Monthly Archives: July 2012

D is for Dabbling – Pagan Blog Project 2012

In the interest of giving you a break from 24/7 canning recipes, I thought I’d do another Pagan Blog Project entry.

D is for Dabbling

I went with this one because, as evidenced by this blog, I am Not Hard Core.

A lot of the pagan blogs I read are written by professional witches – folks whose art and livelihood are directly related to their Craft and their Spirt Work in one way or another – and I’m surrounded by Pagans who go to annual fests, who help to prepare the festival land, who attend, even run, regular cremonies and services…

I don’t do any of that stuff.

At least not much.

I make candles with an eye to environmentalism (no parafin, no plastic) and, if I’m scenting them, I use combinations that work towards a particular end goal (like my Happy Home candles that use vanilla, sweet orange, and cloves to pull in joy, romance, good sex, and the odd bit of extra cash).

I make soap with similar intentions.

I do divination.

I make a point of getting to know the plants (domestic, feral[1], and wild) in my neighbourhood and, in-so-far as I can, how to use them for different things.

But I don’t do Ritual. I don’t do Spirit Work beyond chatting up my deities and ancestors every now and then and recognizing who’s in and around my house. And I feel like this makes me a dabbler – someone who isn’t really Serious about their religion/Craft/practice.

And, to be honest, it irritates the hell out of me that I feel this way.
Maybe it’s the We’re All Priestesses thing – you know the one. The one where, because Pagans don’t need no clergy to act as a go-between and tell us what the gods are saying… it means we’re ALL supposed to priests, priestesses, and general officiants in the religious ceremonies and rituals we hold.
So if you’re not HPing it on some hill somewhere every full moon, or life-hacking the Universe on your morning comute, then you’re clearly Doin’ It Rong.

Or something.

The essay I linked to, above, talks about how a lot of Neo-Pagan folks are dabblers – a little of this, a little of that – and I’m not totally sure what that means: Is it that a lot of Pagans are somewhere between ‘Eclectic Wiccan’ and ‘Seeker with a bit more focus than usual’ … or does it mean that a lot of Pagans grew up in fairly secular-humanist homes, learning the periodic table of the elements at school, and don’t have umpteen generations of enchanted world view[2] standing, uninterrupted, directly behind us[3] telling us that, yes, sure, things are made from carbon and iron and such-like… But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to go raiding the rowan up the street to make jelly, or that it’s not a good idea to bless the house under your breath at your comings and goings.

The reality is that I think most religious people are “dabblers”.
Most of us aren’t called to religious service – even if “religious service” includes things like being a spirit-worker or an edge-walker[4], rather than a religious ceremonialist (priest/ess) or a minister (religious-based counselor; community leader and help-meet) – in any significant/serious way. Rather we celebrate the feast days, take in the occasional religious service (some of us more frequently than others), and generally have our day-to-day understanding of the world informed by the Cosmology and Axiology of our (however-nominal) faiths.

And that isn’t a bad thing… most of the time.

I know, I know. The whole point of this immanent thealogy stuff is that the gods aren’t distant and unknowable, holiness is everywhere, Goddess is Alive (Magic is Afoot), and all that jazz.
And yet, if all that’s the case – and, yeah, my own experience says that it is – then why Ritual? Why the hierarchy?

Of course I know the answer to that. We all know the answer to that.
In a faith-umbrella made up significantly of socially-awkward people who Never Fit In, whose weapon of choice has, for generations, been vocabulary, “titles are like tits” and having one is a way of saying “I take this seriously (so you need to take me seriously, too)”.

…And part of me is drawn to it for that reason.
For the “take me seriously” reason.
Part of me wants to know what herbs to use, and how to use them safely and accurately and well, in order to cure a sore throat, regulate someone’s period, calm an upset GI track, and similar… not just because it’s damn good stuff to know, but because I want people to turn to me for that kind of information (and, hand-in-hand with that, because I want to actually be able to give them reliable, safe information if they ask).

And that’s fame. That’s pride. That’s prestige.
And part of me wants that.

But, as the witchvox article said, is that really what I want? Not “Do you wanna be well-known and respected” (because, duh), but “Do you wanna have to deal with people doing the same stupid crap over and over and over again because they don’t like what you’re telling them”.

Chez nous, I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, aloud, to my girlfriend. We’ve just finished Wee Free Men, and are about to start in on A Hat Full of Sky.
I love these books for how well they articulate my own worldview. I wind up sobbing about it every time I read them (which can be a bit of a problem when you’re reading them out loud, I don’t mind telling you). However – as far as relevance to this post goes – one thing that comes up pretty significantly in Hat Full of Sky is the fact that the vast majority of Witching is, basically, doing the clean-up; being Mommy for a population of squabbling, needy people who only listen to you because they find you slightly scary.
And that’s a thankless job if ever there was one, no matter how full your draw-string bag gets on baking day.

So… yeah. I’m a dabbler.
I don’t automatically reach for my sigil pen (or an empty jar and the hairbrush, as is more likely to happen in my case) when something weird is going on or I need a little extra help with something… but I don’t ignore those options, either.
I bless my house and make offerings to my gods and ancestors and everyone… but in a fairly haphazzard way.
I talk to my garden and give it encouragement… but don’t pray over it for an hour when I do the planting.
I don’t walk the edges of the world. I walk the neighbourhood and get to know what’s there.

So be it. That’s what I am.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Garden escapees, plants like dandelions, plantain, yarrow, and daylilies (among zillions of others) that were brought over and planted by settleres and aren’t native to the area.

[2] Enchanted “hearth spirits” or Enchanted “saints and guardian angels” or Enchanted “little people roaming at large” or whatever. Pick your favourite.

[3] And those of us who do – I’m thinking Quebec – aren’t necessarily looking at it too closely because it’s still “what [your] backwards, hyper-Catholic great aunt did”… It’s too close for a self-conscious NeoPagan to be comfortable with (or so I hear from the few folks I know who are looking into this stuff).

[4] When I say “edge-walker” I mean people who help the passage between “human-alive” and “human-not-alive”, more than anything else. People who are pulled to the sides of the dying and/or who get chatted at by ghosts with something they need to say, but also those who are called to be midwives and doulas, who know how to do herbal birth control, abortion, and so on, who help folks bring (or not bring) other people into the world.

The Parade of Peaches Continues (Peach Butter Recipe)

I have just started the peach butter.

Peaches aren’t exactly local to Ottawa. We’ve got plums and pears for sure, but peaches aren’t nearly cold-hardy enough to pop up regularly. (Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Reliance or maybe (maybe) a Harrow Beauty – or a Harcot or Goldcot appricot tree, for that matter – growing in a sheltered back yard somewhere around here).
None the less, they are very, very prevalent in Niagara and so I’ve been taking advantage of their being shipped into the rest of the province just now.

I didn’t make much of anything with peaches last year (well, that’s not quite true…) and I was more than a little sad about it. Plus, honestly, I love mangoes to bits and find that peaches, apricots, and nectarines can all, to some degree or other, be substituted for mango in recipes that I’m trying to make more local-foody.
Thense my recent Tomato-Peach salsa (I like the peach-mango salsa from PC, and I thought I’d try making something along those lines of my own) and the spicy peach-apricot chutney (inspired by variou mango chutneys I’ve enjoyed in the past) that I made last year.

The peach butter that I’m making today, however, is like yesterday’s Balsamic Peach pickles: Purely done in the interest of making something deliciously peachy so that when winter hits we’ve got a taste of summer to serve up.
(I actually have a little bit of the pickling solution left over from the peach pickles, and I think it’s going to be a glaze for some pork sausages or something. It’s way too tasty to pass up. πŸ˜‰

So. Peach Butter.

Like apple butter (and pear butter and even tomato butter, which I’m sorely tempted to try), Peach Butter is somewhere between “jam” and “sauce”. It has a much lower sugar content[1] than jam – rather than 1:1, it’s somewhat closer to… 1:8 (or even 1:12) sugar to fruit. (I based my sugar:fruit ratio on this recipe from Food In Jars, by the way). If you’re avoiding processed sugars, fruit butters can be a good way to go, and they’re thick-and-sticky enough that they can work as a binder (sort of) in vegan recipes.

I’m making my peach butter in a crock pot – because I can just set it up, leave the lid a bit askew to let the steam escape, and let it do its thing without worrying about anything scorching – and expect to get about 3C of butter from 6C pureed peaches by the end of the day.

My recipe for Peach Butter is as follows:


Peach Butter


6 C purreed peaches[2] (pitted, but peels included)
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C pear cider vinegar (any mild vinegar will do, mind you)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (amaretto, bourbon, dark rum, or tripple sec would work here, as well)
1/2 tsp each: nutmeg, ginger
Pinch salt


1) Pit and dice the peaches
2) Throw them in a food processor if you want a particularly smooth butter (which I do)
3) Once you have six cups of purree, throw the peaches, and all the other ingredients, into a slow cooker
4) Stir briefly (until well-mixed)
5) Plug in the slow-cooker and set it on “low”, leaving the lid slightly askew (or propped open with a wooden spoon) to allow the steam to escape
6) Let it do its thing for 8-12 hours
7) Use a drink-mixer (hand-blender, imersion blender, whatever you want to call it) to further purree the butter once it’s cooked
8) Sterilize your jars (I am using three 1C jars) in a steam bath
9) Scoop the butter into the sterlized jars using a wide-mouth funnel
10) Process, upside down, in a boiling-water/steam bath for 20 minutes[3]


You can serve this stuff on toast or crepes, mix it into yoghurt for a simple breakfast/snack, bake it into coffee cake, layer it with custard in a trifle… or you can spread it over chicken with a little black pepper (as a savoury rub for the BBQ), offer it as a dip/spread with a cheese plate, or throw it into a crock pot with a few other goodies (fresh chopped tomatoes, a fig compote, whatever) in order to add flavour (and fruit/veggies) to pulled pork or some other slow-cooked delicacy.

And there you have it.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try making apple butter using the fallen apples from two local trees – one around the corner from me (probably a relative of McIntosh, going by the colour if nothing else) and one from up in the Glebe near Fifth Avenue (round, yellow apples, no idea what variety). I’ll be using basically the same recipe as I used for the peach butter, but may include a full 1/4 C of maple syrup and will be using cinamon and cloves for the spices. Come October, I’ll probably do the same thing with pumpkin, just to see if I can. πŸ˜‰

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] While you boil the liquid off, which means the concentration of fruit sugar goes up as it cook, I still took a bit of a precaution and added a quarter cup of pear-cider vinegar to my mix in the interest of lowering the pH a little.

[2] Which is about… 12-15 large peaches… I used 8 small peaches and 8 large peaches, which is what I had available.

[3] Butter needs to be processed for a lot longer than jam – probably because of the higher pH (though I’m guessing on that one).

Maple Raspberry-Balsamic Peach Pickles

I have yet to go and gather fallen apples around the corner.

BUT! I have make an experimental jar (just one cup) of maple raspberry-balsamic pickled peaches.

They’re sitting on the cooling rack, waiting to seal and, in theory, will go famously with a slow-cooked pork shoulder roast come winter. (Me and my slow-cooked shoulder roasts… honestly, they’re inexpensive as meat goes, and I can just toss one into the crock pot on a frosty morning and fill the house with delicious smells (and a tiny bit of extra heat) all day long without having to worry about burning anything…).

Anyway. Here’s the recipe:


Balsamic Pickled Peaches


4 firm peaches (peeled, pitted, and diced = 1 C, diced – maybe a little more[1])

Extras (per 1C jar):
1 ring of yellow cooking onion (sliced so that it fits – I minced mine)
5 whole cloves
5 black pepper corns
3-5 slivers of candied ginger
1 cinnamon stick (short)

Pickling Solution (per 1C jar):
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C raspberry-balsamic vinegar
1/3 C maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or bourbon/amaretto, if preferred)
pinch salt


Sterilize your jar(s) in a steam bath

Into each sterilized jar place all of your extras PLUS enough diced, peeled peachs to fill the jar (with about 1cm of head-space)

Boil your pickling solution until the salt is disolved and everything smells sweet-and-sour and tasty and is bubbling very nicely

Pour your pickling solution into your jar(s), pausing to get rid of the air bubbles (drag a sterilized butter knife around the side of each jar to let the bubbles escape) and then topping it up the rest of the way with pickling solution.

Cap with sterilized lids and rings

Process, upside down, in a boiling-water/steam bath for 5-10 minutes

Allow to cool (and seal – you’ll hear the “plunk” as they do it)

Give it at least two weeks before opening, so that the flavours can mingle
Makes 1 cup of balsamic-pickled peaches


I’ve got some left over pickling solution (go figure), so I’ve used a little bit of it to sour some milk and am now making peach-blueberry pancakes. πŸ˜€

Meliad the Birch Maiden

Garlic-Dill Cucumber Pickles – 2012 (recipe)

So I just finished this year’s batch of garlic-dill cucumber pickles.

I used the same brine-for-24-hrs-in-salt-water process as last year, but made a few changes to the “extras”.

Here’s what I did:


For the Extras[1] (per jar)
1 medium-small clove fresh garlic
2 two-inch stalks of fresh dill weed
1 medium-small l dried bay leaf
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp whole black pepper corns
1 tsp dill seed
1 grape leaf (this will help keep the pickles crunchy – possibly due to its tanins)


For the Pickling Solution
1C white wine vinegar
1/2 C water
1 (heaping) tsp salt


Having sliced up somewhere between ten and twelve 4″ cucumbers, this has left me with:
Slightly more than 8 cups of garlic-dill cucumber pickles.
I had four or five slices of cucumber left, plus a lot of extra brine, so I pickled them – sans grape leaf – and will be opening that jar in two weeks to enjoy its contents, while the rest hang out in my preserves cupboard.

It’s also left me with about 1.5 cups of pickling solution… Which I’m not totally sure what to do with just now. (I may end up leaving the water out of the solution next year…) Part of me want to go out to the balcony and pick the big cucumber that’s hanging on the vine (it looks like we’re going to get two cukes off the vine this year, which is one more than I was expecting… though we’ll see how big the second one gets…)


I think I’m more likely to wander around the corner to where the local apple tree is dropping its fruit, and collect a bunch for making apple (or peach-apple) butter. My plan is to do it in the slow cooker with a little brown sugar, maple syrup, ginger, and cinnamon. I think it’ll be a good combination. πŸ™‚

Wish me luck! πŸ˜€

Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] Note: “Extras” aren’t what preseves the vegetables. That’s what the vinegar solution does (and the salt bath, before it, actually). The Extras give the pickles a flavour beyond salt-and-vinegar. For these, I went with hot-and-spicy, though I could have gone hotter by throwing in some red pepper flakes or a few strips of fresh jalapeno. If I were doing, say, balsamic pickled peaches, I might use Etras like sliced red onion, whole cloves, slivers of fresh ginger, or cinnamon sticks… while the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar did the preserving.

Speaking of Pagan Alphabets…

I found this over on Itchy Witch. I think it’s faboo.

Fruit Moon – Tomato-Peach Salsa

New Moon again – Fruit Moon this time – and, right on time, Ontario Peaches have started showing up in the grocery stores.
I’m quite sure these are from Niagara, fyi.

I packed home a basket of peaches plus waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more tomatoes than I need (I think) in order to make salsa, only to realize that I’m out of cilantro. So back out I go to see if I can find a fresh bunch at the grocery up the street (chances are good).

I’m going to try the following recipe (which is vaguely inspired by this one)

Tomato Peach Salsa


2 jalapeno peppers (add more or use hotter peppers if you like it spicy – this one is really mild)
3 C tomatoes, diced and drained (5 beefsteak tomatoes or… maybe 6-8 romas?)
1 C diced peaches (~4 small peaches)
ΒΌ C yellow cooking onion, diced
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
ΒΌ C fresh cilantro, minced
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne pepper


Blanch the peaches and tomatoes in order to get their skin off easily

Remove peach- and tomato-skins

Dice peaches and tomatoes until you have enough

Dice the onion and the jalapeno peppers (take out the seeds)

Put everything into a big pot on the stove

Mince the garlic and the fresh cilantro and add them, plus the salt, sugar, vinegar, and cayenne

Heat everything, stirring gently, until its all hot, steamy, and maybe even a little bubbly

Sterilize your jars (and lids and rings) in a steam bath

Pour the salsa into the sterilized jars

Cap and process in a boiling-water/steam bath for about 10 minutes

Allow to cool (you’ll hear the lids go *plunk* as they seal).


This (a) makes about 3 cups of salsa, and (b) theoretically goes really well on fish, pork, and tortilla chips.

Note: I’m using beefsteak type tomatoes, so I’m going to get a more watery salsa than if I used roma.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

D is for Divination – Pagan Blog Project 2012

Hey folks!

So. Last night, I tried to do a spread for my sweetie and couldn’t make much of anything out. I told her that I felt like I was getting interferance from my own head, so we packed up the spread and the plan is to try again in a day or two. (Does anyone else have this happen?)
Consequently, rather than doing “D is for Deities” as today’s Pagan Blog Project entry, I decided to write about:

D is for Divination

I’ve been experimenting, off and on, with various types of divination (palmistry, tea leaves, “rune cards”) for… ye gods… going on twenty years. O.O (Gosh, grade nine was a long-ass time ago…) But I got my first tarot deck – a colourful, Made In India set with a very one-dimensional “decoder book” that my brother found in the discount bin at Chapters – for… probably my 22nd birthday. So about ten years ago.
I admit I didn’t like it much. The pictures didn’t “talk” to me and the decoder book, as I said, was pretty simplistic. The suit of cups was only about romance. The suit of rings was only about money. That kind of thing.
But I used it.
Eventually, about five years later, I was gifted another deck – the Osho Zen Tarot, which I had already “met” through a friend of mine who also uses it – and this one talked. Maybe that’s because each of the cards has a name – the Queen of Swords, for example, is named “Morality”, the Four of Wands is “Participation” – that basically tells you what that card is about at its root. Or maybe it’s because the art is just so much more evocative – the suit cards don’t look like playing cards, they’re pictures of situations and, thus, are a huge help in terms of relating the cards, and the various layers of their meaning, to specific situations in my own life (for example, the Three of Water in my deck is my “polyamoury” card, the King of Air and the Queen of Fire are two different ways of being a domme – aka two different ways of holding, and dealing with, power)… which, in turn, helps me sort out what they might mean in a reading for someone else.

I like doing divination and, periodically, end up doing it for random strangers in cafes around town. When people ask – sometimes with a little trepedation – about how it works, this is what I tell them:

When I read for myself, I tend to look at tarot as a way for my unconscious mind to talk to my conscious mind. My unconscious mind, which is the part of my brain that actually knows what’s going on, talks in pictures (among other things). It can’t talk clearly with my conscious mind (which talks in words, and which thinks it’s in control and freaks out if it feels otherwise). Using a symbol-set – like the tarot cards, but it could be any other kind of divinatory system, too – is a way for me to translate pictures into words and, thus, give my unconscious mind a way to communicate effectively with my conscious mind.

Now I have no idea how this works when I’m dealing with someone else.

Most of the readings I do are for people I know fairly well. Even if I don’t know what their Question is, I can usually pull together a relevant reading based on (a) what the cards are saying, and (b) what I know about the querant. (And, yeah, in that order. I try not to go in with a bunch of assumptions about what a reading’s going to be about, even if I’m, say, doing a reading for my recently-divorced friend or trying-for-a-new-job sibling and the Big Thing in their life right now basically has the gravitational pull of Jupiter).

Sometimes, particularly if I’m working with a stranger, I do ask what they want to know about. Case in point: A gal sat down next to me in a coffee shop a couple of years ago and asked for a month-ahead spread… I – being rather new to this and not having done such a thing before – laid out a card for each day of the month. The last card was the Queen of Water.
When I asked, the lady explained that her daughter was getting married. I asked for the date. The last day of the month.
Which suddenly made a whole hell of a lot more sense.
I pulled two more cards – The King of Air and Integration (major arcana) – and was able to tell her that they were likely going to balance each other really, really well.
(Which was a huge relief to me, I don’t mind telling you. I don’t know what I would have done if Thunderbolt had shown up…)

I find that, working with a deck that speaks to me, I can (sometimes) do divination with straight-up playing cards now that I have a (much) better understanding of what their tarot correspondences are.
However I still have days – enough of them that the thought of reading for money (rather than reading for friends, fun, and the occasional cup of free coffee) makes me nervous – where I end up just staring at the cards, drawing a total blank, or hearing rehashed (and currently irrelevant) phrases running through my head for what a given card might mean… but not in the context it’s in right then.

So my question is this: What do you do when you’re drawing a blank? When you’re tired or distracted or stressed and you’re getting interferance from your own brain about what a reading is about. How do you put your Self on the back-burner while you do a reading?

If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. πŸ™‚

Meliad the Birch Maiden. πŸ™‚

Rain! At Last! :-D

It rained.
It rained.
It finally rained.

In the small hours of the morning we woke up to a change in the wind, to the rushing patter, the soft, longed-for shhhhhhhh, of heavy rain.

Thank you Maia! ❀ :-)It rained again around 8am, just a very brief rain, but it was there.

Right now the heat is cranking and the sun is deciding whether to burn through the clouds or not, but we got rain and that's a big deal. πŸ™‚

Of course, it's humid as fuck at the moment – I'm surprised the streets aren't steaming. But I figure that just means we'll get another rainfall before tomorrow morning, and I certainly won't mind that at all. πŸ™‚

Anyway. Call me relieved. My plants are looking perkier already (and they're under a blacony, so it's not like they're getting much benefit from the rain, so I can only imagine how happy the local trees and shrubs and grasses and such must be feeling).

Working on "D is for Deities" with, potentially, a "D is for Dabbling" coming along behind it. We shall see. πŸ™‚

Meliad the Birch Maiden. πŸ™‚

Recipe: Garden Fresh “Fritata”

A while back, I was complaining to a friend that, due to sucking at pie crust, I don’t make quiche. Even though I really like it. And she said to me “Oh, honey… Make fritata!”

Me: Isn’t that some kind of omlet?
Her: Nuh-uh. It’s quiche without the crust part. Totally easy.
Me: Huh…

So tonight I’m making a dish that is somewhere between fritata and, say, strata[1], and using goodies from my garden to do it.

What I’ve done:

Preheated the oven to 325F

Buttered a 9×9 square pan

Chopped up three slices of bread into quarters and layered them over the bottom of the pan

Distributed about 13-14 cherry tomatoes, halved over the bread

Spread 6 rainbow chard leaves, steamed over the tomatoes (so that everythign is pretty-well covered)

Thrown a layer of sliced button mushrooms (about six) over everything

Beaten six eggs with about 1/4 tsp each: garlic salt, black pepper, and paprika and poured them over everything else.

Diced up about 1/8 C mild[2] cheddar and sprinkled it over everything.

Put it in the oven to bake.


I’m assuming this will take about half an hour, but it may take considerably less time (since getting my oven repaired last month I’ve been having to guess at cook-times even more than usual).

Note: I actually used four eggs, but that didn’t make quite enough egg-mixture, so I’ve upped the numbers in the recipe I’m presenting here.

I’m really pleased to have been able to provide most (not all – only 10 of the 14) cherry tomatoes and all of the chard thanks to our wee balcony garden. Part of me is kicking myself for not adding some fresh basil at the same time, but I think it’ll be fine without it.

We’ll be enjoying it with the last of a rosee that my sweetie took on a camping trip.

If this works, I’ll probably do more fritata-type things in future (it’s a good way to throw lots of veggies into a meal all at once), most likely using frozen veggie-medleys that get billed as appropriate for stir-fries and similar. Stuff with peppers and asparagus and other fancy goodies already mixed in.

Anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] That thing where you layer eggs, bread, cheese and, sometimes meat or fruit and then bake it.

[2] Who eats mild cheddar?? But we had it, so clearly we do…

D is for Drought – Pagan Blog Project 2012

So apparently (I’m so cluefull…) we’re in the middle of a stage two drought.
I don’t actually know what that means, although I suspect it’s quite a bit different for normally-soggy Ottawa than it is for, say, southern Alberta.

Around here, it means that we haven’t had any real rain (at all) for over a month, the river is unusually low, and there’s a burn-ban on due to the dry conditions.
My sweetheart and I went to sleep last night breathing the smell of forest fires.

I woke up in the dark some time after midnight, no smoke by then (good sign, or maybe just a change in the wind), but the waining moon was rising, almost blue, without a hint of the rose-gold I’m used to seeing in summer moonrise.

I just now watered the garden – it’s been needing it worse than I thought for a couple of days, and I’m glad I’ve done it, but this sort of thing makes me wonder if I should set up some kind of reservoire (like a 2L pop-bottle with weep-holes in the bottom, partially burried in each of my larger containers that I could fill using a funnel and then cap shut to prevent evaporation – though I might want to paint the east-facing side white to keep from turning it into a magnifying lense…) instead of just going out every few days and dropping 6-12 litres on the balcony-garden once it’s somewhat into the shady part of the day.

I’m trying to figure out how to do a simple offering to my Ladies that doesn’t involve fire. (Partly because that just seems very foolish under the circumstances, but also becuase it continues to be on the very hot side – shocking – and I don’t entirely want to be adding more heat to the house right now.
I’m considering doing charged water.
Not boiled – see again re: heat. But charged. Pour some energy or some music or both into a bowl of water and pour it out the way I’d normally do if I’d boiled it.

Part of me wants to do something magical to encourage the rain to come and hang around for a bit. The other part of me, of course, is going “Dudes… August is Thunderstorm Central! It’ll be fine! Just give it another two weeks. Relaaaaaaaaaaaax,” and doesn’t want to do magic over this for fear of accidentally turn the tap on too far (and thus have everything drown and/or rot as a result of the deluge. (Which, granted, isn’t likely to happen, but there you go).

That said: Theoretically there will be a thunder storm on Sunday. Maybe I can encourage it to be heavy rains rather than just heat lightning. πŸ™‚

Wish me luck!