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Wednesday, July 31

Baby E Meets Her First Drum

Today, I found Doodle Bug's very first djembe hanging behind a door.  It's a tiny thing, only about 10" tall and has plenty of battle scars.  I took it down, dusted it off and gave it a good thwack!  It still worked.

After our morning nap, I handed it to Baby E.

At first, she only really cared for the string.

Eventually, I stood it up for her and gave it a ding.

She loved it!

I truly look forward to festival season next summer when it will be time for the Mama Stacey clan to rejoin the flow.

Thursday, July 25

Summer's End

Yesterday brought the first real chill of summer’s end. 

As much as I appreciate having central air in the depths of summer, I HATE the smell of all that recycled air.  So, I turned the thing off and threw open every window we have.  A pleasant breeze kept our house in the mid 60’s all day and took the staleness with it.  By late afternoon, it was brisk enough for me to pull out a hoodie for our evening walk.  This morning, I didn’t feel quite so awkward about making myself a large mug of hazelnut coffee.  From my perch on the porch with Baby E, I noticed the morning sunlight coming in at a different angle.  Our chives have seed heads on them and the butter crunch lettuce is bolting.

The first harvest is upon us.

There are sure to be many more warm days throughout August and September, especially here in northwestern Pennsylvania where the weather seems to be a constant roll of the dice… but days like these are a pleasant reminder that autumn preparations are just around the corner.  

This is when Mama Stacey’s tunes take a slightly somber turn to the likes of Damien Rice and Ray LaMontagne.  We burn candles with deep aromas and begin to pack fresh herbs into glass jars and pour golden oils over them to steep.

In the House of Mama Stacey, we celebrate the European tradition of Lammas (the celtic Lughnasadh).  We do this on the second of August.  For us, it is a celebration of warm days, cool evenings, golden grains, vine-ripened fruits, and a time to harvest herbs.  We feast on wine (even Doodle Bug gets a taste, although his response is always “Yuck!”) and flaky breads and roasted vegetables.  We may have a fire, we might braid grass, we might make poppets from freshly cut stalks of lavender, mint and stevia.  We might wear peacock feathers in our hair and listen to the sound of the cicadas hum.  There is not a whole lot of structured ritual in our festivities.  I find that children don’t need it.

One of the most exciting portions of this particular harvest celebration is that Baby E is ready to eat!  Sharing seasonal foods with her at this stage in her life seems to be a deeply spiritual ritual onto itself.  Roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, teething on frozen green beans and carrot slices, mixing brown rice cereal with mother’s milk, smooshing apples and gumming pears….  What better way to celebrate the harvest?