Category Archives: drying herbs. gathering

Harvest Time

Merry meet all,

The harvest season is here. The next turn in the Wheel of the Year is Mabon. My garden is vibrant, full of beautiful flowers. Birds, cats and insects visit it many times. I don’t have the veggie harvest  I hoped for but I can still harvest a cucumber, a tomato, a Chinese lantern and many herbs and leaves.

I am not growing veggies anymore. The area for them is full of roots and rocks. It is impossible. I will instead attempt growing herbs and flowers there instead. I also tried growing carrots. The rain washed away the seeds. So I know herbs and flowers are likely to grow. The herbs I want to grow are mandrake, lots of mugwort, monkshood, sage, more lavender, more comfrey and calendula and moonwort. I would grow mandrake for its root. I am also going to harvest garlic!!! Mmmmm

That will happen next spring. I will harvest raspberry leaf, woodruff, lavender, winter my rosemary and calendula indoors, oregano, lemon balm, chives and comfrey. I can use comfrey for fertilizer or healing. I plan to grow chives indoors. Chives give food flavor that can’t be beat.

Mabon is a time of balance. Mabon is the second harvest Sabbat. I love Mabon as it always feels truly magickal to me. Mabon is about yin and yang, and a time when day and night are in equal balance. Mabon is the autumn equinox. The symbols of Mabon are gourds, pumpkins, corn, apples, pomegranates, grains, horn of plenty, and pinecones. The colors of Mabon are reds, greens, brown and gold. The incense is benzoin, myrrh and sage. The gemstones are tigers eye, sapphire and lapiz lazuli. The activities of Mabon are Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

It ushers Samhain in. Mabon is a magickal time and I hope you all have a wonderful harvest.

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Spring Sprouts

Merry meet all,

My project for herby sprouts is working!! I am amazed at how a whole huge plant can start from a tiny seed. I now have a garden on my windowsill. I’m growing snapdragons, lavender, thyme, basil, moonflower and morning glories, tomatoes, pumpkins, elecampagne from seed. My calendula overwintered and is now flowering! I also just bought black rose seeds.

I accidentally snipped a calendula flower and stem. I put the stem in a glass of water and waited and waited. Several weeks later the stem grew roots which I planted back into the same pot with the other calendula. I have three sprigs of rosemary in a glass of water to grow roots.

Patience is important when growing from seed. Try not to over water the plants. That killed my dill sprout. Just add a tiny drop of water every other day or if the seedling looks limp. Keep the starter pots by a sunny window. I have a plastic bag around the starter pots which helps to trap the water. Use good seedling potting soil. It is geared towards starting plants from seed. Let the seedlings grow on their own.

My moonflower just germinated!! It is weeks away till I can plant them but it is fun to watch them grow and help them along. I use a small clear plastic mister bottle which I have watered the seedlings with. You can also water from beneath. That prevents the seedling from root rot and dying. If you do water on the surface of the soil, add a tiny amount of water.

Small to tiny seeds lie on the surface of the soil. Water the soil prior to planting the seeds so they don’t drown. Bigger seeds are planted deeper in the soil. The sprouts still push through soil. So now we have sun, soil, water and time… what else? Love. Be gentle to your plants. Let them grow and just trust that they will grow. Before you know it, you will have a full fledged garden of seedlings waiting to bloom once the frost has passed.

Don’t disturb or transplant young seedlings. Let them grow where they are. You can if you want magically empower the seeds to fulfill your magical intention. The roots take time to be fully developed. Transplanting them too early can put the seedling in shock and damage it. They are content in the home that they germinated in. When it is time to harden the seedlings and plant them outside, then you can uproot them. Again, patience is key.

My morning glory seedlings )O(

Starting your plants from seed indoors has a few advantages. They are protected from the frost, can grace your window with their beauty and you can be sure that you will have a beautiful plant growing. If you start from seed, you control the growing conditions. You can grow several of the same plant without paying a fortune. Your plants will be ready to go once the frost has passed, saving you the effort of buying the same plants from the garden center.  

I’m starting the nasturtiums from seed outside. They are easy to grow and grow well there. Snapdragons seed heads look like skulls, which is one of the reasons why I bought the seeds. I also like the sound of the plant’s name. I’m running out of room for more seedlings. This has been a magical and fun project. 

My snowdrops have bloomed. My spring bulbs are growing slowly too. I can’t wait. 

Happy planting!

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

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Harvest Thyme

CIMG3014

Merry meet all,

September is here. I visited my garden this morning and felt the telltale chill in the air. The leaves are turning and trickling to the earth. The kids are back to school. Pumpkins fill the shelves now. It is that awesome time of year again.

The moon is waxing and is in its first quarter phase. Tomorrow the moon will be full, the full Harvest Moon. The moon’s brightness lets farmers complete their harvest well into the night. I love this time of year though I will miss my garden.

Now’s the time to harvest herbs and veggies from your garden. Freshen up your home and prepare your home for the dreaded coming winter. Clean linens, drain the hose, put away garden tools, and stock up on flu remedies. Mabon is soon to be here. Mabon is as magickal as Samhain. I think I will prepare for Samhain now. I hate rushing at the last moment. I will just so much miss my garden this fall and winter. I love to just sit in my garden sipping coffee and listening to the wind’s song in the trees.

I’ve begun my big cleaning and freshening up of my home. I am not done but glad to have some of it started. I don’t exactly like winter but may as well be ready for it. After Samhain, there’s not much to anticipate, not even my birthday or Yule.

Fall heralds in change, the cold Crone season, and the dark half of the year. But beautiful leaves crunching underfoot, the scent and feel of fall in the air, and pumpkins to carve is fun. There is much to look forward to.

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Autumn Cooking

Allium Harvest at Lammas

Allium Harvest at Lammas

Merry meet all,

Today’s post is about foods to enjoy at the time of Mabon/ Samhain. I know pumpkins immediately come to  mind-but- they are not just for carving. 

Pumpkins can be baked into breads (yum!), into cookies, and soup. I always buy a few pumpkins to cook with not just carve. There are plenty of them in stores. I want a couple white ones too. White pumpkins make me think of ghosts. 

Apples are popular now. Apples can be made into applesauce, pies, and apple crisp. Which reminds me, I have plenty of rhubarb in the freezer. Mm I might bake rhubarb cobbler with apple. 

Some popular spices and herbs for baking during the autumn season are: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, basil, clove, anise and orange. Add lavender to cookies. Another fun thing to try is halloween cookie cutters. I have a wide range of cookie cutters in the shapes of moons, coffins, bats, pumpkins, tombstones and witches. Add sprinkles, frosting, or even  natural food dye for ghoulish delights! 

Cocoa will keep you warm this fall. Cocoa can be combined with espresso in coffee or a batch of brownies. 

Nuts like walnuts, sesame seeds, coconut, dried fruit and almonds add health and flavour to your food. Mix up a batch of tasty morning granola with the ingredients mentioned in this post for some health and immune boosting breakfast!

Some popular recipes to try are pumpkin bread, soups, stews, other dark breads, and root veggie recipes. Doesn’t this all sound good? 

Gather some lentils too for lentil soup or save your potatoes and get a leek or two from the local organic farmers market for an invigorating bowl of potato and leek soup. I love my cauldron pot. It looks like a cauldron pot. I brew many a soup or stew in that pot. I use a blender that my Mom owned since I was a baby. I puree the soups, pumpkin or squash in it and it still works like a charm. 

Cooking food from scratch has some advantages. It is more effort to be sure. You have control over what ingredients go into your food. You can freeze the soups for later use. Empower your meal with energy for health or other things. You can see how it’s made and add your own special touch to the recipe. I personally prefer to be a die hard slow cooking kitchen witch, concocting my own recipes and know that I am not adding too many processed food ingredients. Yuck. I have GMOs. 

My witch hazel tree flowered! I also gathered herbs from my garden. I got calendula, lady’s mantle, leopard’s bane, woodruff, and lamb’s ear. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch 

 

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New Moon harvest

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Merry meet all,

Today I bound my garlic cloves from the garden with an elastic and hung them to dry. I chopped off the onion stems and stored the onion heads in a dry clean basket. I will leave the garlic and onions to cure for a number of weeks. Then I hope they store well for the winter. The bluejays steal eggshells I leave in the garden. I wonder why. I believe I shall harvest more rhubarb too. I do enjoy some raspberries from my garden too, though not as many as I’d like. 

The sky’s overcast here today. The sun’s trying to shine through the clouds. The oak seedling in my garden’s doing well. The garden sage is doing well. I can’t wait for another big harvest from my garden. I love to garden and I am sure it shows, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment and brings me peace. I love my garden. It’s been a lot of work and I am seeing the results of my labour, which is part of what Lammas is about. 

The New Moon shines tomorrow night. The New Moon phase is a good time for new beginnings and starting new projects. Cleanse your crystals and burn a candle to meditate or reflect on what you would like to do. I am seeing August as a good time to get my writing and sewing done and up to date. September always signals a change for me. 

Many New Moon Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch 

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Litha Rites

tomaotoes

Merry meet all,

Litha is almost here!!! Well, today it’s raining. But I sure hope for sunshine on June 21st!! Here is more info to help you prepare for an awesome Summer Solstice. 

This celebration focuses on the sun. Use solar colours when decorating your altar. Reds, oranges, golds and yellows are associated with the sun. Try setting your altar outdoors to truly get the most out of the ritual or at least near a sunny window. 

Litha is also a time of balance. The light and dark are in battle with each other. Perhaps a Brighid’s cross or a yin yang symbol would do. Decorate your altar with pinwheels, sun wheels, oak leaves and acorns, and sunflowers. 

To decorate your home for the Solstice, bring in washed flowers, herbs and vegetables from the garden. Leave the food in baskets and arrange the flowers in vases. Burn yellow and gold candles. Arrange flower candles at the base of the candlesticks. Braid herbs into a herb wreath and hang it on your door. Collect seeds and store them in a pretty cloth pouch or a seed envelope. 

Celebrate Litha either as a solitary or with your coven. Go outside! I plan to take a cauldron outside and burn incense on charcoal  in the cauldron. It will smell beautiful. I also plan to spend the day or part of the day tending to my garden. I will burn incense as I tend to my garden. The scent will help carry me away. Midsummer is a magickal time. 

Hold a bonfire, welcome fairies into your garden, share a special meal outdoors with friends and family. The choice is up to you how you enjoy the day. Go for a nature walk and go wildcrafting or clean up trash as you see it. Be sure to wear gloves. 

Have a fun Litha!

Blessings,

Lady Spiderwitch  )O(

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Seeds of Hope

rosy tulips

Merry meet all,

I am just in from seed planting. Yesterday I bought some organic topsoil. I wheeled the soil home and put it all on my new garden patch. Today my garden looks beautiful even in the rain. The rocks get that sheen and the green vibrant plants stand out among the earthy rocks and soil. 

I cleared away more weeds and removed rocks from the soil. A Witch’s work is never done! I just planted hollyhocks and lilies in the garden. I hope they germinate. When they do, I will thin the seedlings more and enjoy watching the hollyhocks grow! I can harvest more seeds from the stalks come fall. The witch hazel is also coming along nicely. The flowers I planted at the base are doing well too. 

The photo above is one I took of the beauteous tulip growing in my own garden. It’s a double-petaled deep mahogany red tulip and the hybrid is called Uncle Tom, (mundane name, if you ask me.)  The scent is amazing!! I also watered the seeds and my garden with my organic Neptune’s Harvest organic fish emulsion fertilizer. 

I shall continue to post more here soon!! The Full Moon shines on June 2nd. The moon is waxing. This is a good time to get out and do some gardening!! You can plant seeds that grow above ground now, because the moon is growing full!!

Blessings,

Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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A Garden to honor my ancestors

Seedling Magick

Merry meet all,

Tonight I’m sipping coffee and I occasionally peek out to my blossoming garden. It cheers my heart to see the plants grow. I also take pride in it for a different reason. 

I am carrying on the work of my ancestors. I am part Celtic and part Viking. My maternal grandmother is from Scotland. My maternal grandfather is from Cape Breton-French Acadian. My father was Norwegian. 

They would have worked hard in a garden to provide the food to feed their families. It was a produce or perish way of life then. They would have raised livestock. I don’t raise livestock but I do have two familiars. A garden was necesary. I also know how to fish, saw wood, gather and store wood, and operate a real wood stove. I know how to identify animal tracks, herbs and berries, and cook homegrown food- and ride horses. I often practice slow cooking, as opposed to eating processed food out of a can. Yes I do know to work a coleman stove. 

Allow me to elaborate here. One time in Pleasant Bay, my sis Niki harvested some root veggies from her garden. She cooked a pot of stew and it was cooked on the wood stove. I love the sound of a stainless steel kettle rattling on the wood stove- and a woodpecker pecking at the outdoor house walls. Then I was given the pot of soup and I held the pot of stew on my lap the way to the main house, where we all enjoyed it. I mean, it was delicious. Well it was made from totally locally grown vegetables and cooked on a wood stove. What was there to not like? 

I also can sew and clean. I know you may be thinking these seem like such domestic chores- especially since last fall, I was in the kitchen literally cooking all day. But I filled glass dishes with the plastic red lids with four different soups and I was able to feed myself all winter long. 

I have a fresh stash of lentils and beans. I know what to do with them. Performing this work is satisfying because I feel like I am carrying on a tradition. I have occasionally gone camping, maybe not as often as I should. Spending so much time in Pleasant Bay has helped me appreciate going for a simple walk. Well today was rainy. I also know how to make candles, make crafts like candles, jewelry, and bind books But my main pride and joy is my garden. I fail to understand why no one started a garden in the backyard here before me. Oh well my job. And I love it! I bought a celtic cookbook to also honor my ancestry. 

I am studying the different gods and goddesses in the Celtic pantheon. That is just fascinating to me. I do have a hard time getting my hands on books and information on the Vikings so I could honor that side of my family. I hope to learn more about them. 

I plan to make good use of the raspberries in my garden in jam and maybe eat them with pancakes. I plan to grow tomatoes, kale, lettuce, carrots, beets and radishes, potatoes, chives, garlic, rhubarb, and onions. For someone who lives on a meagre budget as I do, this is a lot of food. This includes the herbs and flowers I shall also harvest in the fall. The Witch Hazel will be cool. I haven’t planned on what to do with that yet. I can also harvest roots, seeds, and flower petals for various magickal uses. 

I let my Samhain pumpkins compost in my garden all year. The orange pumpkin was closer to the house. The white pumpkin composted over the tulip and garlic bulbs. When I raked the leaves this spring, I didn’t find the white pumpkin. I guess that is how well it composted. But the soil, bulbs and bugs would have benefitted from the nutrients from it. I did find the dried crumbling remnants of the orange pumpkin. I know it helped the soil. 

I planted snowdrops because I read they were sacred to Brigid. This is one of many ways I hope to explore and deepen my connection to my ancestors.

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

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Magical Cleaning

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Merry meet all,

The Eastern Quarter corresponds to the Element of Air. The bathroom fan in my apartment here was broken. It made the most awful cacophonous harsh sound when I turned the bathroom light on. Now it is fixed. In Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic Spells and Recipes, she lists fans as representing the Element of Air. Now that the fan is fixed, the blockage is removed. It is harmonious and now I love being in my bathroom. It is the first room people see when they come in, so naturally I want it to be nice. 

After the fan was fixed, I set out to clear my altar area. It needed a good spring cleaning. I debated with myself about whether to lift my altar off the dusty floor then made my decision, I am glad I did. I placed the altar on a round table. Behind the altar is a beautiful painting, which is why I had my altar on the floor. But I never used my altar much and I think it had to do with it being on the floor so low. I love it now that it is placed so high on a table. It is easier and I can clean the floor beneath it. It is finally easier for me to access the altar and feel comfortable. But since my altar has accumulated so much energy and has been used in so many rituals, meditations and spells, I will continue using it. 

I also cleaned and smudged every altar tool. My bookcase full of witchy tools was so crammed, dusty and disorganized and now it is so clean. I love the feel in my bedroom now. Everything feels fresh and clean. I smudged the altar, the tools and I mopped my floors. Everything is fresh and clean in time for spring. I even found my hammer. Now that’s some cleaning!!

Have you cleaned your altar areas in time for spring? Now’s the time. 

Good luck spring cleaning and add magick to the cleansing!

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch 

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Imbolc

witchhazel-late-winter

Merry meet all,

Imbolc is almost here. I get a huge burst of creativity at this time of year. Imbolc is  a lesser Sabbat and first of the three spring Sabbats. Imbolc honours the Goddess Bride. The ewes bear calves. Spring is on its way too. 

Imbolc is called “Oimelc”, which translates to ewe’s milk. The colours red and white are traditionally associated with Imbolc. Make your altar decor reflect the Sabbat theme. Imbolc is a sign of spring, so include plants that symbolize new growth. You could add potted bulbs such as forsythia, crocuses, daffodils, and snowdrops- which are sacred to the Goddess Brighid. Make a Brighid’s crown as a centrepiece. 

Brighid is the Goddess of Celtic peoples. Add a celtic design to your altar such as a Brighid’s Cross or other Celtic knot work. Other symbols are cauldrons, a small anvil or hammer, a Brighid corn doll, animals such as cows, sheep or swans, poetry, fairies and herbs. Candles, of course. Use a white and red altar cloth or you can lay down a fresh clean white altar cloth and a red strip of fabric across it to symbolize the traditional colours. 

Tomorrow I will talk about rites and rituals and recipes!!

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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