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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Happy Summer Solstice/Midsummer/Litha, everyone!

I intended to wake up this morning to watch the sun rise. Instead, I woke instead at 7:38, precisely 10 minutes after the official solstice time in my time zone.

Alas. Such is the value of sleep to a 8-month pregnant woman.

So today I have been taking photos during my errands of things that seem ‘solstice-y’ to me and making notes in “that journal”–the one that’s not my main one, but I don’t know what to call it yet.

Hope you enjoy.

Solstice Breakfast: biscuits and honey, watermelon and blueberries, eaten while observing the early-morning garden

Some lily in our yard. I love the vibrant orange color.

Solstice tomato: our tomato plants are doing well and beginning to blush in earnest.

Cucumber blossom. I mainly took this picture for the lovely spiral...creeper thing.

Sunflowers at the Natural Gardener

Another sunflower at the Natural Gardener

I added lemon verbena into my iced tea this afternoon. It smells like the sun.

Getting ready for our own harvest ;): cloth diapers and accoutrements.

Musings:

It’s been interesting to pregnant along with the Wheel of the Year. I’ve seen a lot of images of heavily pregnant women for Litha and it’s…well, it’s encouraging. Being heavily pregnant has been difficult. It’s easier to focus on the pain-in-the-ass parts of pregnancy (which are many and hard to ignore) instead of enjoying the body’s capabilities.

As I look out at my garden I’m reminded that this is a time when ‘Nature’ is doing an extraordinary amount of work as well. The resources even a small garden like mine takes (and the garden only provides 50%, maybe, of our spring-summer produce) are astounding. The soil, the fertilizer, the water, the time, the materials—and we’re not even doing it well. We’re bumping along in our first season.

Today has reminded me to be grateful for the work the (literal) earth does for me, for my family. It reminds me to be grateful for my body, which through its stretch marks and contractions, pains and indignities, is preparing for an amazing event.

Driving around to all of my various errands I also thought about what summer meant to me as a kid. How days spread out, endless in possibility, hot and boring, and to quote an Iron & Wine song summer held “our endless numbered days”. School would start back…eventually…but there was a liminal quality to summer, a caught-in-between-ness. My summers were filled with sno-cones in unnatural colors (split pina colada and margarita, flat top, double cream), the beach, books (books, books, books), trips to the library, sleeping in and the Beach Boys.

Now that the demarcation of school has passed, summer, especially July and August and September, is more of an annoyance. The time of year when the you can never get cool, when energy bills rise to extreme levels, ice tea is consumed by the gallon, your car is a hellacious oven of doom.

But today…the beginning of summer…also marks, ironically, the beginning of its end. The days grow shorter now as we edge towards Lughnasadh, and then Mabon and then Samhain. In Central Texas Lughnasadh is the last of our harvest, when we set our gardens and fields to rest throughout the relentless eat of August and the beginning of September. On the holiday of Mabon we’ll start again, planting cool-season crops to bring us through the winter months.

So really…it’s not that far away. Time won’t stop. The garden will die–in only a few weeks. The baby will come—only a few weeks after that. Then it will be time to start anew.

Enjoy your longest day everyone! Thanks for sticking with this wandering post 🙂

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Lavander, provence (Lavandula intermedia 'Provence'). Just bloomed two days ago.

Today I am in the midst of a cleaning frenzy, pregnant style. Meaning that where frenzy would have been an apt description before the third trimester, right now it’s more like a cleaning…putter. But the same amount of work still has to be done.

Truthfully, it’s the kind of cleaning I like the least. It’s pressure cleaning, when people who you want to impress are coming to your house. Not cleaning for pleasure (it’s possible!) or cleaning for cleansing purposes. At least, I thought it wasn’t.

But as soon as I started sweeping I felt a change. I could see the dust and cat hair gathering and the house just began to feel…cleaner. More pure. I wiped up grime in the guest bathroom and guest bedroom and felt a certain joy that my guests (my parents and in-laws in this case) would have a clean, fresh place to sleep and dream.

These moments of clarity were definitely interspersed with hot flashes, sweating and a stiff lower back. I can’t squat very well, or kneel, or rise. It’s one of the most obvious but also the most difficult to accept aspects of pregnancy: for all of its work to create new life, pregnancy takes from the mother, most notably independence. Independence in the way that we are never alone, always toting a little baby with us, but also that as we grow bigger we grow less able. More dependent.

Truthfully, I haven’t accepted that yet. I still do too much and don’t ask for help. My husband gets on to me, especially during the night when I try to roll over by myself and end up giving myself charlie horses. It seems so simple—roll over in bed! But yet I need him to give me a push. Or get out of bed—I need him to help me out some mornings too. It’s almost embarrassing.

Even more than asking my husband for help, I haven’t begun admitting to myself that I need to help…myself. Take it easier. Enjoy pregnancy more. Not be so frantic, not give in to mental confusion and mental dust.

So that brings us to today. Sweeping, mopping, bending, kneeling, rising, dusting. Cleaning and cleansing, both the house and the mind. Making room for new energy, new thoughts and ideas and dreams. Putting the confusion and stress in its proper place, and welcoming instead peace and joy.

Easier said than done, just like cleaning the house.

The garden, May 2010. We've harvested squash and cucumbers and one tomato! More squash, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers and melons are on their way. We'll plant corn this weekend....hopefully....

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New Home

It’s been a pretty crazy week. We moved last Friday and Saturday into our new home (yay!) and then, on Tuesday, I came down with a cold that still lingers.  However, as I sit alone in my new living room, the peaceful quiet of a Sunday morning surrounding me—everything seems right with the world.

Last Sunday, I sat out in the yard for an hour in the morning.

The 'Oak Grove'

This Sunday, with the help of some friends, we are putting in the first beds of our garden. I’m hoping to do four raised beds (‘lasagna style’, as our soil is shallow and full of clay), and then put the fountain (which came with the house) in the center of an herb wheel.

Spring is uncovering herself in Central Texas. Though the trees are still bare and cold fronts sweep in every two weeks, today is in the 70s and the sunshine is hot. The promise of dusty summers is in that heat,  but right now I can’t seem to mind. Right now it warms the earth and allows me to think about melons, tomatoes, eggplant, lavender, rosemary, pole beans and bush peas…

I don’t really have much spiritual pontification right now, except that a peaceful, quiet Sunday morning gives me a lot of joy, and so does gardening, and so does being in a home of my own.  Is there a god(dess) I should thank for that? 😉

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Sage and Fennel Tea

So, my husband and I are going on vacation in 6 days and I have developed swollen glands in my throat. Usually I would dose with Tylenol and hope for the best, but I’m going to be proactive and get this under control. Herbally!

So I mixed up some sage and fennel tea (or infusion, if you want to be technically correct):

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Sage might be my new favorite herb. I acquired a beautiful pouch of it from one of the local occult shops, Ancient Mysteries, and it’s organic, high quality stuff. I then brewed some tea and strained it, adding a dollop of honey to finish it off.

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It tasted wonderful! Clean, fresh and smooth. I finished the cup about 15 minutes ago and there is still a mild astringent feeling on the back of my throat.

Lately, I’ve been really ‘into’ herbs. I want to make my own incense and experiment with herbal remedies. For me, it’s like wine. One reason I enjoy wine so much is that there is so much to know! It’s truly an educational experience to drink wine. I feel the same about herbalism…there’s such a depth of knowledge to be learned, how could you ever tire?

I’m off for a walk, to think about things and to get my lymph moving! Happy Monday, everyone.

Contraindications for sage/fennel: do not use if you are pregnant, lactating or epileptic. Do your research!

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The last rain sputtered out this morning. Rain dribbled, dropped, pattered, smattered, fogged and poured all weekend. The sun broke though this afternoon and now it’s cool and muggy.

Today’s plan is to crush up some incense (I bought a mortar and pestle! So excited!) and to plant my new fall herbs. Gardening is something that’s hard for me—I’m pretty scatter-brained and thus forget to water—but…I don’t know. I feel like this is an auspicious time to start a fragrant/healing herb garden on my apartment porch. Replace that dead basil.

All of this after the requisite Sunday afternoon nap, of course.

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