Jul 24, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

Gayfeather just starting to bloom.

The fierce heat that only mid July can bring, seems to be our constant companion now.  The lawn gets left to grow longer to hold the water in and I switch off watering in the morning or eve, depending on how fast the day warms up.  The other night I was out at 10pm attempting to spend some time moon-bathing, but the temps were still sky-high and the swarms of mosquitoes were deadly.  

The garden time starts at about 5am to beat the heat, but this morning I noticed that it wasn't quite as bright as it had been at that time of day during the last week.  The light is waning.  Even in the midst of hot days and warm nights, thousands of tourists, abundant fruit ripening, festivals and full beaches - the light is slowly losing its hold.

I love the growing season, and am happiest in the garden (during the cool hours,) but my nose would grow if I said that I wasn't a slight bit excited about cooler days and less yard work.  Today was weeding, harvesting carrots and rhubarb, watering and deadheading the perennial bed, mowing the back yard and fussing with the compost - and it's only 10am.

Speaking of compost - remember that fun "Compost Magic" post?  Well, not only did it work, but I also received a magical pumpkin vine out of the deal.  This clever lady popped right out of the base of my composter and has happily grown wild out into the yard.  There are two pumpkin babies on it right now!

Last week I travelled over to the neighbouring valley to hit the farm stands.  I found some apricots, early peaches, lovely sweet onions and a nice bit of Russian red garlic.  And I found some early apples that were perfect for my lazy-girl tarts!  (Recipe here.)  They didn't last long!

This weekend marks my first summer vacation this year.  I'd like to say that I'm putting my feet up, but I'll be driving ten hours to attend a festival (which will be a blast - so don't feel bad for me!)  Next month though, I've got a five-day camping trip to enjoy.  I can finally find some time to sit and read!  

I hope your summer is cruising along well.  Have you vacationed or are you a slave to your garden like I am?

Cheers and cool breezes!

Jul 17, 2013

Weather Witchery

I've heard it said that witchcraft is either an actual connection to and interaction with the "magical" current of nature, or a psychosis.  I think it might be a bit of both.

Weather magic, in particular, is something that walks than fine line.  Did you actually shift the weather pattern or was it already shifting and you just caught wind of it (no pun intended.)  Creating weather out of thin air is not something I think happens - at least, not often.  That kind of energy manifestation (especially coming from one person,) would be rare.  But grabbing hold of an already forming meteorlogical event and putting a bit more "oomph" into it, or shifting it in a new direction - I've been witness to that a time or two.  Was it a fluke?  Or was the practitioner able to coerce the sky to cooperate with her?  I honestly can't say.

Additionally, if you can actually change the weather, then there is a rather large responsibility to consider if things go a bit haywire (floods, droughts, lightening strikes.)

While wandering through the yard and gardens this morning, I found myself watching the rain clouds we had so hoped for, pass completely over us.  Clear sky was not far behind, and I was dissapointed. The wind was blowing in from the south-east and carrying all those clouds over to the next valley in the west.

I suddenly remembered a story I had heard about witches who had been employed to bring in rough weather.  If a ship was coming into port carrying valueables that a treasure-hunter wanted, or if the ship was carrying invaders, the witch would be approached to do a bit of storm-brewing, meant to take the ship down.  One of the ways she did this was by simply stirring her tea in a certain way.

Being amused by this vague recollection, I set to stirring my coffee while chanting about bringing the rains back in our direction.  Within ten minutes the wind shifted.  As I look at the Canadian flag out my window, I can see that the wind is now blowing in from the north-west and the rain is falling in earnest.  And just as I am typing this, thunder has rumbled and sheet lightening has lit up the dull morning sky.

Do I think that I created this weather?  No.  There was rain in the forecast today.  Do I find it a bit strange that the wind shifted direction completely and the clouds that had just passed us by with not a drop of moisture to spare, have retreated back on themselves to pour rain down outside my window?  "Strange" is a good word for it.

I think perhaps I'll simply stick to stirring honey into my coffee, and forget about stirring up the weather.

If you enjoy a bit of weather lore, check out these pages:

New World Witchery Podcast - Episode 7 - "Weather Magic and Lore"

Weather Magic and Folklore - Patti Wigington (about.com)

Otherworld Apothecary Blog - Traditional Weather Witching

Picture from Wiki Commons - found here:

Jul 3, 2013

Happy July!

The peas grew about 7 feet tall this year - and then some.

The calendar flips another page and I wonder again where the time went.  Just last week the peas were still reaching for the sky, and now they are gone and onions take their place.  The perennials that were just blooming (only yesterday, it seems,) are now bending over in their beds and waning in the heat.

We've had our first 100 degree day, and it won't be our last.  Today was mercifully cooler - only slightly - and I was able to do some gardening, but there is much more to be done.  The lawn needs mowing too, but it's going to have to wait for a cooler day or I'll have to be out with a headlamp at midnight pacing the yard.

The early mornings are when I spend the most time outdoors these days.  The cats birdwatch and chase bugs and I water the gardens and check the progress of the veggies and herbs.  I find myself lighting incense each morning when I go out.  It puts me in a bit of a meditative state while I putter around the yard.  I was a bit too far away the other morning when I put my leg into the salvia, which was full of happy bees.  A good sting brought me right back to the here and now.

Masses of lady's mantle as the sun comes up.

Once the picking of veggies begins and the early perennials start to fade, it is not a stretch for me to start to think of harvest time.  Last year I made a conscious choice to not wish away the summer in favor of fall, and I found I enjoyed the season much more.  This year I have some camping plans, but I'm going to stick close to home and garden, and work on my culinary skills.  I'm dying to try some new adventures with the food I grow and the gorgeous produce I pick up from the local farmers market.

I missed the self-heal bloom this year, and I fear that unless I get up very high in the hills, I may have missed the bulk of the wild yarrow too.  I'd rather not have to buy herbs that I can grow or wildcraft locally, but I also remind myself that I'm not filling up every moment of my day with activity anymore. If I don't have time for harvesting (or I need a nap, workout, or meditation,) then that's okay.

I hope you are taking time to smell the flowers this summer (and napping!)  What do you do to ensure you get enough relaxation during the hectic and hot summer months?

Evening primrose blossom.

A belated Happy Canada Day to my lovely fellow Canadians, and a very happy Independence Day to my wonderful friends to the south!  Happy July!