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The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh/Lammas 2014……

Merry Meet my friends!  How are you all this fine day?  How has your Summer been so far? My Summer has been wonderful really.  We have had numerous days that stayed in the 70′s giving us a reprieve from the normal HOT and Humid days of July. We’ve had a good amount of rain, so lawns are still green and growing like crazy.  I’ve done two harvest on my herbs already and they are growing strong still…heading to a 3rd harvest.  Our garden beds and veggies have loved the rain and the cooler nights too so our flowers are still budding and blooming.  The SuperMoon was pretty amazing too…such energy!!

 

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Now…can you believe it…we are just 11 days from Lughnasadh/Lammas! The first Harvest festival!  Have you noticed that the wheel is turning to Fall?   The nights are getting longer again, the Sunlight has changed, the critters are gathering, even some of my bushes/plants leaves are changing colors already.  Corn is high is the fields, sunflowers are blooming, and yes, Halloween and Fall stuff are coming out in the craft shops :)  While we have a bit of Summer left…the subtle changes are there.

“The summer air is hot and still, the afternoon hazy; crickets call relentlessly from among the brown grasses, and ears of corn are the same heavy, burnished gold as the late-day sun. Hawks circle in the blue-white sky overhead, and seedpods ripen where flowers bloomed just a month before.

 But shadows begin to lengthen along the garden wall, and the nights come, just a bit cooler, perhaps; a settling begins in the Earth, a gathering, a slow, quiet turning toward the coming darkness.”

-Simple Wicca by Michelle Morgan

 

For Lughnasadh, I love to do a few things.  Harvest my herbs (which I’ve just done), make herbed oils and vinegars, and bake bread!!  Making breads from good grains to celebrate the harvest is a favorite thing to do for me.  And the scents that come from that put me in mind of Autumn immediately!  It won’t be long before apples and pumpkins will be everywhere and that just makes me want to bake too!

Magickally, I do a simple outdoor ritual to honor the first harvest, keeping in mind that our ancestors were VERY busy at this time of year to ensure that they had ample food for the Fall and long Winter that was to come.  Planting, tending, harvesting, and storing food took a great effort in order for them to eat when they could not just go to a grocery store like we do.  I love to do some canning this time of year too….this year I’m thinking apple butter, strawberry jam and I might try my hand at pickles :)  Seeing pretty jars of colorful goodness in my pantry just makes me happy..and reminds me how Blessed we are in our time.  Kitchen Witchin too makes this Witch very happy!

 

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Having said that, I know that some people aren’t as well off as others. There are people who don’t have enough food.  Keeping this in mind, donating to food pantries or your own neighbors who may need a little help, is a kind thing to do.  Share your harvest if you can.  I often pass tomatoes and fresh homemade bread over the fence to my neighbor, Jane.  No, she’s not hungry…but she lives alone and she is always thrilled to get something I pass over to her.  It makes me happy to do it too.

I thought I’d share a recipe with you for a muffin that is wonderful this time of year. I made them the other day, when we were cool and I was thinking about Fall all day :)  Filled with apples and cinnamon and crunchy topping..they are a huge hit at my house!

 

Autumn’s Apple Crunch Muffins

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup soft butter

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced (or your favorite apple )

 

Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*Blend these ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until fine crumbs form.  Set aside.  Combine milk and egg and add to dry mixture.  Blend well.  Stir in apples; blend well.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full.  Sprinkle with brown sugar topping mix.

Bake at 375* for 25 mins or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

*makes 12

**ok…it says it makes 12…I only got 8 nice big muffins.  If you want more….I suggest you double the recipe.  Then take some to your neighbor :)

 

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These muffins will put you in a Lughnasadh state of mind…I promise :)  I want to wish you all a very Blessed Lughnasadh.  I hope your Harvest is abundant, your Joys plentiful, and that Goddess Blesses you this day and every day!

Oh…don’t forget that you can find the past 5 years of Lughnsasadh/Lammas postings, recipes, info etc by typing it in the search box on the right side here :)

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Pictures are my own.

 

 

 

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I’m a Happy Garden Witch………..

Merry Meet friends!  Hope this writing finds all of you doing well.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere..I’m guessing you’ve been enjoying Summer-like weather now! I know we have here in Ohio.  It’s been quite warm, we’ve had adequate rain, and the Garden Centers are booming with busy gardeners grabbing up flowers, shrubs, herbs and veggie plants.  I have made several trips there myself :)

This is only the 2nd Summer now in our new home and we are still planning garden beds and fine tuning what we did last year.  We lost some plants from the extreme Winter we had so we had to dig up some dead plants and decide what to do with the space.  I’m thrilled with what we’ve done.  I did most of the bed design and planting..while hubby helped me with the bigger pots and the I helped him with the mulching.

I have more I want to do yet…another bed would be great….but until I can talk hubby into it LOL….we will be planting some flowering trees like Pear and Lilac, installing a trellis or two against our fence and planting climbing flowers and putting in a big Maple tree in the backyard.  Here’s just a few pics of what we’ve done….they are newly planted but growing fast and I’m very happy with the results.  I kept in mind planting for drawing bees, birds and butterflies.  So far…it’s working :)

 

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As a Witch…..I have added Magick in many ways.  As I plant….I put my intentions and energy into each plant to grow strong and healthy..infuse it with Magick!  I draw runes and pentacles in the dirt, or even right on the wood of the raised bed of herbs.  I plant crystals in the soil, water with collected Moon Water and ask Goddess to bring Her energy and power to my home and gardens.  For me, working in soil…handling living plants, nurturing them, and watching them bloom and grow…brings me pure Joy, Grounds and Centers me, and allows me to feel one with Mother Earth.

I have many friends who don’t have yards or garden beds because they live in apartments etc.  I have friends who say they don’t have a green thumb..have no luck or desire to garden.   That’s ok too.  Not everybody is into gardening…I’m sure you have some other talent I wish I had :)   For those that want to but live in an apartment….it takes a very small space of balcony or patio or patch of dirt to plant a few things to bring you joy.  Pots are wonderful for growing flowers, herbs and even some vegetables.  The Joy is the same!

This time of year, I get such a thrill out of seeing my friend’s gardens posted on social media.  I get such great ideas and inspiration from others.  My friend Sunshine has a wonderful little balcony.  It’s one of the most magickal little places I’ve seen… with her pots of herbs and flowers and veggies, her Goddess statues and faeries….I get inspiration from her too! Though it’s a small space…it’s pure Magick!

It’s only 18 days until the Summer Solstice.  The Solstice is usually when I get to do my first harvest of herbs, and when I re-new my Witch’s Protection Bottles, wards etc around my home and yard.  I’ll be back to talk more about that soon.  In the meantime…get barefoot, go out under the waxing Moon (Friday the 13th She will be Full!) and just FEEL the warmth of the Earth, and the softness of the grass on your feet.  It will fix just about anything that’s ailing you!

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Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Faeries, Flowers, Full Moons, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Our Yard, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Uncategorized

Beltaine Blessings 2014…….

thCA8K56D9Merry Beltaine Eve my friends.  It’s been a rainy few days here with afternoon hours of Sun and warmth and gentle breezes.  Really nice!  I am ready for my celebration of this fun Sabbat and almost ready for my Circle’s celebration on Saturday night.

I’ll start the morning off tomorrow greeting the Sun..I hope…then I’ll wash my face in the dew of the Beltaine morning to help me show a fresh face for the day and to bring light and beauty to my skin for the year :)  I’ll have coffee and a simple breakfast.  At some point of the day, I’ll take a walk and make offerings along the way to the Fae and the Goddess.   In the evening, a nice meal of fresh foods and a ritual to honor the Goddess and God as they meet and create and help the Wheel to continue to turn.  A simple way to celebrate the day in a solitary way.

On Saturday eve, my Circle gathers. We will feast, make May Day baskets, have a fire where we’ll burn wishes and herbs, and we will have a small, simple ritual.  The May Day baskets will go to elderly neighbors or family members to cheer them for the day. I can’t wait!

 

I thought I would share a wonderful salad recipe with you..perfect for Summer and warmer weather. Nice and light!

 

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

4 cups mixed greens/chopped lettuce

1 cup sliced strawberries

2 kiwi, sliced

 1 avocado, sliced

2 tablespoon sliced almonds

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

zest of ½ a lime

juice of 1  lime

pinch of salt

2 tablespoon honey

Arrange the lettuce, strawberries, kiwi, avocado and almonds in a salad bowl.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients to form the dressing and drizzle over salad.

*Serves 2

Whether you’re going to a Pagan Beltaine Maypole festival, gathering with friends and family, or spending it more quietly and solitary….Beltaine is a Sabbat to celebrate.  Officially….We are into Spring, and Summer is coming!  Think flowers, gardens, bare feet, less clothes, being outside MORE!!  For many, their favorite time of year!

‘But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother,
I’m to be Queen o’ the May.’
-  Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

I wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine!  May the Sun God shine upon you always and May the Goddess always dance with you!

Blessings and love, Autumn

*Don’t forget to type Beltane or Beltaine into the search box on the right to find the last 4 years of info there…recipes, correspondence, rituals etc.

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The Wheel Turns to Beltane 2014…….

“Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.”
- Kahlil Gibran

thCA8K56D9Merry Afternoon!  As I type the title to this post..I can’t believe how fast the year is going.  Beltane already???  But yes, Spring is springing out all over..finally!  Today we are sunny and warmish…but it’s incredibly windy and that keeps things feeling a bit cool still.  But trees are budding, spring flowers blooming, birds singing, garden centers are busy and there is no denying that the Wheel is turning..turning..turning….

Here in Ohio it’s too early to plant but I have a few herbs growing on my kitchen window sill that I successfully started from seed.  Hubby and I have checked for damage after the long, frigid Winter and it looks like our  new plantings from last year (bushes, perennials, herbs) all survived but  one boxwood and are a little worried about our hydrangea bushes..but everything else is just fine!  Even my lavender plants are already greening up! Yay!

Beltane is the earliest we do any planting here and many experts suggest waiting until Mother’s day to be extra sure of no late frosts.  I however, will at least be planting happily in my herb bed by May 1 or so.  Beltane for me is the perfect Sabbat for just that!  Mother Earth is fully awake, fertile, blooming and budding by then.  The Sun God is growing in strength and warmth as well!  And all around, the animals are happy and capering about.  Don’t forget, Beltane is a lusty time of year :)

Beltane is a Fire Sabbat! We have lots of fires..to burn old, dusty, dried up herbs and yard brush, wishes and hopes written on paper, and dancing and divining with it as well.  It’s the time of year I also put out more outside protection such as witches bottles, wards, salted boundaries etc etc.  The house is open and airing out stagnant energy. I have by now cleansed and smudged the house, done my Spring cleaning and put away all the heavy winter blankets, throws, curtains etc.

All the elements come into play for Beltane as well.  Earth, Air, Fire and Water all active and present for our benefit.  We dig in the dirt to plant and walk barefoot in the new, soft grass. We listen and feel the wind through the trees with their new canopy of leaves. We have bonfires and light candles, and for many, warm weather means a trip to the nearest body of water! Use the elements again after being cooped up all Winter!

My Circle of Witches will meet around Beltane for a feast, a fire and to make May baskets for some elderly people in our lives…to brighten their May as well.  We will wear flowers in our hair and go barefoot and welcome the warmth of the Sun, the longer days, and planting season.  The Goddess and God will romp and love and create..and if we are wise, we will too!!

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Beltane is a big time for community gatherings. You will find Pagan festivals, Maypole dancing and garden shows this time of year.  Go check them out and support them!

Be sure and type Beltane into the Search box for previous postings, correspondence, recipes etc for Beltane.  I’ll be back with a new recipe or two soon.  In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of Spring and plan a wonderful, fun, frolicking Beltane celebration for you and your loved ones!  Spring Blessings!!!

“The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds.  For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.”
-  Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur 

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Blessed Ostara 2014………….

Merry Meet my friends! The first day of Spring has finally arrived! Here…it’s not that warm..in the 40′s… but the Sun is shining, a soft breeze is blowing, birds are singing and I am seeing some Spring bulbs poking out of the ground and trees budding if I look real, real close :)

I started out the day greeting the Sun as He rose while having a cup of coffee. I lit a candle in gratitude for the turning of the Wheel and the return of the Sun. I re-filled bird feeders and put out some dried corn for the squirrels once I got dressed. Once I did that, I headed out to the florist (NO tulips or daffodils yet anywhere!) and purchased a mixed flower bouquet. Then I went to the garden center and got 6 herb seed packets and a couple of starter trays.

 

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Now I have started my herbs from seeds for many years, at my old home where I had a perfect place to do it. Here at this house…while I have sunny East facing windows, I can’t put pots of dirt and seeds there with 2 kitties who will have fun with that! LOL. So I’m going to attempt to grow a few in my kitchen window on the sill. I planted 4 each of lavender, sage, basil, parsley, thyme and rosemary. We shall see what happens but it made me happy on this Spring Equinox day to do it. I set crystals on my window sill too and did a seed blessing as I planted them. (for my seed blessing..be sure to type Ostara into the search box on the right).

My altar has been ready for a week or so now, so I added the pretty flowers and I’m ready to go. I have smudged the house and cracked a few windows as well. I’m doing small things to celebrate the day, all day long, and tonight I will do a Welcome Spring ritual at my altar.

 

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Now I am hearing that we will have lovely warm weather tomorrow but probably some rain… then temps will drop back into Winter weather and we have SNOW forecasted for Tuesday! :) Now this is just typical for where I live here in Ohio…give it a day and it will change again. I’m not going to let it spoil my Spring though and don’t you let it either. As a Witch, we can feel the quickening of our Mother Earth. She is awakening most definitely and it won’t be long before we will be merrily working in our gardens and complaining about the heat LOL.

I hope you and your loved ones have a very Blessed Ostara. May Joy, Love, Peace, Abundance and Light be yours today and always!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2014…………

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

~Proverb

Merry Afternoon my friends. Hope that you are all doing great this blustery March day?! Well, we had a taste of Spring for a couple of days here in Ohio. It was in the 60′s and the Sun was shining! It was the kind of day that I had my daughter and grandkids over to play outside, windows were open and letting the house air out of old stagnant Winter weather, and we even grilled out for dinner! Today? A whole different day LOL. Winter has come back with snow flurries, freezing cold weather and blustery winds. *sigh* Well, it was nice while it lasted….and it will be back and SOON!! :)

I have spent some time today getting ready for Ostara. My Circle has decided to meet for brunch on the Sunday after Ostara ( Ostara is the 20th by the way!) We will have pastries and fruit and lavender lemonade! I’m working on my altar as well. I love the Ostara altar..it’s one of my favorites. Pastel colors, eggs, rabbits, tulips or daffodils, and baskets just lift my spirits in it’s brightness and lightness! I’ll also set up a kitchen altar as well!

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                                                        *Part of my Ostara altar from 2011

Some of the things I love to do for Ostara is to, of course, color eggs and bake breads. Egg recipes are popular for light lunches and breakfasts as well. Egg salad, deviled eggs, quiches, and omelets especially! Another thing I’m doing is perusing my seed catalogs, garden books and magazines and planning for when I can get outside and start working in my gardens again! For the seeds, I love to do a seed blessing ritual..to bless them to grow strong and healthy and to carry powerful Magick within them as well! You can bless and consecrate your seedlings and young plants as well of course! My hands long to dig in the dirt and my barefeet long to be planted on Mother Earth! Can’t wait!

Ostara is also a great time to finish up any Spring cleaning you didn’t get done at Imbolc. Cleaning windows, curtains, throw rugs and blankets are high on my list of things to do as Spring arrives. Also, carpet cleaning, if you have carpets, is good to do too! I also check the condition of my outdoor bird feeders to see if they need to be replaced for Spring/Summer. Winter is hard on them and I often invest in new ones this time of year. I’m also shopping for a new bird bath this year! :)

I thought that you all would enjoy my recipe for Lavender Lemonade to enjoy for your own Ostara feast. It is also posted in the Sunday Stew I told you about last time I wrote. I hope that you have gone and checked it out! It is well worth your time.

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                                                         *picture courtesy of Simply Recipes

 

 

Lavender Lemonade

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1-2TB dried lavender flowers (organic, chemical free)
*chopped fine

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add lavender flowers. Cover and let stand for one hour.

Strain lavender from sugar water and discard lavender as you wish. Stir in additional cold water and lemon juice. Pour into a pretty pitcher and add ice and sliced lemons.

Makes 6 servings

Don’t forget to type in Ostara or Spring Equinox in the search box on the right here to find all my past posts and recipes..there are a LOT!  I’ll be back soon too.

As much as Winter still has a grip on us, there has been some Spring in the Air for most of us I think.  Enough to remind us that it’s coming and soon!  In the meantime, do some spring cleaning,  set up your altar, buy some seeds to start in your Sunny window, and color some eggs.  Soon it will be Spring in your heart and you will feel lighter!  Honest! :)

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2013…….

daffodils in snowMerry Meet on this beautiful Spring-like day here in Ohio!  Spring has not arrived here yet…as a matter of fact we just had a huge snow storm dumping 4-9 inches, depending on where you live, of a very heavy wet snow!  (We got about 4-5 inches here).  But today it’s going to hit 50*..the snow is melting fast, the Sun is shining and it’s just beautiful outside.  Spring is not far at all from being here..both by date and by Nature :)

Ostara is on March 20th this year.  The first day of Spring..the Equinox.  Ostara for me always means new beginnings..a fresh start…and knowing that in no time I’ll be working away in my yard and gardens! This year I’m even more excited because I have a whole new yard to plan and design flower beds, garden beds, and landscaping for!  I’ve already been jotting down what bushes, trees, flowers I want to add to the yard.  I’ve been perusing garden catalogs and magazines looking for fresh ideas.

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We have a smaller yard here..much smaller then the 2.5 acres we had before.  But we have more sun and I can garden to my hearts content in a smaller, maxed out space that I can handle without killing myself LOL.  We will be extending our patio, putting up a privacy fence first.  Then beds will go in around the inside of the fence..possible a raised bed for veggies and herbs and of course pots everywhere.  We already have a cute garden shed and I’m putting in a clothesline that I’m sooo excited about having again.  There is nothing better then the scent and feel of bedsheets hung outside to dry!  Big plans…can’t wait to have the weather break to start executing the ideas!

I will get a chance to experience a bit of Spring early because I’m leaving for Tennessee Monday for 5 days where it is warmer and Spring is blooming there already!  It’ll be nice to shed the winter coats and soak up some warmth there.  I love the Smoky Mountains as anyone who knows me knows…and I am in spiritual need of seeing them and being in them!!  It’s been 2 years due to my health issues and my daughter’s and our move and long overdue.  *Sigh*  …it’s my 2nd home…feels so peaceful and calm when I’m there.  Pure Bliss!

Now back to Ostara…it’s a great time to think about planting seeds to grow indoors, depending on where you live.  Don’t forget to bless those seeds to grow strong and healthy and magickally before you plant them!  It’s a great time to do your Spring cleaning if you haven’t already. Clean your windows and window coverings, shake out rugs or have them cleaned, freshen up worn out throw pillows, fluff cushions, clean out your fridge, organize your pantry and on warm days..throw open your doors and windows and air out that stagnant, old air in your home that’s been brewing all Winter!  Put away your heavy quilts and throws and lighten up for Spring!  Put away your winter woolies and pull out your lighter clothes.   Dust out the cobwebs and dust bunnies. You’ll feel so much lighter when everything is clean and fresh!

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I came across a couple of recipes I thought would be lovely for Ostara and thought I’d share them with you ….I know you all LOVE recipes :)

 

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Lemon-Thyme Curd Cakes

1 cup plus 2 tbs unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 1/2 tbs minced fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh lemon zest

1/2 tsp coarse salt

*1 recipe of Lemon-Curd Whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350*

Spray 6 (2 x 2inch) round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray with flour.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3-4 mins.   Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, stirring to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, thyme, lemon zest and salt.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 batches, mixing until combined after each addition.  Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each prepared cake pan

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 16-22 mins. Cool in pan for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wrap cakes tightly with plastic wrap, Freeze until firm approximately 2 hours.  Cut each cake into 3rds horizontally.

Place the Lemon-Curd whipped topping in a pastry bad with a medium round tip.  Pipe the topping between the 3 layers of cake and stack them.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

 

Lemon-Curd Whipped Topping

3 cups frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

1 cup prepared lemon curd

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp coarse salt

In a medium bowl, gently fold together all ingredients. Transfer to an airtight container.  Refrigerate for 2 hours before using.

*This sounds like a bit of work but I think it’s so worth it!!  Sounds so refreshing and so pretty too!

*Recipe from Tea Time Magazine

 

Spring Mix Salad with White Balsamic-Apricot Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbs white balsamic vinegar

3 tbs apricot nectar

1/2 tsp minced shallot

1/4 tsp salt

1 (5 oz) bag of spring mix lettuces  (I say use the fresh stuff :)

3 tbs chopped dried apricots

3 tbs almond slices

1/4 cup sliced purple onion

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, apricot nectar, shallot and salt.  In a large salad bowl, place lettuces, top with apricots, almonds and onions.  Serve with vinaigrette.

*Serves 6

*Recipe from A Cottage Journal

 

Well I’m off to peruse my garden mags and books and catalogs some more :)  Hope you all  have a wonderful weekend and know that Spring..at least in the Northern Hemisphere..is on it’s way!!  Get ready!!!

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt
everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the
dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

 

Love and Light, Autumn

 

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2012………..

Merry Meet friends.  Hot, Humid and Dry.  Pretty well sums up the end of June and all of July here in Ohio..as I know many of you are experiencing the same thing where you live.  Those who know me, know I’m not a fan of Summer…and this oppressive weather makes that even more true. lol.   I’ve heard so many talking about it being the hottest, driest Summer they can remember for a while..and I thought the same thing.  Until I went back and read my Lugnasadh post from last year at right about this same time.   What was I talking about?   How hot and dry it was!   Just goes to show how quickly we forget from year to year.  So I will wait this out, try to find something good about it..and keep sweating and lagging along til it cools off. :)  We are expecting some rain tomorrow..that will go a long way to making things better!

I have really struggled to keep my flowers and herbs alive this year.  Despite watering constantly, they are not all lush and green like usual.  Water from a hose just is not the same as a good fresh rain.  Our grass….pretty well looks dead…but with a good soaking I’m sure it will come back.   I feel so badly for the farmers and their crops and the poor animals who must be struggling to find water.  I have put out big bins of water..keeping them filled…and I’ve seen everything from birds to groundhogs and possums to deer drinking from it.  Seeing deer drinking from it…amazing!  Made me feel good to see it….like I am doing a good thing :)

I can’t believe it’s the middle of July already.  Lughnasadh is not far off..August 1….and tonight is the New Moon as well.  I will be doing a small ritual ..for new beginnings on my new project.  Well kind of new.   I have started an online business…something I’ve wanted to do for 2 years now…and something has kept me from doing it for that long…my own hesitations..and my recent illness..but I have finally got the show on the road.  Verbena Lane Botanicals is my herbal products business.  I make bath, beauty and healing products.  Right now we have a facebook page and we are selling from it  (we being my daughter Kate and I).  She is very busy being a mom of 2 little ones, studying medical billing and coding, and being pregnant with baby #3 :))) Yes, I’m going to have another grandchild in January..I’m thrilled!  Anyway I digress LOL.   So I have taken over the business pretty much for now.  I’m listing new products each week and orders are coming in nicely and keeping me busy.  An etsy shop will be our next step as well.   Check it out if you’d like :)

https://www.facebook.com/VerbenaLane

I’ve received some wonderful messages asking how I’m doing.  I’m happy to say that just in the last couple weeks, I am feeling much much better.  My energy level is returning, my headaches are better,  and I continue to improve some of the cognitive problems I was having.  I feel sharper mentally.  I still get tired and am still remembering what I told all of you…to put myself first more often..to take care of myself…to rest when I need to etc.  I thank you all again for your prayers and well wishes.

Back to Lugnasadh.  There is not much more I can say about this first Harvest Sabbat that I haven’t said in previous posts from the last 3 years.  It is one of my favorite Sabbats simply because it is the first Harvest one!  Harvest..what a wonderful word. It implys the end of the Summer. Coming soon, my favorite Season of Autumn.  Harvest..meaning farm stands will be full of produce, grown by Mother Earth with the help of hardworking farmers and gardeners.  Harvest….time to cut my herbs, dry them, and enjoy my own harvested work.  Harvest..reminds me of my grandmother, canning and preserving all the bounty from her own gardens, with me by her side, doing what I could and watching her, learning.  Harvest..animals gathering, nesting, hustling.

 

Lugnasadh for me is baking homemade, grain-filled breads.  It’s making herb infused oils and vinegars so I can enjoy my herbs all Winter long.  It’s enjoying the last hot, hazy days of Summer…family cook-outs, family vacation, tending gardens and herbs, making some jams to go with that great homemade bread, time outdoors, porch sitting,  and starting to think about cooler days. I love to pull out my Autumn cookbooks…start perusing recipes I want to try this year..putting me in the mood for Fall and good hot meals…and lets not forget mid August brings back football!!   (Go Bengals!)

I hope that all of you have some plans made for Lugnasadh.   I usually light candles all over the house in the evening, enjoy a glass of wine and dream of bright colored leaves falling from trees, pumpkins, mums, woodsmoke and fires, good foods made with apples,  sweaters and crisp air.  Lugnasadh reminds us that the season will be changing soon :)

I will come back soon and post a couple of recipes from those cookbooks I was talking about.  In the meantime, I hope you have a Blessed New Moon!

“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.”
-  Michelle L. Thieme,

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*Pics of bread, oils and jams are my own. :)  *ok..for some reason the oils and jam picture won’t post…I’ll try again tomorrow :)

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Filed under Autumn, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mother Earth, Nature, New Moons, Photography, Quote, Summer

The Wheel turns to Summer Solstice 2012….

Merry Meet friends.  I hope that your Spring has been as beautiful as mine and that all is well with all of you.  I haven’t written for a while…my health issues have caused a bit of a problem with coming up with what to write and even the desire to write..but I was in the mood so here I am :)   Spring came quite early here in Ohio, probably for you too.  It was such a mild Winter most everywhere and it warmed up fast.  It’s been just beautiful here…though we are now having quite hot temperatures, hitting 90′s the next several days already.  Because of the warm Winter and even warmer Spring, gardening and outdoor activities got under way much earlier then usual and it’s been wonderful! 

My herbs from last year happily sprang back up and are huge and ready to be harvested already!  Many of my flowers are already in  full bloom and everything is green and lush.  Lawns needed to be cut early, mulching done, garden centers hopping busy, and Mother Earth is in full bloom in May!  I have noticed that birds are singing louder and happier..(I know..it could be my imagination but I don’t think so!) , critters are scurrying and playing.   We have a koi pond and the frogs are so abundant and so noisy it’s amazing!  There are a lot of new baby fish this year too. 

Porch time started early…and the bugs…well…the bad thing about a mild Winter is the bugs are multiplied.  June bugs, lady bugs, crickets, spiders, wasps, bees, mosquitos…yep…they are everywhere!  I haven’t seen any lightning bugs yet but I’m sure they’ll be along any day :)  LOL maybe thats why the birds are so happy? :)   I can’t wait for the farmers markets and produce stands to open around us…it won’t be long now.  I have the biggest craving for grilled corn on the cob, big, ripe and red tomatoes and some ice cold watermelon!

The Summer Solstice…I can’t believe how fast it’s coming up.  Just those words bring back so many memories of carefree Summer days not only when I was a child but when my girls were little too.  Now I get to watch my grandchildren play in the dirt, collect bugs, swim, run in the sprinkler, get sticky with watermelon and need baths more then once a day LOL.   The cycle continues and the lazy, hazy days of Summer always bring back some nostalgia for me.  Though I’m not a fan of really hot days these days..crone that I am…I still love the whole idea that Summer is a time for families, outdoor activities, cookouts and 4th of July parades.   Riding bikes, picnics, swimming in lakes, oceans and pools, being tan and active and soooo tired at the end of the day.  It’s reading in hammocks and lawn chairs or blankets under a tree in the shade.  It’s fishing, and hiking and gardening.  Ice tea on the porch and lemonade stands….have you seen a lemonade stand lately?  I think they are making a come back!  I often think that Summer is for the young…but as I get older, I find my own appreciation of it as well, in a different way.  It’s time to feel young again..to join the kids running thru sprinklers, cranking the ice cream maker, playing frisbee or floating on a raft.  Ah..Summer..it’s such a great time of year. 

 

Some fond memories I have as a child was drive-in movies…remember those?   There are just a couple left near where I live and I think it’s sad that they’ve gone away.  When I was quite young…my dad worked a 2nd job at a drive-in movie theatre on the weekends…well..apparantly, that allowed our family of 4 kids and my mom to get to come see movies most weekends.  I can remember mom and dad loading us up..in our jammies of all things LOL  but we all were under the age of 8-10 with me being the oldest.  We would make up a big bag of popcorn..cheaper to bring our own…a jug of Kool-aid, toys and books etc.  We would get here early so my dad could report to work and we’d get a good spot to park.  Right by the play-yard and the concession stand.  We’d get out a play til the movie started.  The rules were…we were allowed to watch the first movie..had to lay down for the 2nd movie. LOL  Apparantly the first movie was kid friendly, the 2nd one was not.  That’s why I would take a book and a flashlight :)  We often thru blankets out in front of the car and laid on them to watch the movie.  I remember seeing Disney movies mostly.  My dad would come sit with us between movies a bit…bring us some candy sometimes.   It’s a good memory I have from a childhood that wasn’t always so great.  I took my girls to a few drive-in movies when they were little as they were still around then.   I wonder if my grandkids will even know what they are?  

As a Witch, the Summer Solstice..or Litha..is the time of year I put out new protection bottles, place new protection around my home, give offerings to the Fae and Goddess,  harvest my herbs as they grow, and keep myself grounded to Mother Earth..my feet in her dirt and grass and sand, my face to the Sun, my back leaning against a tree, my hands weeding or planting or watering, and my heart connects to the starry skies, the Moon, the warm Summer winds or the warm refreshing rain.  It’s a beautiful time of year. 

As I am still recovering..I think I appreciate even more the Seasons of the year then I always have.  I have always done my best to make the most of every day, to find magick everyday, to be sure my loved ones know they are loved by me everyday.  Now…I find it even more important to be sure I enjoy the moments..not let my mind be spinning constantly with what is coming next or what needs to be done tomorrow.  Summer is a slow-down and stop and smell the roses season…that is what I intend to do this Summer!  and oh yes..I intend to play….like a child….everyday!  I know many of you do that too! 

“There shall be eternal Summer in the grateful heart.”

 ~Celia Thaxter

I am perusing recipes for Litha for my next post.  Be sure to check out the last two years of posts for the Summer Solstice too..recipes, altars, pics etc.  Just type it in the Search gadget.  I want to thank so many of you again for all the healing, prayers and well wishes sent my way.  I will always remember and be grateful for it.  Thank you.

Blessings and Love, Autumn

Sources…some pics are internet, some are mine….

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Filed under Faeries, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Grandchildren, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, Movies, My Favorite Things, Nature, Photography, Quote, Seasons, Summer

The Wheel turns to Ostara 2012……..

Merry Meet dear friends.  I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend.  I know I did.  We have enjoyed a few days of seeing the Sun shining!  It’s been wonderful after several gloomy ones.   Though it’s cold out, the Sun makes me feel all warm inside.   I’m sitting by a warm fire, stocking feet up on an ottoman, laptop on lap and glass of Baileys by my side.  I’m listening to my Ipod, hubby is snoozing in his chair next to me, and my daughter went on to her room for the night.  It’s peaceful and quiet and my mind turned to the next Sabbat…Ostara…so I decided to write a post. 

First, feel free to do a search here on my blog for Ostara…that will bring up all the previous posts I’ve written over the last 2 years.  That way you can find the correspondences, recipes, pics of altars, rituals etc again.  I don’t want to keep repeating myself every time I write on the same subject :)  As we all know, Ostara is the first day of Spring!  The days are longer and starting to get warmer.  Depending on where you live, you may see grass starting to green, spring flowers starting to shoot up from the ground, critters and birds getting more active, and people getting out a bit more, shedding their heavy winter coats.  Garden Centers are filling up with seed packets, spring bulbs and flowers, patio pots, and all the goodies us garden Witches love. The stores are filling up with Easter candy, stuffed rabbits, and Spring clothing.  Everybody’s mood gets just a bit lighter and a bit more energetic..a Spring in their step so to speak LOL. 

 

 

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want -

 oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want,

but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! 

 ~Mark Twain

 

Now here in Ohio…March can often have us with snow on the ground still.  But sometimes, we see balmy weather and an early Spring too.  Either way, I can still feel Spring coming in my soul….and it feels great!  As much as I love Winter, Spring is a wonderful time of year too.  My mind turns to cooking lighter, planning out my gardens and herb pots, finishing up any Spring cleaning that didn’t get done (I always save carpet cleaning and window cleaning for this time of year) and planning some outdoor fun.  Taking nature walks this time of year is so wonderful!  While on a walk, pay attention to what you see around you.  The trees may be budding, spring ground cover blooming, mushrooms may be growing and you might see some baby critters too.  Take a big old sniff of the air and the dirt….you can smell Mother Earth waking up, stretching, blooming…..ahhhhhh!  If it’s really warm, take off your shoes and walk in the grass and dirt…or sit up against a tree, Sun shining on your face and feel the Earth’s vibrations..you can literally feel Her humming….vibrating….coming alive!  Let the energy surge thru you….feel the quickening in your heart and soul.  It’s magick!!

 

Right around Ostara is when I start picking up the things I need to start my herb seedlings.  I buy the organic pots, organic soil and good seeds.  I like to get them planted and growing right around the first day of Spring.  I bless them with a magickal spell (you’ll find it in last years post here) and keep a close eye on them for the next 6 weeks.  I love doing that..watching them sprout and grow.  Some seeds do better then others…but I try every year to see how they do.  Then right around Mother’s day…into the ground and/or pots they go!  I love the whole process..it makes me happy! 

My family celebrates Easter as well with members of our extended family who are Christian.  So we do the family ham dinner, dye eggs and hide them for the grandkids, dress up in pastels etc. There are bunnies and tulips and colored eggs on my pastel- colored altars too.  Yes, Easter is a nod to our Ostara, though Pagans don’t celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ….a Christian belief.   Ostara…… is more about recognizing the lengthening days, the awakening of our Mother Earth, the work to come in our gardens, and the long dark spell of Winter being over! It is the turning of the Wheel…then end of one season and the start of the next.  I still like to have beautiful meal of good food with my family for Ostara too.  Being outdoors is a must and I like to do a ritual to welcome Persephone back from the Underworld..bringing Spring with her!   As a Mother, I can imagine the joy Demeter must feel everytime her beloved daughter comes back.  Think of that joy and find it yourself in your celebration of this beautiful Sabbat. 

In the next week or two..I’ll be posting a few recipes, pics of my altar, and I’ll post pics of Mother Earth coming to life around me.  Don’t forget if you want to…to look for my posts from last year and the year before for MORE recipes and more information.  We have about a month until Ostara…I’m sure we will have more Winter weather in the meantime.  But now….you can start thinking about what you’ll be doing when this next month or so is over and Spring has arrived.  A wonderful way to while away the cold Winter days that are left :)  It won’t be long til you’ll see this……:) 

  

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*Sources..my own writing, all pics from the internet.

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Filed under Easter, Family, Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Winter