Category Archives: Our Yard

The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2016……..

IMG_0857Merry Meet my friends!  I have been terribly re-miss on writing here in my blog and I’ll tell you why shortly.  It’s a cloudy day, and warmish, hitting 60* right now.  Earlier the Sun was out and there was a gorgeous crescent Moon last night to enjoy and draw energy from 🙂  Rain is coming in later..which we DON’T need!  Our backyard is flooded!  But there are signs of Spring everywhere in our yard.  From the animal and bird activities, to the greening of the grass, and the shoots popping up out of the ground from lots of our flowers and herbs! I love it!

First of all, I want to say thank you so much for being a reader and a friend of this blog.  I just celebrated my 6th year writing here. I started out thinking it would be a way for me to keep a journal of sorts.  But it evolved into something more over time.  I have had over 207,000 views and nearly 780 followers.  It’s amazing to me that anything I have to say is of interest to people.  And yet, it seems some are interested and I really appreciate it 🙂  I keep it mostly because I enjoy writing, and I enjoy sharing, and I enjoy learning too.  So thank you very much!  I hope my readers continue to enjoy what I write.

Secondly, I have had a rough few weeks.  I had surgery on Feb 1 as I believe I talked about a bit in my previous posts.  That surgery was a nightmare.  It did not go well.  Something I won’t go into was done in a way that a nerve was damaged.  I was in extreme pain..I mean truly excruiciating with no relief except when I laid perfectly still.  Long story short, a week later I was in the OR again having that fixed.  The excruciating pain was relieved mostly, but the pain of two surgeries is just now starting to alleviate.  I’m told to expect another month or so to feel normal again.  I am glad that the original health issue is fixed…but it’s been a heck of a recovery.  Funny..I told myself while I was laid up, I’d be reading, writing, and working on a couple projects. But I found it was hard to focus on all of those things.  Thus, the lack of writing here in my blog.  But I’m reading and journaling and yes, now writing here too now.  Thank you for your patience!

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There is much going on! Ostara is next Sunday!  I’m blessed that a dear Witch sister is coming to stay with me for a few days.  Deb has been a friend for years now but she lives in SC and we have only met face to face once..and that was way to brief of a time and quite some time ago.  We talk on the phone all the time and I look forward to having her within hugging range for a change. 🙂  My coven will gather for Ostara Sunday morning and she will be here for that as well. Everyone is looking forward to meeting their long- distance sister! We will do a ritual, have brunch and a fire. It will be magickal and filled with love!  Breakfast casserole, muffins and pastries, fruit salad, coffee and juices are on the menu.  Yum!

For Ostara, we often meet in the morning as I love greeting the Sun with a toast.  After all, Ostara is the return of Spring, the return of longer days, of warmth, and green and flowers and leafed out trees.  Mother Earth awakens! Now, I live in Ohio….and we’ve been pretty warm and Spring-like lately. But snow could come back anytime yet lol.  Yesterday, I took a stroll around the yard and discovered lots of my plants and herbs blooming green shoots!  It’s early for sure, but wonderful!  One thing I did do while laid up, was flip thru garden catalogs and magazines, and I have lots of plans to add to our flower beds. We’ll be adding new plants, thinning some, moving some etc.  We’ll be planting new trees, flowering bushes and new flowers to fill new beds.  I so can’t wait!  Right now, all I can do is look.  I’m not healed up enough yet to clean up the beds etc….but I got my hands dirty a bit yesterday and it made me smile.  There is nothing more grounding than digging in the dirt 🙂

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My Spring cleaning was delayed due to the surgeries, but I had worked very hard on serious purging and organizing beforehand.  I’ve started back up again the last day or two.  I’m down to one cupboard, one closet and a couple kitchen cupboards to go thru yet.  It feels so great to do this.  Purging unwanted, unneeded, and unused items is very freeing 🙂  It won’t be long and my clothesline will be up again, and clothes, linens and so on will be flapping in the sun and wind! I love that!

I’m going to go ahead and post a couple of recipes for Ostara, since it’s here so fast!  I’m going to be very busy this next week getting ready for our gathering and for my dear company coming, so I’m not sure I’ll be back to write until after.  Foods for Ostara are: Leafy green vegetables,  sunflower and pine nuts, dairy,  fish, hot crossed buns, sweet breads, hard boiled eggs or eggs fixed any way,  honey cakes, and seasonal fruits.  Here’s a couple recipes that should fit right in there!

 

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Rich and Moist Honey Cake

 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
3⁄4 cup butter
3⁄4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1⁄4 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts

Honey Sauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup honey
3⁄4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350*  Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Cut cake then Pour honey syrup over the cake.
For the Honey Syrup: In a saucepan, combine honey, 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

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Bacon Spinach Quiche

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

Preheat oven to 400*

In a large bowl, beat eggs; whisk in milk, 1 cup cheese, onion, bacon, salt, mustard and paprika. Add spinach.

Pour into pie shell.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes

Yield: 6 servings.

 

There you go…something sweet and something savory 🙂  Enjoy!

 

I want to wish you all a very happy Ostara….happy Spring…..and have a great week!  Oh, Happy Irish Day as well this week!  It’s a fun week for seeing green…whether it be in your garden beds, or your Irish showing!  Slainte!!

 

Oh, Spring is surely coming,
Her couriers fill the air;
Each morn are new arrivals,
Each night her ways prepare;
I scent her fragrant garments,
Her foot is on the stair.
~John Burroughs, “A March Glee”

 

Love and Blessings

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Cleaning & Organizing, Correspondence, coven, Family, Flowers, Friends, Gardens, Goddess, Gratitude, Happy Irish Day, Herbs, Holiday, Mother Earth, Nature, Ostara, Our Yard, Pagan, Photography, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Ritual, Sabbat, Seasons, sisters, Spring, Sun, Thank You!, Uncategorized, Winter, Witch

Winter Love……..

Winter is the slow-down
Winter is the search for self
Winter gives the silence you need to listen
Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors…
~Terri Guillemets

 

Merry Meet my friends! How is your New Year going so far?  Is it Winter where you are?  Winter was very slow arriving here in Ohio!  We had crazy warm weather, to the point that plants were re-blooming, grass was green and birds and squirrels were very content to enjoy an extended warm season for gathering.  We had only seen one day of snow flurries in late December…I mean come on!!  🙂  However, finally Winter had arrived with snow and frigid cold and blowing winds and I’m a very happy Witch!  We haven’t had a huge amount of snow, but we did have some accumulation that looked like this:

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Then we warmed up, got rain and washed it all away.  Today, the cold came back and it flurried very prettily.  I love Sundays as many of you who know me, know.  But add snow flurries, the need for a fire in the fireplace, no need to go anywhere, a project to do, something simmering on the stove….and it’s really a Perfect day!!

I’ve been very busy doing my Imbolc cleaning which also involves major purging of unwanted and unneeded items.  It feels so good to see all that “stuff” going out of the house!  I take one room at at a time.  Empty drawers, cupboards, cabinets, closets etc and really sort through.  I find myself getting more brutal about what needs to go  as I go along too.

When we moved to this home three years ago, we came from a much bigger house that held a lot more “stuff”.  We got rid of so much stuff then ….out of necessity of not enough space since we had downscaled.  But after 3 years, as I’m looking through things, I realize there are things I haven’t touched in the 3 years we’ve lived here.  So…out they go!

It’ll take me a while. I’m maybe half way done.  I may not be done by Imbolc but that’s just fine.  I’m actually, unfortunately, having surgery the day before Imbolc so that will slow me down a bit.  I was hoping to be done before my surgery, but I don’t think that will happen.  We shall see 🙂  By the way, I’m fine…just something that needs to be fixed and will take the usual 6 weeks to completely heal, but I’m fine 🙂

So far this Winter, along with Imbolc cleaning, I have read a LOT!  Especially since the holidays were over. I adore getting lost in a book, and I am so happy to have the time to do it to my heart’s content. It looks a lot like this:

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I have also been working on some BOS pages, journaling, working on my herbal course a bit, spending more time with my grandkids who are homeschooled and more available, and really just nesting. I am about to dive into my Witch cupboard to give it a thorough cleaning, cleansing, and re-arranging.  I have bought some gorgeous, new oil bottles and herb jars and I’m anxious to get them set up inside my cabinet..to replace the mish mash of stuff that’s there now 🙂  I can’t wait to start blending oils for each pretty bottle!  I have a list of what I’m making from simple rosemary oil to Sabbat blends to my favorite altar oil.  I so love doing that!  Planning on starting tomorrow!  I’m also going to make some salt blends as well.

Right now, for Winter, the dark time, I’ve got my altar set up to honor my beloved Goddess, Hekate.  I find myself drawn to it several times a day and that is a good thing.  I’ll keep it up until I’m ready to set up my Imbolc altar, which won’t be too long now.

 

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Winter…I know so many who find it to be their least favorite season.  But other than Autumn, I find it to be especially beautiful.  I love hearing the wind blowing.  There is great magick there, in the Air that is either cold, still and quiet, or blowing and frigid.  On quiet nights, I love to stand outside seeing the inky black skies with bright stars, see my breath on the Air, smell the woodsmoke from the chimneys in my neighborhood, see the lights shining in the windows, feel the quiet of the ground beneath my feet.  The silence is often palpable…and beautiful.  I know that Mother Earth is resting, renewing, preparing to awake in the Spring and bring Life back to this wonderful Earth we call Home.

I especially love the trees in Winter.  There is something so mystical about a tree, bare of foliage, standing dark and stark against white snow and dark skies.  Or blue skies for that matter. Either still and quiet, or standing strong against blustery winds and snow. The shadows they cast long over the snow, always catch my eye.  You can feel that they too, are resting, waiting.

In my garden beds, there are still plants that had re-bloomed in our late warm days, and now stand snow covered, withering, but leaving the promise of returning bigger and stronger in the Spring.  Some of the tall ones provide shelter for birds and ground animals which I love.  There is beauty there as well.

Some of my favorite things about Winter?  Fires, woodsmoke, fuzzy socks, a stack of books, coffee or tea or cocoa, colorful scarves and mittens, sleds and ice skates, hot meals in the oven or on the stove, bread baking, soup simmering, hot rum toddies, flannel sheets, piles of blankets, wind blowing, snow falling, candles burning, more time to rest, Moon rises, Sun sets, squirrels gathering, birds feeding, and so so much more.  If you love Winter, you know everything I’m talking about.  If you don’t love Winter, well, I bet you love a lot of the things I’ve talked about.  So maybe Winter isn’t so bad?  But don’t fret, as you know, Spring will indeed come.  And look what has come to my mailbox:

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LOL…I so love my seed catalogs!  And yes, I’m already planting my herbs and flowers in my head.  How about you?

I’ll be back soon with a post for Imbolc and some recipes 🙂  For now, be safe out there, remember to take in the beauty of the season, find something you love to do, and slow down and enjoy!!

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

*All the pictures in this post are my own.

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Books, Books I'm reading, Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Imbolc, Magick, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, New Year, Our Yard, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Sabbat, Seasons, Spring, Uncategorized, Winter, Witch

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

I <3 Herbs……Yarrow!

Merry Meet my friends. It has been a rainy, dark day today. Thunder and Lightning and I’ve done some dancing with Thor in the storms. I’m so thrilled that we had a couple of beautiful days here though. I got all our clothes washed and hung out on the clothesline to dry. (I LOVE that!) We got a few things done in the yard…some grass seed planted where a dead tree was removed last Fall….we got a birdhouse put up…a new birdbath put out and we bought a couple of hanging baskets of Calabracia to hang on our patio, a deep purple one and a yellow one. I pulled out the rosemary that isn’t coming back 😦 Added garden soil to my raised herb bed etc. All in preparation for planting! Which we can’t do yet! Ack! LOL. Another week or two I think. For sure by Mother’s Day!

Again, this posting about Yarrow can be found at The Sunday Stew here: http://mypaganworld.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-sunday-stew-beltane-edition.html. It’s the Beltaine issue so be sure and check it out!! It’s wonderful!

Beltane is almost here! As I was thinking about which herb I wanted to write about for the Beltane issue of the Stew…I decided on Yarrow. Yarrow is one of those wonderful herbs that grow wild…nearly everywhere! Usually from June thru September in meadows, roadsides, pastures, ditches etc etc. Easily found. Often thought to just be a weed LOL..but it’s so much more!!

 

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Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough. The leaves are fern-like, dark-green, giving them a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of numerous small, white flower heads. Each tiny flower resembling a daisy. Depending on the weather and where you live, the flowers bloom from May to September.

For you gardeners out there, growing yarrow is sometimes too easy, as it tends to take over a plot. It creeps along via its root system, while simultaneously reseeding itself. Yarrow prefers ordinary soil and a fair amount of sunshine. Some varieties of yarrow grow up to 4 feet in height. It comes in shades from white to pale pink…to ornamental yellow and red varieties!

Other Names: Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’s Milfoil, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Staunchweed, Devil’s Nettle

Mythology:

Yarrow carries the name Achillea because the Greek God Achilles in mythology is storied to have given the plant to his troops to stop bleeding in battle. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the bleeding when he hurt his own heel, and he died from his wounds. The modern terms “Achilles tendon” and “Achilles heel” originate from this myth.

Medicinal Uses:

Yarrow has been a well-known healing herb for centuries. It has a wonderful list of healing medicinal purposes!
Parts used….everything above the ground (leaves, stems and flowers)
Harvesting for medicinal purposes should be done while the plant is in flower.
Yarrow is used medicinally against colds and flu, cramps, fevers, stomach ulcers, kidney disorders, toothaches and abscesses, skin irritations, to regulate menses, and to reduce inflammation. It can aid digestion and increase appetite. Yarrow is a diaphoretic and helps to eliminate toxins and fevers. Yarrow’s astringent properties can also help stop diarrhea and dysentery. Other yarrow uses include coughs, sore throats, lowering blood pressure, hay fever, and more.
Externally, clean yarrow leaves can be used to stop a wound from bleeding. A yarrow infused oil or balm can be used to treat other topical skin conditions including burns, ulcers, and swollen and inflamed skin, and hemorrhoids. Inserting a fresh, clean yarrow leaf into the nostril can stop nosebleeds. Yarrow can also, conversely, start bleeding when needed…for instance, getting clotted nose blood, to un-clot.

 

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Medicinal applications:

An infusion (tea) of yarrow flowers can be prepared by steeping the flowers into boiling water for some time. This preparation is useful for upper respiratory illness. It may also be useful to heal eczema when applied externally as a wash. An infusion or tea is also great for reducing fever. To get relief for varicose veins, soak a cotton pad with the infusion and apply to the veins. The poultice will also aid hemorrhoids. You can also put the infusion in bath water to soothe hemorrhoids and skin issues.
Yarrow oil is useful for any external skin issues such as swollen joints, rashes, or bruises. Also great as a chest rub (add peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil) for congestion of the chest..colds, flu or cough.
Cuts and scratches on the body can be healed by wrapping cleansed, fresh yarrow leaves on the affected area. To clean leaves, place in a bowl, pour white vinegar over them…let stand for a bit. Strain off vinegar then rinse leaves twice to ensure all the vinegar is gone. You can also place a chewed leaf on a sore tooth.
A tincture made of Yarrow is useful for healing urinary disorders and menstrual problems.

Warning:
Pregnant women should not use Yarrow internally! Excessive use can cause headaches and skin irritations for anyone who is sensitive to it.

Culinary Uses:
Yarrow is bitter but used sparingly it works in cheese sauces, soups and salads. Has been used in place of hops to brew beer.

Magickal Uses:
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Air
Yarrow is used magickally for Courage, Love, Psychic abilities, Divination, Perception, Protection and Purification.
Some ways to use Yarrow for magick are:

-When drank as a tea, Yarrow is said to increase psychic powers and powers of perception.
-When flowers or leaves are burned, if the smoke goes up, it’s a good omen, but if it goes down, it’s a bad omen.
-Use Yarrow flowers in love sachets and charms.
-Place Yarrow flowers under your pillow before sleep and your lover will appear in your dreams.
-Hang flowers over your bridal bed to insure love that lasts at least 7 years. Or place them in your bridal bouquet
-Grow Yarrow near your door for protection or hang some over your front door.
-Carried in the hand or placed in a mojo bag….it is believed to ward off fear. Also to reverse negativity and protect from hexes
-Add to the bath to protect from evil or harm.
-Throw Yarrow flowers across the threshold to protect the house from evil.
-Tie to an infant’s cradle for protection from harmful forces. (an old belief too)
-Place the flowers on your altar to aid in divination
-use it in loose incense for protection, purification or divination

These are just a few ways to use Yarrow in Magick. I’m sure you can find many more. Next time you take a walk, look for some yarrow and bring it home and put it to good use!

A sensitive plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
and closed them beneath the kisses of night.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant,” 1820

 

I hope that you all are enjoying both the Stew and learning about herbs. I know I learn more and more as I study them and use them too.  I’ll be back in a couple of days to wish you all a very Blessed Beltaine and maybe a recipe 🙂

Blessed New Moon to you all!
Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Beltane, Discussion, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, My Favorite Things, Nature, New Moons, Our Yard, Poem, Seasons, Spring, Summer

I <3 Herbs……Rosemary

Merry Meet everyone!  Hope that you are having a beautiful Sun day in your neck of the woods.  Here in Ohio, we woke up to heavy Frost and freezing temps…but it has warmed up since to the 50’s, Sun is shining and it’s a gorgeous day!  We are yet warm enough to do any planting here….tradition states not to plant til Mother’s day to be safe from late Ohio frosts.  I however am biting at the bit so to speak to dig in the dirt!

 

As I told you before..I am most thrilled to be a writer..the Herbal Witch…for The Pagan blog The Sunday Stew.  Here’s the link again  The Sunday Stew.   If you haven’t read it…please do and support it as well.  For this week, I wrote about Rosemary….and thought I’d go ahead and share it here on my blog as well. But go and read everything else the Stew has to offer by some of my favorite people!

 

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 “I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand, and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness to greet me as I pass ..”
–  Gertrude Jekyll

 

Rosemary or Rosmarinus officinalis is one of my very favorite herbs. I believe I find a use for it most days! It has a long history of uses…medicinal, culinary and magickal! Rosmarinus officinalis means “dew of the sea”. But you don’t need to be near the sea to grow it.

 

Rosemary is a beautiful ornamental plant that takes very little attention to thrive. It’s a hardy, bushy perennial plant that comes back bigger each year. It can grow quite large in the right conditions. It looks much like an evergreen with a sweet, pungent scent. The leaves are needle- like…..dark green on the top, and grayish green underneath. It gets pale blue flowers around the stem when in bloom. Rosemary likes Sun and some room to breathe, and water when too dry. Pruning is perfectly acceptable, not only so you can use it but to spur on more growth.

 

Ancient Uses:

Rosemary has long been the herb of Remembrance…to this day. It was the herb used at funerals and to honor the dead after they are gone from the home. The tradition of laying sprigs across the coffin or upon tombstones dates back to ancient Egypt. Personally, I honor this tradition to this day. When visiting a grave of a loved one, I take a small wand of rosemary or plant rosemary where allowed. I also put rosemary on my Dumb Supper table at Samhain. To remember.

 

Rosemary was also associated with memory.   Scholars of ancient Greece wore wreaths of rosemary on their head, to help recall while taking exams. It was used widely at weddings..in the bride’s bouquet, given to the wedding guests to wear and put in the wine the couple drank to help them remember their sacred vows. Rosemary was planted in every newlyweds garden, but the adage “where rosemary flourished, the woman ruled” caused this practice to fall out of style when husbands kept plucking them from the ground to prove that they were the “ruler” of the home.

 

During the Middle Ages, rosemary was thought to dispel negativity and promote prosperity. It was thought to encourage happiness of home and hearth. It was kept in the home in some way, under pillows, hung on the mantle or hearth or by the door. It was even burned in homes to prevent the black plague! To me, many of those traditions stand true today.

 

 

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used:   leaves

Preparation: infusions, teas, oils, salves & balms, vinegars, and culinary use.

Healing properties of Rosemary are:   pain relieving, restorative, stimulating, anti-bacterial, decongestant, diuretic and anti-fungal. Rosemary is used in the treatment of muscular pain, rheumatism, circulation problems, mental fatigue, nervous exhaustion, cellulite, arthritis, colds, bronchitis, fluid retention, sinusitis and is suitable for dry, mature skin and acne.

Excellent tonic for those who suffer from burnout or chronic fatigue syndrome

 

Encourages the production of bile thus aiding digestion

 

Helps to relieve the symptoms of Bronchitis, Asthma and Flu

 

Vision tonic

 

Nervous system tonic

 

Emmenagogue (induces menstruation)

 

Antidiarrheal

 

Relieves migraines and headaches caused by stress

 

Encourages hair growth and scalp health

 

Relieves vertigo caused by inner ear problems

 

Enchances memory

 

Mouthwash for bad breath

 

Stimulates the brain for memory and recall.

 

 

Make Rosemary tea for digestive problems, as an expectorant, to relieve cold symptoms, and as a relaxing beverage that may be helpful for headaches and low moods.

Externally, its oil made into an ointment has been said to treat rheumatism, sores, eczema, bruises, and wounds. Rosemary tea or vinegar used as a hair rinse promotes hair health, hair growth and healthy scalp.

 

Aromatherapy: Use rosemary essential oil in your salves, balms, and bath products. Rosemary oil blends well with LOTS of other essential oils… Lavender, Citronella, Oregano, Thyme, Pine, Basil, Eucalyptus Radiata, Peppermint, Elemi, Cedarwood, Petitgrain Bigarade, Cinnamon Bark, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Ginger Root, Bergamot, Frankincense, Juniper Berry, Melissa, Celery Seed, and Fennel Seed. I use it in many of my Verbena Lane Shoppe products. It’s extremely healing!

 

In Cosmetics, rosemary is used often in shampoos, conditioners, lotions etc.

 

Culinary Use.

Rosemary has a strong and pleasant aroma and piney, earthy flavor. In cooking, it works well with dishes of beef and lamb, fish and bread. It’s excellent in stews and casseroles, roasted and grilled foods, pizzas, soups, vinegars, and herbed butters. Don’t be afraid to try it!

 

Magickal Uses:

 

Planet: Sun

Gender: Masculine

Element: Fire

 

Rosemary works in magick to rid negativity, to protect, to heal, to banish and to bring luck and prosperity. It’s used for mental clarity and cleansing. It’s associated with Love, friendship and memory. There are many ways to use Rosemary for magick. Here are a few!

 

-Burn rosemary to rid your home of negative energy

-use it in incense to meditate and clear your mind

-use it in mojo bags for multiple reasons ie: before a test, for healing, for protection

-Hang bundles by your front door for protection

-Add it to a healing poppet

-use rosemary to substitute for other herbs

-put it in a dream pillow to ward off nightmares

-add it to bath water to cleanse and heal

-keep a plant in your garden, by your front door or in your kitchen..use it’s scent when you need to be uplifted, use it in your cooking, use it to make vinegars and herbal preparations

-Use in potpourris and sachets

–plant it at your loved ones graves, or take them a bouquet

-keep it on your Samhain table or altar

-Make rosemary infused Moon water to cleanse your hands before spellwork

-Add to your recipes to add protection and healing for your family

These are just a few ideas…I’m sure there are many more! I’ll be back to post a recipe or two using rosemary in the next couple weeks.   Be sure to add it to your “must have” garden plant, kitchen herb, and Witch’s cupboard.

 

This is the post in it’s entirety on the Stew.  I will be back here on my blog as well with recipes, more herbs and will post pictures along the way as I’m planting…soon!

Blessings and Light and Happy Sun day!

Autumn

 

 

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Filed under Family, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Our Yard, Quote, Spring, Summer

The Wheel Turns to Yule 2013……..

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles. 

imagesCAHWQBRT~Author Unknown

Merry Meet my friends.  I am very late to writing a Yule blog I’m afraid.  Just like all of you, Life is a bit busy right now and time seems to escape me some days.  Winter has settled in early here in Ohio. Right now, there is about 8-9 inches of snow on the ground and we will be in the single digits tonight with a negative wind chill factor!!   But I LOVE Winter!  I love the beauty of the snow, the quiet of the nights, the starry skies, the scent of woodsmoke, and seeing your breath on the Air.  Despite this busy time of year, I find time most every evening to be quiet by the fire, light candles, rest and reflect on the dark months ahead.

Yule is on Dec. 21 this year and it’ll be a quiet celebration as always here at my house.  A nice meal, some time outside, some time at my altar and some time by the fire.  My greens have been brought in just today and adorn bowls and my mantle.  Yule..the Winter Solstice…the longest night of the year.  I find it a beautiful Sabbat…a time in all the hustle and bustle of the holiday celebrations..to focus on what Yule means to us Pagans and Witches.  It marks going into Winter..into the dark time of the year. Mother Earth is at rest and I try to do the same for the Winter months.  It’s a quieter time of year (after the holidays of course!).  Time to read, relax, perhaps work on a project I’ve put off, crafts, organize my home, write etc.  Whatever it is you like to do when you are forced to be inside more.  Now I know that of course life is still going on…work, responsibilities, cooking and cleaning etc…yes…but there is more time at home, more hours of dark to spend nesting and finding time to rest.  Even getting some extra sleep!

I am in search of the perfect Yule log from our woodpile. I’ll dress it with greens and herbs..bless it and burn it!  One of my favorite things to do for Yule is to write down a list of my wishes, hopes, and dreams for the next year. Also, to write down those things I want to let go of…to get out of my life.  After doing the list, I burn it with the Yule log..and know that my wishes go out with Air..by Fire and Earth.

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This year, in our new home, we have a darling little spruce tree we planted over the summer.  My husband put lights on it and it makes a magickal little Yule tree.  This weekend, I’ll be making outdoor ornaments for the tree,  I use yarn or raffia to string cereal and dried fruits.  I use bagel halves, cover them in peanut butter and dip them in birdseed..and even apples and orange cups can be put out there.  My grandkids love this project too!  and of course the birds and squirrels love it too 🙂  Makes me feel good to help our feathered and furry friends over the cold Winter.

Thought I’d post a couple of favorite recipes of mine for this time of year!

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Autumn’s Shortbread Cookies

1 lb butter, softened …salted or unsalted doesn’t really matter

1 cup sugar

4 cups all purpose flour

These are a huge hit at my house and so simple!

Cream butter and sugar until creamy.  Add 2 cups at a time of the flour and blend.  If the dough is a bit dry, add a tablespoon of water.  Spread dough into a jelly roll pan with your hands ….spread it even.  Prick the dough every so often with a fork.

Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cut immediately into squares….then let it cool in the pan.  Enjoy!

*For Yule, I like to sprinkle with green or red sugar crystals before baking!

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 egg

1 1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup molasses

3 TB vegetable oil

Sift together first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat egg & milk until well blended.  Stir in molasses and oil.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring til moistened.  Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle.  Cook until bubby on top, flip and cook til golden brown.

Great with Lemon Sauce!!

1/2 cup sugar

1 TB cornstarch

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup water

2 TB butter

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tb lemon juice

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg in a small saucepan.  Add water and cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Cook and stir an additional 2 mins

Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted

Serve warm over gingerbread pancakes or waffles, or cake!

Hope you enjoy these!  For more recipes and Yule info and correspondence etc..be sure to type in Yule or Winter Solstice in the search box on the right side of this blog. There are many past years of postings!

For now I leave you all with the hopes that you are finding time to BREATHE, RELAX, and be QUIET now and then during this busy time of year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic hustle and bustle….but pause now and then and remember what the Season is really all about.  The Solstice..the longest night…..the passing of the Holly King and the Re-birth of the Oak King…and Mother Earth frozen and slumbering.  But it means that already the days will grow longer and the Sun will strengthen and warm, and Earth will begin to stir!  Blessed Be!

   “So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!”
–   Susan Cooper,
The Shortest Day

Blessings and Love,  Autumn

Wreath picture from the internet..unknown source.  Other two pictures are my own.

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Filed under God, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, Our Yard, Photography, Poem, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Woods, Yule/Winter Solstice/Chrismas

The Wheel Turns to Late Summer…….

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, August’s Crown 

Merry Meet my friends!  I am long in writing a post here and have no excuse other then a busy Summer, home improvements, family in from California for 2 weeks, and my own lack of thinking what I could write about. 🙂  I appreciate so much the messages I’ve received wondering if I’m ok…it means a lot to know that you missed me here. All is well!!

It’s Saturn day, a quiet one here at my house. My daughter Sara isn’t feeling well so we are being lazy and resting today.  Here in Ohio, as I know many of you have experienced also, we have had a fairly mild Summer and in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a taste of early Autumn, it’s been quite cool and gorgeous!   I have LOVED it!  As you know of course, Autumn is my favorite time of year, but I have no complaints about this wonderful Summer we’ve had.  My gardens have loved this weather, my grandkids thrive playing outside when it’s not so hot, and I too, have loved hanging clothes on the line, working in my garden or reading on the patio.  It’s been wonderful!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Lughnasadh.  I did, though my Circle wasn’t able to meet. My fault, I had the flu 😦  I did make bread and berry flavored water and we had a simple dinner that included tomatoes and cucumbers from my own garden. It was a beautiful night.  I have not yet harvested my herbs or the last of my garden as some of them are still growing strong. Some are finished for the season though and I’ll clean them up this weekend.

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While I’m talking about Lughnasadh, I’d like to let you all know about a great book.  Witchy Magick by Australian Witches Lucy Cavendish and Serene Conneeley.  I LOVE this book for more reasons then one (which I’ll get to in a minute). This is a very complete book that I think EVERY Witch should own and read.  It starts out with interviews with about 20 of our prolific Witches who are authors, heads of covens, healers, herbalists, young and old alike.  Interviews on what being a Witch means to them.  Then it goes into lots of Witchy info, from the history of witchcraft, myth busting, the how to’s, rites and rituals, and a great amount of info, recipes etc on the Sabbats.  It’s really a wonderful book!  I again highly recommend it!  Oh, and if you happen to get to the recipe section….on Lughnasadh…pages 364 and 365…you may recognize …me!!  Yes!  I am in this book…a bit about me and a couple of my favorite bread recipes for Lughnasadh! I’m not bragging please understand, but I was most honored to be asked if I could be included in the book.  Thank you Serene and Lucy!!  Let me know readers what you think of the book, because I KNOW you are going to want to get it and dive into it! 🙂

The end of Summer is almost always a joyful thing for me as I thrive in the cooler air of Autumn and I always look forward to Winter as well.  This year, I have a vacation to look forward to in mid September.  A much needed trip for my husband and I…yes, just the two of us! A rare thing!  I could use some time on the beach, for my inner Sea Witch to come out and relish in the beauty, sounds and scents of  Mother Ocean.  I’m excited about it and so is my husband.  We are celebrating 34 years married, tomorrow actually, so it will be a grand anniversary present to each other 🙂

seista key beach 2

By the time we get home, Mabon and Autumn will be arriving.  It will be time to get the chimney cleaned, order our cord of wood, clean out the garden beds, pull out the Fall decorations and hit the garden centers and pumpkin farms for pumpkins and mums and such.  *sigh*..that will be grand!

In the meantime, I’ll try to get back into writing here more.  I plan on doing a LOT of baking and cooking in the next few weeks…I’m involved in a very cool project, where I am the kitchen Witch, sharing my recipes.  I’ll tell you about that in my next post, and share a recipe or two for the upcoming Autumn season!

Until next time, enjoy the last of Summer….don’t wish away these last days, these  lazy, hazy, crazy last days of Summer.  Go barefoot lots, enjoy fresh veggies from your gardens or the Farmer’s market,  put your feet in a body of water, lay under the Moon and Stars on a hammock or blanket, invite friends over for a end-of-Summer cook-out, read a book in the shade or just sit on your patio and listen to the birds, crickets and cicadas.  Make the MOST of it for it will be gone soon!

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Many Blessings and Love

Autumn

*Pictures from the internet.

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Filed under Autumn, Books, Books I'm reading, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Grandchildren, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Mabon, My Writing, Nature, Ocean or beach, Our Yard, Poem, Quote, Seasons, Summer