Tag Archives: Midsummer

The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2016……

 

IMG_5855Merry Meet my friends.  I know…you are probably thinking..where have you been?  I know I know!  I’ve been very neglectful of my blog and I’m sorry.  I could tell you everything that has been going on in my life…..but frankly, there’s so much going on in the World these days..it would just sound like petty reasons. I have missed writing but at the same time I tossed around the idea of not writing here for a while.  I guess I accomplished that…a needed break.  But I’m back I think and look forward to writing here again.  I thank you for your patience..if you have indeed been wondering 🙂

I HAVE been busy …as many of you have been, I know.  My gardens are keeping me happily busy….planting, mulching, weeding, watering, thinning, deadheading etc etc. ….but I find that a lovely chore 🙂  My in-laws have moved from California to be near us, as my FIL is developing dementia and my MIL requires more help.  This has been a challenge I won’t go into, but we are managing to the best of our ability.  I’ve been still recovering from two surgeries in February that rocked my world too.  Suffice to say that I don’t think I’m going to get back all the way to where I was, but I’m doing as good as it gets lol.  Nothing serious, just irritation stuff.  I have a lot of irons in the fire, and that is why, mainly, that I haven’t written.  It was just an iron I let go for a while.

Let’s see, I haven’t written since Ostara.  Wow.  So I missed Beltane and Midsummer postings but to my delight, I see that many have still come to read my posts and snatch up some of my recipes etc.  I’m glad!  There is some great info there in the last 6-7 years.  I plan to continue sharing recipes as those seem to be my most popular posts.

Now, we are moving quickly toward Lughnasadh or Lammas on August 1st. I so love this Sabbat as it’s that first sign that my favorite season, Autumn, is coming fast!  The first Harvest festival! It’s been so hot here lately with way more high temps coming yet, that it especially makes me long for cool, crisp days and knowing they are coming soon makes me happy!  I have already been perusing recipes..mostly recipes for breads, fresh veggies, canning, and uses for my herbs in oils and vinegars.

Many of us are harvesting yummy produce from our own garden beds.  Red tomatoes, green peppers, peas, beans, zucchini, squash, melons etc etc.  Also, I don’t know about you, but I’ve harvested some of my herbs more than once already!  Big bundles of lemon balm, fever few, catnip, oregano, mint, parsley, sage etc are hanging and scenting my kitchen in a lovely way.  My coven sisters have benefitted a bundle or two as well 🙂  For those who don’t have big gardens of veggies, like me, a farmer’s market is the perfect place to stock up!  They are abundant around your town I’m sure and farm stands dot the corners as well.  Be sure to indulge yourself this time of year.

I have already made a couple of new recipes I’d like to share.  One is for a simple yummy bread that I’m now calling biscuit bread!  The other, a delicious cheese-filled mushroom appetizer, however, it would make a lovely light lunch too.  I think you’ll like them!

 

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Butter Crust Beer Bread

2 cups self-rising flour

3 Tbs sugar

12 oz regular beer (not light)

1/4 cup butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 350* In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and beer until well blended and a sticky dough forms, about one minute.  Spoon dough into a greased 8″x 5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven; pour melted butter over the top. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more, until lightly golden. Cool bread in pan before removing.

 

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Cheesy Mushroom Caps

8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (the good stuff, not shaker)

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 tsp garlic salt

24 large mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned (I used baby portabello)

1/2 cup butter, melted.

Preheat oven to 350*  In a bowl, combine cheeses, whipping cream and garlic salt; blend well.  Fill mushroom caps with mixture.  Dip bottom of mushrooms in melted butter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

*The cheese mixture would fill more than 24 of the baby portabellos.  If you use a larger mushroom, it may fill less than 24.

Enjoy!!

I have put together for the most part my Lughnasadh altar.  The harvest altars are always my favorite to do.  I love the warm colors of browns, golds, rusts, reds, and oranges.  This is my altar this year. 🙂

 

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Lughnasadh or Lammas is all about the last days of Summer, the coming of Autumn, the first harvests, the days shortening, and a reminder for us to appreciate the warmth of the Sun, while it may be too hot some days to be out under that same Sun.  Our ancestors had more to do and worry about…putting “up” food for the winter, praying that Mother Earth, the Goddesses and Gods smiled on their crops and brought abundant enough food for them to survive the long, cold Winter. A good crop and storing said crops was hard work and meant life or death!  For us, putting “up” food perhaps reminds us of our grandmothers or mothers who fantastically canned tomatoes, sauces, veggies, jams/jellies, pickles etc and filled their pantry with colorful jars all in a row.  I sure have memories of my grandmother, in her ever constant apron, doing just that…with grandchildren underfoot trying to help and learn.  To this day, I still like to do some canning…..even if it’s just apple butter or strawberry jam.  It’s lovely sitting on the shelf, to pull out in the middle of a cold Winter day , and slather onto a piece of homemade, hot bread.  Sigh..so good.

Don’t forget to use your fresh herbs to make lovely flavored oils and vinegars.  Baking bread is a big part of Lammas/Lughnasadh as well.  Watch the sunrise or set, sit under a tree and watch the Sun dapple through the trees.  Garden and feel the warmth on your back.  Have a picnic with your family.  Take a walk and enjoy the brilliant flowers in full glory. Heck…even play Pokemon Go if you want…just be sure that you’re walking to catch those little monsters and enjoying being outdoors.  There will come a time when you’ll be indoors watching it snow and you’ll be glad you enjoyed that warm Sun!

Blessed Lughnasadh my friends.  May the Sun warm you. Oh and Blessed Full Moon too!  May She shine on you also. Also, if I may say a word, in this very angry, sad world we seem to be living in right now…..open your heart to others, spread love, be kind…don’t judge.  Be part of the cure, not the problem.  We are all just here to live our lives, in our way, with respect and love for others.  Blessed Be.

“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-

 

Blessings and Love,

Autumn

 

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Litha..the Summer Solstice 2015…………

11178300_890425127667564_7474087168739454152_nMerry Meet my friends!  I have been writing all afternoon….in my journal and doing my recipes for both Imramma Magazine and The Sunday Stew Magazine.  I thought while I was at it, I’d go ahead and write a blog post too.  Our weather has been crazy lately!  We’ve had a LOT of rain…which the gardens love, but we’ve had very little Sun which they also would love.  We also have been quite chilly the last few days….unseasonably cool weather..requiring us to go straight from using the A/C to turning the heat back on lol.  But that is Ohio for you..and many other states have the same issues right now 🙂  But no matter the weather, Summer is coming fast!

I have finished all my planting!  However, hubby and I are still wanting to have two trees planted.  A Bradford Pear in our front yard that we’ll plant ourselves, and an Autumn Blaze maple tree which we’ll  have planted by the garden center where we’ll buy it. We want that to be a good sized tree right from the start so we’ll have it done for us.  But all of my flowers, herbs and veggies are in and we are now just enjoying watching them bloom and grow, and of course watering (not much needed with all the rain this past week) and even deadheading already!  I’m so pleased with them..they’re just so grounding to me, magickal, beautiful…and I take great pride in the work I did to get them that way!  I’ll post a few pictures soon..when it’s sunny and they are all standing and beautiful again..the rain has made them all look a little tired already 🙂

Those who know me, know I’m not a huge fan of Summer…but it’s not really Summer..it’s just the heat!  I love many things about these months of summer.  Getting to hang clothes out on the line, the warm evenings for hanging outside, listening to  and watching the birds in the early morning while I sip my coffee on the patio, taking walks, grilling, fresh fruits and vegetables, the Farmer’s Market, the smell of fresh mown grass and my herbs, and that electric scent of storms coming in.

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I love the picnics, watching the kids swim and play or catch fireflies, an ice cream cone from time to time, picking my own mint to make a mojito, lightening up on my clothes, the more carefree days, sitting under the stars and Moon, leaning up against the tree, playing with the faerys, the lazy days of it being too hot to do anything but lay around and read….sigh..I truly love all those things.  I just don’t like being sweaty while I do it LOL.  I know many women my age feel the same way about it! 🙂

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One of my favorite memories of my childhood of summer, was spending the week at my grandmother and grandfather’s house.  They owned 10 acres and had a huge garden that kept them very busy over the Summer.  I loved helping grandma pick whatever was ready….then help to “put it up”.  Whether it was snapping beans, shelling peas, making applesauce or rhubarb sauce, canning tomatoes, making strawberry jam or crabapple jelly (my favorite)..I was right there helping her..with great pleasure.  I remember her in her housedress and apron..almost always in the kitchen, garden, or sitting outside with us while we played.  The first day we’d be at her house, she would take my cousin and I off to the library, where we would stock up on books for the week. She would set up hammocks for us under her biggest trees..and we would lay there reading for hours.  The evenings were spent talking on the porch, having a 7 course meal (I’m not kidding..so much food!).  Then it’d be bathtime with a smack from her wonderful powder puff and to bed early. Waking up to the mourning dove calling in the early morning …well …to this day when I hear a mourning dove’s call….I think of her.  I miss her still.  It was such a simple time..very little tv was watched, no electronics, etc…it was spent together..working hard, playing hard..enjoying life’s simple pleasures. This is what I wanted my kids to remember..and now my grandkids too..it’s so so important!

Sunday in summer.

The Solstice..the longest day is June 21 this year. It’s also Father’s Day which will make it either more fun for us Witches and Pagans, or it will interfere with our Litha plans. LOL.  In my case, it will be fine either way. We will most likely celebrate with my father on another evening, and same with my son-in-law!  My hubby will be able to do as he pleases for his day,  and so will I 🙂 My Litha celebration will consist of  a welcoming toast at Sunrise that morning, some time tending gardens, fresh wards and protection put around my house, a simple, fresh feast, and then a fire outside, under the stars and moon, to finish up the evening. My daughter and my husband will enjoy the fire and the feast right there with me 🙂  I often do a re-dedication to the Goddess for Litha as well.  A simple ritual reminding Her and myself that I am of Her..with Her..from Her.  It’s always so beautiful and affirming to me.  Fills me with peace and joy.  My coven will gather the following Sunday for Circle, fire, feast and fun!

I hope that you don’t mind my walk down memory lane.  Perhaps you should take one yourself?  Put a blanket under a tree, lay down and feel the breeze, see the beautiful play of light in the leaves,  close your eyes and daydream a bit.  Are you taken back to carefree summer days?  Try to recreate them again…summer is for playing, being a child at heart, throwing cares to another day…..just try it!!  You’ll be rejuvenated by it!

I’ll be back again soon with some new recipes for Litha for you to try.  And of course whatever else pops up I want to talk to you about or share with you.  Until then, Enjoy these last days of Spring..no matter the weather….for they will be a year coming back again!

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Books, Discussion, Faeries, Family, Friends, Gardens, Litha, Midsummer, Mother Earth, Pagan, Quote, Summer, Summer Solstice, Witch

The Wheel Turns to Litha..the Summer Solstice 2014..

 

“it’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s Summertime!”
― Kenny Chesney

 

IMG_0918Merry Meet my friends. I hope this night finds you and yours well! The Full Strawberry/Honey/Mead Moon (whichever YOU call Her) was absolutely incredibly beautiful and powerful. After all, with it being Friday the 13th and Mercury being in retrograde…She had to be! I spent extra time under Her influence…still am!.. as She’s still beautiful tonight. The energy is palpable if you sit quiet and soak Her in. Crystals and tools have been re-charged, Moon water made and rituals done. House was smudged too. 🙂

The Summer Solstice, Litha, MidSummer….it’s just a week away on the 21st! The longest day of the year..but also the start of the days shortening. That’s so amazing to think about..especially since Summer is just starting! But at my age LOL..the Wheel turns fast, so I’ll be enjoying every minute of those daylight hours, Hot Sun, warm breezes, green grass, blooming flowers and herbs, lightning bugs, summer rain showers, etc etc. All the perks of Summer. Even though the HEAT is not my favorite thing..I will enjoy it 🙂

This year, Litha will be a quiet, solitary celebration on the day. My Circle won’t meet til the following weekend. However, my family leaves for the Smoky Mountains the day after..the 22nd. To know I’ll be in my favorite Mountains for the Solstice is just…well…Magickal to me. I can’t wait!! When I travel, I carry a portable altar kit..mostly candles, incense, small crystals to bury, my pendulum, lavender oil, etc. Whatever strikes me I might want or need. Taking a walk into the Mountain woods, results in a bit of Magick for me! My soul just sings when I’m in those Mountains and the woods there.

The Solstice is when I always put out new Witch’s protection bottles on my property, set up and re-fresh my wards and barriers, and make offerings to the Fae…though I do that ALL the time while gardening, I am always sure to do it again. Also, my herbs are usually ready for their first harvesting. That is one of my favorite things to do! Smelling, touching, talking to, harvesting, tying and hanging my herbs just makes me so happy. AND I know most of them…will bloom again one or two more times before the end of the season. They are growing leaps and bounds in our wonderful weather. It’s not been too hot and we’ve had good amounts of rain, which is sooo much better then watering with a hose 🙂 It will be a good harvest!

If you want information on how to do a Witch’s bottle..just type it into the search box on the right. It should come up with how I do it. Also, if you type in Litha and/or Summer Solstice..you will find previous years postings of recipes, correspondence and other info etc. I thought I’d share this recipe with you for now….it’s refreshing and uses healthy produce and herbs that are abundant this time of year!

 

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Strawberry Balsamic Salad

1 (7 ounce) package Baby Spinach or 1 (7 ounce) package baby romaine lettuce
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese or 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
crushed salt and black pepper

Whisk vinegar and olive oil in small bowl. Add basil and season with salt and pepper.

Combine spinach or romaine and strawberries in large bowl.

Add vinaigrette; gently toss to evenly coat.

Divide salad among 4 plates. Sprinkle each salad with cheese and pine nuts

*Personally, I’d double the the oil and vinegar for the dressing..leaving the basil in the same amount give….if you like  a bit more dressing.  But I like it with JUST balsamic too 🙂
This would be lovely with some crusty bread and a glass of wine..a perfect Solstice feast!
However YOU celebrate the Solstice, I hope you have a beautiful, longest day of the year and enjoy every moment of it. Be lazy, be active, walk barefoot, swim, catch lightning bugs, eat watermelon, take a long walk in the cool woods…Connect and enjoy the Sun! I’ll be back again soon!  Be sure to check out the Sunday Stew again (just click on the Sunday Stew Chef cauldron on the right column.)   My recipe for Carmelite Water..using lemon balm will be posted.  A great sipping drink to enjoy with medicinal value as well! Also lots of other great Solstice recipes and writings and info.  Have a great week and leave me a message about YOUR Solstice plans..I’d love to hear!!
swing-seat-in-garden-country-homes-and-interiors-housetohome-co-uk
It was June, and the world smelled of roses.
The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.
~Maud Hart Lovelace

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

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Summer Solstice Recipes 2012…..

Hello everyone!  Hope this posting finds you all either enjoying heading towards Summer or heading towards Winter!  🙂  Here in Ohio we are obviously heading for Summer but it is always so much fun to see my “southern hemisphere” friends talking about cold, blustery winter days by the fire.  It is a reminder to me always about the turning of the Wheel and Mother Earth.

We have had both a very HOT June and a very cool June so far.  I have enjoyed the cooler days as those who know me or read my blog know I’m not big on hot weather.  But I do love Summer.  Though I’m still recovering from my illness, I have done some planting of herbs and flowers, watering, a bit of weeding and taking as much time with my feet on Mother Earth as possible.  The nights have been amazing!  We had a long spell of no rain..so the skies have been full of stars and a beautiful waxing, Full and now waning Moon.  She has been low in the sky, orange, then bright and huge!  I have basked in her healing energy, sent out healing and protection to others, and tried to come to terms with things that have happened in my life in recent weeks.  With the Goddess’s help..I have done just that.  I am grateful for all the good things in my life, the people who I love and who love me back, and to follow a Path that helps me to ground and keep myself positive and joyful.

We had a good, long rain today..much needed!  Our grass, flowers, herbs and critters that share our spaces with us enjoyed it very much.  I watched robins bathing in our koi ponds, the frogs are croaking happily, birds singing, and chipmunks scurrying this evening.  As I type this, the Sun has set into twilight and I’m waiting for the lightning bugs to put on their magickal show.  It is a bit sticky and humid tonight but I’ll be on the porch anyway in a bit to watch them 🙂

Sooo…for me and my family, Summer is about family get togethers, good food, being outside, and relaxing and playing!   Cooking is all about cold sides with hot grilled goodies.  I’ve been perusing cookbooks, cooking magazines and my own recipe box, looking for a few more recipes to celebrate the Solstice. I even pulled out my grandma’s recipe box this week.  I love seeing her old, yellowed, handwritten recipe cards.  It makes me feel close to her again as I learned so much at her side about cooking and gardening.  So I’ve put together a few recipes that speak Summer to me that I thought you would enjoy too.  Remember to take advantage of farmer’s markets, produce stands,  your local grocer, and your own garden for fresh veggies, fruits and herbs to make everything just a little bit better 🙂

 

 

Watermelon Fruit Salad

1/4 cup Agave nectar

1/4 cup water

4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup cubed pineapple

1 cup diced kiwi

1 cup mango

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 lime, juiced

Garnish:  fresh mint

In a large bowl, combine agave nectar and 1/4 cup water. Blend well.  Add all the rest of the ingredients.  Toss gently.  Refrigerate.

 

 

Pineapple-Honey Chicken Kabobs

*this is a favorite recipe of mine I made up years ago after having them at Fridays restaurant..who doesn’t serve them anymore..so light and good!  Now I have no measurements..sorry..I just throw these together.

Kabob sticks  …2-3 for each person if adults

chicken breast cut into 2 inch pieces

pineapple cut into 2 inch pieces

green and/or red peppers cut into pieces

skewer the chicken, pineapple and peppers onto the sticks.

Marinate in a mixture of pineapple juice, honey and soy sauce.  Sorry, no measurements and it doesn’t matter. It will turn out great!  You want enough juice to cover the kabobs…put in about 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup soy ..that might do it 🙂  Place the kabobs in a dish big enough to hold the kabobs covered in the marinade.  Let marinade about 4 hours or more.

Grill the kabobs on med. heat until chicken is well cooked.  Serve with honey as a dip or peanut sauce which is my favorite dip for these yummy kabobs!  Really good with a cole slaw and oven fried potatoes! Or with this salad recipe below….

 

 

Bok Choy Salad 

1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 large Bok Choy, ends cut off, chopped

2 pkgs crumbled ramen noodles

Mix together in a large salad bowl.

In a pan, brown…. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 TB butter

Add to salad greens and noodles.

Top with 2 cans of drained mandarin oranges

Dressing:

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 TB soy sauce

Toss dressing in salad just before serving!

*This would also be good with fresh sliced strawberries!

 

 

 

Red Potato Salad

3 pounds red new potatoes

4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Tb minced red onion

1/3 cup white vinegar

3 Tb sweet pickle relish

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 cup canola oil

In a large saucepan, place potatoes.  Cover with water 2 inches above potatoes.  Bring to a boil; cook until tender, 15-20 mins.  Drain and let potatoescool.  (peel if you’d like).  Coarsely chop.

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, celery, parsley, and onion.  In a small bowl, combine vinegar, pickle relish, salt and pepper; slowly whisk in oil.  Drizzle over potato mixture; toss well.  Cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

 

Chocolate Chess Pie

*I happen to think chocolate is good all year round :))

1/2 (14.1 oz) pkg refrigerated piecrust

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 (5oz) can evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

3 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375*.  Unroll piecrust, and fit into a shallow 9-inch pie plate; flute edges as desired.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and eggs; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.  Add milk, butter, cocoa, and vanilla, beating until smooth.  Pour into prepared pie pan.

Bake until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Top with whipped cream.

 

 

Slush

*This recipe comes from my hubby’s Aunt Betty.  It is a delicious cold grown up slushy :)) I make this up in a big bowl and keep it in the freezer all summer long.  So good on the porch on hot nights!

2 6-oz cans frozen orange juice, thawed

2 6-oz cans frozen lemonade, thawed

9 cups water

3 cups rum, gin or vodka ..not all 3..just 3 cups of one of them LOL

1 Tb instant tea

1 3/4 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients and freeze.

To serve, fill glass half full with slush.  Add a clear soda like 7-up, Sprite or Sierra Mist.

 

Summer is a time for fresh corn on the cob with herbed butter, sliced tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and italian dressing, grilled peaches and pineapple on vanilla ice cream, juicy burgers and sticky baked beans.  Potato and pasta salads, strawberry shortcakes, homemade ice creams, fresh watermelon or canteloupes and lots of water, lemonade and iced tea!  Oh and did I mention my favorite?  BLT sandwiches with fresh, home grown lettuce and ripe, juicy tomatoes and crusty bread..yummy!!!

Make Summer fun..try new recipes…use your herbs to brighten up the taste of your old stand-by recipes. Make fresh juice popsicles for the kids or make ice cream with the old fashioned crank ice cream makers.  I have so many wonderful memories of my family doing that.  Have a picnic, a cook-out or a romantic, under-the-Moon dinner outdoors.  Put candles in mason jars,  cut flowers from your garden and place them in a vase on the table, play some Jimmy Buffet or ocean sounds music and just enjoy the view of a Summer night sky.   Summer is just 3 short months..enjoy every moment of it!  My favorite thing to do to honor the Sun God, is to be up as the Sun rises and have a glass of fresh juice or a cup of coffee and just be grateful for the turning of the wheel, the God and Goddess, and all the blessings in my Life.   Blessed Summer Solstice to you all.

Then followed that beautiful season… Summer…. Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;

 and the landscape Lay as if new; created in all the freshness of childhood.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

*To look for more recipes from the last 2 years of blog posts or any other info for the Solstice, just do a word search on the gadget to the right.  Type in Litha, or Summer Solstice or MidSummer and see what shows up 🙂

*Sources..all pics are from the internet…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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