Jun 28, 2011

This Week In the Garden

These are just some pictures of flowers and plants that caught my eye this week.  Only the first picture (Larkspur) above is from my own garden.  The rest are snaps from my wanderings.



I haven't grown roses for years.  I get discouraged with the aphids and dust that they are prone to getting.  I simply enjoy them elsewhere.

Lambs ears.  These distracted me for quite some time.  I got a few strange looks from some people walking by as I was standing in a park stroking these plants!

I hope your Summer thus far has been lovely.  May it bloom abundantly!

Jun 25, 2011

Farmers Market Saturday

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today, after spending the day celebrating my grandfather's 98th birthday. I visited with family I hadn't seen in years and saw pictures of cousins' children, now grown. I laughed with an uncle who took me to my first movie at a movie theatre 25 years ago - "Back to the Future."

After my trip down memory lane, I thought this look at a vintage farmers market was apt.

You can also check out information regarding the "Original Farmers Market" of LA here.

Jun 24, 2011

Chick Wines

I ran across the border into Washington this week (for those who are new to the blog, I live in Southern British Columbia - a mere 40 minutes from the border.)  Canada Post has been on strike and I needed to get some mail out to the US, so I hit the closest post office and then headed for the grocery store to pick up my favourite chemical-laden creamers.

While at the grocery store, I happened by the wine aisle.  Front and center were a large selection of wines that seemed to have one thing in common...girls! 

Bright pink toppers, saucy images of women, or clever names that make you smile, these wines are just waiting for your next girls night in.

Here are just a few of the ones that caught my eye:

"Shameless Hussy" by Hard Row To Hoe Vineyards 

"Lady In Red" series by Kestrel Vinters

"Working Girl" wines by Olympic Cellars

"Girly Girl" wines by Girly Girl Wines

Although I couldn't bring any of these wines home to share with my girlfriends because I was just running across the border for an hour, I will be stopping to pick up some of these on my next camping trip South this Summer. 

If you are out and about and see any particularly fab bottles, let me know.  I'm always on the lookout for a groovy wine to try.  After all, it's not the pedigree of the grape on the vine, it's the sassy inside the bottle that counts!


**Please note:  I was not asked to advertise for or review these wines.  This is simply a compliation of wines I thought were visually pleasing.  Each photo is linked back to the original website and is copyrighted to each individual wine company.**

Jun 20, 2011

Midsummer Blessings

"Up and down, up and down, I will lead them up and down..." Puck - A Midsummer Night's Dream


My neices and I went to the labyrinth today, for Midsummer's Eve stroll.  It was a hot & hazy day - perfect for the eve of Summer.

The plants in the area were blooming and the smell of wild roses was in the air.  I noticed that someone had hung Tibetan prayer flags nearby.

And also, on a peach tree, a different kind of prayer/wish flag.  We made similar prayer flags in coloured material for a friend to take to the Spirit Dance that she went to last year.  I've never seen white flags like this strung on a tree.  Peace flags perhaps?

We had a lovely afternoon wandering the area and we made our way to the lakeshore where I had my first dip...with my toes.  The lake is still quite cold because of the cool Spring we've had.

Tonight I've put out a plate of fruit & flowers in the garden for the fae folk.  There are also some clouds rolling in, so I've put out a bowl in case there is some Midsummer rain.  Speaking of moisture, don't forget to wash your face in the morning dew - it is said that Midsummer's morning dew will make you look younger.  I'm up for that!

Wishing you all a blessed Midsummer!

Jun 19, 2011

Farmers Market Recipe - Rhubarb Muffins!

My farmers market trip yesterday was very short-lived but I did manage to get my hands on some fresh rhubarb.  The rhubarb in the garden is still young, so finding the one booth at the market with bunches of the tart stalks was a bonus.

I am actually not a rhubarb fan.  At all.  I don't like rhubarb pie (with or without strawberries.)  I don't like rhubarb jam.  And I'm a bit snappish about the amount of space the plant takes up in the garden.  Having said that, these muffins that my mom makes are one of the best things I've ever tasted.  It could be the cake-like texture of the muffins, or more likely the brown-sugar topping.  Whatever it is - I'm sold on these perfect muffins!

Super Simple Rhubarb Muffins
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
Makes 12-18 muffins depending on the size of your  muffin tin.

1/2 cup butter
(as stated in other recipes, I use salted butter *gasp* so add a pinch of salt if you use unsalted.)
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sliced/diced rhubarb
1 and 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and sugar; add egg.  Mix sour cream and baking soda together in a small bowl and add to butter/sugar/egg mixture.  Mix in flour.  Stir in vanilla and the rhubarb.  Fill muffin tin 3/4 full of batter.  Sprinkle with brown sugar topping.

Brown Sugar Topping:
Crumble together with a fork:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Once you make these incredible muffins, they will be a favourite of yours too!

Jun 15, 2011

Midsummer Giveaway Winner!

I've been a busy little witch this weekend.  So busy out in the garden (and getting my *%$#! taxes filed) that I missed doing a Farmers Market Saturday post.  I've also been distracted by the increasingly full moon.  Many strange dreams the past few nights.

Tonight I'm heading to a drum circle at the lake and have a hundred things on my to-do list before I get there, so I thought I'd better draw the name for the Midsummer giveaway before my day gets too crazy.

Thank you so much for popping by my blog to enter your names in the draw, and thanks to Kris (Mrs. B) for sending so many of you!  I've found so many new, wonderful blogs to read now too! 

The winner of the Shadowscapes Tarot deck/set is:

Mxtodis123   (Otherwise known as Mary of Moontides)

Congratulations Mary!  Please send your mailing address to rueandhyssop (at) gmail (dot) com.  I will get it in the mail to you right away.  Unfortunately Canada Post is having rolling strikes, so everything is taking a bit longer, but the mail is getting to it's destination regardless.

Thanks again everyone!  Pop back again for the next giveaway in July!

Jun 10, 2011

The Mundane and the Magical - Gargoyles

This handsome devil sits outside my home, keeping guard.  Most people don't notice him right away.  But when they do, they are often taken aback.  I usually get a comment about my "interesting ornament" or "odd garden statue."  I think he's rather charming.

The gargoyles created today may be relegated to common garden statuary, but the original gargoyles had much more elevated beginnings.

The word "gargoyle" is an offshoot of the word "gargle" (from the old French "gargouille" meaning throat.)  Considering gargoyles were orginally built as decorative water spouts at the top of tall buildings sending rainwater shooting out of the mouths of the sculptures, the name seems fitting.

Gargoyles were orginally carved in many forms.  Humans, animals, human-animal hybrids and chimeras (animal-animal hybrids) were all employed as suitable spouts, but if the carvings were merely decorative and served no water deflecting purposes, they were called "grotesques."

Churches sported these fantastical stone beings too.  Were they simply a means to an end as far as architecture?  Surely the church could have employed it's builders to create angelic spouts?  Speculation states that the gargoyles were an object lesson.  See the devil, how he hangs about waiting on the unfaithful?  Better is that within these walls than that which is found without.  It's easy to see how the strict looking statues could have become a warning against the evils of the world.

Whatever their beginnings, there are few gargoyles being created now in service to their old duties.  Because of their weight and risk of falling (and the invention of modern downspouts) any gargoyle being built now is more likely a grotesque meant as decoration.

Smaller, more portable statuary has found it's way into homes and gardens as a symbol of protection, spirit, mystery or simply a source of entertainment.

Ellen Dugan in her newest book Practical Protection Magick has even included a "Gargoyle Warding Spell" to empower your own gargoyle for protection.

Search for them at garden centers, outdoor home furnishing stores or any shop that carries statuary.  I had to ask for mine as the store didn't carry them, but they regularly brought in other garden decorations.  I merely mentioned what I wanted and they found him for me.

Whether you bring a gargoyle home for protection or mere enjoyment, these wonderful stone charmers are definitely a great addition to your space!

Jun 8, 2011

Midsummer Giveaway!

The June giveaway is here!

Something light and airy, something lush and new; something fun & fabulous, a Midsummer gift for you!

Although I generally think of the Fey around Midsummer, I did giveaway a Faery Oracle last month  This month I wanted something fun, but not Faery.  So, to kick off Midsummer and the season of growth and green (even though the light will technically begin to wane after June 21st) I am giving away a gorgeous, lush tarot deck by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, called  Shadowscapes Tarot.

This stunning deck comes with a guidebook in a pretty boxed-set and can be yours for a mere comment!  Just let me know if you "follow" the blog or read via RSS and I'll draw the name next week on the full moon - Wednesday, June 15th. 

Good luck!

Jun 5, 2011

Farmers Market Saturday

The farmers market isn't just about the food. Each week I meet the wonderful people who grow the food that I take home. I always run into someone I know, dozens of dogs and countless kids taking in the market. It's a great place to connect!

This lovely video brings some of the focus to the people at the market, not just the wonderful haul you take home.

Bluffton, SC Farmers Market:

Jun 1, 2011

This Week In The Garden

“It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes,
And pleasant scents the noses.”
~ Nathaniel Parker Willis

Dexter spots a bug.

Peas are flowering.

A photo for Jaz at Octoberfarm who also has yellow Irises appearing where she did not plant them.  Once these were a gorgeous Autumn colour of brown.  After years of blooming, they are a faded yellow.

Yes.  I walk the cats.  I know it's weird.

My favourite pansies.

We were visited by a queen bee.  This photo is misleading.  She was about 2 inches long.

The lettuce is getting out of hand.  The heads are now the size of soccer balls.

Happily blooming chives.