Monday, March 23, 2009

The Tides of Spring

I am happy to be living on land that has four seasons again. I admit, I never thought I'd like it, but I do. It's a great feeling to have real spring, not just a couple of weeks of rain that turn into summer. I'm excited to look out and see the bright, warm sun, and feel it on my skin, but still have snow on the ground with green things peeping through. It just feels right.

On Saturday, we celebrated our Spring Rites. I chose to use a Hellenic style of ritual, and we made offerings of meat, bone, and fat, wine and barley, bitter herbs and sweet fruit to Persephone, Haides, Demeter, and Hecate, as well as to the other gods as a whole. The weather was perfect: the sun was high in the sky, and the temperature was warm enough that my Roman style robes were not overly chilly to wear. The snow was there, which allowed us to have a full bonfire, even if it didn't blaze up quite as excitingly as I had hoped it would. We had six or seven adults, three teens, and the twins there, and everyone was very involved in things. We blessed eggs, as well - hard boiled ones for eating, and raw ones to go at the corners of our garden for protection purposes.

The best part (for me) of the day was the Pomp, the procession from our home to the ritual area. I don't yet have a full temenos set up, but I had set aside the first log landing on our hill as the temporary one. We all walked up, slowly, to the beat of two drums. It was measured, paced, stately... I was amazed at the difference it made for me in ritual. I felt much more focused, more THERE. I will be very pleased, from now on, to have that long walk to my ritual spot. That ten minutes or so gave me a great insight into why the Greeks did it.

The text of our ritual is available here:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We've done it!

The Victory Garden movement has been ongoing for some time now. I've been an avid supporter, and we've been working on planning out our garden for the year. It's going to be huge, and tasty, and enough for food, seeds, and over-winter storage. And now, it seems that President and Mrs. Obama will be doing the same!

White House to Plant Organic Vegetable Garden

ABC news’ Brian Hartman has reported what many have been wishfully waiting to hear for months: the Obamas will soon plant an organic vegetable garden on the White House South grounds.

Following a 60 Minutes interview with Chez Panisse chef, renowned slow foodist and activist for improved national eating habits in the US, Alice Waters, on Sunday March 15th, wherein she called with continued clarion for an organic garden at the White House, First lady Michelle Obama talked of her plans for the garden in an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine that will feature in its April issue.

Mrs. Obama spoke, also, about the importance of healthy eating in that article, and what she hopes the garden will do to send that message to the nation:
We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet. You know, the tomato that’s from your garden tastes very different from one that isn’t. And peas - what is it like to eat peas in seasons? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness. And hopefully kids will be interested because there are kids living here.

Amazing! The small voice of the internet, and the large voice of the public, have helped to create this wonderful, amazing thing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pictures of planting

The hope of spring is in what may grow when snow howls outdoors.

The hope of spring is in what may grow when snow howls outdoors. Inside, it's warm if you're near the wood stove, and chilly elsewhere. But bread is baking, soup is bubbling on the stove, and plants are sprouting in their little mock greenhouses by the window!

Look how tiny the seeds are! It's hard to see the marigold seeds, although they aren't as tiny as some of the others on the shelf. Carefully, the girltwin learns that one must plant the marigolds with the dark end down, the white end up, so that they sprout well. The holes for the seeds must be just the right depth, or it will be too hard for the sprouts to find their way up to the light. We make marks on a pencil to show how deep it should be, then carefully put two holes in each little cell.

Light end up, that's right. They look like little fans, almost, all poufy and pale colored. Girltwin's little fingers are well suited to handling the tiny, delicate seeds. She does a fantastic job placing them into each little hole. Then we tuck them in under a thin layer of dirt, making sure they're moist and warm.

Our little garden girl is dying to get out into the fields and do some REAL planting. She's going to plant sunflowers around the edge of our fields this year. I'm not sure if she realizes just how many sunflowers it takes to surround a field that is 0.6 acres in size. Hehe!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring Poetry

April 5th, 1974

The air was soft, the ground still cold.
In the dull pasture where I strolled

Was something I could not believe.
Dead grass appeared to slide and heave,

Though still too frozen-flat to stir,

And rocks to twitch, and all to blur.

What was this rippling of the land?

Was matter getting out of hand

And making free with natural law?

I stopped and blinked, and then I saw

A fact as eerie as a dream,

There was a subtle flood of steam

Moving upon the face of things,

It came from standing pools and springs

And what of snow was still around;

It came of winter's giving ground
So that the freeze was coming out,

As when a set mind, blessed by doubt,
Relaxes into mother-wit.
Flowers, I said, will come of it.

by Richard Wilbur, from New and Collected Poems