Fall in the Air

Merry meet all,

Tonight I made applesauce. I wish I added a tad more sweetener. The applesauce tasted tart and could have used a smidgen more sugar. That is how I learn. It is beginning to look and feel like fall. 

My garden is dying down. John Barleycorn has died. The metaphorical and literal scythe has fallen. My plants once verdant and green now wither and yellow. It breaks my heart and relieves me at the same time. I know my garden worked hard all summer. My garden has earned its rest over the cold season till spring’s return. 

Pumpkins adorn front porches. The thrift and craft stores are now all well stocked with Halloween products. I went to Value Village last night. I tried on a couple costumes- one of a raven dress and the other was a Witch dress. Neither held my interest. But what did catch my attention were the wings, striped socks- and buckled shoes?, lacy gloves, wands and tutu tulle skirts. I have a costume. This year I want to be a dark faerie instead of the usual Witch. Well one year I was an undead bride. I usually go as myself and this year I want to be different when I attend the annual Samhain Ritual. I happily lost track of time as I explored all the Halloween products. I mean each and every costume, boots, socks, skirts and cloaks. I checked it all out- then went home and enjoyed a hot meal. Yup it was fun. I wished I had some money but that is coming soon. 

This morning, I brought my lemongrass and ginger indoors. Lemongrass won’t survive a winter here in Atlantic Canada. I love the lemony aroma anyway. The ginger had some sprouts so I hope that grows well indoors. I plan to bring in more plants once I obtain terracotta plants. They are better than plastic. I hope the two dill seedlings I brought in fare well too. Time will tell. 

I want to save seeds from my garden too. My tomato plants are ripening on a windowsill. I saved some pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin I pureed and the seeds I roasted!! They are for next year. 

Once New moon arrives, I want to finish my Fire Cider project. The New moon begins in 3 more days. I made Fire Cider, put it all in a jar, and have stored in the fridge. I shook the bottle daily for a complete month almost. I kept an eye on it. I hope the ingredients have blended well. Now I shall strain the mixture and decant the cider into a new clean sterile jar. I will test it and then add sweetener. I plan to have Fire Cider around to combat colds and flu. 

Have any of you begun any fall projects? I would love to learn more. Please comment below. Enjoy Mabon!!

Blessings, Spiderwitch

 

Cemetery sentiments

Merry meet all,

Recently I visited an arts store because they carried Halloween stuff. I strolled through the aisles, and made mental notes on what to buy once I finally had some money. Seeing the Halloween stuff ( statues, skeletal arms, witch dolls, upside down bats, brooms) cheered me a little. Samhain is my favorite time of year.

The air is cooler today. It is still August but the leaves were falling already in the cemetery. I was also recently in a cemetery trying to write poetry. I did get one poem done though it is far from word perfect. I like the cemetery I visited. I saw a moth flitting over the ground, birds pecking for seeds, crows screeching from the treetops.

The engravings on the tombstones were too faint to read. I sat on the stone step, my notebook and a pen in hand, and just sat for a while soaking in the atmosphere. Inspiration seized me. I now want to write a small chapbook of poetry. It will be effort but everything is effort. There were tombstones of varying sizes and shapes. Everyone probably considered me weird seated and doing what I was doing, but I don’t care.

There is no safer place to be. The quiet of a cemetery lets me think. They are not such dangerous places but people should still use common sense. I just like dark verse.

One problem or side effect of being clairsentient and writing poetry in cemeteries is taking spirits home with you. Parasitic astral larvae live in cemeteries and often want to come home with me. While they get my empathy, I am just not sure I want to suddenly see dishes fly off shelves or my bed rattle late at night. I leave the energies there when I exit a cemetery. I do feel for them- I am sure being dead is no fun, but I have to establish and maintain boundaries.

Ah fall.. time for cardigans, cider, root vegetable meals, and pumpkins. Onions, parsnips, turnips, potatoes are all excellent healthy veggies. The skins are often the most nutrient rich part of the root vegetable. So go ahead, as you peruse some dark gothic poetry, enjoy soups and stews. If you grew the veggies yourself and cook them yourself, you enjoy twice the amount of nutrients because you know where they came from. I advocate for organic food. I know I will be. I grew my own garlic, dill, basil, mint, lavender, chives, and even shallots this year. I can’t wait to harvest more. I did harvest my garlic and dill and froze the dill, The garlic is braided and hanging up in my kitchen. I am waiting till the perfect harvest time to gather in the rest. The health and quality of growing your own veggies and herbs is unsurpassed- and not tainted by those horrid chemicals from the supermarket.

Enjoy fall!

Blessings Spiderwitch

Pumpkins Vine Time

Merry meet all,

The Halloween stuff is in the stores!! Oh my I’ll grab my broomstick and fly over and won’t be back till I’m broke!!! October is three months away. I’m still waiting for my veggies to grow though. I am anticipating a big harvest though. This is the time of year when I get excited. I live for Samhain. It’s time to dust off our brooms and our cauldrons, don our striped socks and head over to the stores selling the Halloween stuff.

My pumpkin vine has flowers!! My zucchini plant has a new flower too. I can’t wait for them to get big already. My cucumber plant has lots of flowers but tiny cucumbers. Oh my goddess it’s not like they have all year to grow. Can you tell I’m frustrated?

A real gardener is patient. I still can’t find that gardener. Since we are in harvest season, I hope you enjoy reading this post and learn how to grow your own!

Here are some tips on how to grow our favorite Halloween fruit-pumpkins. Pumpkins need up to 120 days to mature. Pumpkins can be grown from seed. However this year I had luck with the transplants I bought from the local plant store. Wait until all chances of frost have passed. They will grow in warm weather. They can take over a garden too and need up to 30 feet of room to grow.

Before planting your transplants, add plenty of compost material to the soil. You can grow the plants in hills. You mound up the soil and then (If you want to start from seed), put one seed per hill and plant up to four seeds in each hill Make sure there is plenty of room between the vines.

Pumpkins need tons of water. Be sure to only water the plants enough and to avoid root rot. If they look wilted, then the plant has died. Feed the plants a healthy mix of phosphorus and nitrogen, and add more phosphorus than nitrogen, which helps them grow their very best.

If you want to prune the vines, then be sure the vines have pumpkins on them first. When you carefully prune the plants, then you force the plant to stop concentrating on the vine growth and it focuses on maturing the fruit vine. This produces better fruit growth in the long run. Also, consider sprinkling diatomaceous earth under your plants. I did all summer and I have a healthy big zucchini plant in my garden that is pest bug free!

If insects are a problem on your vines, then plant nasturtiums. You have to attract pollinators to pollinate your plants. Aphids, cucumber beetles and stink bugs are a pest to your plants. By planting flowers such as nasturtiums, you will attract pollinators and the insects that might like some aphids for a tasty meal. Plant lots of flowers to increase your chances of healthy plants overall.

Harvesting pumpkins is fun and saves you money!! When the stem looks dry and the fruit is an orange color, it is time to harvest them! Knock hard on the rind of the pumpkin. It should sound hollow. Scrape your fingernail on the rind. It should not scratch easily. Harvest before the frost!

Use your favorite witch tool or boline to cut the pumpkin from the vine. Leave a few inches of stem to avoid disease. Let the pumpkins to cure for a couple of weeks first and store them properly. When they are fully cured, you will know. Allow for air ventilation and don’t dry them out near other fruit. Fruit give off ethylene gas. You can coat a pumpkin in oil which seals it for storage.

Enjoy your glowing orange pumpkins after all this hard work. !!

Blessings Spiderwitch

 

The Good Faeries of the Garden

Merry meet all,

I know it’s a few months till Samhain. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be looking for the spooky happening around you now. In case you don’t believe me, I had a freaky incident recently. I found my copper skull spoon in my garden. I have no idea how it got there. I retrieved it, washed it all the while wondering how’d that happen? So it might be more common than you think. I blame the faeries and brownies.

The movie Mary Shelley opens in theaters soon. I am counting the days and hours till then. I am eager to get to work on my garden. If you are seriously into spirits and faeries, well, working in your garden is a great way to interact with them. Trust me, they are around. And not to mention the spirits in the plants themselves. So that is a lot of spirit work.

I recommend waiting till May Full Moon to do any garden work and planting. There is still a risk of frost. The May Full moon could be a powerful time for inviting the faeries and other helpful nature spirits to your garden. Leave a libation of honey and milk or mead and bury crystals in the soil. Clean the garden, use no pesticides and actually care for your garden. Decorate your garden with artificial lights, wooden pentacles or hang crystals from trees. Add some fairy statues and they will not be able to resist. Faeries care for the earth more than us mortals ever will. So showing you care is a great way to get their help. Then be consistent. If you find certain plants growing unusually well and your garden seeming like it’s more protected than others, it is a good sign the Good Folk are there. I have left my apartment door unlocked (unknowingly to me and unintentionally) and I have never been robbed. I don’t know how I did that. I usually do lock my door. But I am sure something is guarding my place.

One good idea if you like the darker side, is growing dark colored plants. You could grow black hollyhock or black roses. Use your imagination.

If you see pretty bright lights and the birds and insects flock to your plants or bird feeders, they are there. You will know by the auspicious signs you see. But you have to actually be outside to witness the signs. So every time you have some extra organic scraps, offer it to your garden. Keep the feeders full and remember to leave crystals in the soil. They will charge the soil and plants. Leaving offerings to your garden keeps a balance between you and the spirits. Be good to the earth. Try composting and recycling. Honor the spirits. Keep your garden clean and free of debris.

When it is harvest season, you can again leave a libation and thank the spirits for their aid. Decorate your garden with pumpkins, gourds and flowers of the season. The Full Harvest Moon has been allowing farmers to harvest their crops for centuries. There are lots of spirits and perhaps ancestral spirits everywhere. I love the harvest time. I can sense energies so easily. I see them in my house too.

I hope this helps you and keeps you busy during the growing season.

Blessings, Spiderwitch

Spring Equinox

Merry meet all,

Blessed Ostara!! Today marks the spring equinox. The weather today was beautiful, cool and sunny. I couldn’t have asked for more. I visited the local witch shop. I am always there. I took my broom with me to show it off. I baked cookies and watched the faery fabulous movie Maleficent. My windows are open to let in the spring energy. I am eager to plant more seeds.

Wse depart from the dark half of the year to the lighter half. Now the Goddess stirs and awakens. The Crone gives way to the Maiden and the God rises too, to plant seeds of new growth. I am excited to get to work on my garden once again. I have seedlings begun already.

I took photos of the graveyard recently. I shall soon share the pictures with the Horror Writers Association for their slideshow. I attended a wonderful memorial service for an acquaintance. I enjoyed the whole evening of the service, feast and the after party. The crows were agitated in my neighborhood prior to the service. I can’t help but wonder if it was another message. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up for me to visit the cemetery more often. I guess  bringing coffee in a thermos will suffice. I shall try again tomorrow to write more horror poetry.

I wish you all a wonderful Ostara. Blessings to all

Spiderwitch

How to make Strawberry Jam

Merry Meet All,

Every morning, I visit my garden. I am under its spell. The garden is replete with veggies, flowers, and herbs. It is hard to believe that it is almost Lammas. Lammas is the first of the three harvest seasons. I think the year has spun by on magical wings. I wish I could keep up.

Tonight the Full Moon shines over the earth. I plan to dedicate my new black athame that I bought from Sacred Mists. It is so beautiful. It’s a Valkyrie Athame. It is in keeping with my Scandinavian family ancestry. Here is a picture of the Valkyrie Athame.

Want to know how to save money and enjoy organic homemade strawberry jam? I made four jars of organic strawberry jam yesterday afternoon. It is easy to do but requires patience on your part and some effort.

Strawberry Jam

Wash, and hull about 2 quarts of strawberries- or buy frozen organic strawberries.

Measure 4 cups strawberries

In a large saucepan or preserving kettle alternate layers of strawberries with

3 cups granulated sugar Organic sugar

Let stand for 2 hours.
Bring to boil and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Stir in
¼ cup lemon juice

Bring to boil uncovered about 5 minutes longer or until a teaspoonful when chilled quickly has desired consistency. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and skim off foam by turns for 5 minutes. Ladle into sterilized jars. Seal while hot with a thin layer of melted paraffin wax (optional.) Makes about 4 cups.

After I sterilized my jars by boiling them in hot water for fifteen minutes, I used my black heart-shaped magnetic hematite stone to pick up the jar lids to place them on the jars. I just thought I would pass that tip along. I do plan to invest in a good home canning set very soon because now I am hooked. So I now have two jars of elderberry jam and four jars of homemade strawberry jam. That is 6 jars in total. See? You don’t need to buy berry jam when you can make it yourself and know that it will contain no GMOs or chemicals and preservatives. I hope this post inspires you to try your hand at making your own jam. Our ancestors did it that way. People today are returning to the forgotten traditions and alternative medicines.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Container Gardening

Merry Meet All,

I direct seeded radish into my garden this spring. That lured slugs near. I just waited for the radishes to emerge and replanted them into a container. I am glad I did. I want to be the one to bite into my own garden grown radish, not the pest. I know farmers and other eager gardeners brave the garden pests, but container gardening is very popular now, probably for that reason.

I attended a talk at the local library about container gardening. The planter I have is deep enough for radishes and can keep some pests away, ensuring that I will have a crop of radishes. They grow fast and can be sown when it is still cool in spring. While a container should be a foot deep or so to grow most veggies, you may be surprised at what you can use for a container.

Here is what you need to know to venture into the wonders of container gardening.

Your veggies will need six hours of sun a day.

Your veggies will need plenty of water. Test the soil before you water and wait till the end of the day. Container grown veggies may need more water than those grown in the garden, but you don’t want them to dry up or drown. You need to keep the soil moist, not wet. Make sure the container has good drainage or use stones to aid drainage.

Warmth- You can leave your containers out in the garden all summer. Leave the container where it is most likely to receive the most amount of sun. Also, use good potting soil. Refrain from using garden soil as it is not sterile and may contain weeds. Just discard weeds if you spot them in your container.

Fertilizer. Your vegetables will need fertilizer. You can choose between granular or liquid fertilizers. They both work. Every couple of weeks, feed the plants a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer.

Seeds or seedlings. You can be bold and have the smug satisfaction- to which I can attest, and grow your vegetables from seed. Or you can try growing them from seedlings which you can purchase from a local nursery or garden centre. I started my peas, mesclun mix, and radishes from seed. I bought pumpkin seedlings. I was surprised to find I had purchased white pumpkins, not orange. That brings ghosts to mind.

The other best thing if you grow vegetables in containers is that at the end of the season, you can save the seed and thereby save money, and use the soil you grew the vegetables in and add that to your garden. The soil will contain nutrients from the container grown vegetables. Consider it to be similar to free compost for your gardening soil. Your garden will thank you.

Some vegetables grow upwards and up and up. Tomatoes, peas, cucumbers all grow up and need supports. You can buy tomato cages and trellises or make your own trellis to support vines. They are relatively cheap and available at stores. Read your seed packets carefully to determine prior to planting so you will know how high they grow and what you need to support them with. I found out after planting that my peas grow up to 4 meters-that is 13 feet. I wish I had known. Now I need to purchase a large trellis to support the peas.

Pests. Just because you may keep slugs away you may find other undesirable critters drawn to your plants. While you sleep at night, they will snack on everything you worked so hard to grow. Birds, raccoons, cats, rabbits and deer may eat everything to the root. But there are deterrents available. I wrestled with deciding where to grow my veggies. Finally I decided to go for it and grow the veggies outside. That way, they receive the proper amount of sun, wind and rain. You can use chicken wire, fine netting, alarms, bird feeders to keep them away, fencing, natural pesticides, lights at night time, a dog. If you see that something seemed to have devoured some potatoes and onions, like a racoon, plant and sacrifice some strawberries slightly away from your veggies and they can eat them. Also, watch out for pest insects like carrot fly or aphids. Ladybugs eat aphids. So plant something to keep ladybugs nearby.

May the Goddess bless you with a garden harvest
Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

Seedling Magick

Merry Meet All,

Here is a spell to get your seeds germinating. You will require the following: A plastic ziploc bag, Kleenex, seeds, and water.

Light a candle and open the ziploc bag. Use a beeswax candle to correspond with this spell. Bees work hard flitting from flower to flower and are associated with pollination, so it does mix well with the spell. And if you plant the seeds outside, bees may visit your plants to pollinate. Wet some tissue and put the seeds from the packet into the wet tissue. Turn on the tap and put some water in the ziploc bag, if you want, but not too much. Tuck the seeds into the tissue and wrap the kleenex around the seeds. Seal the ziploc bag and place the baggie on your altar. The energy from your altar may empower your seeds to grow and blossom. Also, leave the seeds in the baggie somewhere out of direct sunlight.

After a few days have passed, check to see if the seeds have germinated. This technique is called pre-germinating and it is an excellent method to start seeds. If they haven’t, seal the bag again and replace it on your altar. After a few more days, check the seeds again. If they have, then fill some flats from a seed-tray with soil. Dampen the soil and let the muddy water drain in the kitchen sink. Once the soil settles, put a dish beneath the seed tray. Gently tear the tissue where the sprouted seed is and place the tissue and seed right in the seed flat. The tissue will compost. This avoids severely disturbing the seed. You need to be gentle as you can be. The seeds will sprout upwards and grow toward the sun.

If there are other seeds that have not yet sprouted, tuck them into the damp tissue again, place in the bag, and seal the bag again. Blow the candle out or let it extinguish itself. Tidy up the kitchen area and place the dish holding the seeds on a sunny windowsill. Thank the Goddess and God for the seeds and the bounty that will develop from the seeds.

It is a wonder of nature how a tree, a shrub, or a flower can blossom from a tiny seed. This miracle has been occurring since the dawn of time. When the seeds are allowed to grow organically, like they were meant to, the bees can pollinate the plants. The bees are endangered and we have to help them. Growing plants that attract bees helps them and helps us. We are nothing without these industrious bees and slave laborers. We may well die if they perish. They are the unsung heroes of the world.

The most magickal act I have witnessed this spring is watching my garden grow and watching seeds bloom into seedlings. It never ceases to amaze me, just how perfect nature is. The shapes, designs, and colour of the plants in my garden are beautiful. Nature is perfect and when we try to mimic that perfection, that is when the hardest fall comes. So remember this summer to walk lightly upon the earth. You will be blessed with a beautiful garden.

Here are some photos of different plants and the amazing intricate design of Nature:

My Leopard’s Bane

Dutchman’s Breeches

Euonymus Shrub

May the Goddess and God bless your seedlings and seeds.
Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

New Moon energy

Merry Meet All,

I hope you are busy tending to your seedlings. According to the zone I live in, the first full moon after June signifies the best time for planting and the danger of frost is past. My dill is growing indoors but as soon as I can, I will plant it straight in the garden. I am hedging on whether to keep my veggies indoors, because I can’t think of a way to keep raccoons away. They are clever determined critters. Of course, we remove their homes and then get angry at them. Makes no sense.

Today the New Moon reigns and I am so relieved. I thought Waning Moon would be forever. That’s ridiculous, of course. The moon begins in Taurus and moves to Gemini by this afternoon. Gemini makes room for lighthearted fun and new ideas. This would be a good time to begin new projects- like working on your indoor or outdoor garden. I am reading Kate West’s The Real Witches Garden book and it suggests fantastic ways to make your garden magickal. Here is the link to the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Real-Witches-Garden-Kate-West/dp/0738721247/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368189217&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Real+witches+garden

I have found a new use for milk or cream cartons. I cut the carton, poke a hole in the bottom to allow for drainage, rinse it out and let it dry. Once dry, I add soil to the carton. I use a fork to remove the seedling from the seed flat carefully. I do not want to harm the tender roots. I settle the seedling into the carton, allowing the plant to have room to grow stronger roots. Don’t throw your cartons out. They make good seedling holders. Place a crystal in the bottom of the carton to keep the soil from falling out. The crystal’s vibrations might help the plants grow. The crystals that correspond would be clear quartz, amethyst, and flourite. I put moss green agate in my garden once but I found it did not help the plants grow. Remember to water and fertilize the plants. I use organic Neptune’s Harvest fish emulsion. I also added cold coffee to my tomato seedling. The nitrogen in the coffee helps it to grow but I will stop adding cold coffee once it flowers. The nitrogen stops aiding the plant after that.

Mother’s Day is coming up. Have you all thought of some gifts to let your Mother know she’s appreciated? I plan to gift my Mom with some of my veggie seedlings. I planted too many and can now give some as gifts. If you plan to make some natural beauty products and give those as gifts, here is a link for how to make them.
http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com/homemade-beauty-gifts/

Good luck with growing your herbs and flowers or vegetables this summer!! I wish you the very best. Happy planting.

Blessed Be,
lady Spiderwitch

An indoor organic vegetable garden

Merry Meet All,

Here are some tips to inspire and energize you for growing seedlings. Think you can’t have an organic indoor veggie garden, at least for growing seeds into seedlings? Think again.

If you have been following my indoor garden veggie salad adventure, then this will be no surprise. But I will recap for those who haven’t. I began with my trays and flats, which I sterilized before starting soil in. I also set on the seed flats in a large glass baking dish. This makes it easier to water, as I can water from below and not need to worry about water dripping everywhere. That helps plants develop strong roots and does not disrupt the tender emerging roots.

I planted the organic vegatable seeds in the mix, watered and fertilized, and set them in the flats. I also wrote down what I planted where so I could remember what I planted. I used an egg carton as well to hold seeds and soil. Now I have tiny shoots emerging and I wish i could impress upon you all just how exciting is to watch them grow. The seeds receive tons of sunlight and a breeze from the open window.

As an extra, I cut a bit off from the bottom end of a scallion and stuck that in some soil. The scallion roots took hold and the scallion is now a few inches high. I also sliced off an inch or two from the top of a carrot and suspended the carrot top in a bowl of water. Tiny carrot tops now reach for the sun.

I started a tomato plant from seed this spring too. I fermented the seeds and saved them in a freezer for a few days. I put the seed in soil in a Jiffy pot, left the seed in the pot in a dark corner for a few days and honestly forgot about it. I checked sometime later and removed the pot from the dark glass, and placed the seedling to grow in the sun on a windowsill.

I just transplanted my tomato seedling into a recycled milk carton. I cut the milk carton in half, cut a hole in the bottom for drainage, added a clear quartz crystal to stop the soil from spilling out, + moistened the potting mix. I dug out the tomato seedling from the Jiffy pot with a fork, and planted it carefully in the milk carton, nestling it securely in the damp soil. I fertilized it with my organic Neptune’s harvest fish emulsion fertilizer, and some stuff that encourages deep root growth, and set the carton on the tray with the other seedlings. Now the tomato plant can grow strong roots. This is important so it can grow healthy ripe tomatoes. This may all seem like a lot of effort at first, but it is all vitally important for the plant. There is lots of room in the milk carton for the roots to form.

The tomato transplant is shown in the milk carton in the photo below:

I have turned a large glass container into a jar for compost tea for my garden. I fill it with eggshells, coffee grains, teabags. I set a plastic bag over the lid and tied an elastic to secure the plastic and keep pests out. You cannot use a glass lid or the jar will explode. The compost tea will be for my garden. I also mixed five bags of soil over my garden and fed it a healthy dose of the last of my bonemeal. The garden looks purdy with dark rich organic black soil. Plants will emerge and grow strong now.

I have an indoor veggie garden! Of course, soon the frost will pass, and I can tuck my seedlings outdoors in the large planter, where they will receive light. Their roots will have more room to grow. Of course, the bugs may want their share. I plan to set a type of protective cover over the seedlings, like chicken wire. I have planted lovage from seed and I am waiting for the lovage to germinate. Lovage looks like celery and smells more like aniseed. So it is exciting, this venture of mine. I promise to update you all regularly on how it goes. Till then, happy planting!!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(