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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

Ostara Recipes 2015………..

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

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

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

 

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Fresh Fruit Salad with Lime Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs lime zest

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup water

3 cups fresh orange segments

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

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

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

 

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Spring Pasta Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

8 oz package orecchiette pasta

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

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced yellow bell peppers

1/2 cup Dill Vinaigrette *see below

Garnish:  Fresh dill

 

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

 

Dill Vinaigrette

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbs white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp Dijon mustard

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

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

 

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Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Lime Glaze

*makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 Tb lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup buttermilk, divided, room temperature

Lemon-Lime glaze *see below

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

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

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

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

Lemon-Lime Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

2 tsps fresh lime juice

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Love and Blessings, Autumn

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

 

 

 

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

I’m a Happy Garden Witch………..

Merry Meet friends!  Hope this writing finds all of you doing well.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere..I’m guessing you’ve been enjoying Summer-like weather now! I know we have here in Ohio.  It’s been quite warm, we’ve had adequate rain, and the Garden Centers are booming with busy gardeners grabbing up flowers, shrubs, herbs and veggie plants.  I have made several trips there myself 🙂

This is only the 2nd Summer now in our new home and we are still planning garden beds and fine tuning what we did last year.  We lost some plants from the extreme Winter we had so we had to dig up some dead plants and decide what to do with the space.  I’m thrilled with what we’ve done.  I did most of the bed design and planting..while hubby helped me with the bigger pots and the I helped him with the mulching.

I have more I want to do yet…another bed would be great….but until I can talk hubby into it LOL….we will be planting some flowering trees like Pear and Lilac, installing a trellis or two against our fence and planting climbing flowers and putting in a big Maple tree in the backyard.  Here’s just a few pics of what we’ve done….they are newly planted but growing fast and I’m very happy with the results.  I kept in mind planting for drawing bees, birds and butterflies.  So far…it’s working 🙂

 

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As a Witch…..I have added Magick in many ways.  As I plant….I put my intentions and energy into each plant to grow strong and healthy..infuse it with Magick!  I draw runes and pentacles in the dirt, or even right on the wood of the raised bed of herbs.  I plant crystals in the soil, water with collected Moon Water and ask Goddess to bring Her energy and power to my home and gardens.  For me, working in soil…handling living plants, nurturing them, and watching them bloom and grow…brings me pure Joy, Grounds and Centers me, and allows me to feel one with Mother Earth.

I have many friends who don’t have yards or garden beds because they live in apartments etc.  I have friends who say they don’t have a green thumb..have no luck or desire to garden.   That’s ok too.  Not everybody is into gardening…I’m sure you have some other talent I wish I had 🙂   For those that want to but live in an apartment….it takes a very small space of balcony or patio or patch of dirt to plant a few things to bring you joy.  Pots are wonderful for growing flowers, herbs and even some vegetables.  The Joy is the same!

This time of year, I get such a thrill out of seeing my friend’s gardens posted on social media.  I get such great ideas and inspiration from others.  My friend Sunshine has a wonderful little balcony.  It’s one of the most magickal little places I’ve seen… with her pots of herbs and flowers and veggies, her Goddess statues and faeries….I get inspiration from her too! Though it’s a small space…it’s pure Magick!

It’s only 18 days until the Summer Solstice.  The Solstice is usually when I get to do my first harvest of herbs, and when I re-new my Witch’s Protection Bottles, wards etc around my home and yard.  I’ll be back to talk more about that soon.  In the meantime…get barefoot, go out under the waxing Moon (Friday the 13th She will be Full!) and just FEEL the warmth of the Earth, and the softness of the grass on your feet.  It will fix just about anything that’s ailing you!

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Blessings and Love, Autumn

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Filed under Bits of Magick, Faeries, Flowers, Full Moons, Garden, Gardens, Goddess, Herbs, Litha/Summer Solstice, Mother Earth, My Favorite Things, Nature, Our Yard, Photography, Protection, Quote, Seasons, Spring, Summer, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Family, Gardens, God, Goddess, Litha/Summer Solstice, Quote, Seasons, Summer, Sunrise/Sunset