Tag Archives: summer

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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Filed under Altars, Autumn, Family, Flowers, Full Moons, Gardens, God, Goddess, Herbs, Holiday, Lammas/Lughnassadh, Midsummer, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Ostara, Pagan, Photography, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, recipes, Sabbat, Seasons, Summer, Sun, Sunrise/Sunset, Uncategorized, Witch

The Wheel Turns to Lughnassadh 2015…………..

imagesCAO8O6RVMerry Meet my friends!  It’s a very relaxing Sun day here at my house.  We had a wonderful rainstorm early this morning which gave way to sunshine.  Now, it is overcast but it looks like no more rain on the radar for now.  That’s actually a good thing! We have had a LOT of rain. To the point, some of my plants are suffering.  Too much water, yellow leaves, less blooms.  I have completely lost a catmint and several geraniums. But other plants are thriving on the water!

We have also had a lot of cool weather..many days not out of the 70’s with very cool nights.  This..I have loved! Those who know me or read me often enough, know I’m not crazy about really hot weather!  It’s been quite Fall-like on some of the days.  Speaking of Fall, Lughnassadh/Lammas is upon us…this August 1…the First Harvest Festival! The Wheel turns fast does it not?

“The grain to harvest’s cutting falls
to make the bread for banquet halls.
We’ll save some seeds where life’s waiting,
and plant a new field come next Spring.
We shared the work we needed to do,
and now we’ll share the eating too!
Thank you, fruit, and thank you bread,
for making sure that we are fed.”
–  Ashleen O’Gaea,
Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Believe it or not, the days are getting shorter and Autumn is on it’s way. This Sabbat marks the ending of summer and the first harvest of the grain. It was known as the time when the plants of Spring wither and drop their fruits or seeds for our use as well as to ensure future crops. This time of year, though it’s still hot and sultry, it’s also a very busy time of  year for harvesting. For gardeners and farmers alike! We are reaping what we sowed in the Spring.  Our bounty is coming in and needs to be taken care of.  On Facebook, I’m seeing wonderful pictures of veggies, fruits and herbs that my friends are harvesting from their gardens.  The Farmer’s markets and roadside stands are abundant in products from the local farms as well.  Corn is growing to full height and tomatoes are everywhere! It’s wonderful to see.  But I also always keep in mind  our ancestors, and how it wasn’t a hobby, but a necessity of life.  It was their food that would get them through the long, cold Winter months.  Harvesting, putting up, canning, preserving were all very much necessary and hard work!  I always remember this as I give thanks for my small harvest and for the local farmers around me.

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I love that we still can our bounty from our gardens. I love when I hear of someone “putting up” the veggies and fruits, making jams, jellies, sauces and preserves.  Freezing what can be frozen and preserving for Winter’s use.  It takes me back to my childhood when I helped my grandmother do this.  I was a very happy little girl when it was canning day.  I do some of it to this day, but not like she did.  But I believe there are still many of us who do this, despite the fact food is readily available at the store.  There is nothing like the freshness of something we grew, harvested, preserved. Way better in most cases than what can be found in a store!

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There are so many ways to celebrate this wonderful Sabbat.  Have a feast with your family and friends..outside while the weather is still nice.  Fix lots of fresh veggies and fruits, they are great grilled on the grill 🙂  Have a bonfire, drink wine!  Go to a medieval fair or craft show..this time of year they are everywhere.  Have a picnic!  Lay on a blanket under the stars and find the constellations, watch for shooting stars.  Catch fireflies and let them go. Listen to the crickets, hug a tree and enjoy the fresh taste of a warm-off-the-vine tomato!

If you don’t have a garden of your own, offer to help a friend harvest or can..I bet you’ll be sent home with lots of goodies.  Or visit a farmer’s market and stock up on veggies and fruits there to do your own canning and freezing. I love to make flavored oils and vinegars from my homegrown herbs. They will give your salads, meats, egg dishes etc  that fresh herbal taste all winter long. Baking bread is a huge part of celebrating Lughnassadh/Lammas. Have a bread baking day with your family. Put grains, fruits and nuts in the bread  and send a loaf home with everyone.  Make corn dollies or Brighid’s crosses from corn stalks. Have a family game day with the kids and grandkids.  Plan a “tournament” of corn hole for the kids, or croquet, or kickball…playing games is just what the Celts did for Lughnassadh…called the Lugh games. So so much to do for this first wonderful Harvest festival!

Lughnasadh is a great time to start your Autumn cleaning.  There are things to do to get your house ready for Winter now while it’s still warm out. Clean your carpets, curtains, and windows. Have your furnace checked. Clean your coats and winter clothes and hang them out on the clothesline for that yummy fresh, clean scent. Wash your linens and hang them on the line too! Get your fireplace checked so it’s ready for the wonderful fires you’ll have soon. Order a cord of wood and get it stacked. I actually LOVE Fall cleaning…I call it nesting 🙂  Preparing to be indoors, while you can still be outdoors, just makes sense.

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But for now, Summer is still in full swing. Spend time outside.  Feel the warmth, feet on the ground, back against a tree.  Feel the breeze, hear the birds, watch the squirrels, daydream, doze….rest.  They say summer days are lazy, hazy and crazy.  I say that sounds wonderful too!  But yes, bring on the harvest and the Autumn..my favorite time of year!

“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

Oh, July 31 is a Blue Full Moon!  Be sure to use that power! A Full Moon so close to a Sabbat always means lots of energy is swirling! I’ll be back soon with a couple recipes.  Also, be sure to check out the Lughnassadh issue of Imramma Magazine on July 26th! You can click on the icon on the right of this post. I’ll have some recipes posted there too. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!!

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Blue Moon, Cleaning & Organizing, Family, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, Lammas/Lughnassadh, quotes, Sabbat, Summer

Summer Solstice Recipes 2015………..

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I question not if thrushes sing,
If roses load the air;
Beyond my heart I need not reach
When all is summer there.
~John Vance Cheney

Greetings my friends and readers.  As I write this, it is pouring rain.  Has been all day!  I was out this morning for a hair appointment. Made a quick stop at Costco..then I decided the rest of the errands could wait until the rain stops! lol.  So I just had lunch and I’m listening to some Blackmore’s Night while watching the birds and ground critters, and my gardens that are lush, green and wet..and decided to go ahead and write a blog post with those recipes I promised.

You will find in previous posts (just search Litha or Summer Solstice in the search box) that the foods that represent Litha are  Fresh fruits…especially citrus and in-season fruits, all vegetables, summer squash, honey, fresh herbs like thyme and lavender, pumpernickel bread, ale and mead.  Fresh seasonal foods as you can see 🙂

I’m going to start the recipes out with a wonderful mojito recipe to use up all of that peppermint herb growing like crazy in my herb bed.  I bet many of  you have a plethora of it too!  This recipe makes a glass but you can make a pitcher too!

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Classic Mojito

10 mint leaves, more for garnishing

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce simple syrup

2 tablespoons lime juice

soda water

For the simple syrup

1⁄2 cup water

1⁄2 cup sugar

Make the simple syrup. Mix sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar gets dissolved. Remove from heat and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For Mojito:

Pour lime juice and 1 ounce simple syrup into a tall glass. Add mint leaves and muddle it together.

Add rum and muddle a little more. Add ice and a splash of soda.

Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves and a slice of lime.

*I discovered how good these were just last year and just love them!  You can control the sweetness by how much of the simple syrup you use as well…use less if it’s too sweet!

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

5 cups fresh torn spinach, about 1 pound

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 ounces Gouda cheese, cut into thin strips

1/3 cup toasted pecans

Dressing:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Toss together spinach, strawberries, cheese, and toasted pecans. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  pour over spinach mixture and toss just before serving. Serves 4-6

*Feel free to substiture the gouda cheese for blue cheese crumbles or feta cheese and the pecans for walnuts or almonds….you can play with this recipe 🙂

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Cucumber Pumpernickel Sandwiches

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
36 slices snack rye bread
1 medium cucumber, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressing mix.. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Just before serving, spread over rye bread; top each with a cucumber slice.

Yield: 3 dozen

*Adding a little fresh dill would be really good too!

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Roasted Pineapple with Honey-Orange Glaze and Pistachios

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges (I like to do the rounds)
1/4 cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt
1/3 cup  unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add pineapple; toss to coat. Let marinate, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes. Place pineapple, one flat side down, on prepared sheet; reserve marinade.

Roast pineapple for 15 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Drizzle remaining marinade over; let cool slightly.

Divide pineapple among plates. Spoon crème fraîche alongside. Garnish with nuts and mint.

*while you can do this in the oven..I highly recommend you do it on the grill!  Yummy!  Also, you can use a vanilla yogurt or even vanilla ice cream if you’d rather..I highly recommend the ice cream! 🙂

Well, that should add to your list of possible recipes for the Solstice.  Or anytime throughout the Summer!  Don’t forget to do a search over here on the right ——>  for more recipes and more from me about the Solstice.

If it ever quits raining, I will post some pictures of my gardens, as I promised, for you. My herb bed is overflowing and I will most definitely be harvesting this weekend!  I love harvesting my herbs to dry…then watching them grow again!  Not to mention using them in my recipes, in my spells and rituals as well.

Yesterday was the New Moon……what new projects are you starting?  What old negative things are you banishing?  I hope you’re using the energies to your advantage.  Not to mention we are out of Retrograde! lol..can you feel a difference?

Hope you all have a great rest of the week!  I’ll be back in a day or two or at least by the Solstice!  Until then….Much love and may the Sun be shining on you and yours!

Blessings and love, Autumn

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Filed under Gardens, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Midsummer, New Moons, Quote, Recipe from my Kitchen, Summer

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

A Moment to Spare…………

dsc_0773Merry Meet my friends and Blessed Memorial Day.  I am writing this because I actually have some time to do so today 🙂  We didn’t have any plans per se for today except to mulch the garden beds and relax..perhaps visit the cemetaries.  But it’s pouring rain, windy and actually a little chilly, so we are relaxing and unwinding.  Things have been crazy busy here with getting our home ready for Summer, planting garden beds, making new garden beds, getting patio furniture cleaned and put out etc etc.  I also had a very sad death in my family that has kept me busy with family and the inevitable drama that came with it.  I lost a beloved Uncle in a terrible train/truck collision and a few members of extended family have acted up terribly.  Anyway, I’ve been trying to be there for my mom (he was her brother) and dad..it’s been emotional and sad but we have pulled together to support each other and that’s a good thing.

In the process of losing someone I loved, I have contemplated on how short life is, how fleeting it is, and how fast something terrible can happen that takes our life away.  I have always known this but a death brings it home even more. Ever since I was a young mother, I have done my best to appreciate the simple things, the little moments that bring Joy, laughter, comfort, peace, and reflection in my Life.  I tried to teach my girls the same thing and I believe they do too. We are teaching my grandkids the same thing!  Life isn’t about the big things..it’s about the small daily parts of our lives.

I see so many people who are so busy that it seems they fly through life without pause.  I could never do that.  Even on my busiest day, I have to stop and listen, be quiet, feel, reflect, watch, hear, see, smell and taste.  We live in a time where people have their attention on their phones, tv’s, and computers. Kids are super busy involved in everything under the Sun …good parents thinking they are giving their kids every opportunity to excel in something…but they have very little time for just being a kid….using their imagination, connecting with nature, being still.  I’m not judging, just saying I see this so much in this day and time.

I hear people say “when I get a moment to spare, I’m going to……..????? ”   And in my mind, there are so many moments to spare if we are more aware of the time we waste!  I’m guilty of this too, don’t get me wrong…we all are!  Some days I don’t waste a moment, other days I fill my day with wasteful moments of watching too much tv, on my computer too long or just flying from one thing to the next without any thought of the moments that I’m not taking to “notice” something! As I get older, I can look back and feel I did about 60% well in not wasting time, but now I do much better than that. I can’t function if I don’t!

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A few things I like to do when I have a moment to spare:

-walk barefoot outside

-light a candle and watch the flame

-read a bit (that is NEVER a waste of time in my opinion)

-literally smell the roses

-write in my gratitude journal

-call a friend

-eat a piece of chocolate..really savor it slowly

-water, weed or deadhead flowers in my garden beds..I find any connection with Mother Gaia soothing

-listen for the birds, watch a butterfly in flight, watch the setting sun or the rising Moon

-have a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a piece of good bread and just sit and be while you do it

-pet your furbaby..give them total attention

-write a letter or card

-Listen to a favorite song…either quietly or up dancing like crazy!

-soak your feet in good soapy water

-take a 10 minute snooze

-hug your kids, your hubby, your friend, your grandkids

-take a walk…..feel the wind, see the trees, hear the birds

-clean out a drawer…yes, this is a bit of work, but only takes a moment and it’s so satisfying when it’s organized!

-Play..take a moment to really play….one of my new favs…adult coloring books!

-practice your passion..whether it’s art, music, crafting, needlework, taking a course ….find the time to do it….the satisfaction you’ll feel is so worth it

-Do something kind for someone…it just takes a moment.  A call, holding the door for someone, smiling at your waitress or cashier, buying a cup of coffee or lunch for the person in line behind you, saying thank you, complimenting someone….it will make your day and their’s too!

Life is a succession of moments,

to live each one is to succeed.

-Corita Kent

Well…you get the picture. The point is…..Life flies by and you never know when you’ll take your last breath and move onto your next journey.  Appreciate the small moments…take time for them…share them.  Your life will be richer for it. I have to add that as a Witch and Pagan….I find that my fellow sisters and brothers of the Craft are very good at this too.  It is just a natural part of our daily life!   And just another word of advice.  No matter how old you are….have a will. Also, let your family members know..in writing!!….what you would like done for you when you pass.  So there are no arguments amongst your loved ones. Your wishes will be well documented. If you want someone to have something of yours..write it down..and be sure someone has it that will implement things when you’re gone.  It makes things much much easier for your family and keeps drama at bay.  A lesson hard learned my friends.  I know I’m putting everything in writing!!!

So now, I hope that you had a moment to spare to read this….and you take many moments to spare throughout your day…every day!  Many Blessings to you!  With today being Memorial Day….Please remember the Fallen..the Brave ones who made everything possible for us…..so that we can spare those precious moments to live beautiful lives that they didn’t get to.  Prayers for all who have lost their much loved soldiers.  Blessed Be!

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Blessings and Love, Autumn

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I <3 Lavender………

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s a cold  day here in Ohio after a warmer day yesterday…and it just started snowing! I love watching the snow, love Winter, but I am the first to admit that by the end of February my thoughts are turning to Spring and to my herbs and flowers and garden beds!  I can picture them in my mind’s eye…all green, and colorful and lush and growing!  And the scents…so wonderful!  So I thought I would pick back up on my herb postings while I dream of getting my hands in the dirt again soon 🙂  I’m sure there are many of you that are dreaming out there too!

 

lavender

Picture courtesy of Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm

*this place is near me and I intend to get there this year!

 

Lavender (Spikenard) is one of the most beloved herbs of all time. Well, to me it is…it’s a personal favorite! Its scent is unmistakable…. pleasant and mellow, sweet and earthy.  It’s immediately recognizable.  Lavender can put you into a complete state of relaxation and bliss with one whiff!

There are approximately 30 different varieties of lavender around the world. It has been prized as perfume by the ancient Greeks and harvested in France for its essential oils.  Lavender attracts butterflies, is drought and heat tolerant and grows well in gardens and containers. Both flowers and foliage are fragrant. The blue-purple flowers on silver foliage make this a must-have plant in any garden bed and especially in a Witch’s garden! I love planting it along a sidewalk and near the front door….it is such a lovely, scented introduction to your magickal home. I defy anyone to walk past it and not run their hands thru it then smell their hands….everybody does it!! J

Plant it in warm, sunny spots.  Lavender can grow 12 to 24 inches tall depending on the variety…..there are annual and perennial varieties as well.  I like to plant the perennial and watch it grow bigger and spread more each year. Sometimes a plant will get leggy and unattractive..that is when it’s time to pull it out and plant a new one.  To dry lavender, just cut the stalks, tie the stems and hang them to dry.

Lavender has been used therapeutically for thousands of years.  Its uses as medicine are many.  Lavender can be used externally or internally.  Internally, Lavender is believed to be of benefit for a multitude of problems, including stress, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, headaches, migraines, insomnia, depression, colds, digestion, flatulence, upset stomach, liver and gallbladder problems, nervousness, loss of appetite, and can aid in reducing a fever.   Inhaling the essential oil in some cases has been reported to work as well as narcotics for inducing relaxation and sleep, easing symptoms of depression, and reducing headache pain.  Lavender Tea is a great way to take lavender internally.  Just add 1 to 2 tsp. lavender flowers to a cup of steaming hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, and sweeten as desired.  You can add the flowers to any of your favorite teas as well.  Also, lavender buds are quite edible in salads and many recipes..a couple I’ll be sharing in my next posting!  A delicious way to get lavender’s benefits internally!

The external use of lavender is the easiest and most popular way to use lavender.  It’s been used in cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, sachets, bath products, and healing salves and balms since well..forever!  As an herbal shoppe owner, I use LOTS of lavender in my products.  Lavender is used to treat burns, rheumatism, muscle pain, neuralgia, cold sores, insect bites, bee stings, cuts, and bruises.  Lavender has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and even local pain killing action.  It helps with psoriasis and eczema and acne.  Lavender oil..whether the essential oil…or making your own by infusing your favorite carrier oil with lavender flowers is wonderful for skin care.  The essential oil is safe to use straight from the bottle too.   You can make lavender oil into a balm by adding a wax, like beeswax, in a 2 part oil to 1 part wax ratio.  Every Witch should have a lavender oil or balm in their cupboard!

There is an abundance of ways to use lavender therapeutically.  Here are a few. As always, be sure that lavender doesn’t cause you a problem before taking it internally or using it externally!

 

-Rub a bit of lavender oil into your temples for a headache.

-Place lavender buds in a mojo bag under your pillow to aid sleep

-Also to aid sleep, make a linen spray using lavender essential oil and vodka.

-Drop a few drops of essential oil or a handful of lavender buds in your bath to ease achy muscles, calm your nerves and help with a good night’s rest

-Put some lavender essential oil in a pan on the stove with water and breathe in the steam to help a cold

-Make a diluted lavender massage oil to ease sore muscles

-Use lavender essential oil in a vaporizer to help with allergies, sleeplessness, headache, tension and irritability.

-Use lavender water as a face rinse or use a lavender oil infused cotton ball for acne, insect bites, canker sores etc.

-Make a cold or warm compress of lavender water for bruises, sores, arthritis.

-Lavender infused vinegar water is a natural antibacterial for your home

-Make a lavender healing balm for cuts, burns, bruises, scratches and bruises.

– Lavender can be used as a tincture to treat fungal infections such as vaginal yeast.

-Drink lavender tea or food with lavender buds to aid any of the above ailments

-Throw lavender buds on your salad or find recipes using them to eat!

 

In Aromatherapy, Lavender oil blends well with eucalyptus, cedarwood, clary sage, geranium, pine,  nutmeg, rosemary  and all the citrus oils.

 

The Magickal properties of Lavender are abundant as well.  Lavender is cleansing, protective, calming, purifying, soothing, and healing.  It increases mental acuity and focus.  It can be used to bring love, romance and fertility.  It lends itself to clairvoyance, consecration, happiness, Midsummer, money, passion, peace of mind, psychic protection, tranquility, blessings, divination, dreams, energy, gentleness, good luck, grieving, and harmony. Also meditation, ritual, and weddings..especially handfastings!  Whew!

Lavender is Masculine…its element is Air and it’s connected to Mercury.  Attributed by some to Hecate and Saturn.  The elves and fae love it too.   Some ways to use Lavender magickally……

 

-Make lavender infused vinegar water to cleanse your home..great on floors and windows

-Burn lavender incense or throw lavender buds on your fire to clear your home of negativity

-Put lavender in a dream pillow to aid you in remembering your dreams and helping you sleep deeper

-Put lavender essential oil in your bath to cleanse your energy and calm you before spells and rituals

-Use lavender oil to anoint your candles before candle spells.

-Carry some lavender buds in a mojo bag to bring love to you

-Put lavender oil on a cotton ball and sniff it from time to time during a test or anytime you need to be focused (like doing your taxes!)

-Make lavender wands for use at your altar

-Plant LOTs of lavender around your home..especially right by your front door for protection..and of course the added pleasure of it’s scent!

-Add lavender stalks to your sage sticks for added cleansing of negative energy and protection

-Keep cut lavender stalks on your altar when you are practicing divination

-Keep lavender buds in your pocket….for multiple reasons as listed above!

-Dried lavender stalks can be burned like incense….or make up a loose incense using dried herbs for divination, consecration, cleansing….

 

This is just a few things I could think of right now.  There are so many other ways I’m sure you can come up with yourself or are already using. As you can see, Lavender is more than just a pretty, sweet smelling herb.  I’m a firm believer that herbs are such a great way for us to stay healthy in a more natural way. It should be in every Witch’s garden!

I’ll be adding more herbs soon…very soon 🙂  So keep an eye out! In the meantime, stay safe and warm in this Winter we’re having……and dream of Spring!

 

*Some of you may have seen this posting I wrote in the Sunday Stew..the Pagan online blog.  Well good news..the Sunday Stew is coming back soon!  You’ll be able to get to it by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of this blog.  I’ll be the Kitchen Witch again this year..posting amazing recipes!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Flowers, Garden, Gardens, Herbal How To, Herbs, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Seasons, Spring, Sun

I <3 Herbs……Chamomile

Merry Meet my friends!  It’s hard to believe but our Summer has been amazingly mild here.  As a matter of fact, it has been so cool at night that leaves are turning and even falling on some trees already!  Birds and critters like squirrels and chipmunks have changed their patterns, my gardens are looking more like early fall then late summer, and we’ve had the house opened up for days instead of running the AC.  All of which I love! Even my herbs have slowed down their growth, gone to seed etc.  *Post…..I wrote this a few days ago…it is now HOT and Humid and 90’s all week! 🙂  Gotta love Ohio 🙂

rahn rd

Speaking of herbs, for the Sunday Stew this week, I wrote about the herb Chamomile. A really wonderful herb in so many ways.  To read the Stew just click on the Cauldron on the right side of the page here.  As per usual, part of my post is there and the entire post is here.  At the end of this post here, you’ll find a link to again print out the info, if you wish, for your BOS or herb book.

 

Chamomile

I have hesitated a bit to write about Chamomile. I know several people who can’t drink the tea or even use external products with chamomile due to allergic reactions. So I’m going to start off by saying this: If you are allergic to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, or mums…you may not be able to ingest chamomile. You also may not be able to use it externally. So use great caution if you’ve never tried chamomile before ok? Allergic reactions can be a mild dermatitis or a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Now let me say this too, I have seasonal allergies due to ragweed and mold, but I have no trouble with chamomile. So again, be careful when and if you try it! Ok…warning done..so let me go on about all the wonderful things about chamomile for those of us who can enjoy this herb!

 

Alternative Names:

Matricaria recutita , Pinheads, Scented Mayweed, Sweet false chamomile, Whig Plant, Ground Apple, and Earth Apple

 

Growing and Cultivating

There are two types of chamomile…Roman and German. The German is used most often in the USA but if you buy chamomile essential oil it will most likely be Roman. Both varieties have the same effects medicinally and magically of course.

German Chamomile is an annual plant that will grow up to 2 1/2 feet high. The leaves are fern-like and the flowers look like small daisies..white flowers with yellow centers about an inch across. Roman Chamomile is a perennial plant that is wide spreading and only grows less than a foot tall. The leaves are slightly different and it has the same flowers. Roman Chamomile is often used as a ground cover. It can tolerate even being walked on!

These plants belong to the sunflower family Asteraceae . The flower heads are the primary plant parts used in herbal medicine. Commonly found all over Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America and Australia. You can find chamomile in the wild…. near road sides, around landfills and in cultivated areas as a weed.

Chamomile requires Full Sun, and doesn’t tolerate really dry or HOT conditions. It can be planted from seed, cuttings and, of course, seedlings or small plants. Chamomile is self-seeding so even if you plant the annual version, it may come back. You can harvest the flower heads (the parts used for medicinal purposes) about 6-8 weeks after planting. Harvest them in the morning and when the flowers look fresh and healthy. The flower heads can be used fresh or dried for teas and other herbal preparations. You can dry the flower heads in a basket or on a screen best.

 

chamomile

 

Medicinal Uses of Chamomile

 Chamomile has a wonderful taste of apples that most people find appealing. The scent of chamomile is sweet and apple-y is well. Chamomile has many properties. It is used for:

– Anxiety and stress

-For calm and sleep aid

-To help heal burns

-Anti-inflammatory

-Anti-virus

-Analgesic

-Safe for children who have stomach aches or are teething or for trouble sleeping

-For any stomach ailments such as sick stomach, ulcers, cramps or diarrhea/constipation

-Dental/oral care

-Depression

-Soothes skin ailments such as eczema, reddened skin, rashes and sunburn

-Hemorrhoids

-As a hair rinse for light colored hair

-Bath products

-healing balms

 

A cup of chamomile tea before bed is a must for many people I know..it just calms and comforts and helps you feel drowsy. But you can use it for so many things as you can see above. Put a cup of brewed tea in your bath to calm and soothe your skin and to let the scent calm your anxiety or stress. A bath in it will also help with hemorrhoids. Make a hair rinse using flowers brewed in water or apple cider vinegar. Make a poultice for cuts, rashes or sunburned skin. Make a cool compress to ease eye puffiness. Make a good healing balm or oil for muscle aches, swollen joints or a burn. Rinse your mouth with warm chamomile water or tea for sore gums. You can apply a drop of chamomile oil straight on an abscess in your mouth. A cup of chamomile tea with ginger added will aid nausea too. Just some of the ways you can use it!

 

Children can use chamomile too in small amounts as a tea. You can also buy chewable chamomile tabs to help them to fall asleep or ease teething and sore mouth. Works to soothe a child who is anxious or stressed as well.  My grandkids have used it with success.

 

Aromatherapy

Chamomile essential oil blends well with cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, geranium, lavender, rose, marjoram, neroli, orange, rosewood and ylang ylang essential oils. It works wonderfully in a simmering potpourri and in bath salts. If you are sensitive to chamomile..you may still be able to use the essential oil if it’s diluted well with a base oil etc. But again, try it on a small area before bathing in it or slathering it on your skin.

 

Magical Uses

 ELEMENT: Water

GENDER: Masculine

PLANET: Sun or Venus

Chamomile can be used in Magic for

-Power or Energy

-Peace and Calm

-Healing

-Money

-Midsummer

-Sleep

-Love

-Purification

-Protection

-Divination

 

-Plant chamomile in your garden for protection

-Place chamomile in a mojo bag before doing something stressful such as taking a test or a doctor appt

-Take a chamomile bath to soothe and calm or to bring love and romance to your night

-Simmer chamomile on your stovetop with lavender to bring Peace to your home

-Drink chamomile tea or place some on your altar before practicing any divination

-Use it as an incense to smudge your house for purification and protection

-Use in a sleep pillow to aid sleep

-Place a few flowers in cool water to wash your face when you’re upset or stressed

-It is said that you can wash your hands in it before playing a game of cards or gambling to bring money to you

-Use with spells to draw money, to divine, to rid of negativity or to protect

– Sprinkle the dried flowers around your property to protect from spells or curses.

Anoint your healing candles with chamomile essential oil

 

I’m sure that you can come up with many ways to use chamomile in your daily Craft. Also, though I say that this is some of the magical uses for Chamomile….and for that matter with any herb I’ve talked about. The herbs may mean something completely different to you. That’s fine….use it for that purpose!!

 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
William Ewart Gladstone

 

Chamomile is a very important herb in any Witch’s arsenal of supplies. Put it on your list of must have or at least must try!

You can print out this information for your BOS or herb book here:  Chamomile2

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Autumn, Flowers, Gardens, Herbs, My Favorite Things, My Writing, Nature, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Summer