Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Celtic New Year

...and a blessed and beautiful Samhain to you all.

~Rhiannon at the Willow Cottage on the Wyndy Hill

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quiet But Busy

October has been such a busy month. It's kept me a bit quiet on my three blogs...quiet but busy! I normally post more often than this but I've squeezed in a few days of stripping my old Thomas Edison 'Little Folks Furniture' dresser, circa 1930's. A favorite era-the 20's, 30's and early 40's. All my hard labor in stripping away decades of paint is eased with a little Al Bowlly playing in my head. At the moment, 'The Very Thought of You' is on constant rotation :)

What's left of the Edison 'Little Folks Furniture' label on the dresser...
 The door and drawers in it's last color; black....
 Getting down through the last layers of time...
to it's beginning. Finally! Now...all I have to do is strip the drawers and the door, have a new wood handle made for the door to match the drawers' handles (original is missing), buy new hinges and door closure hardware that match the originals, that are in unusable condition, then sand, then, not really done ;)

I've also been working long hours on geneology projects...
 My German-Austrian and British roots.
My family, in California in the 1920's
Also, planning a garden in the side yard for upcoming spring. Big plans for a little area! Raised beds, surrounded (hopefully) by grass, rain/snow collecting barrels at the far end (where the hideous chain link resides) and hopefully a clothes line! No need to use the gas dryer, no need to waste water while watering my veggies and fruits and no need to depend on the grocery stores toxic, over-priced produce! Whew! Big project :)

Then there are my daily walks with my friend, we'll call 'Mrs. Becks' ...

Page from 'I Spy'

All the while, trying to get the work ball rolling. It's hard to get the ball rolling when it isn't in your court anymore...just waiting on someone else...

And still find time to do 'fun stuff', silliness that I enjoy....mainly decorating.
One of the sheds

 Green Man and acorns...

Autumn-gray sky, reflected in the cherubs birdbath...

And I'm never far from my true Moon, my Luna; always has been and always will be the most beautiful vision I have ever been blessed to see.

 Luna rising over the pines at Willow Cottage on a crisp Autumn night, with the scent of a wood-burning fire in the the clouds pass over her.
Mabon Blessings, friends...
Oh! And don't forget to feed the birds :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rainy Southern California

I looooove rainy days. Although, being in Southern California, I can feel the waves of misery from all of those sun-lovin' folks that flock here to live in our sunshine. What's my story then? Why am I here? Well, I believe I'm one of those rare creatures that are called 'California Natives'. I was born here and although I love my Southern California and my good 'ol U.S. of A., I don't feel I've ever really belonged. My original blog (still up and running) is appropriately titled 'Elizabeth Rhiannon is...Misplaced in SoCal'. My story is...since the age of about 11 or 12 I began my obsession with England. Not in the way of 'fairytale, storybook land' or 'cute, little cobblestone streets with quaint teahouses' and 'aren't their accents adorable?'...more in a way of, I knew that's where I belonged. The simple things like beans on toast, rainy days, car boot sales, ancient history and my love of Brit music and Brit comedy among a million other little and not-so-little things. Not to mention Celtic Paganism that has always spoken to me. So, as I sit here, warm and snug in my cottage in the sky, I do what I do every rainy, blustery day, as I've done since childhood-I look outside and watch the rain and the beautiful dark clouds and dream of being in a different place...a place I belong.
(the photo above is mine, taken from our hotel room at the Grafton House. View of Durham Cathedral, Durham, England)

Friday, October 1, 2010

~Blessed October~

Well, today is the first day of my favorite month. The month I was born, the month of Samhain, the month of my favorite season and many other favorites that I won't get into now, as I've just spent a good part of my morning on my 'other, not-so-Pagan blog', blogging away about my love for the month of October. I've also created another blog about the area I live in, mainly for real estate purposes. Something has to give and this blog is paying the price.

 Which is unfortunate because my reason for creating this blog was to help get me back in the spiritual swing of things, so to say. I know life is about 'peaks and valleys' and the 'ebb and flow' of things...but I've been too long in the valleys and here, once again, I'm letting some soul-nurturing take a back seat. Tsk! Tsk!
 This 'little' folder is my latest reason. Filled with real estate 'stuff' that I need to organize and weed out. Something I should have been working on all's now 12:04...lunchtime! So, my stomach is telling me to get off the computer and fill it up.
I think I'll eat my lunch out in the beautiful, breezy first day of October, in the aftermath of last nights rain. Sit in the sunshine, talk to my usual robin that accompanies me in my outdoor excursions and contemplate October :)
See? The blog is helping me stay on track! :) Have a blessed day and Happy October...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blessed Mabon

"Listen! The wind is rising and
the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!"
~Humbert Wolfe
(a favorite)
Apples, Apple Pies,
Corn Stalks, Hay, Straw, Grapevine Wreaths
Ornamental Corn, Corn Bread, Corn Chowder,
Gourds and Pumpkins...
All things to show your joy for Mabon!
"There is nothing in the world more peaceful
than apple leaves with an early moon."
~Alice Meynell
A blessed Mabon is wished to you, friend. Enjoy this season with magick, love and wonder.

Monday, September 20, 2010

'Tis the Season for Apples

In a few weeks, we will visit Willowbrook Farms for some apple picking and some fresh cider pressing. Mmmmmm, Mabon!

Here are a couple favorite apple recipes for you to print out and try. A simple way for you and your family to enjoy in the magic of the season.

~Vermont Baked Apples~

Prep. time: 10 min.    Bake time: 1 hr. 45 min.

6 large cooking apples (Rome Beauty or Cortland hold their shape well when baked)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove apple cores beginning at stem, peel one-third of way down. Stand apples in shallow 13" by 9" baking dish. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons butter into cavity of each apple. Pour maple syrup over and around apples.
2. Bake apples, basting occasionally with syrup in baking dish, until tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Serve hot or cover and refrigerate to serve chilled.
Serve with whipped cream!
Makes 6 servings

~Apple Brown Betty~

Prep. time: 35 min.   Bake time: 50 min.

8 slices firm white bread, torn into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2  pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6 med.), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread pieces in jelly-roll pan; bake, stirring occasionally, until very lightly toasted, 12-15 min. Grease shallow 2-quart baking dish.
2. In medium bowl, combine melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add toasted bread pieces, tossing gently until evenly moistened.
3. In large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, nutmeg and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to coat.
4. Place 1/2 cup toasted bread pieces in baking dish. Cover with half of apple mixture, top with 1 cup toasted bread pieces. Place remining apple mixture on top and sprinkle evenly with remaining bread pieces, leaving 1-inch border around edges.
5. Cover with foil and bake 40 min. Remove foil and bake until apples are tender and bread pieces have browned, about 10 min. longer. Let stand 10 min. before serving.
Be indulgent: Pour a little heavy cream over each serving!
Makes 8 servings


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Countdown to Mabon

Aahhh, Mabon. My time of the year.

A time for deep reflection. A time for rememberance for those who have passed. That in turn makes me more aware of what life has to the time of Mabon.

                                         The Apple Gatherers by Frederick Morgan
The simple ways I look forward to spending Mabon will be with apple picking this year, for myself, my husband and son and anyone else I can tow along. On my menu of apple goodies, I will of course make an apple pie (or 3), apple cinnamon bread, caramel glazed apple cake (with Granny Smiths), an Apple Brown Betty, an Apple Charlotte and simple baked apples. Hm. That sounds quite ambitious. Well, we'll see how much energy I have :)

As always, there is the fabulous fall foliage. This picture above is not of my local area. This is the very blessed New England area. Blessed, as far as this nature lover is concerned, for having some of the countries most beautiful and stunning foliage, one that I plan to visit soon.

Aaaahhh, then of course there is the food, the feasting, the family gatherings. Raised by non-practicing Christian parents, we did not celebrate Mabon and the like. We did the usual Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. which I still celebrate today, although I celebrate in the pre-Christian traditions of Mabon, Samhain, Yule, etc. needless to say, this goes unbeknownst to my family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles). As many American pagans, we celebrate Thanksgiving, as it isn't a religious holiday but one of coming together and giving thanks and is high on my list of favorite Mabon celebrations...mainly for the food and family visits!

by Pierre Auguste
Now, being born and raised in Southern California, people are shocked to hear that I don't care for abundant, never-ending sunshine. I do love the beauty of a sunny day but like anything else, I like it in doses. Also, now living in the Southern California mountains, we have a whopping average annual of 310 days of sunshine! I'm one of those few, rare and perceived strange, Southern California natives that loves rain. I love rain, cloudy days, stormy and windy days (the darker and windier, the better!), occasional fog...and snow is always fun ;) But to get caught in a rainstorm, I'd like nothing better.
                                                            Seven Little Princes by Will Moses
Then, there's Samhain. My absolute favorite holiday of the year. No, it's not a recognized national holiday, but it is, nevertheless, for me and many fellow Pagans. I do not participate in group activities but am a solitary worker. I have my own quiet plans this year but for my family, I plan on a special dinner menu, my son's trick-or-treating, as usual, then home to a candle-lit house where we can feast on breads or pies and as always watch the Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride and any other Tim Burton fantasy that my husband will bring home. Later in the evening, I will find my quiet spot and celebrate quietly.

There is so much to do and to look forward to in every season but I'm counting down to Mabon's Magic. A favorite by Humbert Wolfe:

"Listen! The wind is rising and
the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!"

Apple recipes to come...Blessings Friends!