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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Greeting 2020


January. The month named for the god, Janus. The god who looks forward and looks back. The god of comings and goings. The god of portals and choices. A month that offers us collective consideration of this linear measure of time that we've all embraced to some degree or another. A month - and year - that opens with Nona Gaia whispering with weight. May we all Listen.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~ 

I pulled a card this morning, as I often do. I requested guidance not only for the day, but for this thing we call 2020. The card I pulled suggested that I root myself in balance of action, and harmonic choices... that I consider the partnership of give 'n' take... that I consider the verve of offering and receiving aid... that I elevate the practice of relinquishing and requesting support. Elevate it. Expand it. Nurture it. For all.

Good advices, as a friend of mine might say. And seemingly lofty. As I give consideration to all that this year seems to have bundled within, I shall do my best to heed this counsel, for it is a year rich in shared potential upon which collective foundations may be raised. There is vital gravity that holds, supports, nurtures and nourishes all life. And it feels that this year may be relying on us - all of us - to return the embrace... return the generous verve.

May we - all of us - step up to the challenge - together. For it is vital, Nona Gaia whispers with weight. May we all Listen.

Peace.  ðŸ•Š

Saturday, December 7, 2019

I Will Miss Her

Peacekeeper, Margaret Jean Maville Derwitsch, my mother-in-law and friend, passed into the Big Mystery a week ago, on the cusp of midnight between November and December. I will miss her.

So many years ago she welcomed me into her family with an open, yet reluctant heart. A reluctance that I judge not one whit. A heart that warmed and never stopped opening to me as the years progressed. We became friends. Good friends. We shared confidences. I will miss her.

In the early days of our relationship she shared her garden with me, giving me a small patch. A patch that grew each year. Some things never change. My mulching methods befuddled her, I'm sure. She never directly said so, but I got that sense. She inspired me to preserve my harvests, and later she taught me to make a proper jelly after years of hit-or-miss. She taught me not to fear that hard boil. And not just for jelly. ::nods:: For a time we lived downstairs from her and her spouse, my beloved fishing buddy, Franz, where we shared the washing machine in the basement. I'd hang out her laundry, and she'd hang out mine. We went grocery shopping together. I will miss her.

We shared many an apricot brandy cocktail back in the day. Most every Friday evening (and then some) Franz would set 'em up and we'd knock 'em back. And Sunday dinners were a thing we shared, with other family members, sharing cooking, clean-up, and conversation. My mom would remark for years about Jean's giant Thanksgiving leftover pot pie. And I'll always recall - with humble pride - when she said of a wild blueberry pie I made for her, "that's what pie is supposed to taste like." I will miss her.

In later years she'd join Rick 'n' me with her youngest, Frankie, for Christmas dinner. And when my mom passed, we added Thanksgiving to the mix. She enjoyed these "civilized" holiday meals together. I laughed the first time she used that phrasing, and continue to chuckle at its recall. I will miss her.

She was rather serious, yet she inspired laughter in me, not always on purpose. Serious 'n' not, we shared a good bit of laughter between us. There's a number of Jeanisms, as I call them, that I've collected and assimilated for my own expressive use. A favored, and often used Jeanism is, "he thinks everything's funny," which at the time originally spoken, was expressed with a rather sharp annoyance... directed at her son... my spouse, Rick. It cracked me up then, and it cracks me up still. I will miss her.

Near the end, we spoke of death and dying. She said that if she saw the light she would go to it. I told that that is as it should be. We agreed that no one - no one - should have to suffer. In life. Or in death. I will miss her.

For me, from a personal perspective, her passing marks a major life change. All my parental relationships have moved on, leaving me to become the elder I'm meant to be. This feels like a mighty shift, a mighty responsibility, a mighty loss. And, indeed, it is. I will hold her memory deep in my heart like the precious gem that it is. And I will miss her.

Indeed, I miss her now.

Peace. 🕊

Sunday, December 1, 2019

December Descends


As my hemisphere sinks deeper into the darkness of the season's cauldron, the time comes ripe and ready to add the elements of desired manifestation. ::nods:: As we approach the winter solstice, it's vital that our intentions be focused on our most precious desires, not our distress 'n' distractions. As we approach the winter solstice we make ready to stir in all that is good and right, all that is whole and holy, all that nourishes and sustains... all life. The life of Gaia. 

Every choice we make in this season - and every season - has a holistic ripple effect on our own lives, on the lives of those around us, on the lives of all life. Now is the season to give attention to the ripples we are making, and to the ripples we desire to make. Now is the season to collect the shimmering gems that hide in the darkness, to make ready to add and stir these elements to our cauldrons when winter arrives. And to keep stirring. 

This. This is a big part of the mystery and magick of the season. This is the mystery and magick that makes manifest in our collective future. This is the mystery and magick that we make manifest together as the ripples of our collective desires join in creation.

May your December embrace you in the mystery and magick of the season, may you return the embrace, and may you manifest a better world for yourSelf, for your community, for the world, for Mama Earth.

Peace. 
🕊


Monday, November 18, 2019

Homemade bacon

Homemade bacon. ::swoon::

A couple weeks ago we started our first bacon. I can’t believe we never made it before now. After all, Mr. Spouse Boy's dad (my fishing buddy) used to make it. ::shrugs:: In any event, our new adventure (and my new obsession) began with a gorgeous pork belly and jowl from Howling Flats Farm.

We cut the belly in two - well, three pieces, the thick end of which was roasted with garden veggies. The two slabs were cured for about a week with salt and sugar, draining daily, and reapplying the cure where needed. When the curing was done and the salt removed, we soaked one slab in white wine and left the other half plain. Neither of these are smoked. That'll be next-up.

The jowl was cured with salt and sugar, garlic, smoked paprika, fresh ground black pepper. After the curing salt was removed it was soaked in ale, dried and more pepper and paprika applied before hanging it to age.

It’s all hanging in our cool room, and we’ve been enjoying the belly bacon. It's aMaZiNg, despite its simplicity. And the jowl will age for a while before tasting. How long depends on how long I can wait.
I'm looking forward to the next meaty adventure. ::nods::

Peace.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hot Pepper Ferment

I was gifted these beauties a short time ago. Remember?
I set some to fermenting.
I strained them, blended the solids, returned them to their juice to "finish" fermenting.
I strained it all again, bottled the deliciously fiery liquids...
...and set the marc to dehydrating. I thought I'd powder it, but it really doesn't want to powder, so I'm leaving it in flakes; delicious flakes of various sizes, the best being those I can easily pick out with my fingers to savor like tangy, spiced candy. ::nods::

Today, I'll be doing... something with the who-knows-how-many pounds of green tomatoes.

And we haven't had a real frost to speak of... so we still have beans, celery, celeriac, peppers, lemon grass, beets, parsley, lettuce, carrots, etc., and a host of other cold-hardy friends in the gardens.

And while this "harvest season" is lingering and invoking weariness, and while I'm looking forward to the first "killing" frost, I am grateful. Mightily.


Peace. 🕊 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fresh Parsley Salt

The parsley grew with enthusiasm this year. And while I’m enjoying as much chimichurri with every meal as I possibly can, I’m seeking other ways to preserve the flavor and Medicine of the humble parsley, aside from dehydrating it, that is; I already have plenty of that.

So this morning while the pears were coming to a simmer, I made parsley salt. It’s in the dehydrator now, and I’m hoping the finished flavor and color thrills me as much as I think it will. ::fingers crossed::
And for those wondering, I chopped the fresh parsley fine until I had at least three gently packed cups, and to that I added a cup of kosher salt. In small batches, I ground it all to a mash in my suribachi (any mortar 'n' pestle will do), and then it's ready for the dehydrator.

You can do this with any fresh herb, or blend of herbs. ::nods:: 

Peace. 🕊

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Autumn Fey

The sketch was made last week, and embellished with watercolor this morning.
My practice of heART journaling is always good Medicine.



Peace. 🕊


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October Blessings.


Autumn is a busy season, until it isn't. So, too, with October. This first day of the month commences with a large pot of tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar, herbs-n-spices simmering into ketchup to can, and a three-bean salad also heading for the canner, both started on the last day of September. There are cranberry beans to harvest for drying, and still much growing and producing in the gardens ‘n’ wild spaces; botanicals for Food and Medicine to collect and tend.
For me, October is a month of frantic stillness. It is a ritual month for rooting, reflecting and projecting. Holistically. I make time 'n' space to dive deep into waxing shadows, the choices and challenges that impact my personal, interpersonal, social, global, and spiritual realms, all the while doing my best to stay rooted in The Moment. These considerations and meditations fit sweetly into the activities of the season, as they all mesh to nurture, sustain, and comfort me – and others – in the days of ahead.
May your thoughts and actions serve you – and our world – in ways that nurture, sustain, and comfort.

Peace. 🕊