The Good Druid’s Garden August 2017

So glad to restart this series!  I missed doing this.  I mentally call it “The Flora and Fauna Report”

My back yard brings me so much pleasure!  Daniel and I parted ways on Ostara, and although we are still on good terms, I’m on my own with the gardening.  I was really good at managing the yard in May and June, and then July just got away from me.  Between the full time muggle job and the full time business, there’s not much time left over for gardening.  My teenager has been working at a summer camp, so she hasn’t been available, and my dad’s health is not well.  I have an amazing roommate, but she travels a lot, and when home, isn’t available often to help with yardwork.  My sister was helping me with mowing while my back was injured, but she has a life, too.  I may just need to hire a gardener.

The trumpet vine continues to be the bane of my existence.  In the past month, it has completely taken over the yard.  I should have enough headway made to give it a mow by tomorrow.  I really do need a better solution.

I decided to wait another year for the vegetable bed.  The soil was all clay, so next March or April I am going to replace the gate, and then April or May build a raised bed and have a square metre of good top soil delivered.  That will be so much better than digging through clay so dense that carrots couldn’t grow down more than 2 inches.  I prices tomato cages, and they were like $8 each!  So instead I am going to install a chain link fence and train tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, etc to grow into a living wall.  The living wall may wait another year.

All 5 of my trees survived the winter well and are thriving.  My service berry trees were a little touch and go as a kid had come by and ripped the top off.  I was watching, mom was walking beside her and did nothing, just broke the poor sapling in half while walking home from school.  But they are doing okay.  Too little for any fruit yet.  The tree that was labelled “cherry” gave me 5 beautiful peaches, which was an unexpected surprise.  I was told not to expect fruit for 10 years, and it was wonderful to get peaches the first year.  And the tree that was labelled “plum” has some sort of other strange berry growing, not sure if it’s edible.  I will have to contact reforest London with a photo.  I would still like to get a plum tree, apple tree and pear tree, as well as a Japanese maple for the front.  I have visions of growing all of my produce some day.  Not sure if I’ll be able to grow the 3-4 bushels of romas that I use every year for canning, but I can try.

My herb garden… funny story.  So, my herb garden has traditionally been the one garden that grows really well.  I have great soil there.  The weeds like it too!  So I was told to just put mulch down, and that will slow down the weeds.  So I dug my rows, planted seeds, and put a big ol’ thick layer of mulch on it.  The weeds slowed down, but almost none of my herbs came through.  I imagine next spring when I till up the mulch, all of my herbs will start sprouting in random places.

My client had an extra umbrella and some extra outdoor chair cushions and I have been putting them to good use.  I love sitting out there on my mornings off (getting rarer and rarer) as I sip tea and enjoy the crisper mornings.  I have a few cardinals in my yard who flutter back and forth between my neighbours’ two trees.  I wonder what my yard will look like in 20 years.  The houses in my neighbourhood are about 40 years old, and some of the maples and oaks are massive!  It makes me think about the progression of my life- how I was a homeless teenager, how often I went without food, how much I moved around, to now actually owning a nice, safe, comfortable home.  Even after being here for over four years, I finally am starting to feel secure in my own home.  I was unsure at first, as work was precarious, boyfriends and roommates were unreliable, and I kept thinking that I would be forced to sell.  I am so glad that I decided to stay.  This is the best investment that I have ever made.  Having a place to call home, my own castle, matters so much to me.  Especially when I am in my yard enjoying tea, or having a fire in the pit before bed, I am at home.

Lughnasadh is Important, Too!

Every year around Lughnasadh, there always seems to be a bunch of posts about this holiday, and how many Neo-Pagans don’t feel connected to this day, and therefore, skip it altogether.  The point of me writing this is not to tell you how to practice your religion, but rather to illustrate that a wheel of the year missing a major spoke may not stay much of a wheel for long.

What is Lughnasadh?  Lughnasadh (pronounced (Loo-NAH-Sa) is one of the four fire festivals in Druidry.  As Druids start their day the night before, Lughnasadh starts on the Eve of July 31st at dusk and lasts until dusk on August 1st.  It translates to “The Games of Lugh’s Mother”, and recognises her passing and his accomplishments through games, athletics, fire, storytelling and of course, feasting.

I fear that, one reason why so many don’t resonate with this holiday is because of its confusing with the Catholic Mass of Bread, or Lammas.  They may fall on the same day, but Lammas does not equal Lughnasadh.  When so many struggle to heal from trauma and conditioning from The Church, it’s understandable why a bunch of Pagans wanting to do a Catholic holiday may be a turn off.  Yes, of course, early Catholics borrowed heavily from their pagan predecessors, as many gods became saints, and many High Days became holy masses.  But Lughnasadh is not really one of them.

I think that the urge to skip Lughnasadh can also stem from a disconnect with the Earth.  In my neck of the woods, so to speak, in SouthWestern Ontario, we very clearly have eight seasons.  Being a Druid away from the land of my ancestors, it’s important to recognize these changes.  Most of today’s paganism is agrarian based, so simply looking around at what’s going on with our farmers is a key indication that something is different.  Dusk creeps up noticeably sooner than it did at Midsummer.  Early morning presents a nip in the air.  Cricket chirps have replaced the frog sounds at night.  And yes, much of our harvest is ready for the picking now, including grain.  I can see how a link with Lammas would be confusing.  Summer squashes, peppers and tomatoes are also ripe, as well as many other fresh produce that we’ve had to import for a year.  Our ancestors would have not had these at all, or would have had to pay much higher prices.  These foods are what we should eat at the post ritual feast.  Corn on the cob is a Lughnasadh favourite of mine.

So if you are celebrating solo, what could you do as a part of your ritual?

Baking bread is a Lammas thing, not Lugnasadh.   But if you want to do that, no one is stopping you.  Personally, I think it’s too hot to bake.

Today we celebrate Lugh and his mother. Lugh was the Skilled One, so anything that you are skilled at, you can do in his honour.

If you play an instrument, you can write or learn a new song about him.

Dance!

We honour his mother through game and sport. Anything athletic and for fun. You could have a water fight, egg race, etc. Think Highland Games.

You can also honour the role of mothers and mother figures in your life, as Lugh honoured Tailtui.

Go to a farmer’s market and pick up some fresh local produce for tonight.

And of course, with any Celtic High Day, fire and feasting… and mead.

So you see, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Lughnasadh.  I’m not here to tell you how to practice your own faith, but perhaps if your only thoughts of this fantastic day are to skip it, maybe you’re doing it wrong.

New and Improved Website! (And a Tarot Sale)

Welcome to my new blog and website!  After waaaaaayyyyy too long with a server nightmare, corrupted files, tears and frustration, and eventually having to call my ex in to navigate, it became obvious that I needed to start my website from scratch.  It sucks to lose 300 subscribers, 6 years worth of blogging and some bangin’ SEO, but I’ll get it back.  My business is growing in leaps and bounds!  I can’t believe that it’s only been two years, and how much repeat business I get from clients who are happy with their results.  I’m so humbled to be able to to such good in this world.  The website still needs a little tweaking here and there, but at least it’s functional.

But, there’s another small hiccup.  My booking system will be down until Thursday.  At which point… WE NEED TO CELEBRATE!

So from Friday, July 28th- Thursday August 3rd, all tarot readings will be HALF OFF!

30 minutes- $25

60 minutes $40

Now that I have my website back, I really do need to start blogging again.  At my blog’s heyday, I got about 20 000 hits a year.  Not too shabby.  I have dreams of knocking out an entry a day, but that may be a little much at first.

Many thanks over the past few weeks to Sherry Simoes, Effy Wild, Cat Mira, Ed Corbett, Terrie Brookins, Paula Mould, Sarah Crocker and Daniel McMillan.