Saturday, August 31, 2013

foggy august morning stroll

I slept in.
Now that the sun is my alarm clock that happens often on cloudy rainy or foggy mornings.

Through the opened window came the most  wonderful spice like smell of rain soaked earth, and the air ...undecidable after the rain smell.



  Carried my coffee out onto the deck, feeling reborn in all the freshness, when it was finished I went back in for my camera




and
ventured
forth.
 
 
The things I see everyday were as refreshed as I was.
A different view, of nothing new.

 
and for now...painted with a different paintbrush.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The "Old Famer's" apple tree

 
 
Apples!
the woods are full of them some years.
 
Wherever there was an old house, old logging camp,  almost where there were people on the land for any length of time, there are  apple trees.  There they stand, and whoever planted them has long since forgotten them, or more likely died, there are often no other traces that anyone was ever there.  Deer, bear and other animals relish them, as do foragers, like me.  But this isn't one of those years.
 
About 20 may-be more years ago, "The Old Farmer" and my son planted an apple tree on the edge of my garden, so close in fact the the tree has grown around the wire fence.  I never knew what variety of tree it was, I think they dug it up somewhere, over time it has grown quite tall, and branched out, but it has never produced more than a dozen apples in one year.  This year the limbs are bent and broken from its  wealth of fruit.   The fruit is smallish, but it was planted  just for us. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The salute





no graveside visit
you aren't there, never were
 salute you, miss you

~~your "little soldier"

Monday, August 26, 2013

count the days to Halloween

Halloween is drawing nearer!
There have been decorations and costumes in the stores for weeks, and  better still than the taste of fresh sweet corn is the taste of fresh candy corn,and peanut butter cup pumpkins. witch's teeth, and cider gummies.
 





Thinking about and planning for Halloween in August, and may-be there is something to that.  As the nights grow longer and cooler.  The ancestral memories of harvest and preparing for winter begin to surface.  Halloween, is a blending of many holidays. most  being related to the harvest, and to honoring the dead.     Samhain the Celtic celebration of not only the harvest, but the beginning a new year, also honored the dead, and was a time when the time was unstable and the past and present could mingle easily.
Autumn brought the appearance of death to the countryside, and harvest brought death to the crops which were hopefully sufficient to  keep the  living fed.   it was a time to gather one resources and hope.  today we still see this in the "stock up for winter"and " fill the freezer" sales that some grocery chain stores promote.   People buy more candles from early autumn until about the Winter Solstice than any other time of the year.   In those times when the family farmstead needed to be self sufficient, not having enough resources to make it through winter was a very scary and even life threatening situation.

Believing that Halloween is a time to make fun of our fear of death is a long held belief.   Another belief has been that , one dresses up as something they would like to become.  Or perhaps the wearing of costumes is just entertainment for those who hand out the treats, and disguise for those who hand out the tricks.

The true magic of Halloween, is that on one night when we are free to act as if all things are possible, and to do so in the company of others who are also enjoying this brief "what if".   Our flights of costumed fancy are even rewarded  with admiration.  Our spirits are lifted, we face our fears of the unknown and we are readied to make the transition from the light half of the year into the dark half of the year.

 

 There are 64 days until Halloween, 64 days to plan the decorations and the costumes, 64 days to remember all of the fun of going door to door, and seeing who got the most candy.  There are 64 days to  think about how it felt to relive  Trick or treat night with you children and may-be your grandchildren.  
 
 
 
 
In 1849 ,Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, wrote  that the more things changed the more they remain the same. 
 
 
 
 
 
I have never tried the following.
How To make Your Pumpkin Last for WEEKS:
“After you scoop out and carve your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water (use a 1 tsp:1 gal mix). The bleach will kill bacteria and help your pumpkin stay fresh longer. Once completely dry, (drain upside down), add 2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush this solution onto your pumpkin to keep it looking fresh for weeks.”


Thursday, August 22, 2013

the first colors of fall

There are always plenty of hints that Summer is coming to a close and that Autumn is about to open for business, the potato vines die off, blackberries are ripe, so are the tomatoes and the pumpkins start to turn orange, in fact there are subtle color changes all around.  The raucous choir of birdsong that greeted me each morning is gone, and birds gather, silently in small groups to feed. When I was very young, we lived near open fields and farmland, each year before school started I can remember seeing red wing blackbirds perched on the fence and fence posts, they are among the first birds to migrate. Birdsong is replaced by the calls of crows and chirping of crickets.   At first a few of the leaves on the trees near the highway will go from green to yellow or crimson.   The sun is setting sooner, and pulling up weeds is no longer as important as it was a few short weeks ago.  Sometimes a hint of ripe apples will  carry on the  breeze. 
Cooler nights and deeper blue sky, each change a subtle one.  each a part of the best show there is.
 
 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'cause it's the fourth full moon

Blue Moom tonight! mot because it is the second full moon in the month but because it is the 4th full moon in the season.  And there in it's glowing primordial Luna glides among the clouds.  not really blue more like silvery. 
 
Known by names like the Dog days Moon,  the first Harvest Moon, and the full  Moon after Lughnasadh, both referring to the grain harvest that starts about the first of August.  though a little late in the month it still might be called the New Loaves Moon.  Other names include The Brewer's Moon,  the Pear Moon, Wode Moon, for the wode plant from which blue dyestuff came is ready to harvest, and the Wort Moon, wort meaning more or "herbal".  Minty"s Moon, a minty being someone who knew how to gather and use herbs, some of which were gathered by the light or the dark of the moon.

The Woodcutter's Moon, as it is  sometimes called, can you imagine cutting wood by the light of the moon?    


 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Generosity



"Generosity is born of understanding want."
~ Anne Moss



"I was really young when my Grandmother died, but what I remember most about her was that she smiled, she was smiling most of the time, she lived in poverty, so did we, and most of the people in that part of town, up until the year she died she planted a large garden, and baked bread, and she always had plenty to share. So did her neighbors. She had been a midwife, and brought many into the world and sat with families while many left this world.  The line of mourners at her funeral was very,very long.  The funeral home filled with flowers and sobbing people. years later when I got a job in a flower shop they were still talking about her, because there were so many arrangements at her funeral that the three shops in town ran out of flowers."


"You have it, the gift of sharing, you know it makes you feel good, in your heart"~~marc from the Rainbow Nation


Not sure why it has taken until now for me to start thinking about generosity, I have always been aware that some people were more generous than others, something you learn as a kid really.  The fact is some people who have plenty to share don't and some people who have very little are always sharing.   It never made much sense to me that people who had the most to share often didn't share anything and some who had very little would gladly share, so at some point I just decided that that was the way things were.

There are plenty of social, religious even selfish reasons that people might from time to time show great generosity, and those who are generous often receive generosity, which is a good way to add to ones chance of surviving lean times.







 




  







Friday, August 9, 2013

owl haiku

``                                                           Ohara Koson c.1910



                                                 full moon glides above
                                                cherry blossom's petals fall
                                                silent owl swoops low

 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

National Zucchini Day

Really, this is national  Zucchini Day, not to be confused with National Zucchini Bread Day which is April 24th, leading one to guess it is when  one finally reaches the back of the freezer and finds that last pack of frozen grated zucchini, at last, at long last, there is no more left.
The zucchini is a remarkable  vegetable, one anyone can grow,  it is prolific, and versatile.
I am told that the vine itself can be eaten but its prickly nature puts me off, the blossoms can be stuffed and bakes or dipped in batter and deep fried, yum yum!  The male flowers , stand alone, and the females sprout from a tiny, tiny zucchini, though some people pick only the male flowers, because one will pollinated the whole plant and because they are easier to use, and can even be baked into breads and casseroles, this is hearsay on my part as I have never cooked them.

 
In the grocery store or  at the Farmer's Market there are small tender zucchini, most are smaller than the cucumbers often displayed next to them.  Very small zucchini can be sliced into salads, or cut up, dressed with Italian dressing or whatever you like and chilled for a couple of hours before serving.  
Larger zucchini can be cut up and the seeds removed, and  added to soups stews, even kebabs, sliced  breaded and fried, grated for breads or  cakes, even turned into pickles. Those which have a tough skin, are best suited for compost. And should definitely never be left on the porch of anyone you like.  It would be wonderful if those thick skinned "logs" could be stacked like firewood and dried for that purpose, I have found  them still intact in the garden come springtime, however I doubt that they would provide much heat.

But mostly zucchini is prolific,  one zucchini plant can produce  a lotta, lotta ,lotta green baseball bats, which are mostly just too tough to eat, large  hard skinned, war clubs, and almost as easy to cook up.  It has been my experience that only so many people will welcome a second basket of "zukes"especially if they are only suitable to be used as weapons in a "Zucchini Demo Derby", a slightly dangerous game thought up by one of the neighborhood kids, the goal of which is whacking overgrown "zukes" together until they are just  mush.

 


In the "zuke" school of hard knocks one learns, plant one plant to see just how big you can get  a green baseball bat to grow.  And  collect the tender little "zukes" from the other plants often.
Perhaps the neighbors will even ask for more.  Well, one can hope.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

looking at clouds.


I spend a lot of time out standing in my field. and therefore I spend alot of time looking up at the sky.   A lot of time thinking, sometimes about what I am going to write about here, and sometime about stuff, occasionally even everyday stuff like what to fix for dinner.  Sometimes something will remind me of some sweet memory that is just waiting for me to think about it.

And some days I just try to find shapes in the clouds.



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lammas


Lammas, the beginning of the harvest, celebration of bread and those who bake it, celebration of work, celebration of Lugh master of all work, and the work of bringing in the harvest, to honor the craftsman, and those who educate, but most of all it is a thanksgiving for what is to come, offerings and petitions to the Mother of Grain, Demeter,Ceres, the Corn Maidens.  There is much more harvesting to come and many things that can go wrong  before the bounty of crops are safely stored away for the cold months ahead.


The celebration begins a sundown on July 31st, however some still use the old date of Aug 6th.  Lammas is actually the medieval name for the holiday, meaning "Loaf mass" when parishioners left loaves baked from the newly harvested grain and other fruits of the early harvest at church alters likely also as much in petition as thanksgiving.

 


The first loaves made from fresh gain must have been very welcome, as the flour and grain that had been in storage for months had probably at least become rancid,  stale and likely moldy.  Accounts of how gypsum, ground bone, ashes and other whitish powders were added to "stretch" flour in those times are as eye opening and disgusting as they are clever.

The first sheaves of wheat were often braided and saved until the next Lammas, when they were placed on the lammas fire in ceremonial cremation. 

The Lady of the Grain, the provider of loaves , gave her name to the Lady of the House, the provider of "our daily bread". In Old English the word "hlaf-dig":  "hlaf" meaning loaf and "dig" meaning knead became the root word for lady, derived from lady of the house or the one who makes bread.  The other household art of brewing also began again with the harvest of fresh grain.

Lammas, or in Celtic, Lughnasadh, expresses the cycle of life, and the dependence of new life on the base left for it "all that falls shall rise again".  A contentment in work, satisfaction in seeing what one has gained from one labors, now is the time to savor and look forward.