Category Archives: Spring

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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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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Beltane Recipes 2015………

“Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.”
– Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs

 

Merry Meet my friends and readers!  It’s a beautiful sunny Sun Day afternoon here in Ohio.  Having said that, it’s been quite cold and quite windy!  This past week we had a small tornado hit a street in my neighborhood, just 3 blocks away!  We also had freezing temps at night and heavy frost 2-3 mornings. So Spring is still….well…2463875500_7b6e892984_olike it always is here in April. LOL.  It’s been cold enough we’ve had fires going in our fireplace for several evenings..which of course, I Love.

Looking outside though, the green is vivid, trees are bloomed or blooming, plants are coming up and some people have jumped the gun (in my humble opinion) and already planted new flowers in their beds.  At my house, a new garden bed is going in by the end of the week, at least, the sod will be pulled up and it will be mulched.  NO planting until closer to Mother’s Day or we risk losing the plantings.  My perennials are coming up nicely..most of them anyway.  I will have to do some replacing here and there.  I have garden ideas spinning in my head and I’m aching to get on it…but I must be patient.   One thing I was excited about…I finally got a rain barrel!  It’s from http://www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com company and it’s hooked up already.  Thanks to recent rains, it’s already got 60 gallons of fresh rainwater ready to go! I also love these particular barrels because they are recycled olive barrels..what a great way to use them.  It makes me feel great to be conserving water and nothing is better for plants than rain water 🙂  I’m a very happy Witch about that!

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I have been perusing recipes for Beltane and thought I would of course share a couple.  If you want more recipes, just do a Beltane Recipe search over on the right and you’ll find more.  Also, as you may know, I also am the Kitchen Witch for Imramma Magazine (link to the right) and there are more Beltane recipes there.  The issue just came out today.  AND every week, I also do recipes for The Sunday Stew (link on the right).  The Stew is out every Sunday except the Sabbat issues of Imramma. Okay?  Be sure and check both out ……there are a lot of great writers, bloggers, news stories, info etc in these publications.  I’m proud to be a writer for them.

Foods that correspond to Beltane are: Dairy, honey, oats, red fruits, herbal salads, May wine, red/pink wine, fruit punch, large round oatmeal cakes, and sweets. Keeping those in mind, here’s a couple recipes for you to consider making for you feast!

 

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Oatmeal Cake with Caramel Icing

For Cake:
1-1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For Icing:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over oats; let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the oats. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.  *You can use a bundt pan too!
Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For icing, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Return to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Immediately spread icing over cake. Let stand until set.

 

This next recipe isn’t really a recipe, but a wonderful way to get in some fruits and dairy for a Beltane treat.

Fruit and Cheese Skewers

6 Bamboo skewers

12 miniature balls fresh mozzarella cheese

12 small basil leaves

12 large blackberries

Balsamic vinegar

Thread each of the 6 skewers from the bottom to top with cheese ball, basil leaf and blackberry and repeat again so there are 2 of each item on the skewer

Serve cold, drizzled with small amount of balsamic vinegar.  Delicious!

*You can of course change this up however you like.  You use other berries like strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry.  You can use a different cheese too if you like.

 

And for something good with honey 🙂

 

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Cold Lemon Honey Tea

4 cups water

3 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

1/4 cup loose-leaf Darjeeling tea or other loose-leaf black tea

1/2 of a 12-ounce can (3/4 cup) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1/3 cup honey

Ice cubes or crushed ice

Lemon slices and fresh mint for garnish

Vodka, gin or bourbon (optional)
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and ginger to boiling. Remove from heat. Add tea. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer; discard ginger and tea leaves.

Transfer tea to a 1 1/2-quart pitcher. Stir in lemonade concentrate and honey, stirring until honey is dissolved. Cool for 30 minutes. Cover; chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Stir before serving.

Serve punch in glasses over ice. Garnish with lemon slices. Chill remaining tea for up to 1 day.

For a single cocktail, pour vodka, gin, or bourbon (to taste) into a ice-filled glass; then add the lemon honey tea.

*I most definitely add a bit of vodka 🙂

 

I am hoping you’ll try these recipes and if you do, please let me know!  Your family/friends will love them.  I wish for all of you to have a very Blessed Beltane.  May you dance by the fires with the fairies!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Filed under Beltane, Correspondence, Faeries, Family, Flowers, Friends, Garden, Gardens, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Sun

The Wheel Turns to Beltane 2015……….

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet

and the winds long to play with your hair.

-Khalil Gibran

download (3)Merry Meet and Happy Spring on this beautiful April day.  I love April, always have. Not only because it’s the month I was born, but because it brings in Spring!  The weather is a bit unpredictable…we can have snow one day, near 80* temps another with lots of wind, rain, storms and tornado warnings thrown in for good measure.  The last few days it’s rained and stormed here a lot! But it’s been a good thing for Mother Earth as she is greening more and more every day.  I love the color green and it’s everywhere!  Our grass is really green and lush, trees are budding, spring bulbs and flowering bushes and trees are bloomed, and my summer plants have green sprouting up.  In my herb bed, cilantro and garlic are up already and my lavender is greening too!  I so love it!  Today, I woke up to a chill in the Air but it’s warming up to 60* and the Sun is shining so it’s a beautiful day!

I have been Spring cleaning like crazy as well.  The winter linens are put away, winter clothes being put away to make room for our Spring/Summer clothes.  My clothesline is back up.  I have taken each day a trash bag and gone around the house just pitching stuff.  Drawers, cupboards and closets are all checked for items no longer needed. It is so freeing to de-junk!  You’d be amazed what’s in your home that no longer serves a purpose. Whether it be paperwork, knickknacks, clothes, shoes, dishes etc…there are things in your home that can go I’m sure!  My home feels lighter and simpler with everything that goes out the door.  Add fresh flowers to mason jars on your window sill, open windows to air out your house and wash windows and you’ll feel like Spring has arrived INSIDE your home too!

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My seedlings so far this year!

Beltane is approaching fast! One of my favorite Sabbats..probably because it’s one of the first ones that I can celebrate outside without being cold!  I’ve written in the past 5 years all the many ways to celebrate this Sabbat and for me, that hasn’t changed.  I still have an outdoor fire, weather permitting, and burn any of the last of my dried herbs that have grown old and dusty hanging in my kitchen.  The scent is incredible!  I plant my seedlings in their outdoor beds, make offerings to the Fae of honey and bread, set out new wards and protection for my home and yard, and spend as much time barefoot in the grass with my hands in the dirt as I can!  A wonderful feast of fresh veggies, fruits, and grains are had by whoever decides to come by for dinner. And I never forget to gather the morning dew to wash my face in…to bring youth and beauty to this aging face of mine 🙂

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My Coven will gather, if not on Beltane shortly after.  Last year we made up May baskets (in jars really) to distribute to our elderly neighbors and loved ones. It was a lot of fun and I imagine we’ll do it again this year 🙂  We then welcome the Sun God…rejoicing in the return of the longer days, warmer weather, and Mother Earth blooming forth in all Her glory.

Other things I enjoy doing in the Spring….walks are a must.  I now have a gathering bag, a wildflower reference book and a good knife for gathering wild herbs on my walks. It’ll also hold acorns, pinecones, feathers and stones and whatever else I might come across on my walk that calls to me.  A walk by a pond, in a woods, on a beach, in a meadow…..whatever place I can find that allows me to enjoy being under the Sun again, outdoors.  Attending a pagan festival or maypole gathering, drum circles which usually move outdoors now, picnics in the park, drives out into the country to find early farm stands, visiting a botanical garden or butterfly house, going fishing, planting a tree and whatever else you can think of to do outdoors will help you to celebrate the change in the season, the turning of the wheel….Beltane!

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Remember too that Beltane is about the God and Goddess coming together in love and lust for each other.  Whether you have a partner or not, find a way to spread some love.  For yourself and others. Do something for yourself..whatever it is you need.   Be kind, be joyful, be peaceful and spread Love.  You will gain back much in return.  There is so much un-kindness in our online experiences and in our real life.  We see bad news everyday, people being mean, judgemental, non-accepting….that we can get discouraged from it.  But spreading LOVE starts with each of us.  I know so many of you do just that…all my friends do…or they wouldn’t be my friend! lol.

So my friends….Spring and soon, Beltane, have arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s a beautiful time of year and I for one will be taking complete advantage of every moment!  Enjoy the greening, blooming, warming of Mother Earth.  Enjoy lightening up on your clothes and foods. Enjoy the Sun on your head and the grass under your feet.  Make love, grow flowers, and dance under the light of the Moon!

I’ll be back soon with some recipes of course, along with pics of my gardens as they bloom and whatever else I find I’d like to tell you about.  I’ll have a new herb posting very soon too.  So for now, I wish you all a very Happy weekend! Make it magickal!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*All photos are either my own or creative common license.

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Ostara Recipes 2015………..

IMG_0857Merry Meet everyone and Happy Sun day!  It’s been a busy day here today.  My hubby is working on projects around the house and I had the laundry and the grocery to do.  Also, yesterday we had our ugly beige hallway and guest room painted in beautiful shades of green and “Vast Sky” blue, respectively.  So I had to put pictures back up on the wall, put everything back in it’s place etc.  The boring beige in the whole house is GONE and my home is warm in color as I like it 🙂  The Sun has been shining and we were in the mid 50’s…a lovely day but a bit chilly when the winds blow.  Tomorrow however we can look forward to hitting 70*! How wonderful!

Spring has sprung here..I believe it truly has!  Our bird and squirrel feeders are active.  I’ve seen cardinals, finches, mourning doves, and even two gorgeous male blue jays!  The squirrels are having a feast as well lol. There are tulips coming up in some areas, snow is all gone, and of course the days are getting longer.  I don’t see trees budding quite yet.  Now I live in Ohio, and I KNOW that we can see snow yet in April lol…but I think we can put Winter to bed pretty much 🙂  How about where you live?

I was perusing a few Spring issues magazines today.  I just love them don’t you?  There are always flowers and green and pastels on the covers.  So light and airy.  While I was looking thru them I found a few recipes I thought would be perfect for Ostara and thought I’d share them with you. They would be great to put in jars and take to the park for a picnic on a Spring day, great for your family gathering, and well, just for something light and healthy for every day!

 

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Fresh Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs lime zest

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup water

3 cups fresh orange segments

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, and next 3 ingredients.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, strain through sieve into a small bowl.  Let cool completely.

In a large serving bowl, combine fruits and mint.  Add lime syrup, stirring to combine.  Cover and chill for at least an hour. Sprinkle with almonds before serving.

 

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Spring Pasta Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

8 oz package orecchiette pasta

1/4 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into into 1 inch pieces and blanched

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced yellow bell peppers

1/2 cup Dill Vinaigrette *see below

Garnish:  Fresh dill

 

Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a large bowl, stir together asparagus, carrot and peppers and pasta.  Add Dill vinaigrette stirring gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Garnish with chopped dill.

 

Dill Vinaigrette

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days.

*I happen to think this recipe would be great with a greek or italian dressing too 🙂

 

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Lime Glaze

*makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Tb lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup buttermilk, divided, room temperature

Lemon-Lime glaze *see below

Preheat oven to 350*  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add egg, and mix until blended.  Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice, and mix until well blended.

*be sure to read this closely before starting 🙂  Working in batches, add 1/3 of flour mixture. Beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl.  Add 1/4 cup buttermilk; mix completely; scraping bowl.  Add second batch of 1/3 of flour mixture; scraping down sides of bowl.  Add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk.  Finish with last of flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl until all is fluffy!

Pour batter into baking cups, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

Lemon-Lime Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

2 tsps fresh lime juice

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Pour by spoonfuls over cupcakes.

Don’t they all sound wonderful….so fresh and reminding of Spring 🙂  Hope you give them a try! Remember to stir in some magick while cooking!

 

I want to talk about one more thing real quick.  I have a dear friend, Deb Sunshine Hillman who has written a wonderful book…a small book filled with beautiful tales relating to Women and the Goddess.  As a follower of Goddess, and I’m a woman…..lol…these stories speak to me.  I hope you check it out…I’m so proud of you dear Sister Deb for making one of your dreams come true….publishing a book!

Here is the link for my readers if you’d like to check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Cauldron-Full-Tails-Such-Stories/dp/1508600775/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426463556&sr=8-1&keywords=A+cauldron+of+tails

 

 

I hope that you all have had a great weekend…..we are just 5 days from Ostara!  Have a very Blessed Ostara and may Mother Earth awaken and Spring break forth soon if it hasn’t already where YOU live! ❤

 

“March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street.
She washes and cleans with pounding rains,
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin,
She ushers gentle springtime in.”
– Susan Reiner, Spring Cleaning

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

*All pictures are either my own or creative commons images.

 

 

 

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Filed under Books, Books I'm reading, Flowers, Goddess, Holiday, Mother Earth, My Writing, Nature, Ostara, Poem, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring, Uncategorized

I <3 Basil……….

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a gorgeous day here in Ohio!  A Spring-like day!  It started out chilly and extremely as foggy as Avalon but later in the morning the Sun burned off the fog, it warmed up into the 50’s, there is a gentle breeze, the skies are blue, the birds are singing…LOL…well, you get the picture!  I was out running errands without a coat and when I got home I opened up a couple windows to let in the fresh Air!  It’s just wonderful and my spirits are joyful in it!  I sure hope you’re getting a taste of Spring too!

Of course my thoughts are turning more and more to my garden beds….and planting my seed starters as I talked about in my last post.  It’s also almost Irish day..March 17…..and it made me think of leprechauns and gold coins and then money….and I knew I would share info on basil for you all 🙂  Basil is an herb that starts great as a seed indoors…and it has amazing magickal properties, including drawing money 🙂  Now you see where I’m going with it right? lol.  Who knows, maybe it will draw gold coins your way!

Basil, one of the oldest herbs, is believed to have originated in India and spread to Europe by the Middle East. Throughout history it has been regarded as having extraordinary powers in the realms of religion, medicine and cooking. Its name is derived from the Greek ‘basileus’ which means ‘king’. It’s also associated with the snake, the basilisk, because it was used to treat snake bites!

Basil: Ocimum bacilicum is part of the mint family. There are many species of basil….wild, sweet, bush or greek, lettuce leaf, ruffles, and even a purple variety..my favorite!! It also comes in many wonderful scents and flavors like lemon, licorice, anise, camphor and cinnamon. May also be called sweet basil, common basil, garden basil, Luole {chinese}, St. Joseph’s Wort, Tulsi, devil plant and my favorite, Witch’s herb.

Basil is an annual and is easily grown from seed. You can start the seeds indoors in a sunny place for 3-4 weeks, then transplant it in warm weather (after the last frost) to a sunny spot in your garden or a pot on your sunny patio. Grows well indoors in your kitchen too if you have a sunny window sill or counter to set it on.

 

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Culinary Use
Its culinary uses are many. It’s used in Teas, Soups, Stews, Sauces, Salads, Pastas, Vinegars, Dressings, Meats and Fish. Great on pizza too! It’s a key ingredient in many Asian and Italian dishes.  I also love, at Lughnassadh, to make a basil infused olive oil for cooking and for salads. It’s a great way to use the last of my basil in my garden at the end of the growing season. Basil is best used fresh in most recipes. That’s why having it in your own garden or kitchen is so wonderful.

Medicinal Use
Basil has a plethora of medicinal uses as well. The leaves, seeds, and its essential oil are used and occasionally the root. It’s reported to contain many healing properties including antiseptic, antidepressant, a carminative, stimulates the adrenal cortex, expectorant, soothes itching, prevents vomiting, and reduces a fever. It’s also an antispasmodic, stimulant (breast feeding), tonic, diaphoretic, carminative, vermifuge and can be used as a mouthwash/breath freshener.
An oil infused with basil is good for tired, overworked muscles. A tincture or tea can be used as a mouthwash for mouth sores and infected gums. An infusion made with basil is good for chest infections and digestive problems. Oil of Basil is a wonderful treatment for acne and warts. Basil leaves in a sleep pillow will aid insomnia and depression. A basil balm will help heal skin wounds as well. Also said to cure warts. An infused tea of fresh or dried basil is good to aid in allaying nausea, vomiting and indigestion. Add basil leaf tea or a few drops of basil essential oil to a warm bath to help reduce stress and relax.
If you are outside, and the insects are bothering you, rub crushed leaves on your skin to repel insects and on insect bites to relief the itching and inflammation. If you need a quick breath freshener, chew on a couple of leaves to freshen your breath. Chewing fresh leaves may also help to calm a cough. According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “The essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.”
*Warnings: Basil is safe in food amounts, and it seems to be safe in medicinal amounts when used by adults short-term. Long term medicinal use could cause health issues. In some people basil can cause low blood sugar.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Basil seems to be safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts might be UNSAFE.
Children: Basil seems to be safe for children in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts might be UNSAFE.
*reference WebMD

Aromatherapy
Basil has a warm, earthy scent. Lemon basil is wonderful in citrus potpourri. Blends well with bergamot, lavender, orange, lemon, neroli and verbena. A blend of basil, orange and lavender essential oils in a base oil is wonderful! (in my opinion) 

Magickal Use
There are just as many magickal properties in basil as there are medicinal and culinary. Here are just a few I came across in my research and my own BOS.
Planetary: Mars
Astrological: Scorpio
Gender: Masculine
Element: Fire
Gods: Vishnu, and Krishna
Goddess: Erzulie

Magickal Properties: Love, Exorcism, Wealth, Flying, Protection, Visionary, Fertility, Funeral, Consecration, Immortality and Purification
~Basil added to vinegar water is a wonderful herbal cleanser/purifier for floors and walls. (perfect for your Imbolc cleaning!)
~Plant basil in your yard for protection and good fortune.
~Witches were said to have drunk a half a cup of basil juice before flying into the air.
~ Give a potted basil plant to a friend to bring them good luck
~Put a bundle of basil or a plant on your altar for Imbolc..for renewal
~Use basil tea or drops of essential oil in your cleansing bath before a ritual, initiation, or ceremony.
~ It may be burned as an offering to the Salamanders or fire breathing Dragons
~Stick some leaves in your pocket when on a date or with a loved one to bring good feelings and love to the night
~Grind it into a loose incense recipe
~Drink an infused tea before meditating or divining
~Sprinkle basil leaves or dried basil in the four corners of your home, your car, your place of business etc..for protection.
~Add it to a mojo bag for protection
~Add it to a sleep pillow to aid in astral travel
~Put leaves in your wallet or place on your altar with a green, lit candle to aid monetary needs
~Use it in your magickal potions/oils for love, money, health and protection
~Cook with basil  to keep your Lover at your side and infuse the feelings of love and happiness
~Make holy water with basil and use it to aspurge your altar, or sacred space. Many believe that basil consecrates burial sites as well.

 

 

Recipe

Here’s a delicious recipe for Pesto….it’s refreshing and green and you’ll love it!  And how much fun is it to pick your own basil out of your own herb garden to make it? Delicious on pasta and bruschetta!

CLASSIC BASIL PESTO

 

BasilkumPesto
2 c. fresh basil leaves
2 lg. garlic cloves
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 c. pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Combine the basil, garlic, cheeses and nuts in a food processor or blender. Process to mix. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to the desired consistency. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes about 1 cup. Blend into Pasta of your choice and top with Parmesan cheese!

As you can see, the magickal ways to use Basil is endless. I know you’ll find ways to use it..any of the ways listed above. So this Spring, as your planning your garden, be sure to have a plant or two or three of basil at your disposal. I especially recommend the purple basil..it’s just gorgeous!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Happy Irish Day, Herbal How To, Herbal Recipe, Herbs, Nature, Ostara, Recipe from my Kitchen, Seasons, Spring

The Wheel Turns to Ostara 2015………..

imagesCAJTX5KXMerry Meet my friends.  It’s a cold and very snowy day here.  We’ve gotten about 4-5 inches of new snow! It was beautiful when we woke up this morning and just stopped in the last hour or two.  We have a roaring fire going, chili in the crockpot, racing is on though my hubby has fallen into his 2nd nap of the day (he has a cold) and I’ve been writing recipes up for the Sunday Stew and Imramma Magazine this morning in my jammies 🙂  Gotta love Winter Sun days like that!

Today is March 1 and in 19 days it will be Ostara..the first day of Spring.  It’s hard to see that right now with all this snow and cold, but I can feel it.  There is a change in the pattern of the Sun and Moon, in the winds blowing, in the birds and ground animals.  In the light of the morning, and the darkness of the sky at night.  Oh yes, my friends….Spring is not far away..not just by calendar date but if you pay attention to the signs around you too.

I grew up in a home that celebrated Easter.  We were casually christian I guess…went to church when I was little but after the age of 9-10 for me it was rare and only when my grandma asked us to go.  But the Easter egg hunts were a big deal in our family….the little boys in dress pants, sweaters and bow ties, the little girls in frilly dresses with bonnets and I even remember my dad buying us orchid corsages to wear.  I had 9 cousins and we would all go to my grandmother’s house, or an aunt’s house and have a great pot luck supper and a oh-so-much fun egg hunt.  Many times, my birthday fell on or very close to that day, and there would be an extra gift for me.  Big chocolate bunnies were always the best thing to find 🙂  Such fun for little kids. As I still have christian family members, we continued that practice with my girls and now with my grandchildren.  It’s a family day…not a christian holiday for me, but each family member sees it their own way.  And that is just fine!  Does your family still celebrate Easter?  Ostara?  It’s one of those great Sabbats that can be enjoyed by all without too much discomfort I think for those of differing Paths.

 

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Ostara now, meaning March 20…that is a whole different thing.  It’s still about bunnies and eggs and food and pastel colors lol, but it’s also about knowing the Sun is getting stronger and warmer, the days are lengthening, and Spring will come.  We watch for signs of buds on our flowering trees, shoots coming up from the wet ground, blades of grass turning green, and birds becoming more active. We might see a bunny hopping in our yard, a chipmunk scurrying, a robin or yellow finch, and of course the garden centers are setting out mowers, grills, seeds, pots, early spring flowers etc etc. I love Facebook as the seasons change.  My friends love posting the first signs of the new Season.  When I see my southern friends posting pics of forsythia and cherry trees blooming, I know we aren’t far behind!  I can’t wait to smell that first scent of rich dirt, plant that first plant or seed, check out what’s coming up that was planted last year, and just plain get my hands and bare feet dirty again!

My Circle will gather a few days after Ostara as well.  Last year we blessed seeds and planted them for each of our gardens.  I’m sure we’ll do something like that again this year.  If it’s warm enough, we’ll go outside and give our thanks and gratitude to the Sun God as he brings warmth back to Mother Earth. A feast will be had and always a fire too.  I really look forward to time with my Sister Witches.  Ostara is usually when I plant my seed starters as well.  Blessing the seeds, placing potting soil in little sod pots, planting the seeds and watering with Moon water is such a wonderful way to observe the day.

 

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For now, I still am enjoying Winter.  As a matter of fact, all of a sudden I look back on how fast it’s gone by.  Some of the things I vowed I would work on over the Winter escaped me.  But I spent a lot of time reading, writing, working on my home, cooking and baking, and enjoying the beauty of staying home more, spending time with family and resting more.  So things I didn’t get done..well, they will still get done eventually.   It does bother me I haven’t worked on my herbalist course the way I wanted to….found myself wanting to read instead.  But as Spring approaches, the mood is striking me more so I’ve picked it up today again and have worked on it some and will continue at my own pace until I finally do get that certificate!  I can picture myself on my sunny patio, with an iced drink and warm breezes and the scent of lavender and rosemary while I study and work 🙂  Yes..that sounds perfect!

I can see that many are searching here on my blog for Ostara recipes, rituals etc.  You can do that in the search box on the right hand side here on my blog.  You can also find more of my recipes starting March 22 in the Sunday Stew….again the icon on the right here on my blog.  I’ll be back here soon to post a new recipe or two, maybe a new seed blessing I’m working on and of course something Irish for Irish day!  I’ll also be posting more herbal info very soon.  I want to again thank my readers for being so supportive of me and my blog.   I truly appreciate it.

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Now, I hope you’re all warm and cozy if you’re having your Winter, and staying cool and comfortable if you’re having your Summer.  Either way, have a happy March!

 

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”

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

*All photos are either my own or creative commons unlicensed pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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