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Monday, September 22

Mabon in Pictures

We are finally getting settled after returning from our weekend in the woods for the Equinox.  We baked and sipped warm cider around the fire.  We ate dark chocolate and made autumn head garlands.  We talked about our gardens and our pets.  We took walks and drank apple wine.  It was a glorious weekend.

To begin, we settled into the cabin with our bedding and various supplies.  Baby E was jealous that Daddy and Brother got to go into the top bunks, so Papa J took her up and let her see what it was all about.  She much preferred it on the ground with Mommy.  Mommy likes to take a shower in the clean spring water and soak in the sunlight and fresh air.  It brings the vibrancy back to her soul.

We added our various altars and decorations.  The cabin needs witch-ified before our guests arrive.


Then, we started the balefire and began to unwind outside.  Some played cards, some roasted marshmallows, some read in the shade of the hemlocks. 

After a cozy night's rest, we prepare for a day of celebration.  We chill the wine, stack the firewood, bake the casseroles, and set the ritual space.  We spritz-dyed shirts and wove head garlands.

Our ritual was very off-the-cuff this year.  I had a basic idea of how things should work, but everything I seemed to type up felt unsuited to the energy of the day.  In the end, we sort of made it up as we went along.  It was still beautiful.

We were in the woods for four days and yet it was a blur of laughter, friendship, and love.  Next year will be our 10th anniversary and we are already spinning ideas to make it the biggest, best year yet.

And special thanks goes to our open-minded friend, Tonya, who took time out of her hectic schedule to photograph our ritual.  Mwah!

Saturday, September 13

Seed Saving

Tis the season!

Mama Stacey has been a seed saver for only a few years, but it's kind of addicting once you start.  I'm not sure if there is an official way to do this, but I'm going to show you how we save fruit seeds.

In particular, these seeds have come from a strange fruit we tried over the summer.

A kiss melon.

I imagine that it's named so for the unique flopped over point on top, reminiscent of a Hershey's Kiss.  This was a super fun melon.  It smelled like a cucumber, but tasted like a very sweet version of honeydew.   It was extremely juicy, too.

I couldn't help but save the lovely seeds from within.

To start, I washed all massive bits of pulp from them.

Next, I put them in a reusable produce bag that we got ages ago from Whole Foods.  I rinsed and rubbed and washed them in simple cool water.  No soap or heat.

This particular bag has a handy-dandy metal clip on it.  It makes it easy to clip to the herb-drying cord that we have strung up in our dining room. 

I left the bag hanging for about a week.  Every day I would shake and jostle the bag to make sure air circulated to all of the seeds and break up any damp clusters.

When they were nice and dry, I put them in a paper lunch bag.  I labeled the bag with the type of seed and month/year collected.  I stapled the bag and am storing it in my herb hutch (cool, dark, dry environment).

I look forward to trying to grow our very own Kiss Melons next spring!

Here's a link to chart of seed use-by dates:  Iowa State University "Life Expectancy of Seeds"

Tuesday, September 2

Mabon Corn Necklace

While it thunderstormed outside, Baby E and I perused our bookshelves today.  We read a little "Herb the Vegetarian Dragon" and then picked up one of our many craft books.

"Celebrating The Great Mother" by Johnson & Shaw caught our attention.  We opened to the section on Mabon and found a craft entitled 'String a Native American Corn Necklace' [p94].

Personally, I would not recommend this craft for young children.  Boiling water and needles just don't need to be in tender young hands when the world is full of clay and construction paper.  It was a lovely creation, but I feel it is better suited to teens and adults. 

The authors instruct you to break colored corn off of old decorative cobs.  I did not have that, but I did have colored popcorn kernels.

I poured some in a glass dish and covered with water.  I then microwaved in two 60 second intervals and allowed the kernels to soak for 10 minutes.

The authors tell you to lay the kernels out on paper towel and pierce with a needle.  It was not that easy for me.  I found that the kernels dried and hardened to the point that it was almost impossible to push the needle through.

Instead, I used the needle to pierce them while they were still in the dish.  Being wet and warm helped them stay soft enough for the needle to sink in. 

Occasionally, I had to push the kernel down the length of the needle if it was particularly fat.  I did this by placing the eye of the needle on the table and pushing either side of the kernel down carefully so as to not be stabbed. 

I did a pattern of three yellow, three blue, three red.  I added a metal sun bead at the midway point. 

It will be a beautiful piece to wear in circle!