Sep 23, 2011

Practical Magic Blog Party - Magic in The Garden - An Inspired Tale

The garden was empty, one September eve, when there came a sight, you'd have to see to believe.

Witches were landing in the dusky gloom,

Three sisters, each on their own broom!

One glided swiftly, one had a wild ride, and one liked to fly with her feet to one side.

A table appeared, set with flickering light, tarot cards, candy and other delights!

Each young witch, reached for a card, to see if the future held lovely rewards...

Oh yes!  The cards said life was grand!  And so, to celebrate, they each took in hand...

Midnight margaritas!  That luscious green brew!

Cheers to us!  And Cheers to you!

And off through the garden, with drinks in hand, to spread their magic across the lush land...

The witches wandered, here and there...

Until the spirits of the air, called them back, and off they bound...

Back to their brooms, and lifted off the ground!

And now the garden has returned to it's dusky least until the blender is refilled!

(Special thanks to my friend's three lovely daughters for witching it up for me!)

Sep 21, 2011

Autumnal Sun

I Am The Autumnal Sun ~ by Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes a mortal feels in himself Nature
-- not his Father but his Mother stirs
within him, and he becomes immortal with her
immortality. From time to time she claims
kindredship with us, and some globule
from her veins steals up into our own.

I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter's moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief....

Sep 17, 2011

On Festivals and Fruit

Autumn is beginning to show her colours here in the Valley.  We are having quite the warm September, so there has been plenty of opportunity to get out and enjoy the views.  Ripe apples abound in the orchards, geese are gathering for their long journey South, and the Fall wine festivals and tours are in full swing.

I am spending this weekend at the yearly Wise Woman Festival in the neighbouring town - meditating and learning and partaking of the lovely healers available.  As a result, I don't have a Farmers Market Saturday post for you this week.  As always, I'll just encourage you to get out into your local farm & market community and take advantage of the plentiful harvest available this time of year.

Looking for dinner ideas when you bring home that harvest from the market? 

Squash is now in season, and it's one of my favourite veggies!  This post sings the praises of squash.

I also make bruschetta weekly this time of year, because of the abundance of tomatoes and peppers.

And for dessert - apple pie of course!

Take a moment this weekend to get outside and see if you can spot signs of Autumn in your area.  Or - for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere - signs of Spring!

Sep 15, 2011

Giveaway Winners

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my Sweet September giveaway!  I had a wonderful birthday today, and giving things away is a great way to end a lovely day!

Here we go....

The winner of the Circle of Life Tarot is:  Somcak!

The Winner of the Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Cards is:  Hailey Marie!

The winner of the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight is:  Ms. Lilypads!
Congratulations to everyone!  Please email your mailing address to:  rueandhyssop (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll get your cards out to you!

I'm already picking some fun things for the October giveaway so stay tuned for next month's goodies!

Sep 10, 2011

Farmers Market Saturday - Community Garden Edition

For those that live the apartment life, having a large garden plot seems like merely a dream.  But if you live in a town that boasts a community garden, this dream can be a reality.  For a membership fee to the local community garden association , or a seasonal rental fee, you can till, plant and harvest your own plot of land. 

In many of the towns in the Valley where I live, community gardens are a happy alternative to container gardening on small apartment balconies.  I visited a garden today and took some photos so that you could see what some people do with these prized plots.

Veggies and flowers share space in many of the plots in this community garden.

I talked to a gentleman here, who said his pumpkins were 'volunteers.'  Possibly as a result of the lovely compost pile all the gardeners shared!

Some people were inspired to bring in garden art.

Some created little vignettes and 'rooms' in their plots.

I saw a few plots that boasted only cutting flowers.  Being that the weekly farmers market was just down the hill, perhaps they felt their garden plots were better served by colour and fragrance than by taste.

This website is one small example of a community garden plot listing (in this case, for the Vancouver, BC area.)

I googled "community garden plots" and thousands of results came up, so if you are looking for a plot in your area, search with your community name and you might be surprised what you find.  Community gardens are becoming very common place these days!

Sep 8, 2011

Where I've Been This Week - In Body & Mind

The wheels are starting to turn for our Annual Chicks Wine Tour.  The first year (two years ago) we did a haunted winery tour, visiting such vinters as: Blasted Church Winery and Black Widow Winery, not to mention getting a first-hand account of ghostly happenings at another local winery.  Last year, we hit a wine festival, where 50 wineries from around the Valley were represented (and who were giving very generous tastes!)  Our destinations this year are not yet set in stone, but I'll be sure to give you a run down and post pics when we finish our tour (and sober up.)

Yesterday I got my hands on my very first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.  I don't often go into Starbucks, but you'll find me there often while this limited edition flavour is on the menu!

In Halloween news, Martha has her annual Halloween magazine out on the newstands.  It's a bit notorious for recycling articles/pictures from previous years, but I'm a sucker for the pretty pics and cool ideas, so I pick it up each year.

Also, over on Facebook, Judika Illes noted that Target has it's Halloween items out already.  Our local big box store has Halloween items in the card section, but hasn't emptied it's seasonal aisles of the back-to-school supplies yet.  Here's hoping those pencils disappear soon in favour of pumpkins!

In world news, we are all praying for rain clouds to fill the skies over Texas.  Over at his Inciting A Riot blog, Fire Lyte is organizing Project Texas Rain Magic.  Wherever you are, this Saturday September 10th, please send prayers, thoughts of rain and direct any rain spells toward Texas and the wildfires devastating that state. 

I hope this first week of September is treating you all remarkably well!

Sep 5, 2011

Sweet September Giveaway

September has always been a favourite month of mine.  The long, hot Summer days finally mellow into gorgeous, golden afternoons and cool, dusky evenings.  It's still sunny and lovely, but the breeze is sharper and there is a 'winding down' feeling with the home and garden.  The canning jars are out, the dryer is full of herbs and my neices are heading back to school. 

September is also my birth month, and feeling celebratory I wanted to have more than one item to give away.  I've chosen a few decks that I feel invoke the seasonal turn toward Autumn.

First is the Circle of Life Tarot.  This deck makes me think of the turning of the Wheel of the year, and is unique in that the cards are round rather than a traditional rectangular card.
 The second deck is Tarot of the Sweet Twilight.  This deck speaks of turning inward and is very introspective in it's sweet and sad imagery.
 And lastly, the Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Cards, a traditional-type playing card deck with instructions on how to use playing cards as divinatory tools.

I think the Autumnal imagery here is self explanitory!

As always, dear readers, all you have to do is leave a comment here and be following me in some capacity (the blog, Twitter or FB) to be entered into the draw.  I will draw three names on my birthday - September 15th!  Please make sure there is a way for me to reach you if your name is drawn.

Best wishes, and happy September!

Sep 3, 2011

Farmers Market Saturday - Pumpkins!

Today at the farmers market, I saw the first pumpkin for sale! 

Never one to pass up an opportunity to score a pumpkin, I went for the handsome squash, only to be foiled by the little boy in front of me, who had convinced his mother to buy it for him.  In an effort to console myself I came home and dug through some Autumn decorations and then went through my recipe box and pulled out a few pumpkin recipes to try (I still have frozen pumpkin in my freezer from last Halloween's jacks.)

While I was in the pumpkin mood, I tracked down a few pumpkin festivals that sound too good to miss.  If you are in the area, check out these popular pumpkin parties:

Keene Pumpkin Festival in Keene, NH on October 22, 2011.

Halloween in Central Park in Manhattan, NY - October 9 through the 31st.

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Fest in Half Moon Bay, CA - October 15 & 16, 2011.

South Jersey Pumpkin Show in Egg Harbor, NJ - October 8-9th, 2011

Festival of Pumpkins in Snohomish Valley, WA - throughout September & October at multiple farms.

Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville, OH - October 19-22, 2011.

Nanaimo Pumpkin Fest, Nanaimo, BC, Canada - October 16, 2011.

There are so many more too!  Check out your local farms and other agricultural organizations to see if they have any Autumn themed festivals planned.  There are many farms that turn their corn fields into mazes and open their pumpkin patches for picking.

With a bit of planning, you can stretch Summer's harvest into an abundant Autumn by making your way to your local farms and festivals this September and October.  Enjoy!