snow & sew



The rain turned into snow. Trees and plants were laden with layers of ice and several inches of heavy sticky snow. It wasn't the kind of snow that you can shake off or bang with a broom before you go to bed so we had some large tree branches come down. It will be interesting to see how perennials and fruit trees handle the setback -- two years ago we had a snowstorm on May Day and I worried then too.

Today is a waning moonday in Pisces -- watery Pisces. I feel like a week of rain and/or snow has been enough water. But I know, after damage control, I'll get back to seed sowing with long heartfelt
incantations for rain. Forgive and forget, you know . . . the weather is probably harder on the gardener than it is on the garden. Everything in the little cold frame is doing pretty well, much of it is to be donated to a plant sale fundraiser.

The urge to get back to dyeing has been reawakened after a very long hibernation -- a dye-pot from last fall holds leaves and rain and snow and now a white cotton square. I never feel so wonderfully witchy as I do when stirring a dye-pot with a branch.

The flower bouquet has the funkiest rolled-up leaf that is slowly unfurling itself. It will be huge. I see more dyeing material here.

I am excited to watch Season 2 of The Great British Sewing Bee. We are in for a real treat as long as the complete season stays available. It looks like Season 3 has already begun, too.

I know what I'm doing tonight. And I am sewing something but can't show it as it will be a gift.

Happy Beeing!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

the bee yard


The bees' front yard is left au naturale as you can see. I think all of these (mostly) dooryard weeds growing and thriving together make a gorgeous tapestry. It's quite a sight and quite a feeling as well.

Young Egyptian onions were among the first things eaten from the garden along with bits of dandelion and arugula. This week we can start in on the nettles, another garden-to-table ritual.

Since it's raining and is expected to do so for the next week, I might get really organized around here. Starting with cloth sorted by color -- there's more but the room was too dark for photos.

The cards are old Uno game cards painted and collaged -- I could spend days and days doing stuff like this. It was week 15 of Journal52, the prompt was cards. I'm going to do more.

Today is a waning moon in fiery Sagittarius. It's hard to not say what we're thinking under a Sag moon because candor -- saying-it-like-it-is -- can overpower our filters. Other aspects of Sagitarrius are imagination, confidence, and adventure. The parts of the body affected at this time are the thighs and hips -- interesting that one of our dogs is hobbling on three legs today. I've been doing Tellington TTouch on her which is a form of touch healing for animals. Talula likes it which is encouraging. 

I'm wishing for a lovely week of calm.


Monday, April 27, 2015

flowers


I think it rained here for 24 hours straight over the weekend. Mostly softly but sometimes hard. Rain is my favorite form of inclement weather. And it's an opportunity to catch up on indoor things. I was going to mop the kitchen floor until I realized this would be the worst day ever to have clean floors with two dogs.

Rain-soaked pansies in a little vase. And my moon ritual cloth, pathways, with simple green stitches symbolizing the current moon cycle. I can't wait to have this on the coffee table to place objects onto -- might do that while I work on it. Week 14 of Journal52 is sweet treats. I could not get into this prompt for the longest time. Sweet treats or sweet anything were just off my radar until flowers came to mind. Honestly it still doesn't make sense to me but I do like the colors and I do love flowers.

Today is a waxing moonday in the sign of Virgo. That means it's a good time to carry out plans and projects already decided on -- we're very good on detail right now -- make time for rest, Virgo tends to overdo it.

To the magical teachings of flowers. What will we learn?

Monday, April 20, 2015

spring things


Their bloom was interrupted for several days but this is still a good year for lilacs -- they survived rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. And so fragrant, it's almost too much.

The origami seed packets are for an outreach project of my herb group. Did you know the Monarch butterfly is at risk because of loss of habitat, specifically milkweed? Milkweed is its only food source in the larval stage but agricultural methods, population growth, and weather have nearly destroyed the natural stands of milkweed. There is a big movement to replant whatever milkweed is native to your area. Even though you may not live along the Monarch butterfly's migratory route, there are many strays and they will visit your milkweed until they get back on track. It is sobering to realize how far out of control the situation became.

Not much time for stitching lately but this month's pathway sewing ritual will be "in the green." It has to be, everything is green everywhere I look. I only have two more books left to read in the Outlander book series so thought I'd prolong the inevitable by reading something else, The Orphan Train. So far so good.

Week 13 of Journal52 is spring cleaning. Cleaning is not one of my strengths, but garden clean-up is different. I love seeing how all the plants are doing, which ones are returning, who's gone toward the light.

Astrologically-speaking, a few big things happen today -- the sun moves into Taurus and a waxing moon enters Gemini. I guess you could say things are going and growing -- growing under earthy Taurus and going (here and there) with airy Gemini. Sounds like spring.