Category Archives: organic herbs

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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Flu Season Tips

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Merry meet all,

I know it’s been a few days since my last blog post. I have been brutally ill from a flu bug that nearly bit the very life out of me. It was the most horrid flu bug I have ever had. I ached all over from head to toe, and thought I would die. I spent 3 days in bed. I won’t go into more gross detail but I also had to go to a dental appointment first thing in the morning, first brutal day of the flu. I almost fell on the floor while I was there. I am here to give you some much needed survival tips on how to combat the flu and emerge a victor.

First things first…

Time. If you suspect you have the flu and feel the commonly known symptoms of the flu, cancel major appointments and important business meetings and travel plans. You can’t go anywhere if you are too sick to move and you risk infecting others with the same illness.

Provisions. Stock up on plenty of fresh ripe lemons, organic honey, toilet paper and Kleenex boxes, food that is sources of protein and vitamins such as colorful ripe vegetables, meat and shellfish, and beans and grains. These foods are rich sources of Vitamins A, D and B. These foods also contribute to boosting your immune systems. That is necessary to healing from the illness. Ginger and ginseng are also good for you.

Rest. I spent 3 shameless days in bed feeling like the world was going to end. I really did believe it. I was dizzy when I stood, my eyes burned, my back felt broken, I couldn’t help but sleep, and I sniffed and coughed uncontrollably. If that is not enough, I could only remain awake for 15 minutes at a time between long sleep intervals. So it is a good idea to cancel those meetings and travel plans and just stay home. No one else wants your cold. It is a hard cold fact of life.

Treatments. Get plenty of rest, don’t think you will be staying home watching videos or finishing your adult coloring book. If you have the flu as horribly as I did, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the sleep you need. Take the proper recommended doses of Tylenol or Ibuprofen at the right times. Stay hydrated. Take plenty of steamy showers to loosen up the mucus in your sinuses. Blow your nose often and keep the wastebasket near your bed. Extra tip: Line your wastebaskets/ cans with a plastic bag so it is easy to remove when full. Grocery bags are perfect for that. Keep a tray or a table near the bed but that is not in your way but makes it easy for you to access something if you need it in a hurry. Unplug the phone and internet, and close the curtains. I could barely stand so I welcomed the solitude. Fill the kettle early on in the day.

Health Boosters. I steered clear of Red Rose tea and only drank a bit of coffee. I drank a LOT of organic honey and lemon tea. Not Neo Citran- which is pure artificial sweetener, the real stuff. It was a savior scent from heaven, that concoction of awesome goodness. I cherished every drop. I lost my appetite but I still forced down a few healthy meals: an apple, pasta + brussel sprouts, seafood chowder,  lentil soup, sweet potatoes. These are the foods that give you your much needed health back.

A plan. Do go see your doctor. Your doctor can and will advise you if you have influenza, a viral infection or pneumonia. They can give you medicated pain and fever relief. If they do an x-ray, those will tell the doctors more about your condition. Try to take a cab or arrange a ride to and from the hospital. Try to avoid using the metro transit, if at all possible. People might be sick on the bus or you might infect them. 

Spoiling. This is the perfect time to spoil yourself. Go ahead and if you can handle it, have that spa day or staycation. I took hot showers. I also enjoyed a 20-minute soak in the tub. I added sage leaves I crumbled in my fingers, salt, Epsom salts, and clove essential oil. I exfoliated and scrubbed my finger and toenails. I made a natural mask for my skin of olive oil and honey, which I put on my face for a few moments than washed off after. I felt great. Go get lots of herbal teas for colds and keep them handy. Avoid alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine. Read a nice health magazine. Recover in a clean apartment and bedroom. Change your bed linens once you are back on your feet. 

This is how I did it. I am finally on the road to recovery. For a while there, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live. But I must have some stoical endurance in me to have survived. With some luck, you will too. I hope you enjoyed reading my post and now have lots of ideas to guard your health. 

More tips: Do keep your room clean. Put some flowers in a vase. Dim the lights. Listen to soft low volume music. If you can handle it and won’t choke, sleep with a lozenge under your tongue as you sleep. Don’t choke. If you think you would choke, don’t do it. I managed to remain alert enough to not swallow the lozenge. Keep lozenges or a glass of water nearby instead as you sleep. Don’t have flashy lights or throbbing techno music booming in the background. Put off collecting the mail or throwing out the garbage. Just stay home. Your aching senses will thank you. Think Enigma, world music or Enya. Meditation can help as well as breathing exercises. Have plenty of Kleenex or toilet paper at hand. 

Good luck!

Blessed be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Altar Decoration for Yule

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Merry meet all,

Winter is upon us. The chill of winter bites at us as we travel to work or holiday shopping. Be inspired by the winter colors for your altar decorations. Blues, silvers and whites as well as red, greens and golds correspond with winter.

Add solar symbols to your altar. The Solstice is about the return of the sun. Pine cones, evergreen boughs, sprigs of holly, a Yule log and or antlers. They all represent the Winter Solstice season. Candles in winter colors, antlers, mistletoe, a bowl of snow, bells and sun wheels reflect winter.

The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year. Burn a Yule log. Be sure to supervise to avoid a fire. Check your smoke alarms that they are well functioning first.

Evergreen, fir, spruce and pine are popular woods to use for a ritual or altar decoration. Their scents invoke those fresh earthy scents. Cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg are earthy and spicy. Nuts and dried fruits can be added to an altar or a gingerbread house!

The altar cloth can be a white color or blue and silver. My altar cloth is sheer and has a snowflake print on it. It is reversible and switches between silver and gold depending on which side faces up.

Then once the altar is dressed and assembled, smudge it with sage and an altar cleansing potion. Be sure to clean the altar area beforehand. Enjoy your seasonal winter altar. Have a merry Winter Solstice.

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Spring Bling

Crocusfrom garden

Merry meet all,

Spring is here. I had a great time celebrating the Ostara Sabbat at the Universalist Unitarian Church on Saturday night. I called a quarter (West) and enjoyed the evening. The ritual was well-thought out and went smoothly. 

Tonight is the Full Moon of March. I spied sprouts emerging in my garden from the cold tough soil. I also planted seeds in a seed tray in my bedroom. They are coming up. Spring is an exciting time that embraces raw visceral change and fresh growth. Of course, being a gardener, I enjoy spring. I can’t wait to get to work on my garden. It is almost time to rake leaves back and tidy the garden. The parsley and rue I have been growing indoors, protecting from winter’s chill, have grown well. They will be happy to return to the soil this spring. Their roots can reach deep and the soil is worked by tireless insects. Plants always prefer to be outdoors. 

The next turn in the Wheel of the Year is Beltaine. I will miss the dark half of the year but it will return. For now, there are seed catalogues to peruse and a garden to clean. I wish you all a merry Ostara

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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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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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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Sagely Wisdom

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Merry Meet All,

Imbolc is almost here!! Sorry for the pause in the posts, but I have been so busy trying to write a novel proposal that everything else has been- and that includes my entire life, has been on hold. Now that some of the maddening, gritty work is done, I can concentrate on other things. 

…like Imbolc. I’ve germinated garden sage and milk thistle seeds so far. I put the seeds in a folded damp paper towel in a ziploc bag. The seeds germinate much faster. I found loose sage leaves at the grocery store then discovered the sage was from Israel. What? i was shocked. So I rejected the sage and instead, bought a bag of seeds. 

Now I know where my sage is coming from. My own garden or windowsill, which I prefer. The sage from Israel would be useless to me. The magic properties that sage is known for would be long gone. The power of the herb would barely exist by the time it reached Canada. I couldn’t believe it. I would rather grow my own, which is highly possible as I have a garden. 

I wanted to buy the sage to steep in a teapot and do my sacred magic circle of sage tea all around the perimeter of the apartment here. But I wouldn’t use sage leaves from Israel. Sage is known for increasing longevity, aiding in protection and offering wisdom. How much of the natural wonderful properties remain in it by the time it is on the store shelf? Not to mention that the leaves are sprayed with a pesticide and preservative. Ugh Who wants that? 

Ah I am now left to the wonderful chore of growing my own. I have a young sage plant in my garden but it is buried under snow. I won’t harvest from a young plant I will wait till it is established. I can’t wait to plant my seedlings in the garden in the spring. 

I often read my copy of Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs. I love that book. I couldn’t live without it. It is an excellent reference book that should be on the book shelf of every serious Witch/ Pagan or Hedge Witch. 

Grow local! Grow your own herbs. My Genovese Basil was unintentionally uprooted this fall so I potted it up and brought it indoors. I can’t believe how it is flowering. The plant gets lots of sun from the southern window. My sage seedlings are growing next to it. Soon I shall have a few lovely sage plants blossoming in the garden, when spring arrives. I will have all the chemical-free sage  I want for casting protective magic circles!! 

I’ve been reading and enjoying Raven Grimassi’s articles in Witches and Pagans magazine. I now have new fun ideas to try on my herbs and plants thanks to him. I want to buy his books. I like his approach. I hope they include more of his writing. 

Blessed Be, Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Seeds of New Life

indoorgarden

Merry meet all,

Have you received your seed catalogs in the mail yet? I have- three. There is that magickal number. I have pored over them, and planned my garden soon to come. When spring arrives, I will be ready. 

I have satisfied my itch for growing plants indoors. I have cleaned a few pots and added soil and seeds. I have lots of seeds. I am growing  calendula, a lovage plant, a white sage plant, carrot, radish, and two tomato plants. 

The photo above is my indoor garden. The pots stand on a wooden board on top of my guinea pig cage. The plants get lots of light. The light will return once Ostara rolls around. As soon as I can, I am planting the seedlings outdoors. I can’t wait. This is a great way to get a head start on plants. 

You can start now by cleaning up and checking your plant pot supply. I always clean up and store my garden knick knacks and plant pots in fall. By the time spring returns, they are ready to go. I had some organic soil left over and I used that. I am also starting a ginger plant. I put some ginger in a 12″ pot that is about 10 inches wide. I placed the ginger in the pot with the buds facing up. I hope that works. Ginger plants are beautiful. 

If you have no pots, try egg cartons, milk containers- cut in half- a great way to grow seeds, and yogurt containers. Just remember to create some kind of drainage and place in a sunny window. I love nothing more than to see a sprout emerge from a seed. Water and fertilize regularly. Good luck!

 

Blessed Be,

Lady Spiderwitch )O(

 

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Lammas Harvest

Merry meet all,

Are you all excited? Today marks the beginning of Lammas. Lammas is the first of the three harvest Sabbats. The Wheel of the Year turns again. The sky darkens earlier now. Fields are ripe with wheat, and gardens are ripe with vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

I shall soon reap the bounty from my garden. I have braved torrential rains and slugs to grow the peas, radishes, carrots, and shallots. Mmm I wish I could share the delicious taste of my peas from my garden. The seeds were organic. I believe that is why they are so tasty. I plan to preserve some seeds, too. My book tells me how to store seeds from over 300 plants. Good thing I have so many Mason jars.

I plan to celebrate Lammas tonight with a solitary feast. I will add what I have grown in my garden to the feast. I have chives, garlic chives, and shallots and lemon balm, bee balm, and some other culinary herbs. I would harvest the leaves of the bee balm, because the bee populations are in decline and the bees are all over the bee balm. They can’t get enough of the bee balm. Lemon balm and coneflower also grow well in my garden, but I see the bees visiting the bee balm the most. They like native brightly coloured single-petaled flowers. Bee balm attracts hummingbirds.

I am ordering organic white sage seeds, organic witch hazel seeds, and a book on how to grow and worship tulsi. I am growing organic tulsi plants, which is holy basil and is worshipped in India. The herbs are growing beautifully. I will enjoy growing and harvesting my own organic white sage plants. I will definitely be smudging with leaves from the plant. Though I often end up with more seed doing it this way, I like to begin from seed and know the seed is not poisoned with GMOs. I find I have better control and a better plant starting from seed this way. I may never buy white sage smudge sticks again, when I can create my own.

Lammas is a time of celebration and feasting. Reflect on the bounty of nature and be grateful for it. Share your celebration with friends and family. Offer a bit of your harvest to the God and Goddess as thanks for the bounty they offer and help with your gardens. Do everything you can to help bees. No bees, no plants, no harvest. So help the bees.

Enjoy the magic of Lammas
Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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