Posts Tagged ‘Autumn 2012’

An image of the main ritual , a Keltrian Druid rite, from the Central New York Pagan Pride Day, 2012.  Photo by Weretoad.

We woke and dressed just before sunrise.  It was going to be a long day.  Skip and Sharon Ellison, the keepers of Muin Mound Grove, very generously offered us hospitality in their camper the previous night.  We fell asleep to the music of heavy rain and, indeed, the ground was still moist when we emerged, ready to travel to Liverpool, NY.  This year, my grove decided it would be fun to work together and show what our artisans are capable of, vend some wares, and provide information on ADF and Druidism.  When we arrived at the Long Branch Park in Liverpool, we immediately got to work setting up a massive tent.  I displayed my dolls, Phoenix hung her jewelry, and we showcased some of Dragonfly and Willow’s work.  Soon we were joined by other grove members, old and new.  It turned out to be a really fabulous day.

Snake Dance from the CNYPPD, 2012 – Photo by Weretoad

The festivities began and ended with a spiraling snake dance and very, very casual Wiccan rite.  I found myself swept away in a whiplash of joyful energy as we careened over the hills, through the tall oaks, and around the vendor tents.  Laughing, grinning, and even tumbling down the grass, we joyfully welcomed a beautiful day full of learning, music, ritual, and camaraderie.

Because I was vending, and I didn’t want to leave my husband alone too long*, I only attended one workshop – “The Tribal Origins of Sacred and Folk Music with John Hartford.”  I’m glad that was the one I picked.  He demonstrated several instruments and discussed the evolution of tribal music.  I also learned some interesting things about Celtic instruments that I didn’t know before.

I was very interested in attending the main ritual.  It was lead by a Keltrian Druid grove from the Syracuse area.  The Henge of Keltria seems more private than ADF, so while I was aware of this grove’s existence, I had never seen them or their rites before.  Having grown out of ADF, I was curious to compare styles.   There were some awkward moments in the rite, but I feel it was entirely due to being such a massive ritual.  They are very difficult to lead!  My favorite parts were the tartans worn by the members (showed a sense of community), their attention to lore, and their method of “recreating the cosmos.”  My new friend from the North Country, RavynStar, came and we discussed some ideas for the North Country Druidic Study Group.

Space set aside for a simple healing rite on the edge of Onondaga Lake.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

As the afternoon waned, our Senior Druid lead us to the edge of the park where the land met the Onondaga Lake, one of the most polluted lakes in the country.  There, we partook in a simple healing rite.  We offered song, spring water, and seeds to the local wildlife.  We took care not to offer anything that would cause further pollution.  The Senior Druid told the story of the lake which nearly moved me to tears.  The omens spoke of further work to restore this body of water and the land.  This poignant, quiet ritual was probably the most meaningful part of the festival to me.

Other highlights included hooping, drumming, and a belly dance performance by Adi Shakti.

My friend Parallax shows me her moves at the CNPPD, 2012 – Photo by Grey Catsidhe
My friend Jen joins the ranks of Adi Shakti and their annual performance at the CNYPPD, 2012.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe

As a vendor, I was pretty successful.  I felt comfortable taking some of the money I earned and shopping for Winter Solstice gifts.  Although it was a sunny day, the chill in the air whispered of winter.  The wheel is turning, and Pagan Pride Day always ushers in the Autumn Equinox.  It was fun to gather with other like-minded individuals, including old friends who I hardly ever get to see, and my grovemates.  The memory will comfort me when this region’s Cailleach spreads her cloak of blizzards, isolating us until the thaw.



* Bless my husband.  He gave his entire day to helping me vend without any complaint.  I’m a very lucky gal!

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Rowan berries ritual strung and ready to dry for use in magical talismans and as ritual offerings.

A good season for staying is autumn,

there is work then for everyone before the very short days.

Dappled fawns from amongst the hinds, 

the red clumps of the bracken shelter them;

stags run from the knolls at the belling of the deer herd.

Sweet acorns in the wide woods,

stubble around the wheatfields over the expanse of brown earth.

There are thornbushes and prickly brambles

by the midst of the ruined court;

the hard ground is covered with heavy fruit.

Hazelnuts of good crop fall from the huge old trees on dykes.

– Irish, Eleventh Century*

September is upon us, thus the high harvest is in full swing.  The farmers’ markets are piled with beets, corn, and squash.  Yesterday, a friend gifted me with a couple butternut squashes.  The day before that, my sister and brother-in-law gave me a pumpkin from their garden.  A pumpkin, bright orange and ready for pie!  The trees are starting to drip with their own harvest – apples, acorns, and rowan berries.  While in Alexandria Bay a few days ago, I gave offerings in exchange for some of the latter to dry for future workings.

My own garden continues to produce a small bounty.

Cheyenne Peppers photographed by Grey Catsidhe, 2012
Tiger Zucchini photographed by Grey Catsidhe, 2012
Lemons ripening  photographed by Grey Catsidhe, 2012
Tomatoes photographed by Grey Catsidhe, 2012
Flowering woodland tobacco photographed by Grey Catsidhe, 2012

In addition to all the lovely plants photographed above, I have some fall crops emerging from the soil.  I hope I don’t jinx it, but I finally seem to have a good group of carrots growing.  There are more radishes on the way.  I’m not sure about the turnips I planted.  Something ate most of them.  I’m not sure if it’s too late to try again this year or not…  However, each time I try and fail, I learn something new.  I feel better prepared for next year.  That is a good harvest in itself!

Next year!  I’m already excitedly planning for it.  There’s a certain peace and wisdom in living fully in the moment, but when you garden, foresight is very important.  This morning I gathered the dried seeds from a yellow onion plant and some dill.  I’ve been keeping note of what I definitely want to plant again next year and what I don’t think is worth it.


  • Alibi cucumbers – These guys are perfect for containers.  In the right container, they’re very prolific.  I grew enough to make a small batch of pickles and have continued to grow enough for salads all summer long.
  • Mohawk Peppers – Although they didn’t mature until mid to late July, these guys were worth the wait.  I love the orange color and the flavor is mildly sweet.  Wonderful in a stir fry, chili, or salad.  I had a very high success rate with these guys.
  • Green Tiger Zucchini – Very successful sprouting. Did great in larger containers with beautiful, big leaves and bright striped fruits.
  • Totem tomatoes – A medium-sized tomato photographed above.  These guys flourished in the large, raised-bed style container.  Great for salads.
  • Radishes – I can’t remember the variety I planted this year but I finally understand these plants.  I would like to try other varieties next year – possibly the heirloom cherry belle.
  • Snow peas – Once I figured out how these guys worked, I loved them.  Although it took awhile to get actual pods, they are delicious!  I love to eat them raw or steam them.
  • Basil – I understand them better and now know how to harvest them so they yield higher harvests.
  • Dill – Finally used them in pickling so they were worth it.


  • Igloo Cauliflower  – Out of all the seeds I planted, only two plants grew enough to escape the dangers posed by standard pests.  One is still pretty small and the other seems to be producing a head but it’s TINY.  A larger container may be needed.  Otherwise the success rate this first time was poor and the growth rate is very slow.
  • White finger eggplants – This was another first attempt.  Last year I grew Ophelia eggplants, another for containers, and had a much higher success.  I really want to try the White fingers again, but none of the seedlings made it this year and I felt it was too late to try until next spring.
  • Tan tan lettuce – Slow growing but tasty once it matures.
  • Bush delicata squash – This is in the maybe because none have matured yet. It’s a winter variety. I also only have two plants out of the handful of seeds I planted.  We shall see.
  • Oak Leaf Lettuce – I didn’t have as much luck with this variety compared to last year.  I’m willing to give it another try but if it isn’t as productive again I’m done.
  • Purple top Turnips – As explained above, I’m not having a good sprout rate.  Those that do tend to become food for pests.
  • Green bush beans – Although easy to grow, I never harvest more than a handful at a time.  This seems so pointless…  Good for a snack but I never get the bounty my parents did for dinner sides.  I need to rethink my beans.  May move to a pole variety.

Forget About:

  • Tumbling Tom Red Cherry Tomatoes – Although I did harvest several of these, the plants themselves appear sickly.  Perhaps I did something wrong, but they were planted in a variety of ways – hanging baskets, self-watering containers, larger non self-watering containers.  None of them looked happy or healthy…Not a very attractive or productive plant in my experience.  Perhaps they are more susceptible to the blight than the totem tomatoes.
  • Really large carrots – I tried, but they don’t seem to do well in containers.

Hopes and Dreams:

  • State Half Runner Beans – This is an heirloom variety and is supposed to be part runner and part bush which could be a good next step.
  • Parisian Carrots – Another heirloom.  They’re short and round which may be perfect for a container.
  • Hot Portugal Pepper – Yet another heirloom.  Are you seeing a pattern?  It’s a hot pepper – something my garden is lacking this year.
  • Red Deer’s Tongue Lettuce – You guessed it – an heirloom!  Supposedly, this lettuce is cold and hot tolerant.  It’s slow to bolt.  Definitely worth a try!
  • Green Deer’s Tongue Lettuce.  See above.
  • Cherry Belle Radish – An heirloom.
  • Brandywine Tomatoes – Another heirloom.  Not only does it make me think of Lord of the Rings, but this tomato is amazing.  It’s huge and delicious.  I grew this for two years before taking a break to try new things this year.  I really miss it.
  • Martino’s Roma Tomato – An heirloom paste tomato.  I’m ready to get into the world of sauce!

There will probably be more on my wish list.  It grows each year.  And of course, this list doesn’t include all the herbs, dyes, and spellcraft plants I plan on!

What are you harvesting this season?  What do you dream of planting in the spring?

*Found in Mara Freeman’s Kindling the Celtic Spirit, page 261.

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