Sunday, August 14, 2016

sunflowers morning, noon & night


I'm so grateful for sunflowers. They sway and turn, look up, bow down and everything in between. They are hosts to a myriad of insects and soon squirrels, birds and maybe people will come visiting for their share as well. They cleanse the soil of radioactivity and are said to be guardian spirits. I don't doubt for a second their divine essence.

Yesterday I collected flowers to make dye bundles.

Blue and purples to the left, dyers coreopsis and eucalyptus in the middle and portulaca to the right.

Red, gold and pink zinnias with purple basil and blue and purple pansies with blue larkspur.

From left to right the fibers are wool, cotton that was soaked in milk, more wool (a deconstructed jacket sleeve) and silk (a deconstructed blouse collar). This is my first dye project of the summer but I have intentions to do more.

 I learned a new way to cut up watermelon. Less work and more fun to eat.

The beets are sweet and abundant this year, I wish I could say the same of the tomatoes but it's tricky like that here in Colorado.

I'm working on reducing the amount of garden waste we send off to the landfill. This is a permaculture technique called chop & drop and it's done exactly like it sounds. You chop what's no longer wanted or needed at the base, then chop it up a little more, then lay it right back on the ground. Leave the plant's roots intact so that it can either regenerate or decay in the soil. Comfrey is a marvelous soil nutrient and we can't possibly use all its leaves in salve or tea.

Some older chop & drop, mostly burdock leaves and stalks -- if I had extra compost or some dried leaves, I'd cover it to help it break down faster and also make it look nicer. But the decaying look is definitely growing on me. I chopped & dropped for several hours over the last few days -- everything from small weeds to tree trimmings. It only makes sense when you think about it, to give back to Mother Earth that which she produced. 

I'm seeing red. The madder patch, Rubia tinctoria, started from seed  three years old, is old enough for some of the roots to be harvested this fall. Madder is a cheerful plant, the greenest of green leaves, tiny blossoms with berry-like seed capsules. It can spread and climb but mine has mounded upon itself to look like a shrub.

Still stitching one little plant-dyed moon square at a time -- part of the Quilty 365 project here.

Larkspur seeds collected and ready to be packaged or sprinkled around -- I'm thinking of doing a little guerrilla seed-sowing at the park where I walk the dogs. The city seems to have forgotten about one particular xeriscaped stretch of which half has died off over the last ten years. Today I noticed that hollyhocks have naturalized themselves and maybe next summer there will be larkspur as well. It should be okay since larkspur is a Colorado wildflower.

This is my full moon sewing project for this year. Each full moon of the year so far, cloth has been chosen and cut with stitching time fit in here and there. Loving it but applique-stitching these big moons by hand takes hours and hours.

She's bowing down, her head is heavy. Some days this is exactly how I feel especially when I'm out working in the heat of the day. It has been a hot, hot summer with little to no rain.

The waxing moon lights up the night clouds.

A battery-run votive candle is tucked inside the white vintage three-tier macrame hanger I found on etsy. It came from France and was only around $50 which seemed like an unbelievable bargain at the time, I don't know.

At night this beautiful sunflower still glows, I think the variety is even named Evening Star. Which it is.

Sunflower blessings to you!  xx

Monday, August 1, 2016

a green blessing at lammas

The light has changed, have you noticed? To me, it has a greenish cast, maybe because there is so much green mass for sunlight to pass through. I don't know exactly why, but I always notice this, every August 1st the light turns the air green. 

I dismantled my Summer Solstice altar and built a new one for these beginning days of Lammas, a gratitude celebration for the beginning of the first harvest. Representations of the first harvest from the garden fill the bowl while also calling to mind other things in my life coming to fruition as well -- things that I've made intentions toward and worked on over the last six months.  

Nice to use a cloth with a grid to lay sacred objects onto -- crystals & stones and pinecones...

...a necklace and a green glass pyramid filled with healing intentions for our oldest dog...

...a key and a bee and a woman with her ruffled feather. 

Lammas-time holds some fine memories for me, it is a point on the wheel of the year that I am so familiar with, the green air and all. This year though I've changed. I am purposely rewilding myself and everything is different. So I created a garden blessing ritual that draws on some energies in Nature that I've gotten to know better.

Breath of Light, Heart of Green,
Earth and Spirit and All between,
Bless this land as sacred space,
May Love and Peace dwell within this place,
Breath of Light, Heart of Green
Earth and Spirit and All between.

The bees didn't mind that I burned copal resin so close by. I think they're already getting tamer as they rewild themselves back to their true nature. Maybe that's what's happening to me, too. Getting tamer.

I hung the crystal necklace from the Lammas altar onto a little blue spruce branch. I hope to hang more crystals throughout the garden as time goes by.

Green heart stones were laid in the four directions of the space we live on. The green heart bloodstone is in the nettle patch to the east.

I walked around the perimeter of our city lot and placed the stones, tomorrow I will bury them. This green heart stone is near the sidewalk to the south which leads to our front door.

As I walked, I realized that the noises of city living could be viewed as the voice of the Green Woman. The dogs barking, the road work, sirens, all of it. This green heart stone is in the west in an area I am helping to rewild into a wooded pathway.

Our grandmother grapevine climbs on the north fence and before her lies the north green heart stone.

This is a glimpse of my ritual. I had a wonderful time both creating and enacting it. In a few days it will be on a new page over on the sidebar. If you would like to bless your space or name your space, it might be a helpful guide.

Blessings for an abundant first harvest (or a successful first sowing) and Happy Lammas (or Candlemas) depending on your hemisphere.


Monday, July 18, 2016

rewilding ourselves

There has been talk over at Spirit Cloth about stitching secret gardens and such -- a tiny woven piece from over a year ago is already growing into a secret garden with a butterfly and some flowers.

I love my birthday cards -- one girl always paints me wearing my crescent moon necklace. 

I'm starting to collect a small amount of surplus seeds to package in origami seed packets. First up is beautiful nigella, Nigella damascena, next will be larkspur. Aren't the nigella seed capsules wonderful?

Nearly speechless over the passion flower, Passiflora caerulea.....ten petals, dozens of radial filaments with five anthers and three stigmas....I have tried to grow passion flower before but this is a first.

In order for our honeybees to become mite-resistant which is a huge problem for colonies everywhere, I'm giving up control. Weeds, vegetables, flowers and bushes all get to bloom and go to seed. Mint gets to grow wherever it wants and thyme, borage and oregano can follow along. I am not making any more white-sugar syrup to feed the bees and have removed most of the man-made foundation frames from inside the hive. Instead of using plastic chemical-laden "honeycomb" cells, they are drawing their own beeswax foundation in which to lay eggs and store food. The tiny hexagonal wax cells they draw on their own will be the size they need and not what the honey industry wants them to be. Mites don't like the smaller cells. Mites don't like peppermint or thyme. Mites don't like bees that have rewilded themselves into smaller, tamer bodies. 

That is the plan -- we are rewilding ourselves here.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

the sacred in the ordinary

At the beginning of this turn of the wheel, I pledged to find the sacred in the ordinary. Now at Midsummer I realize that it's all right here in my own backyard...the sacred in the ordinary.

The birds love angelica seeds, I love the solitary hollyhock.

Maximilian sunflowers and St. Theresa grapes both do well here in Colorado. In case you didn't know, Maximilian sunflower roots form a thick barrier to block invading species.

I like the perfectly fringed petals of an elecampagne, Inula helenium, flower. Elecampagne roots are a source of blue dye and a respiratory medicine but I don't think I'll have the heart to dig them up for either purpose.

Looking up -- this is a pinon pine tree that we thought was a lost cause many years ago but she endures. The flicker house has been home to birds and squirrels, there is a family of blue jays hanging around it right now but I've never heard of blue jays using a birdhouse so it might just be coincidence.

The nettle patch has been sparse for some reason although this grandmother plant is over 7' tall. I decided to help the family recover by not harvesting any leaves -- look at all her seeds.

A new bee-house -- each tube can be home to a solitary bee and her offspring. About 85% of all bees are solitary bees, wonderful pollinators who often go unnoticed because of their small size.

Birth of a sunflower blossom.

The garden is vibrant and lush, a flurry of activity with butterflies and bees and when things begin to go to seed more, the birds will join in as well. Lush is not so easy to come by here in Colorado, being inlanders the landscape can dry up quickly into varying shades of brown and tan. I think we are considered to have a high desert climate based on altitude and rainfall. Alongside the Buddha garden is a patch of grass already going dormant for the hot months.

Today I made a list of most of the plants I started from seed for this growing season, leaving room for additional notes -- a minimalist version of a garden journal.

A little 3" x 4" Solstice book cloth was woven, stitched and fringed. As I sewed I thought about planting more trees, bushes and plants and which ones and where. I thought about attracting more birds and how birdsong stimulates growth and makes the trees, bushes and plants happy. And I thought about naming this space I am so lucky to tend. All of this is in the works.

Blessings of the garden to you. xxxx

Friday, June 24, 2016

solitary solstice 2

A token Midsummer's Day offering for the wildlife who visit here -- red and white alpine strawberries on a bark trencher, dropped off by our maple tree during the last rainstorm. The white berries are sweet but not quite equal to the red.

On the other side of the fence between a neighbor and us. The more aged and weathered, the more beautiful this tree becomes. 

One might assume the tree is dead, but to the contrary, she is teaming with life inside and outside.

The beginning of a woven midsummer's day cloth, about 4" square.

A Midsummer's Eve offering for the spirits -- things I would like if I was a faery...cottonwood fluff, strips of plant-dyed cloth, shiny foil...actually the same things I like as a human!

When the dogs and I walked into the park near the creek earlier today, hundreds of dragonflies greeted us. Magic is afoot. Happy Midsummer's Day to you. xx