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Monday, August 12

Life Just Never Un-complicates, Does It?

No more posts about how I never have time to post.  We're all competent people with busy lives so I'm sure you understand that things can go haywire.  I may be a stay-at-home-mom, but I sometimes wonder if we'd be better off renting a storage unit instead of a home as we're rarely there LOL.

Another serious illness has struck, school is starting, harvest season is here and Baby E is a handful.  Posts will come as they come.  What I find that I DO have time for are Instagram photos, cute little glimpses into our days, however I will not dare suggest that I will post those daily as I fear the curse of failed commitment.

So, what has been going on In the House of Mama Stacey since our last check-in?  

We went to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

Papa J showing Baby E the inside of the International Space Station replica.

Doodle Bug in space!

Meeting a hero.

We visited a nearby organic homestead, Bad Cat Farm, run by my friend Sarah and her her wife Amber.  Our family relished the escape.  Doodle Bug played outside, watched the older children practice their archery, and fed chickens.  He took home a souvenier feather and many happy memories.

Sarah taught me about canning [something that I feel is in my blood but I've never gotten the chance to do] and I helped her make a batch of yummy golden relish.  We talked Game of Thrones and Doctor Who and had a weenie roast to try out the relish. 

The handsome rooster who rules Bad Cat Farm.

Mama Stacey attended a new workshop at the local library for fiction writers.  It looks like something that I may try to work into my monthly schedule.  I received a copy of a werewolf story to review and so have that to look forward to.  Sometimes I like critiquing almost as much as presenting. 

Doodle Bug has begrudgingly gone shopping for school clothing with me at the outlet stores.  

The rest of the month has been spent working, caring for loved ones, visiting hospitals and catching the rare snuggle in our cozy bed.  The garden has tomato and raspberries in it and my neighbor had to water my flowers because they've been so neglected lately.  Autumn is coming quickly and our clan is facing some new, difficult decisions, but out of pain comes change and growth. 

Thursday, August 1

Seasonal Foods

The hallmark of the harvest sabbats is to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of the season.  For meat-eaters, I would imagine that this also involves the animals whose time has come at the local game commission and area farms.

Feasting, canning, drying, baking, butchering, salting... this is what the harvest is all about and has been ever since man planted his first row of seeds.  Lammas, Mabon, and Samhain are times to harvest the garden, raid the farmer's market, and celebrate with seasonal feasts.

Many of us are 'book-learned' Pagans.  Our beloved teachers Cunningham, Buckland, Ravenwolf, Valiente, Farrar, and whoever else you've read have all told you what foods are "traditional" for each holiday.  Pumpkins should be harvested at Samhain and Maple syrup is proper to use for Imbolc.  But what if you live in Florida where pumpkins and other squash are at their peak in August and September?  And what if you live in Arizona where agave nectar or honey are far more common than maple syrup?

If Paganism is about becoming attuned to nature, then Mama Stacey feels it is best to set aside our books and pay attention to what's growing in the garden.  Even though it may be recommended to cook up zucchini for Lammas, if chilies and mango are what's in season you shouldn't be calling every store in your county trying to hunt down a zucchini... you should be showing your children how to make a spicy mango chutney.

Spicy Mango Chutney
[img source: i am not a celebrity]
Do you know what's in season for Lammas?  For a lot of people zucchini, tomato, grapes, and corn are... but not for everyone.  They normally are for us here in Pennsylvania, however a cold spring has left our tomatoes very small and green yet.  My mother-in-law's grapevines are heavy with unripened fruit. Currently, cucumbers and black cherries are in abundance in our little wedge of the world, wildflowers too.

If you're curious about seasonal foods in your area, for Lammas or any other time, try these links out.

Eat Well Guide
This is allows Americans and Canadians to search by zipcode or use an interactive map to find seasonal foods.

Pick Your Own . ORG
This page has a state-by-state harvest guide for America, Canada, Italy, Australia, Japan, and the UK.  On this site, you can also find listings for pick-your-own farms.

Field to Plate
There are hundreds of links to charts and PDFs for seasonal produce in America.

Eat the Seasons UK
This lists seasonal foods, including wild game and fish, for the UK.

US Fish & Wildlife Service
For those meat-eaters/hunters out there, here is a listing of state-by-state links for hunting seasons.