Friday, March 30, 2018

the language of spring

Well, it's been another little while, hasn't it? 

I like to add as many wild ingredients as possible into everyday food prep. The snow has melted (once again) so I walked the garden this crisp spring morning to see what would be good in scrambled eggs. I found yellow dock, chives, dandelion and violets -- everything looked clean enough so no washing...I don't usually wash wild/garden food unless it is absolutely necessary.

Something new around here is an old-time practice -- cooking with cast iron cookware. Currently I have three pans -- one is newish and two are from thrift shopping and appear to be very old. I like using cast iron for the usual reasons but one benefit I haven't seen mentioned is that it is so heavy that maneuvering a big frying pan is like lifting weights. I'm all for life exercise like that.

An egg-spell practice. It will be buried on the dark moon and a pansy planted over it.

Some wild honeybees moved here. The colony had lived for many years in a neighbor's tree. When the tree died, our neighbors had the tree removal experts cut out a 7-8' section and cart it over to our back yard. It was estimated that the hive area itself is several feet in height within that middle section. 

The bees seem content and we are thrilled and grateful to be part of such a unique endeavor. Plus this satisfies my secret fantasy to live inside a tree. I can imagine the hollow space of this tree divided by walls of honeycomb -- over here is the nursery and there is the capped honey area, up there is the nectar room, the drones are out back, the queen in the center of it all. It must be so warm and cozy with just the perfect level of humidity. The chanting of bees....zzzz....the fragrance...heaven.

A Rikke hat was finished -- it is a slouch hat and was fun to make, garter stitch on circular needles so there's still purling involved. I worked on this during wedding planning in December and January and finally got it blocked last month.

Holy smoke. Dried plant materials, having served their purpose, burned outside in the cauldron on a cold day. Ashes placed in the garden. Burning things takes me somewhere otherworldly.

A headband knitted in seed stitch. The last time I shopped for yarn with a friend, we decided I pick the same color every time. And she does too. Maybe everybody does.

A mossy altar was good medicine for the cold and dark months. 

I've been intentionally focused on resting over the last few months. No garden plans have been made, no seeds ordered, no new projects begun, no clothing bought or made to speak of. Like that. Now, though, I am feeling creative stirrings and the desire for clarity. Beginning to learn to listen to the language of spring and receive the messages sent by the element of air. Thinking about my inner and outer spring cleaning and taking the winds of change idea through to completion. What boons do I request. What are my visions and dreams and their meaning. Am I looking for signs and symbols, they are everywhere if only I notice. Are my grandmothers whispering to me, am I listening. What plants call to me and what dyes, medicines and meals might they offer. I hope that by learning the language and lessons of spring, I will better hear the messages of summer, fall and winter. 

I have never in all my life approached spring in quite this way. And so it goes, 'round and 'round. 
Happy Spring. xx 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

a little while

It's been a little while.

I put most of my crystals to bed on their very own mossy mattress to rest and rejuvenate. This is sort of what I've been doing too, resting and rejuvenating, after the bustle of the holidays followed by our youngest daughter's wedding.

In January I found my sewing mojo again when three moons and a butterfly started coming together. The paper fans were components for a holiday decoration that never quite made it to the finish line.

My first knitted socks were washed and blocked.

I love the rabbit sock blockers from the Knitting Shed

I'm back to sitting at my little altar table to meditate, read or journal. At the beginning of the year I drew The Star as my theme card for 2018 and I've had it on the table every since. Today I wistfully put it back into its deck and shuffled the entire deck thoroughly. After a quiet time, I drew a new card for today's guidance and it was The Star, which made me very happy indeed. Most appropriately, the herb shown on the card is skullcap, a calming relaxant and a good sleep aid. 

I pulled out roses and eucalyptus from some of the wedding centerpieces -- then hung and dried the roses in bunches and saved the eucalyptus for the dye-pot some day soon.

I am juicing nearly every day now. I've tried many different combinations of vegetables and we pretty much love them all...the only constants are celery, cucumber and lime, the other ingredients vary. 

Twenty-five moon squares made from plant-dyed cloth are being backed by hand with more plant-dyed cloth. And then assembled into rows of three. As I stitch, I think about all the women before me who sewed everything for their families by hand -- before sewing machines. They made dresses and skirts and pants and shirts. They made jackets and coats and linens and undergarments. I wonder what they think, seeing me sew these squares together...because I know they're watching, I can feel them.

Even though we're well into the month of February, I keep reading (and then reminding myself) that this is still a time of deep rest in Nature where I live and should be for people who live here, too. I very much like not hurrying on to the next thing or even thinking about what comes next. It's a dreamy time for sure. 

Good days to you. xo

Thursday, December 21, 2017

a holy day

Today is Winter Solstice, the shortest, darkest day on the wheel of the year. It's the day I had my fourth baby and it's the day he was cremated exactly seven years later. Today is a holy day.

On this cold, snowy Solstice day, I want to savor any sense of wholeness that I can feel. All day long I have been imagining how life would look if I was completely whole -- with no limitations, beyond time and unaffected by current reality. What would a perfect day look like, what would I be doing, where would I live, who would I love. Tonight by candlelight I will write my wholeness into being. I'm thinking that when all is said and done, things may not look much different than how they are now. And that's good.

Toward contentment. xx

Thursday, December 7, 2017

a sacred pause

Every so often, I do a writing exercise comparing "now" with the same time one year ago. How things have changed, what has ended and what is new. If I'm in a great place, the words come easy...if not, I have to go deeper.

I am sewing less now...but woke up the other day wanting to make a simple star. It might have had something to do with a line that I recently read and loved...."the way to the stars is not outward but rather inward."  

I miss sewing but know it's a cycle and it probably won't be long before things change.

A scrap of blue velvet for one side and a handstitched 9-patch for the other, stuffed with wool and decorated with beads and blue pins.

I am better about labeling things now.


I'm eating more roots now...baking several beets at a time to have on hand for lunches, one a day. I think I'd rather have a beet a day than an apple a day. But that could change at any time.

I'm knitting way more now and I can knit socks now. That's my first pair in the basket waiting for sock blockers to come all the way from England. I know you don't really need sock blockers but I see it as part of the experience.

I know my camera has a painting filter now, turned on by accident on Thanksgiving Day. All my photos from that day are like this. 

My youngest daughter and I are planning her wedding now.

Sometimes I feel that I'm doing less of everything I normally do. Some of that is because of wedding planning but it's also the shorter days and longer nights that gently lull us into rest and restoration. I've heard this time referred to as a sacred pause. And then I remember that trees only appear to be dormant while their roots continue to grow, all the while sinking deeper into the earth. Maybe we too grow deeper as we take our sacred pause. xx

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

letters to the otherworld

Every October my family gets together for our version of the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition. We craft, play outside, watch football and snack in the afternoon. As darkness sets in, the altar candles are lit, smoke is made in the cauldron, we have dinner and we remember our loved ones. And there is always at least one new photo on the altar of a loved one who passed over in the last year. 


I feel very strongly that these last weeks of autumn are a time for connection between the worlds. I woke up this morning thinking that as my outer world looks bleak and barren with a sense of withdrawal, that my inner world was actually stretching and energized. That I was ready to reach through any veil of separation between the visible and the invisible worlds.

And just like that, I knew that I would write letters today and that this practice would be a new tradition for me to look forward to every Samhain (All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day) from now on. I wrote three letters my little boy who passed at age seven, to my mother and to my dad. As I wrote, I held something that I knew they had touched -- to my heart and to my lips. 

I wrote what I loved most about them. I said I was sorry for certain situations. I asked them to help me know and feel more than I know and feel now. Then I filled all the candle holders with new tealights and set the altar ablaze. 

I stood watch.  

I may have done some knitting. 

And taken a short walk around the garden.

There are more letters to be written over the next several weeks. It appears that I have quite a long mailing list.



Thursday, October 5, 2017

happy tears onions

I've been stitching a little sunrise/sunset cloth -- the sun is berry-dyed silk, the river is Japanese indigo-dyed silk, the pink sky is a cotton square cut from one of my baby dresses...from when I was a baby. The mountains are calendar cloth. I don't feel like it's done yet but I'm taking a break. Funny how we can spend hours and hours on such tiny little things.

I got this wreath from Target because I thought it would match the curtains in the living room. And it does.

A year of brewing is long enough, don't you think? I think it was prettier in the jar than out of the jar.

The middle plant in the largest pot is a henna plant. It has grown so well and is about three or four feet tall. It will overwinter inside, hopefully I can keep it alive. The top right plant is patchouli and the bottom left is curry. There's also one small carob tree and a spicy scented geranium in the mix.

Here is the goji berry bush for which I still need to find a permanent home before winter. I find that fresh goji berries are not very tasty although the birds like them -- they are much better dried.

This is a deep sea flower dice bag on which mistakes were made but I'm not going to tink it.

Lots of onions overwintered from 2016's garden producing big, beautiful flower heads this past summer and some decent size onions as well. 

I read that at one time in ancient Lemuria, onions made people cry tears of joy, that there was no need to be sad for the world. As civilization evolved, onions took on a different purpose, that of helping people to cry out the sadness that blocked joy -- and in turn their hearts would soften and they could experience greater clarity. I know how good it feels to experience tears of joy but don't think it's ever happened from peeling onions. Maybe I can change that.

I labeled the seeds Happy Tears Onion.

She's going to get a new outfit soon, probably a skirt and maybe a few accessories.

An October moon cloth that I stitched a few years ago as part of a moon & stitch ritual. 

Tonight Talula and I will go out for our nightly stroll, first the front yard, then the back. We'll see the full moon, listen for night sounds and make absolutely sure there are no rabbits around. Then we'll come inside to hang the moon cloth and light a candle. And I'll wish for times of joy.