Tag Archives: hearth

Scorpio Season – Deep Shadows Moon Begins, Crests, and Wains PLUS Samhain 2016

Hallowe’en came and went, and I marked the transition into Root Time by cracking a bottle of Sortilege and offering a glass of maple whiskey to the Gods and Ancestors outside in the back garden. (That was, in fact, the sum-total of what I did for Samhain. No special cleaning, no new pictures up. Just a nod and I’m Thinking of You All. The year-gate swings, and it’s time to dive deep again).
 
When my birthday arrived, the Sun and the Moon were both in Scorpio.
My time.
Scorpio Season.
What are you digging up with the beets and potatoes of early winter’s harvest?
What is surfacing from all that deep, fixed water?
What’s coming up from inside your ocean heart?
 
All the horoscope stuff is, like, “Stop lying to yourself” + “Set some intentions with an eye to claiming your power, because Now Is The Time” (it’s very The Craft, but that Scorpios for you). (As a side note, Miss Sugar’s new book is pretty-much all about that, and it’s available for pre-order. It’s not out until next August, but it’s a good time if the beta-readers’ chapters are anything to go by).
 
I just turned 37 and, consequently I’m thinking about Returns. It occurred to me, as I was heading out to buy heaps of Prepared Food (multiple cakes! fancy cheese!) for my birthday party, that my Saturn Return (long over, at this point), started the year I separated from my first spouse and ended the year I married my wife. Given that particular set of Very Relevant Bookends, I can’t help thinking that the lessons of my particular Saturn Return were “This is what a healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship looks like. This is how to do it. This is what to watch for in order to know that you and given person work well together as partners“.
Good to know.
 
I’m also thinking about my most recent Jupiter Return (age 36 – they come around every 12 years) and how those returns are about generosity, abundance, letting yourself be seen, and broadening your senses of trust and understanding. I’ve spent this past year trying to get the hang of being kind to myself, to inhabit my whole body more easily, protect myself without walling myself off, to understand where best to invest my energy, my heart, my time.
Related (tangentially?) to that is last year’s We’moon “year at a glance” for me was all about figuring out what kind of wealth I want to accumulate and getting material stuff sorted out. And here I am… sort of half-owning a small business that’s maybe-maybe-possibly about to have one of our contracts go national-sized? O.O
…Which, y’know, would be good.
 
But it feels like I’ve spent this year walking through a fog.
My wife asked me “what do you want to do with 37?” and I just sort of blinked and looked at her blankly. I’ve been so busy (“busy”?) putting one foot in front of the other that I haven’t really thought of anything else. My friend asks me “How have you been? How’s your heart?” and the answer comes back “Uh…?” Heart? Sometimes, in spite of lots of lovely things happening, making new connections, making an effort to spend time with awesome people who treat me well, in spite of falling in love with my wife All Over Again… sometimes my chest feels empty, sometimes I forget that “happy” is even possible? It’s really weird.
 
I’ve also been thinking about the New Year New You 2016 project and how my most recent prompt involved sacrificing… something. when I wrote it, I thought what I had to give up was my illusions. And I still think that’s true. All the scorpio-horoscope “stop lying to yourself” stuff is definitely tied up with that. But… some of my illusions involve false hopes, right? So what else (who else) do I have to give up (on)?
Yeah…
I tried to pull my love for someone out by the roots. Cut the cord and burn it away. Let that green thing rot and compost into something good for me.
That sort of thing.
And what happened? 24 hours later, I dream of them. Talking in the front hallway. Not perfect, just people, both of us. Their arms around me, leaning into my shoulder, saying “I’m still your friend”. I have no idea what to make of this, but there it is. Mixed messages coming through various channels. I spent two weeks trying to climb out from under a very heavy heart, burned through myself with rage, let something go, found space to open again. (I’m being vague and sort of hoping that it sounds “mystical” or something, but I’m really just being vague).
 
Long-story-short, I had a rough night last night, a hard morning, and then something cleared. Maybe it was reading half a dozen posts on attachment theory, or maybe it was taking care of my various ferments (I now have sour kraut, kombucha, and milk kefir on the go!) plus mixing up three loaves of bread and filling the house with the scent of their baking. (There’s something about bread. It takes so few ingredients, and they are cheap-cheap-cheap, too… and you get so much good stuff at the end. The smell is like big-warm-home meets independence and self-sufficiency. It’s pretty fantastic!). Maybe it was finally writing and posting something on Syrens after almost two months of writing next-to-nothing at all. Maybe it was a quiet day of thinking and processing and puttering and watching the first snow pile up outside (on top of un-dug Jerusalem artichokes and unharvested chard, I grant you, but still). I feel a little bit less heavy. A little more sure of myself. A little less broken. And that’s a good thing.
 
 
~*~
 
Motion: LOTS of modeling work recently, multiple classes worth of mid-length poses (15 and 20 minutes) that leave me stiff, sore, and grateful for the hour long walk home after class. Went out dancing (and got guest-listed as a birthday gift from the organizer, which was great). Can do Plank without having to start on my knees, which is nice.
 
Attention: Honestly? My bank account and how much I’ve been spending on prepared food and restaurant meals in the past, well, while. It’s got me thinking of Erica’s (or her husband’s, since the link goes to one of his posts) Treat Spiral and how I let myself go a little nuts with Nice Things For Me – new shoes, a dozen dollar-store hair flowers, fancy chocolates, copies of The Revolution Starts At Home and She Is Sitting in the Night – at the beginning of the month. Not the wisest thing to do,in retrospect.
 
Gratitude: Grateful for the repeated message to be kind to myself (even if I… am not great at that… yet?) and that it’s okay for me to be kind to myself. Grateful for the learning and the releasing, even when it comes with a lot of crying. Grateful for a living room full of femmes (mostly), sharing food and laughter and chatting about fibre arts, crafting, writing, and making things from scratch. ❤ All the good things. Best Birthday, and just what I needed. 🙂
 
Inspiration: Recently read S. Bear Bergman’s Butch Is A Noun. Surprised (but maybe shouldn’t be) at how my reasons for speaking (body language, verbal language, deed-language) the way I do are held in common with the butch dude who wrote this book. Makes me want to write essays about The Work, about carrying a pocket knife, an erstwhile first aid kit, safer sex supplies, and other people’s sweaters in my “mom purse”, about The Couch of Relationship Angst where people come and sit and try to figure out how to navigate relationship styles they haven’t tried before.
 
Creation: I tried to write a poem the other day. Which was the first poem I’ve tried to write since the end of September. Feeling very… lack-luster(?) on that front. But I’ve been making things in the kitchen, and that feels good.

New Moon – Harvest / Squash Moon Begins

It’s been an Eight of Disks kind of day. Grey clouds scudding across the sky, sun warm when it’s out, but mostly it’s chilly enough to remind me that it’s autumn, nearly October.
I’m running that canning workshop the day after tomorrow, and one of today’s tasks was getting the last of the ingredients together. I’m so relieved that Ontario blue plums are still available, because I’d have been in some trouble otherwise. (I promised I’d bring enough to make 3 litres of the recipe I’m teaching – about 1 pint each, basically, since it’s a small class – and I was worried I’d have to add rhubarb or apples or something to get the full amount).
Other tasks have included vacuuming, dishes, laundry… all the things that are required to keep a house going, day to day. It’s been really good to just dig into it and do it without feeling like I “should” be doing something else.
 
I’m feeling the spiral of time particularly thickly right now – mostly because, this time last year (and every year before last year for the past six years), I was prepping to go to an event that isn’t (exactly) happening this year. I keep going over “this time last year…” in my head, and part of me really wants to stop. I’m trying to focus on food, and the very beginnings of our local Festive Season (which basically runs from the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox, all the way through the winter to almost Beltane – although, yes, things quiet down a little bit after Mother’s Nigth and New Year’s Day). I’ll be cooking a couple of turkeys, this time next week, bringing one – along with a wild rice pilaf ft butternut squash, McIntosh apples, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, onion, garlic, and sage – to a potluck thanksgiving gathering, and the other will be pulled apart and frozen in meal-sized portions to be added to pasta dishes and similar on nights when I’m too tired/busy/lazy to cook anything with a lot of forethought.
 
i’m glad that the temperature has dropped, though also glad that there hasn’t been a frost just yet. My forest of cherry-tomato and roma tomato plants (most of them a re volunteers, if you can believe it) are heavy-heavy with green fruit, and I’m looking forward to stewing it all into a chutney again, but it will be nice to gather in at least a little bit more of the ripe stuff before the season ends for good.
 
I picked all of my eggplants yesterday. Small, glossy, and dark purple – one of them has a “nose”, of all things, this random purple spike sticking out of the side. I’m going to peel them and cook them up with chick peas, coconut milk, and some of last year’s tomato sauce for dinner tonight. I’m down to only a few jars of 2015 preserves at this point (phew!) and I’m kind of hoping we’ll all be slightly sick of prserved tomatoes by the time the frost hits. That way, I can easily put off opening this year’s preserves until January or February, when the root veggies start getting scarce and I need to start leaning on what I’ve put up in jars.
 
That’s the way I’ve been cycling things, so far. Trying to rely only on jarred and frozen veggies for as little time as possible (which, let’s be honest, is still something like five months, but still), and have a few solid blocks where I’m serving fresh stuff (even raw stuff!) without anything I’ve put up. Otherwise, it can get to be too much vinegar in everything. Tonight we’re having jarred tomato sauce, yes, but this morning was eggs with garden tomatoes. Chicken and pasta with sage pesto fresh mashed from the garden and never having seen a freezer, or jerusalem artichokes (a solid month or more away from being dug up) sthen boiled like buttery potatoes or else sliced thin and stir-fried for a crunch like water chestnuts.
 
Next New Moon is the weekend of Samhain. I’ll have the squash in by then, and the garden will have mostly gone to bed. Between now and then, who knows what will happen.
 
~*~
 
Motion: Lots of walking, lots of lifting. A friend told me I was strong and that my muscles are in good conversation with each other, which was not what I was expecting at all, but which is wonderful to hear. The weather’s getting chilly, but I’m still trying to get out dancing now and again. Some of that’ll happen tomorrow evening, I think. 😉
 
Attention: Watching the way my hope and my cynicism fight it out against each other. It’s not a great thing to watch, but there it is. Also keeping an eye on screen time (I say, typing this on a computer, having spent the last two hours reading The Internet…) – my lovely wife has suggested that we do a regular No Tech Night together – the kind of thing where we stick to tarot cards, accoustic instruments, conversation, reading aloud to each other, and that sort of thing for the evening’s entertainment rather than zoning out behind our electronics. I fully support this plan (and so want to get this finished in the next 10 minutes).
 
Gratitude: Running into a friend while out doing errands today (she said “I had no idea why I came in here, and then there you were”). Grateful, too, for the above-mentioned No Tech Nights. Grateful for house guests. For suggestions on how to approach house-hold cleaning and organizing as a series of short, contained “blitzes” rather than as this endless battle against entropy (hopefully this method will help us get our house in order for what, with a little luck and some encouragement, will be a winter full of guests and gentle entertaining). Grateful for friends who get in touch to tell me that they miss me. ❤ Grateful, even, for the taurus (they had it tattoo'd on their arm) working their second shift at the McDonalds counter (yeah, you heard me) who made me change to get the laundry done with. Grateful for local-ish blue plums and on-sale Quebec McIntosh apples at the grocery store. Grateful for witchy fam and people to talk shop with.
 
Inspiration: Other artists (always), though not necessarily the way they usually are. The poetry of other femmes (always – this week, it’s Leah Horlick’s For Your Own Good), geeking out about how we’re a narrative species that loves fitting life’s intricacies into patterns that make sense to us. Talking tarot and witchcraft with masc-of-centre folks who, until this year, I never expected to be such a part of my woo-munity.
 
Creation: I wrote two poems this week, and submitted them to an anthology of femme writing! 😀 Heaven and Earth only know i either (or both? A gal can dream) will be accepted, but I’m so glad that I did this!

Longest Night, Darkest Night – Ruminations on Winter Solstice

It’s raining here. I’m telling people that I’m pretending we’re in England (it helps that both of my partners are Brits). It’s grey and wet and occasionally even foggy.
Not winter weather by any stretch of the imagination (in spite of a long-gone skiff of snow for Winter Solstice), but it’s still really freaking dark most of the time, and the lack of snow means that street lamps and moonlight aren’t getting a reflective boost from the white stuff that’s (not) on the ground.
It’s really not helping my SAD-affected brain much, I don’t mind telling you.
Consequently, I find myself reflecting more on “dark night of the soul” this MidWinter than in years past.
 
Winter Solstice touches on a lot of things, even when you don’t have a wedding anniversary and a multi-faith extended family thrown into the mix. The beginning of the real Long Dark, the time of killing cold (this year’s weird-ass weather notwithstanding), and the months-long slog to get from here to Spring Equinox (or even Imbolg, when we’ll actually see that the days are for-real getting longer again). The technical beginning of the lengthening days (although see above on that front) and the celebratory stuff that comes with that[1]. The chance to honour the darkness as pro/creative space, the origin of al things. A time for reflection and meditation – whether we’re talking about Root Time, or candle-light vigils, or even just the more secular considerations that come up around the dark end of the year as the calendar is about to turn over. It’s all sorts of things.
But it’s also a period of stress (E.G.: getting together with Family of Origin – or not being invited to do so, for that matter – is a thing that us Queerdos, in particular, have to deal with in a lot of cases) and, frequently, loneliness, and even the gathering of chosen families – where we get to be our Whole Selves with people who really do love us – can still involve big emotional crashes in the lulls between get-togethers. I’ve been feeling it a lot this year – in spite of numerous Good Things going on… but:
I woke up this morning feeling lighter. Still exhausted, still sore, still slightly ambivalent about Weird Christmas[2], but feeling so much more hopeful than I have in ages. I don’t actually know what’s causing this. I mean, yes, it might be the subtle energies of marginally longer days starting to happen. It might be all of this planetary love stuff going on, but I suspect it has more to do with getting “I Love You”s in the mail (and the house), plus catching myself out on one of my (old, stupid) patterns while actually having an idea of what the outcome will be if I let it go (again, in this situation – all that “healing happens in spirals” stuff is so irritatingly true, I can’t even tell you).
 
Yesterday, I dropped in at my wife’s workshop for a visit and, upon learning that I’d spent much of my own work-day ruminating about The Things, she said “I don’t want you to just go home and fret”. I told her “Sometimes I learn things when I do that”.
I know I have a bad habit of fretting about the precarious What Ifs of life, and occasionally fail to enjoy the beauty and the wonder and the joy of things because I’m troubled by the things that could destroy them. It’s not a good thing to do, and it makes my life sadder, to be sure, and it’s frustrating (when I catch myself at it) to know that I’m doing it to myself.
Even still, it’s also important to take that time, dig down into the dark twisty hidden parts of your own brain, and see what you can haul into the light.
We’re in Root Time now, have been (technically)for a while, so maybe it’s no surprise that I’ve been gnawing on the roots of my own fears, trying to find where they begin, trying to figure out (again, always again) how to put them to rest.
Regarding my particular set of “dark night of the soul” revelations, I’m flinging myself into Miss Sugar’s “New Year, New You” online course (again) to see if I can use magic to push the odds in my favour when it comes to dealing with my personal deamons.
Wish me luck!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] Although I kind of wonder if that big celebration of light and heat and merriment, with its accompanying high-calorie feasting, isn’t a way to kick off the dark-and-cold time where we’ll be mostly eating root veggies and huddling around the fire, and give us some momentum (and extra fat AKA insulation and reserves) to help get us through the worst of it.
 
[2] Christmas isn’t my Holy Day. I haven’t ID’d as Christian for something like 20 years at this point, and the whole Bethlehem Story stopped resonating with me, even as a form of annual nostalgia, at some point in my early-mid 20s. So the 25th of December qua Christmas is basically an extension of Winter Solstice Festivities (e.g.: Mothers’ Night, the Norse celebration of ancestor-women that, iirc, falls on the first full moon after Winter Solstice – handily the 25th of December this year) combined with the usual families, feasting, and generalized washailing that goes on between the 20th of December and the 5th (or so) of January. But this year – possibly due to the combination of Zero Snow, double-digit (above freezing) temperatures, and my (multi-faith) relatives doing Xmas in Calgary this year – I feel pretty much nothing-what-so-ever about the actual 25th of December. Which doesn’t mean I’m not cooking a duck and watching movies with my metamours, it just means that it feels really weird to feel NOTHING about this particular date.

Full Moon (Super Moon) – Apple Moon Crests

So the full moon was yesterday.
I spent it canning tomatoes.
I spent today canning tomatoes.
I still have tomatoes on the stove, in the slow-cooker, and in the dehydrator (but – for the most part – not in my fridge anymore, so there’s that), and I’ll soon have crab apples to jelly and – if I’m very lucky – pears to render into butter as well. I have a small number of peaches to preserve, as well as a few eggplants to roast, dice and freeze, and a few golden zucchini with-which to do the same, and a cup of chokecherry puree with-which to make a small batch of fruit curd in short order (I need to get more eggs, and more butter, before that happens though).

Apple Moon has, thus far, been all about the canning.
My wife commented to me, the other day, that she really enjoyed listening to me and my Canning Buddy hashing out how the day would go, in terms of what needed to be cooked in which receptical and when we’d need to start chopping X, Y, or Z, versus when we’d need to start sterilizing jars in the oven, and so-on, in order to keep things running smoothly and efficiently in the kitchen. She said that we were doing something that women have done for millenia: Planning out how to get things done and make things happen. Just for a moment, I saw backwards in time to my grandmothers, great grandmothers, great-great-many-times-great grandmothers standing in kitchen with wood floors, stone floors, dirt floors, a great kettle steaming on the stove – the range, the hearth-bricks, you name it – bubbling with food that needed to be cooked down or fermented to the point where it would keep over winter and keep everyone alive. Keep me alive, in the abstract, self-centred sense as well. And here I am, doing much the same thing, with all of them standing behind me.

Hello, Ancestors. It’s nice to see you here.

Speaking of which… As far as what I talked about at the beginning of this lunar cycle… What I said about it being a “physical, labour moon” holds true. I’ve been doing plenty of hauling and plenting of physical, get-er-done stuff in the past two weeks, and that’s not going to change. But I’ve unexpectedly found myself also doing some emotional heavy lifting – maybe I can blame that one on Venus’ retrograde coming to a head (and then an end) fairly recently? – that threw me for enough of a loop that all that What Kind of Ancestor stuff I was mulling over, back on the 17th, just got pushed a little bit to the side. Unless I interpret that question more as “What kind of example do you want to set?” In which case: The kind of behavour I want to model as an Auntie/Ancestor/Example is… kindness, patience, open-listening, generocity, proactiveness (wish me luck on that one…), well-rounded creativity, “follow your bliss but also pay your bills” practicality, and… Look, if my lovely wife is Called to help people across the border into Death, I feel more like my Witchy work leans towards helping people deal with how they relate to one-another in life. (I am, and have always been, far more Nanny Ogg than Granny Weatherwax).

Which leads me to ask:
Okay, self, so how do I model that behaviour and, more to the point, which parts of that really need my attention right now?
And the answer there comes pretty readily:
Proactivity and the witchy work of Interconnectedness… without turning into an enormous busy-body in the process. :-\

In another two weeks, we’ll be into what I’m currently thinking of as “Harvest Moon” (although we’ll see if that moniker holds true by the time we get there) but, right this minute, I need to be proactive about getting some dinner (finally) made, now that my second-last batch of crushed tomatoes is off the stove.

Wish me luck.

TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Tomato-Palooza 2015! (Recipes to Follow…)

So, my canning party for two was today.
Over the course of five hours, we canned 30lbs of tomatoes (roughly), and I now have 10lbs more in various stages of “on the go” (3-4lbs are in the slow-cooker already, with a pound or two (about 15 tomatoes) sliced into rounds and doing their thing in the dehydrator, and the rest sitting, already chopped, in bowls in the fridge – I need to get The Biggest Pot cleaned up before I can finish the rest…).
 
I’ve got one more 20lb box (or most of it) washed, but left whole, sitting in a plastic tub in the bottom of my fridge so that they don’t get mouse-contaminated over night.
 
Still. Having also gone through 0.8L sugar and 1.5L vinegar (maybe slightly more), plus 2L diced peaches, 2 large red onions, and about 5 bulbs of garlic, in addition to those tomatoes, what we got so far is:
4L crushed tomatoes
4.5L roasted-garlic-balsamic tomato sauce
3L (all in pint jars) tomato-peach salsa
 
Most of the above (except for slightly more than half the salsa) went home with my friend today, which was the plan. The only ingredients I’m running right out of are the ones for the salsa, thense me making sure I got some of the big batch we made.
 
The plan is to get another 4L of crushed tomatoes (mostly in pint jars, some of it heading my friend’s way), somewhere between 6C and 12C more roasted-garlic balsamic tomato sauce (in, ideally, half-cup jars), and to put the rest of the romas, thinly sliced into rounds, into the dehydrator so that I can chuck them into stews and similar over the winter. We’ll see if I’ve got the math right on that, mind you.
 
The goal of this whole escapade was multi-fold, but basically boils down to “Pay up front, with a day-or-two’s worth of time, energy, and attention, in order to have numerous weeks worth of convenience food lined up and ready to go”.
And I think we’re getting well on our way.
 
Something I’m doing this year that I don’t tend to do “automtically” is using pint jars for my tomato preserves. In years past, I’ve gone for one-cup jars (salsa, diced tomatoes, bruchetta-in-a-jar) and half-cup jars (fancy tomato sauce), and only reached for the pint jars when I ran out of other options. Partly this has been to stretch my tomato preserves over as many meals as possible, and partly it’s been because “preserved tomatoes” are enough of an acquired taste for me that I wanted to be sure my portion sizes were small enough that I could use up a whole jar in the space of one meal and not need to worry about eating jarred tomtoes more than once in a week ifI didn’t want to. (I have since come to basically rely on jarred tomatoes for multiple meals per week over the course of the winter, so that’s not so much an issue now).
 
That said, I’m still planning on doing my tomato sauce in half-cup jars, because it’s a good one to give away as a gift, and I find that a little bit goes a long way when it comes to meals for 2-3 people.
Regardless, with my “overnight” machines – my slow-cooker and my dehydrator – doing their thing in the kitchen, and all of my remaining tomatoes hidden safely away in the fridge, I’m calling it a night. There’s plenty more to do in the morning.
 
Heh. Other people use this Super Moon energy to get creative work done on canvases and computer screens. Aparently, I put it towards a winter’s worth of jarred tomatoes.
You do what works. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Full Moon – Raspberry Moon Crests (and Fades): Lammas Edition

Hi folks.
So I’ve been putting this off for about a week, but I’ve been enjoying a day of handicrafts and gardening, and now I have a few minutes, I figured I’d rather be blogging than catching up on the last of my data entry work (big surprise), so – partially in the name of procrastination – I’m blogging.
 
Raspberry Moon – blue moon that it was – has crested and is well on its way out, as we head towards Apple Moon (and, yes, there are already apples – sweet ones, and crabs – ripe and ready for picking around town, so the name definitely fits). I’ve been harvesting raspberries off the bushes in the alley a few times, and it’s still producing (thank you, Everbearing Varieties…) although it’ll probably be mostly done a month from now.
 
I’m getting lots of chard, still a fair bit of kale, and heaps of lovely, tiny tomatoes from my garden. Less-so the zucchini or winter squash, alas, and no cucumbers to speak of. My neighbour – who is a hell of a prolific gardening – gave me a bag of them in exchange for a few branches worth of mustard seed come October, but that’s all we’ve got. (Good thing I wanted to make dilly beans this year, instead of pickled cukes, isn’t it?) Sadly, my plan to find out how much I could cultivate in two 4’x8’x1′ raised beds is… turning out to be Not That Much[1].
At least not this year. (I’m definitely learning a thing or two, though, which will hopefully help me out when I’m getting the garden ready for next year).
 
As far as all of the “is this gonna work out” stuff that I mentioned back at the beginning of this lunar cycle… Things are still up in the air, to a degree, but they’re looking pretty goo from this angle. (We’ll see how/if things settle in September, mind you). My wife is set up enough in her new shop that she can do production, so she’s cranking things out like there’s no tomorrow – partly because: Self Employment, but also because she’s got things she needs to get caught up on for people. So that seems to be going well. My casual-hours job is ticking along nicely, and I hope they continue to be happy with my work. We shall see, since the next batch of it is due tomorrow around lunch time. Things are still kind of up in the air for our girlfriend, but at least her girl is home and safe, and they’ve started Phase One of setting up house together, which is good.
 
The past two weeks ahve beena big learning curve for me. I did a tarot reading just after Lammas, to see what’s up and what’s coming next, and what I came up with was a lot of Fire cards – some sort of big, transformative breakthrough-type-thing[2] having to do with passion, creativity, and/or personal power. Not sure which it is (although I have Theories, especially given the past week or so), but given how intertwined those things are for me, it could be All Of The Above.
 
Hopefully time will tell, and I’ll have good things to show for it, no matter what. 🙂
 
Onwards to Apple Moon!
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden
 
 
[1] Although I’d hazard a good $120+ worth of food, so far, and that’s a conservative estimate – If I can keep that up for another 4 months – iffy, but possible – I’ll have “grown back” the cost of the soil I planted my food in… It still doesn’t cover the cost of the plant starts, but it’s a LOT closer than I was expecting, given the lack of cucumbers and zucchini, and the unlikelihood of winter squash, going on.
 
[2] Okay, less a “Break through” and more an intense but slightly slower process of moving from one set of attitudes to another… Not a lightning bolt of understanding, but a “getting the hang of things” situation where I leave behind some messed up thinking/feeeeeeeelings and move towards a more secure headspace. Or something.

The year of the Pig – Part 3: Building a Routine

So, eight million years ago, Calamity Jane (from Apron Stringz) wrote a post about The Incredible Power of Habit. It’s coming to mind frequently these days, as I seem to forever be trying to get myself back into the swing of things.
 
I made bread this morning. After a week or two of seasonally-typical (so 35C+ and very humid) weather, the temperatures dropped back into very-easily-bearable range and it no-longer feels like torture to consider turning on the stove, never mind the oven. But it takes so little time to get out of the habit of doing something. Baking bread is one thing. Cooking dinners is, to some extent, another[1], although you do eventually have to eat, so.
 
In my case, the main difficulty with having ordered the majority of my year’s animal flesh all in one go? Is remembering to thaw it out. Building “Thaw out this Friday’s roast, in a bowl in the fridge, starting on Tuesday” into the routine of my week has so far proven to be a bit difficult. You wouldn’t think it would be. How hard is it to haul a 4lb chunk of shoulder or ham roast out of the deep freeze, chuck it (paper wrapper and all) into a mixing bowl, and set it in the bottom of the fridge where I can forget about it for a few days? And yet I’m still not up to speed on how long it actually takes four pounds of muscle to go from rock-hard-and-iced-over to raw-and-ready-for-the-oven.
 
Maybe it’s because I grew up in a house where we routinely let meat thaw at room temperature, in the sink[2] (and also routinely at chicken legs or pork chops rather than shoulder roasts, but that’s a different story), but I forget that something that’s been in a super-cold chest freezer, one that only gets opened about once a week, if that, is going to take considerably longer to thaw out that something that’s been living in the fridge-top freezer, which gets opened any time someone (i.e.: me) wants berries or ice cream or frozen greens… And it’ll take even longer if I do the thawing at 10C rather than 21C (or 35C, if we’re talking right now).
 
All-of-which is just excuses, of course.
Tomorrow starts a new week and, if I make a point of being on the ball about it, I will haul a 4lb roast out of the deep freeze[3], set it in a mixing bowl in the bottom of my fridge, and let it do its thing (conveniently making it a little easier to keep my fridge cool at the same time).
 
Fingers crossed.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] I think we ate out about three times in the past ten days, and made nachos for dinner one night – as in: we opened up a bag of tortilla chips and sprinkled sliced tomatoes and cheddar cheese, plus the last jar of my 2014 tomato-peach salsa (just in time to make more for this year – not bad on that timing), and then broiled it for 10 minutes. Not exactly a “meal”, but it worked for what we needed and cost about 1/10th of what it would have run us at a pub (plus we didn’t buy beer or anything, so actually less than that. But whatever.
 
[2] You’ll all note that I did, in fact, manage to survive to adulthood in spite of this mode of opperation.
 
[3] Easier to do, at least, now that I’ve sorted the large cuts from the smaller ones (pork chops and ground), and the meat from the leaf lard & bones. I put everything into cloth bags and loaded it all back into the freezer. It takes up more space that way – which is annoying – but at least I don’t have to dig through layers of body parts trying to find the one I want, while wearing oven mitts against the burning cold.