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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

I was up too late last night. Don’t judge me, but I was reading a really compelling fan fic on my phone. Just like any good story, I couldn’t put it down. On top of that, my daughter is getting over a cold. She coughs a lot which makes me toss and turn. When I finally woke up, my eyes were irritated. For some reason, it impacted my overall mood this morning. I felt a bit grouchy. It’s times like that when the forest’s call grows loud and insistent.

Donning my winter coat, scarf, gloves, crane bag, and walking stick, I got out of the house, away from the screens, the messes waiting to be cleaned, and everything that annoyingly reminds me that I’m renting and not owning right now. The sun is out, but the air is bitter cold.  The neighborhood was quiet since most people don’t want to be out on such a day.  I felt assured of solitude.

The universe said, “nope.”

I crossed the hedge, carefully stepping on exposed logs and rocks to avoid the icy sheen of a frozen puddle.  I always ask permission to enter, and felt the familiar pull.  I was a bit apprehensive to return, honestly.  Last week, my husband and I believe we found bear droppings.  I took an omen before I went out today and was basically told to have courage because I needed this excursion.

The forest near my apartment is accessible to anyone who lives in my neighborhood. I’m grateful for the opportunity to take nature walks whenever I want, but sharing it with other people (people who don’t all respect the woods) is irritating.  There is a never-ending supply of trash to clean.  I take it upon myself to bring a small bag with me when I visit.  I collect what I can as an offering.

After making some other offerings at a large tree, I leaned against its trunk to breathe.  The relaxation was short lived, unfortunately.  Some kids noisily entered the woods and set about smashing things into trees.  Ugh.  I surprised them by stepping out from behind the tree and went deeper into the woods.

Their shock made me grin.  I was grateful they left me to my wandering.

No signs of bear this time.  Noisy kids aside, it was nice to return to the forest.  It’s a bit like a moving meditation.  I definitely don’t sit and meditate here.  You never know who may show up, after all.  I try not to let my guard down, especially when there’s possibly a bear around (not to mention coyotes and coydogs).  A snap of twigs in the distance gets the blood pumping and makes me feel so alive…

Closer to home, I inspected the garden.  Most of the pots are frozen.  The compost bin is unworkable at the moment.  And yet, despite how bitter cold everything is today, the chives are pushing their way towards the sky.  What hardy little plants.  They always  promise me that spring is near.  They appear even before the trout lilies in the woods.  Seeing them made me so happy and reminded me that it’s time to order seeds.

Gods, I can’t wait to garden again…

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Communal Spirit: Upcoming Lecture Series at the North Country Arts Council « F that S.

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It was -15 degrees F when we woke up this morning.  Snow covers the Earth which, for the first time in awhile, truly seems to be taking a winter nap.  When I look out at my patio, which was inhabited by so many plants just a few short months ago, I see a different kind of activity – a few potted trees sleeping, dunes of snow, and wee birds eating seed.  The other day I looked through some photos of the past year’s garden and my goodness, it was so green!  I found myself daydreaming about this year’s garden.  The seed catalogs bombarding me in the mail only encourage me!

Today I decided to order some seeds.  I favored vegetables that are known to do well in containers.  A few will be experiments.  So far, I’ve ordered:

  1. Igloo cauliflower
  2. Alibi cucumbers
  3. White fingers eggplants
  4. Tan-Tan lettuce (a German variety that produces wee heads)
  5. Mohawk pepper
  6. Bush delicata squash
  7. Green tigers courgette
  8. Tumbling Tom red tomatos
  9. Carouby de Maussane pea (a type of snow pea)
  10. Oakleaf lettuce (a personally favorite of mine due to the shape)
  11. Woad (something I’ve always wanted to try growing)

I also ordered a book about kitchen-related sewing projects.  It was on sale and too good to pass up.

I have some other seeds that I had leftover from last year or saved through drying – beans, radishes, and some squash.  I want to order a few other things like mugwart, wormwood, bee balm (Oneida tea), and such but will need to turn to a different supplier.  Along with an assortment of container veggies, I want to explore more herbs.  I’ve already been growing the standards – lavender, lemonbalm, chives, etc.  As my experience in the garden and in spellwork increases, maybe one day I’ll grow and work with such lovelies as foxglove, belladonna, and mandrake.  I also hope to have a house and land by then so I can better keep such dangerous plants away from inquisitive neighborhood kids.  At the moment, I can’t put up fences and gates.

Another gardening goal for the year?  Get some dwarf trees.  My father has ordered me an early “Spring Equinox gift,” as he put it – a dwarf tea bush!  I look forward to working with the tea plant and learning how to make my very own tea blends.  I also want to obtain a dwarf lemon, lime, and orange tree.  My patio and surrounding garden beds will become crowded with beautiful green again before I know it!

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I’m still healing from my recent oral surgery.  I feel as if I might have some temporary (I hope) nerve damage in half of my face.  The right side of my lips and chin are very numb.  I also can’t open my mouth very far.  I attempted to eat some more solid food today but that turned into a difficult affair due to the chewing.  I’ll stick with soups, yogurt, cottage cheese, and mashed fruits.  The solid food I tried to eat was a chocolate brownie my husband brought home for when I’m ready.  It was really tasty, but having not had anything too sweet and rich for several days, I’m wondering if my body wasn’t prepared.  My stomach feels a bit off again.  No puking, thank the Gods, but I’m not as comfortable as I was earlier.

Despite all that, I ventured out of the house for the first time today.  One reason was because I made my very first Etsy sale and wanted to get the tree spirit in the mail right away!  Hubby and I also wanted to go to the craft store.  I bought more felt for another tree spirit as well as some Samhain prints for a quilt.  I made a block today in what I hope will be a table runner/altar cloth.  It’s really colorful and features skulls, witches, and spiders.

 

Weretoad’s Pokeball and my Samhain themed quilt block.  From Arts and Crafts

On our way home, I stopped at a local farm to buy some herbs.  Last year I had quite the collection but, alas, they died …  When plants die, I always feel so guilty…    The chives, of course, survived, as did the parsley, rosemary, pineapple mint, and silver sage.  I’m very proud of my sage, actually, as I started it from seed.  Anyway, I picked up some new plants for my patio.  I hope I’m a better caretaker this time!

Mint  From August 18, 2011

First, I once more have mint.  I was very sad to lose this last summer.  I had tons of it around my parents’ home when I lived there and I miss it.  There’s nothing quite like fresh mint for tea.

Lemon balm  From August 18, 2011

I also grabbed some lemon balm.  This little guy smells amazing!  Also great for tea … and insect repellant.  Nice, huh?

Lavender and Italian Oregano  From August 18, 2011

Also purchased some lavender and Italian oregano.  The oregano is, of course, great for cooking.  I grabbed the lavender for magical purposes.  It has many uses, not just for inducing sleep and pleasant dreams.  According to Harold Roth of The Alchemist’s Garden (also a fellow Upstate NY Pagan), lavender can be used for aspurging, “sharpening vision,” and attracting the sidhe.  It’s also useful in love magic which is excellent since my sister is using some in her wedding.

With the addition of these new herbs, my garden is looking lovelier and more robust.  My neighbor recently complimented me on it, saying that she loves how alive my patio looks.  It makes me happy to know my neighbors aren’t bothered by the explosion of green.  There are so many stories of neighbors complaining about veggie gardens.  My neighbors are super cool.  🙂

From August 18, 2011

Growing pumpkin.

From August 18, 2011

My first year growing large tomatoes.  Or rather…my first successful year of it!   These are going to be amazing in sandwiches… They’re an heirloom variety called Brandywines which delights my husband and I, Lord of the Rings fans that we are.

From August 18, 2011

More developing eggplants!

From August 18, 2011

Finally, my two sunflowers, gifted by the birds, were wilting. This meant it was time to cut off their heads for drying in the hopes of harvesting seeds. They’re currently hanging in the art room with some other herbs I harvested around the full moon.  Thankful for their appearing in my garden at all, let alone doing so well, I gave an offering of thanks to the Nature Spirits immediately following harvest.

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New Goodies!

OrderI was so excited to come home and open my box of goodies from the wonderful Mountain Rose Herbs!  I bought some blue vervain and mugwort to try and make Ian’s incense.  I still need a few more things for that but these two can’t easily be picked up at a supermarket.

I also bought a glass amber bottle for future herbal experiments, some red lentils for sprouting, and Surya incense.  I’m really excited about the latter because:

Surya is a fabulous company that adheres to traditional practices in the manufacturing of their line of completely natural botanical based incense. All incense sticks are hand rolled in the women’s village of Vrindaban, India where 10% of proceeds are redirected to assist displaced widows within their community. All scents are made of 100% natural ingredients free from synthetics, and chemical additives. Comes packaged in a beautiful silk screened, tree free cotton paper package.

How fabulous is that?  Much better than the cheap, chemical laden incense one can purchase at the mall.  I haven’t opened them yet but they already have a very strong scent.  Sustainability and social responsibility aside, the smell might be too much for some people.  My next step towards sustainable incense will be making my own!

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