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The Wheel Turns to Lughnasadh 2018….

 

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Merry Meet my friends!  I hope that this post finds you all well.  It’s been a HOT Summer here in Ohio…many days over 90*.  We had a good amount of rain for a while, but now we’ve been much more dry.  However, the forecast shows both some cooler temps and rain in the next week which is most welcome.  As much as I love gardening, the garden beds are looking poor from the heat and lack of rain and watering from a hose just doesn’t do the trick as much as natural water.  But tomatoes are ripened and sooo good, my herbs will give me a huge harvest and the bees, birds, and butterflies are happy.

I know I’ve been absent again…..losing my daughter has just taken the wind out of my sails. But the writing bug has bitten me a bit so here I am. I’ve focused a lot on my home..doing necessary cleaning as we all do, but also purging every drawer, closet and cupboard, nook and cranny of unwanted, unneeded and unused items.  From books, to clothes, to even knick knacks etc.  It’s very freeing and I’m feeling my life falling into better organization and less stuff…which is a good thing.  I’m also finding comfort in my family and spending time with them as much as possible.  We all miss Sara so it helps us.  My grandkids are so busy and so fun and they bring me great joy as well. My daughter Kate and her husband include my husband and I on so many events in their life and we’re grateful for our time with them.  As they live so close, we see them often and it’s fabulous.

I dream of Autumn…as you all know, my favorite season.  But I will have to admit, losing Sara in October..my most favorite time of year…may temper my feelings on the month this year…..but not on the season.  I will always love Fall.  I’m not a fan of hot weather, and we’ve had a very hot season so far, so of course I’m perusing my Fall recipes, gathering fresh supplies for my pantry like flours and yeast for breads, fresh spices and seasonings, I’m freezing things like tomatoes and peaches, and chopped veggies like peppers. Casseroles will be made as well.  I often send food to my elder in-laws and my own parents and of course try to help any friends out from time to time.  I have a lovely neighbor who I often talk to over the fence, and we pass yummy things back and forth to each other as well. So having things in the pantry and readily available really makes that easier.  And of course, I’ve now discovered ordering groceries for delivery!  Or to pick up which makes me very happy!  And the farmer’s markets are in full swing which is wonderful.

Last week, my daughter and I were gifted with a big bushel of fresh Georgia peaches right off the truck.  We decided to make peach pie filling to freeze so we can make pie or cobbler or ice cream topping to enjoy in the Fall/Winter.  We came across a delicious recipe and got busy.  I decided to share it here as my most commented on posts are often the ones that contain recipes.  I hope you can get your hands on some peaches and give this a try.  You don’t have to “can” these….they can be frozen in freezer containers or even freezer bags.

Quick and Yummy Peach Pie Filling

*recipe is enough for one pie.

1 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp almond extract

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

4-5 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced thin

In a large deep skillet over medium heat, stir together the water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook until thickened and bubbly about 5 minutes.  The Cook another 3 minutes as it simmers, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon.

Add the peaches and mix until peaches are well coated and combined.

Cool filling to room temperature then use right away, store in refrigerator a few days or freeze in containers or bags.

This recipe is seriously yummy.  You’ll love it! So much better than the canned stuff!

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I love having prepared foods in the freezer to make my life a little easier, and cooking these foods with someone you love, sharing them, sharing recipes to try etc makes it even more great!

Lughnasadh comes very soon…August 1.  I love this Sabbat because it’s heralding the coming of Autumn, the harvest season and cooler weather…eventually.  It’s also all about good food, the harvest, grains and breads, herbs and oils…..it’s a fun time when it’s too hot to be outside, you can be cooking yummy things in the kitchen to share or to save for yourself later.  In my past blogs I’ve posted many recipes for herbed oils, breads, fresh veggie dishes and fruit desserts.  Be sure to check them out.

How has your summer been?  I’d love to hear.  How do you celebrate Lughnasadh?  My coven will be gathering just a couple days ahead.  I always look forward to that.  We’ve had some amazing Moons this Summer huh?  Part of what I DO love about Summer, is basking under the Moon without being cold, or needing shoes and coats etc.  lol.  Barefoot in the grass in my jammies works great this time of year.  New protections and witch jars are always put into place this time of year..between Solstice and Lughnasadh for me and my coven.  Again..it’s so easy and nice to do it in the warmth.  Often I’m accompanied by the sounds of the crickets, lightning bugs, bees buzzing, and soft winds rustling through the trees.  Those are the great things about Summer.

I’ll be back soon, I’ve been giving thought to recipes I can share here along with other ideas of things to talk about.  I want to thank so many of you for your kind words about the loss of my daughter.  It’s appreciated more than you know and touched my heart.  I do know she’s with me, always in my heart, and she’d be proud of how I’m doing my best to take care of me and my loved ones, remembering her in great love and being comforted by our memories of her.  I know I’m not alone in loss and life must move on.  Thank you again for the love and support.

Make your remaining Summer days fantastic!  And for those like me who love Autumn, it won’t be long!!  The old Wheel turns very fast!

“When summer opens, I see how fast it matures,

and fear it will be short; but after the heats of July and August,

I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love and Blessings,

Autumn

 

 

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The Wheel Turns to Imbolc 2016……

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” 
–  Stanley Crawford

 

imagesMerry Meet!  I hope this writing finds you doing well.  There has been some crazy weather everywhere.  Big snowstorms, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes..you name it..it’s been out there.  We’ve had none of that lol.  As a matter of fact, we’ve had very little snow, still, which is unusual for Ohio and we are warming up into the 50’s for the next few days.  But, still, I know Imbolc comes.  If you truly watch nature..the rising and setting of Moon and Sun, the habits of birds and critters, the trees and plants…you know.

I have been a very busy Witch preparing for Imbolc.  It’s been all about a serious purging of un-wanted and un-needed items from this house.  It feels so good to have less things taking up space in drawers, closets and cupboards. Even knick knacks, things hanging on the walls, and old throw rugs and blankets are going.  I can’t recommend this enough.  I’ve talked about it before, and I’ve done it many times.  But this is the MOST I’ve ever done.  I truly believe I could become almost a minimalist lol.  It’s a great way to cleanse and clean to prepare for Imbolc and well…just Spring cleaning if you prefer.

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I’m unfortunately having that surgery Monday, so I’ll be celebrating Imbolc on Sunday. Imbolc by the way is February 2.  There will be a fire, lots of candles, a feast, and offerings.  I do honor Brighid for this, Her Sabbat, and will do both altar work and another ritual I’ve talked about before.  Before midnight I turn off all the lights in the house and have lots of candles going throughout.  At midnight, I throw open the doors, invite Brighid to come in and bring all the good things that She does…protection, craftsmanship, prosperity, inspiration, healing, growth, renewal and light.  She is always welcome on my Path and in my home.  I then use my broom to sweep out all the negative, old, stale energy from my home and turn on lights as I go along to each room.  It’s such a lovely ritual, gives me a sense of peace and joy. I will often read a bit of poetry, be sure to wear my silver jewelry, and send out healing energy to those I love in need.  Brighid is an amazing Goddess.  If you aren’t familiar with Her, you might want to be.  I’m reading the book “Tending Brighid’s Flame” by Lunea Weatherstone and highly recommend it! You’ll learn a LOT!

The foods that represent Imbolc are seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flax, sesame. Also raisins, dairy foods, spicy foods, pork, lamb, spiced wines, breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, scones etc. I would add anything made with milk as Imbolc means “ewe’s milk.”   I’ve posted lots of recipes for all the Sabbats, including Imbolc.  To find them, just use the search box on the right side of this page and type in Imbolc recipes or Imbolc.   I thought I’d share a few more here.

 

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Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400*. In a small bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar and oil; stir in oat mixture. Combine the dry ingredients; stir into batter just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen.

 

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Slow Cooked Hot Spiced Wine

2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
3 whole cloves
2 bottles (750 milliliters each) dry red wine
3 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place cinnamon sticks and cloves on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners of cloth to enclose seasonings; tie securely with string.

In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients. Add spice bag. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

 

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Honey Wheat Sunflower Bread

2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels

In a bowl, combine the water, 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, yeast and sugar. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Mixture will be spongy.)
Stir in the whole wheat flour, oats, milk powder, butter, honey and salt; mix well. Stir in sunflower kernels and as much of the remaining all-purpose or bread flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 15 minutes longer. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

My recommendation…make soup with the breads!  Especially nice on a snowy day, or your Imbolc cleaning day or even just for the day itself.  For some great soup recipes, you’ll find them in that search I talked about for Imbolc 🙂 There is nothing better than the scent of soup and warm baked bread on a Winter day…truly.

I wish you all a very blessed Imbolc for you and your loved ones.  May the rest of Winter be kind to you, may you find peace and joy in the quiet times, and know that Spring isn’t too far away.

 

“I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was not other creature
That saw what I could see,
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.”
– Sara Teasdale, February Twilight

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Day One of 14 Days of Organization…….

Merry Meet friends!  Today the sun came out and the skies cleared up and the snow is shimmering..it’s just a beautiful day but very very cold!  Tonight I should be able to finally see the Wolf Moon just in time before she starts waning.  I’m so glad!  I could really use the connection and seeing her makes it so much better! 🙂 

My daughter Kate writes two blogs..both of which are linked to my blog.  Just Chasing Moonbeams is her witchy blog, Living the Vintage Life is her non-witchy blog…you know……muggle friendly! 🙂  On her Vintage Life she has started a wonderful idea….of organizing your home in 14 days.  Here is the link so you can read about it………

http://livingthevintagelife.wordpress.com/

I have decided to participate..basically you clean out drawers, cupboards, closets, bookshelves ..whatever needs done.  You take before pics of your daily project..then  pitch what needs to be pitched, give away what you don’t want, and organize what you keep.  You should pick one closet, a couple of drawers or a cupboard or two each day.  Then take an after picture to show how great it looks!  I love this idea…makes me look forward to seeing the great results. AND…it helps me to get ready for Imbolc!  Imbolc is all about cleaning and getting rid of the old junky stuff!   Be brutal in what you get rid of…if it isn’t useful anymore, or you haven’t used it or worn it in a year..its time for it to go!! 

So today I decided to clean out the 3 drawers in my foyer dresser.  Now this took me all of 15 minutes…I pulled a trash can right up to me, pulled out the sweeper to sweep out the crumbs and got busy.  Here are the before and afters for each drawer……

Drawer #2

Drawer #3

Looks great doesnt’ it??   I decided that as that had gone so fast I would do one more quick thing…right around the corner, a cupboard that was a real mess..had everything from river rocks to soap making supplies…time to clean it up!

There….much better!  I need to get a small plastic basket to put the oils for the soap making supplies into…and a long flat basket to put my taper candles in…but otherwise, I’m happy with my work.  I took me about 20 minutes in all…easy peasy.  Humm ..wonder what to do tomorrow??  I’ll be back and continue to shoe my progress!

If you want to follow along, feel free.  Take your own pics and past them into a spiral notebook or post them on your corkboard or refrigerator.  It’ll inspire you to keep going!  Happy Cleaning! 

*I apologize for the small pics….but the bigger ones didnt’ fit on the page!  LOL  Get out your magnifying glass! 🙂

Blessings, Autumn

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