You’re getting a two-for-one (or one-for-two?) today, since I need to post Berry Moon and, hey, we’re at “N is for ________________” in the PBP13 cycle. Strictly speaking, Berry Moon (or Fruit Moon) began on Monday, even though its pervue (the first harvest) and its influence (home, Home, H/hearth, emotions, and empathy) started to hit me closer to Summer Solstice, just after Rose Moon started waning and the sun itself moved into Cancer space.
The serviceberries are, at this point, so ripe they are dropping off the trees and rotting on the ground, the strawberries are stilling coming in at the markets, and the sour cherries and red currants are ripe and ready and will be for another week, maybe two. I picked something like a litre and a half of cherries (pitted) yesterday, which are now sitting in a bowl in my fridge, waiting to be turned into Black Forest Chocolate-Cherry Spread – one of the recipes I’m trying out with the hopes of using it as a teaching-recipe in a canning course I want to run next summer.
I have grape leaves to pick today, and garlic-dill cucumber pickles to put up (before they start going soggy in their brine – they’re going to be REALLY salty this year, I think). I have made the first batch of Secular Xmas preserves – vanilla-ginger (and balsamic, though you can’t really pick up on that bit) serviceberry jam, topped up with a bit of rhubarb i the name of (a) pectin, and (b) having enough fruit to make eight cups of jam rather than six – which are sitting out on my bread board. I need to find the rest of my half-cup jars (which means putting on the head-lamp and going hunting in the deepest recesses of the Work Room closet – not a task I’m relishing (ha!), let me tell you).
Yes, friends, I have canning on the brain and, most likely, will remain that way until some time in October, if not later.
But! Back to Berry Moon, and its influences that extend beyond the filling of the pantry.
Berry Moon begins in Cancer this year (so maybe filling that pantry isn’t so tangential, after all). Cancer is a water sign – the cardinal (think: Ocean, rather than river/rain or swampland) water sign, in fact – and its influence is felt heavily (by me, at least) during Berry Moon. There’s a significant pull towards the Dream Home, towards nurturing, mending, feeding, and maintaining, towards holing up and focusing on the hearth, even towards healing and reconciling Family Crap that’s been hovering around for generations.
And, yeah. I’m feeling it.
I’m feeling it every time I ache and yearn for a (bug-free, not-falling-apart, plumbing-functional) house and a garden where I can grow our own food.
I’m feeling it every time I go out with my plastic bag and fill it with otherwise-left-to-rot fruit, even on the hotest days; and when I bring it all home and freeze it or put it up in jars for use down the road.
I’m feeling it every time I harvest food that I planted (currently this is limited to radishes, but I’m hopeful for both the turnip greens and at least some of the squash) in the traffic-calming islands on my street.
I’m feeling it even when I’m futzing with The Novel, finding out that it’s about mothers and daughters and the way we mess each other up… rather than the fun lesbian rom-com I thought I was writing. (Who knew?)
Berry Moon, like Rose Moon, remains a time of maintenance, though one has to be aware of those things that are coming to fruition: Don’t leave them too long and miss the opportunities that have arisen from you hard work! Some of your projects may be shifting into a Phase Two – from creating raw material to editing; from tending to harvesting & preserving; from cool-weather crops to heat-and-humidity-lovers (peas to beans, kale to cukes); from establishing roots to visible, skyward growth.
Things are moving and changing, and it’s possible you’ll want to curl up at home and hide (I sure do!). Take the time to be kind to yourself, do things that you love (heck, use things that you love as a reward system for getting the Big Scary Stuff done in pieces). Make cucumber/strawberry soup or fresh-eating cherry salsa. Bring people home with you. Form connections and keep things moving at a pace that you can handle and sustain.
And there you have it. Suggestions for how to approach Berry Moon (already five days in).
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 I have picked what is probably my last bunch of serviceberries today – with the plan of making as many jars as possible of vanilla-balsamic-ginger serviceberry jam for Secular Xmas presents six-or-so months from now. (I’m out of pectin, so I’ll probalby be topping up the berries with a half-cup or so of rhubarb).
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