Category Archives: Our Yard

The Wheel Turns to Beltane 2013……..

thCA8K56D9Merry Meet my friends! Spring has Finally spring here in Ohio!  Though there has been fluctuations…40* one day, 80* the next! …..Spring none-the-less has bloomed.  Spring flowers, flowering bushes and trees are all blooming.  Birdsong in the mornings and I love seeing them at the feeders again…cardinals, finches, sparrows, even woodpeckers!  Squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits are scampering around, kids are playing outside again and adults are working in their yards and gardens.

I had a birthday a few days ago…my 55th! (gasp!!)  🙂  For my birthday present, my hubby built me a raised bed for my veggies and herbs and he put up a clothesline! Something I have missed having in my yard for 16 years!  I finally live in a house with a yard that is sunny enough to have one! You have no idea how excited I am about this LOL…it’s a big deal!  To me, there is nothing like the fresh, clean scent of clothes that have hung outside in the Sun and breeze 🙂  A clothesline brings back wonderful memories for me.  In my mind’s eye, I see my grandmother in her housedress and apron, happily pinning up her linens and clothes while I tag along, with the pins, putting my nose in each and every piece to breathe in the great scent!

My granddaughter, who is 4, was here when I hung out my first load of linens and clothes.  I was overjoyed as she immediately wanted to know what I was doing and why.  As soon as I hung up the bright pink sheets, she did what all kids do..she ran thru the damp sheets, laughing and putting her nose right in them..just like her mommy, my daughter, did when she was a little girl 🙂  I believe more happy memories are being made with that clothesline 🙂

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Beltane is coming up fast! May 1!  Beltane….marking the coming of longer, warmer days, gardens in bloom, faeries scampering thru the flowers and Mother Earth becoming full and in bloom!  Maypoles are erected and danced around, May baskets are happily filled with bright flowers and left on doors, and love and lust is rising in the hearts and souls of young and old alike.  Beltane is a happy, energetic, fun Sabbat!

Here at my house, we will have an outdoor fire and a great meal full of fresh veggies and fruits…a nice light meal.  I’ll start planting my pots of herbs, planting crystals and blessings along with the them.  I’ll ask the Faeries to assist me in success in growing them big, full and magickally!  An offering will be made to Mother Earth and the Fae….honey, bread and wine…to show how grateful I am for their presence in my Life and in my gardens.  I’ll do a ritual under the waning Moon to celebrate the Sabbat as well.

If you’re interested in Beltane correspondences, recipes, ritual, altars etc…just type Beltane into the search engine over to the right here on this page.  There is 3-4 years of info here!  I’m sure you’ll find some things you’ll like 🙂

For Beltane I recommend you spend some time outside, whatever else you do!  Take a walk, plant a tree or flowers, sit by a tree and listen to the breeze thru the young, tender leaves. Make up a May basket and surprise a friend or neighbor with I.  Visit a garden center or a botanical garden or a park. Plan a romantic night with your special someone..and remember! You are a special someone too…so do something for yourself!  One of my favorite things to do for Beltane is to collect some dew overnight…just set out a shallow bowl..and wash my face in it in the morning!  It is said to bring youth and beauty and Goddess knows at 55yo I could use the help 🙂  Try it….it really works!

The  fair maid who, the first of May
  Goes to the fields at break of day
  And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree
  Will ever after handsome be.”
  –  Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme 

May you have the most blessed Beltane! May you feel Love, Joy and youthful exuberance!  Dance..Sing….Be Merry!!

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Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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Filed under Beltane, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Goddess, Granddaughter, Herbs, Mother Earth, Nature, Our Yard, Quote, Seasons, Spring

Spring???………..

Merry evening friends!  Hope that you all had a very Blessed Ostara.  I know I did.  It was just a simple meal and a simple ritual but meaningful.  Did any of you try any of my recipes?  If you did, please let me know!  I’d love to hear about it.  I made my Dilly egg salad for lunch and it was yummy!

Now Spring?  Yea, in Ohio it’s not here yet! 🙂    We, as many of you, just had a huge Winter snowstorm on March 24-25.  We got about 7 inches here in my neck of the woods.  But I am NOT complaining at all.  I loved it!  It was beautiful and magickal.  Fell for about 36 hours straight.  Here’s a pic of the first morning……

winter snow

Beautiful isn’t it 🙂   I have seen a lot of complaining about Winter being so long, Spring to slow to come etc.  I hear ya! I too can’t wait to lighten up my clothes, work in my garden, get outside!!   But I believe that Mother Earth knows what she needs more then we do and we should let her just do what she needs to do!!  Complaining won’t change it anyway..right?  I say make the most of each day, no matter what the weather and do something fun to enjoy it.  I made sure to collect some snow water and some nice-sized snowballs.  I will love pulling those out in  the heat of the Summer.  They will be great to let the grandkids play with them, take a chunk and let it run down my hot neck, or use it to make a slushy margarita!!  (Thanks Mike for that idea 🙂   To me, everyday is magickal if you look for it….now stop complaining! LOL!!

Spring..it’ll get here.  We already see the snow melting and will be in the 50’s for a couple days this weekend.  In the meantime, I am planning my garden, getting my lighter clothes ready, and perusing my cookbooks for lighter, healthier meals. I can’t wait to put my hands in the dirt and my face to the Sun and my back to a tree 🙂  I know that is what you all are ready for too!  Take heart…it’s coming!!

Through all the frozen winter
My nose has grown most lonely
For lovely, lovely, colored smells
That come in springtime only.

The purple smell of lilacs,
The yellow smell that blows
Across the air of meadows
Where bright forsythia grows.

The tall pink smell of peach trees,
The low white smell of clover,
And everywhere the great green smell
Of grass the whole world over.”
–  Kathryn Worth, Smells

Oh, and Blessed Full Moon to you all!!  May the Goddess shine Her light and energy on you…always!

Blessings and Love

Autumn

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Filed under Full Moons, Gardens, Goddess, Mother Earth, Our Yard, Photography, Poem, Seasons, Spring, Winter

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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Filed under Flowers, Gardens, Holiday, Nature, Ostara, Our Yard, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Smoky Mountains, Spring

Wordless Wednesday……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Mabon, Nature, Our Yard, Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Witches Protection Bottle…….

Merry Meet friends! Well Summer has hit here in Ohio with a loud HOT bang! We went from weeks of cool, stormy weather  to 95* Hot and steamy days. That is just the way it is here in Ohio.  The good thing about the hot weather though was that finally the ground dried up and we were able to get out and get dirty working in the yard!  I got my herbs planted in pots and scattered around the yard. We re-did a whole bed in our backyard adding a Weeping crabapple tree and some red-pink knock -out roses.  I planted patio pots with a red/white/blue theme this year that has the most gorgeous deep red geraniums.  There are now  rows of impatience in our front beds,  with  rosemary and lavender for protection and luck.  We still have some space at the side of the porch we want to plant some holly bushes and a couple of hydrangea bushes..one of my favorites.  I am trying to talk hubby into removing a few excess boxwood bushes in the backyard so I can plant a moon garden….white flowers and silvery greens that will glow in the light of the moon.  He isn’t crazy about the idea but I’m working on him LOL !  I will talk him into it for sure! Here’s a few pictures…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Litha or Midsummer is coming up fast now and I need to get busy getting ready.  I’m on the search for the perfect altar cloth to get my altar ready.  I also am starting to collect items I need to make my witch’s protection bottles.  I do these every year at Litha.  Because it is warm out and I can be out at night and be warm and comfortable, I think it’s the perfect time to set out new protection for my home and those I love who dwell within.  If you haven’t ever done a witch’s bottle, you should seriously think about it.  I feel part of my practice is to protect what is mine and what I love and as a Witch I have the capability of doing that.  I like to think of myself as a Warrior Witch..ready to do battle to keep evil away from my door! 

A bit of history….

Witch’s Bottles have been in use in England and the United States since at least the 1600’s. Spell bottles were originally created to destroy the power of an evil magician or witch thought to have cast a spell against the bottle’s creator. They were often ceramic vessels and some had a face on them. They were also walled up into new homes as magical guardians. Spell bottles of this type continued to be used well into the 19th century. These bottles were apparently of English origin. Still, one example made from a glass wine bottle dated at 1740-1750 was found in Pennsylvania in 1976. And so, such protective devices certainly found their way from England to the United States with the colonists. There are over 200 Witch’s Bottles in known museums and they continue to be dug up during construction or gardening projects. 🙂 I always hope I’ll come across one sometime! LOL! The ceramic type of bottle is not made anymore so now it consists of a container, usually glass, filled with various objects of magical potency.

Witch’s bottles are made for a variety of purposes, and are used in numerous ways. Some are buried or otherwise hidden, while others are placed in windows of the home or in other prominent spots. All are concentrations of energy, created and empowered for specific magical purposes. It is a very powerful means of protecting your space and is buried on your property in order to attract all negative things to it, where it traps them. If you move, by all means, then dig it up and either destroy it or bring it to your new home. Now I actually choose to leave mine in place and just put out a new one each year..I like to think of the future residents of this house, happily gardening and coming across my wonderful jars LOL Makes me laugh to think what they might be thinking. 🙂

This Witch Bottle ritual is really great to do on a Full Moon night..the one closest to the Solstice.  The first thing you want to do is decide where you are going to bury it.  I like to put one right at my front porch steps, and one by the back door steps. Some people will put them at the four corners of their property or at the entrance of their driveway.  Live in a condo or an apartment?  No problem.  Just store it in a closet closest to your entry door…out of sight or bury it in a big pot of dirt with a houseplant in it in your entryway.   Once you decide where you are going to put it, dig a hole big enough to sink a your jar into the ground and cover it up well enough that it isnt’ too obvious something is buried there.  Now, get a jar or two…I use  Ball canning jars.  But you can use a snapple bottle, a mayo jar, olive jar..use what you have by all means.  Now it’s time to start collecting your supplies. Put the items on a tray or something that you an keep them all together..don’t put them in the jar yet.   Here is the ritual and what you’ll need……                                                

-A Sturdy, clean, wide-mouthed bottle or jar with a tight lid.
-Soil or sand from the area surrounding your home.
-Something sparkly or shining like small tumbled crystals, beads, sea glass  *I use small crystal pieces with protective qualities*

-A rusty bent nail or two 
-Pieces  of broken glass
-Dried herbs-  Mint, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme
-A new penny or other coin
-Some loose hair from any pets in your home
-Some hair from all living in the home

-A magickal spell candle
-Salt  

 

 

         Create and open sacred space. Light your working candle while you do your work. If you haven’t already dug your hole,  Dig the hole in the earth, try to keep the top sod in good shape to replace over the hole. Sprinkle with salt. Ground and Center.   When ready, say these words:

With the Goddess and God working for and through me
according to free will and for the good of all.
I now fill this bottle.

*As you say the words, put the items in the jar…… 

Earth anchors this magick in the ground.
This rusty nail, bent, now repels anything and anyone negative or life-denying.
The sparkling, shiny small pieces of crystals hold the light for me and my deities.
A broken piece of glass to deflect harm to anyone it is intended for.

These herbs infuse the bottle with their living properties;
Mint for money and protection
Parsley for protection
Sage for wisdom and protection
Rosemary for love, healing, and health
Thyme for health, love, and courage.

This new penny manifests abundance in my home.
 Hair from my beloved pets to protect them.
Hair from my loved ones who dwell here, to protect and draw away negativity.

This home is divinely protected and effectively safe.
Nothing and no one can enter without my permission
Only those people and beings through whom the Goddess and God work
Can stay here, can visit, can touch this place.

Only Positive Magick lives in this place
In safety, protection, abundance, love, and joy
According to free will and for the good of all!

Put the lid on the jar tight.  If you like, you can use old candle wax or sealing wax to seal the jar closed as well. Start to bury the bottle, and replace the sod you dug up before hand and then say:

I now bury this bottle
It is invisible to all but me
And its magick continues
And so mote it be!

     By the time you have finished this spell, the bottle should be buried. Cover with leaves or something appropriate to make it truly invisible. Under the ground, it will continue to work until you choose to remove it.

I love this spell….on a Full Moon Night..burying a jar filled with lovely witchy items….it is magickal indeed!   After I’m done with this ritual I spend time with the Moon Goddess while the candle burns down a bit. You can also draw a pentacle in the air over the burial spot with your wand, or protective runes for some added protection.  

Now for some other ideas of what you can put in the jar.   I throw some sea salt in my jar as well.  I also like to put lots of little sharp things, like old pins or needles, used razor blades,  rose thorns etc.  For the dirt and nails, you can use graveyard dirt and coffin nails.  Some people will add holy water or wine to the mix.  You can use fingernails instead of hair.  You can use your own urine in the bottle or even blood.  I read in a book somewhere that you can use the broken glass to cut a finger a bit and drip some of your blood into the jar.   You can write down on parchment using dragon’s blood ink, the names of those who are in your home often, to protect them as well. In my case, my sister and married daughter and grandchildren spend a lot of time here too, so of course I want them to be protected as well.   Anything you want to put in there that you feel will add to the protection of your home or family is a good thing. 🙂

Another really simple Protection Jar Spell is this:

Gather rosemary, needles, pins and red wine. Fill a small jar with the first three, saying while you work:

Pins, needles, rosemary, wine;
In this witches bottle of mine.
Guard against harm and enmity;
This is my will, so mote it be!

Visualize these doing just that. Then pour in the red wine. Then cap or cork the jar and drip wax from a red or black candle to seal. Bury it at the farthest corner of your property or put it in an inconspicuous spot in your house. Draw the banishing pentagram in the dirt above it. The witches bottle destroys negativity and evil ; the pins and needles impale evil, the wine drowns it, and the rosemary sends it away from your property.

I hope you take the time to do this on this next Full Moon..right before the Solstice.  You will love the ritual of it and you’ll feel great about the Power you have as a Witch to put out protection for those you love most and the home you care for.  I will be out on that night ..right with you all….

Soon, I’ll post pics of my altar and I’ll post pics of my witches bottle items as well.  Til then, Have a blessed weekend!

Love and Light, Autumn

*Sources:  Scott Cunningham, my BOS, the internet and various other books I’ve read 🙂 I am not sure where the rituals came from I’m afraid..I’ve just had them for a long time 🙂

 

                                                                                                                                               

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