September blog – Enjoying the dregs of the summer

The big news here on this New England mountain is the drought. My elderberry bush is strangely lop sided this year; one half dried up and dying and the other half bending low with berries. The rowan (Mountain Ash) trees are suffering the most, with crinkled up leaves they appear to be at deaths’ door. I take heart from a story my brother once told me. He lives in Texas where there was a severe drought for three years. It was so bad that the oaks lost their leaves for the entire period. But once the rains returned, so did the leaves.

A few weeks ago I had a strange encounter with a hummingbird on the back patio where I have never had hummingbird feeders. In past years at this time my garden has been filled with roses and pink phlox. Now, due to the drought I have half as many flowers. One day I went out and a hummingbird started dive bombing my face. It was clearly trying to tell me something because it hovered for a minute or so at my eye level, chirping all the while. I got the message. I immediately got into the car and went out and bought a Hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbirds are powerful little animals. In Inca tradition they are the intermediaries with the angelic realms and help one to achieve the impossible.

This house is on a well and last week the well actually went dry and I had to wait a day before the pressure was high enough to turn on the faucets. I am getting used to a new routine; watering plants by hand from empty milk jugs, channeling grey water from the kitchen sink directly into the garden, squeezing out my laundry before I put it on the line to dry and saving the water to pour on the roses, only watering in the early morning and in the evening to prevent evaporation.

(Speaking of drought,  here is an article about a farmer who is succeeding with very little water )

The other big project around here is gathering acorns. I went down to a local lake and found a hollowed out stone and another stone that fits neatly into my hand, to use as a mortar and pestle/acorn smasher. My plan is to crack the acorns, leach them, dry the leached nuts, and grind them into flour. So many people I know have oak trees, it’s a wonder that we aren’t all making use of this amazing food source that was once a staple food of our ancestors.

Here is a little recipe from my newest herbal “Secret Medicines >From Your Garden”;

Acorn Cake

  •  1 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1 cup acorn flour
  • 1 cup other organic flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground Cardamom
  • ½ tsp. ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground Allspice
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • ½ cup Applesauce
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • Some powdered sugar to dust on top
  • Butter to grease the pan

 Method:

  • Grease and flour a Bundt pan
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix the dry ingredients and spices in a bowl
  • Beat the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl
  • Combine the wet and dry mixtures and pour into the Bundt pan
  • Bake 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Take out of the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes, and then turn out on a rack.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar.

How to process acorns
How to make acorn flour

FALL EQUINOX

The Equinox falls on September 22 this year. Here are some suggestions for how to honor the Devas and Land Spirits who have labored long and hard to create the bounty of our forests, fields and gardens;

Fall Equinox, Meán Fomhair, Alban Elfed (September 22)

  • Make offerings to a sacred fire; dry herbs, whiskey, butter, ghee
  • Pour milk offerings on stones
  • Offer ale and oatmeal gruel to the sea
  • Pour ale, honey, cider or milk on the Earth
  • Make a scarecrow from the new grain and place it in the exact center of your fields. Do not give it clothes. The Spirit of the Grain will inhabit the scarecrow and look out for the welfare of the crops.

ACTION ALERT

“A suspected Native American burial ground is slated for destruction during the high holy days of the Algonquian people who live here.  This is our time to memorialize the deceased and to celebrate life. All Tribal representatives were banned from inspecting this site, contrary to Federal policy (Bureau of the Interior, Section 106 and Bulletin 38) and in violation of MGL 114, Massachusetts burial protection law.  The law is designed to prevent “alienation of a burial ground for any other purpose,” but is being loop holed in this case.”

Please read and consider signing this petition to allow Native American tribal officers to inspect a suspected burial ground before it’s destroyed:

Please share to all your friends on various social networks.  This petition is being sent to the Hopi, Dineh, Oglala Lakotah, and several other First Nations offices.  A copy of this petition has been sent to President Obama, who is vacationing through the Algonquian holy days in the backyard of the Aquinnah Wampanoag, ironically.

Nahuhnushagk,

Rolf Cahat

Akwesasne Mohawk Tribal Member, Nipmuc descendant, science editor and researcher of Native American culture and religion, resident of Shutesbury

ANOTHER ACTION ALERT

We the people ask the federal government to call on Congress to act on an issue:

Stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline which endangers the water supply to Native American reservations.

Created by C.S. on August 15, 2016

“The Dakota Access pipeline is set to be constructed near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, crossing under the Missouri River which is the only source of water to the reservation. The pipeline is planned to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The potential of oil leaks would contaminate the only source of water for the reservation. While Dakota Access claims oil leaks are unlikely, an oil leak from a separate pipeline in North Dakota was discovered (8/15/16) to have leaked over 500 barrels of oil since the leak began on July 19, 2016. You can read the article here. A leak like this from the Dakota Access pipeline would leave the Standing Rock Sioux without any clean water”.

BIG BOOK NEWS

OK, this really is  BIG. The International Herb Association has chosen “Secret Medicines from your Garden” for their Thomas DeBaggio Annual Book Award – announced at their annual conference, held this year in Columbia, MD, August 18-21.

As I said to them; “Please tell the participants that I am very honored to be chosen. I am the kind of person who goes to a dinner party and points out the poison ivy growing by the front door to the hostess and also the edible tips of the hemlock trees growing in the yard. I see clippings from river birch trees lying in a pile at the edge of the garden and I tell anyone within earshot that they would make a great tea. These kinds of sentiments are not always understood (or appreciated) by a busy hostess at a dinner party! But I am sure plant people will understand. (smile).”

You can purchase a signed copy of the book from me via this website or find it in the usual places! The amazing thing is the book contains magical as well as medicinal uses of herbs. Apparently herb magic is no longer threatening to the general public (or at least to Herbalists!)

Article  about SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN, the award the book just received and some local classes….

And an author interview here

WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES

  • THE HERBAL AND SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES OF TREES
    A slideshow and talk
    September 3rd , Pelham, MA
    Taught by Ellen Evert Hopman, Herbalist and Author.
    Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of  A DRUID’S HERBAL OF SACRED TREE MEDICINE, SECRET MEDICINES FROM YOUR GARDEN and other herbals. She  will be discussing the herbal and folklore traditions surrounding common North American trees and harvesting and preparation methods. Trees covered include; Larch, Oak, Hawthorn, Walnut, Pine, Redwood, Eucalyptus, Maple, Birch and many more…
    After the class  she will have some of her books on hand for signing. Her books and salves are also available for purchase in the shop.
    COST – Sliding scale $10 to $15 (Registration fee of $5 included in total cost)
    DATES – Saturday, September 3rd
    TIMES – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
    LOCATION – The Bower Studio: 378 Daniel Shays Hwy, Pelham, MA 01002
    * If the class minimum is not met, all registration fees will be refunded and you will be notified.
    You may also pre-register by visiting the shop during business hours.
    ** Payment for classes will be due in full (minus pre-registration cost) at the start of class. Class fees must be cash or check, made out to the class instructor. Cancellations must contact us 48 hours prior to class so we can offer canceled spaces to others. Pre-registration fees are non-refundable. Read our FAQ for more info.**
  • Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore
    With Ellen Evert Hopman
    Sunday, October 2nd
    11:30 am – 5:30 pm
    $94 prepaid by September 25th
    $104 thereafter
    Crystal Wellness Center Upstairs at Crystal Essence 39 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA
    To register please call: 413.528.2595
  • HERBAL TRAINING IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
    October 15, 2016 – April, 2017Two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
    The yearly six month herbal intensive in the Amherst area starts October 15, 2016
    Cost: $1000 plus a $100.00 nonrefundable Xeroxing fee
    Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of; “Secret Medicines From Your Garden” , “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore”, “A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year”, “A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine”, “Secret Medicines of Your Kitchen” and other volumes
    DETAILS: A six month intensive. Covers Western herbal Materia Medica, formula making, case taking, Chinese Five Element Theory, Homeopathic First Aid, Flower Essence Counseling, plant identification, ethno botany, an herb walk outdoors and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves. Over 550 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

LANGUAGE NEWS

CELTIC NEWS

HERB NEWS

HEALTH NEWS

ART NEWS

NATURE AND CLIMATE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

FAIRY NEWS

POLITICS AND ETHICS

*Enjoy the dregs of summer, the heady wine of autumn is on its way! Happy Equinox on September Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:21 AM EDT*

 

 

 

 

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Summer Solstice 2012

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees.
~ William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience

A lot of folks have been thinking about the tornado we had last year – on June 1. The trees in the yard that lost limbs have started putting out fresh shoots, all along the broken off branches. By next year there will be fresh new twigs along every branch and, I hope, clusters of flowers. Sadly, this year there were no bees at all on my hawthorn tree by the house. In former years it was always covered with bees. (See the Nature News section below for updates on bee colony collapse).

The barn swallows finally gave up nesting in the entranceway. They had rebuilt their nest as usual but the presence of two cats plus one human coming and going proved too much for them. The woods are filled with bird song, however, and I have seen many snakes and toads. Life continues to flourish at a distance from the house.

My long haired, black cat almost died this past month and we still have no idea why. “Fever of unknown origin” was the vet’s diagnosis. I spent a few anguished days forcing water and tuna can liquid into his mouth with a syringe because he wouldn’t eat or drink. I can barely imagine what it must be like for a parent of a sick human child. Happily the cat is his old self again.

BIG BOOK NEWS!

HOW WRITERS CAN HELP EACH OTHER.

  • Publishing is evolving so quickly that it can feel overwhelming. Something that hasn’t changed is the generosity of writers helping each other. Here are some old and new ways for writers to help each other when a new book comes out.

The older, tried and true ways:

  • Support the author by buying the book or e-book.
  • Mention the book to your local library. Librarians often write reviews and are generally very cool people.
  • Urge your local bookstore to carry the book.
  • Write a review on Amazon (you can do this without making a purchase), Goodreads, or any other site that you frequent. The reviews can be as short as one sentence and don’t need to be longer than a paragraph.
  • Suggest the book to your book group. Authors are often happy to make an appearance (if local), Skype, or email with the members. Don’t hesitate to ask.
  • If you are part of an organization that books speakers for conferences, consider inviting the author.

The slightly newer, still in transition ways:

  • If you have a blog, invite the author to do a guest blog. Share it on Facebook.
  • Which brings up the big world of Facebook. There are three main ways to respond to FB and they each carry a different weight.
    Like: this is easy to do and appreciate
    Comment: this is more valuable and lots more interesting. The majority of people don’t get this far. You can do it on your page in a status update or on the author’s page as a comment.
    Share: This is the heavy weight contender and carries the biggest bang. For ex: Share the book’s website link on your page or go to the author’s blog, make a comment, and then share it with FB. Kapow!
  • House parties: With the closure of so many independent book stores, there are fewer venues for authors. And it has always been hard for author to get booked at the remaining bookstores where they don’t have an established base. Here’s what you can do: host a house party for the author. Invite a gang of readers to meet the author, do a potluck or snacks, and have fun. The author can meet with your friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Gold Standard

  • Word of Mouth. If publishing houses could buy this, they would. If you like a book, tell your friends and family. Buy it as a gift for those you think might like it.
    borrowed from
    pll@writingretreats.org
    www.writingretreats.org

Remember ~ you can order my books and DVDs from this website and get a signed copy and a personal note! ~
Here are the usual gleanings from this Month’s media…

ARCHEOLOGY NEWS

HERB NEWS

TRADITIONAL RECIPE FOR HEATHER ALE
Ingredients: Heather, hops, *barm, syrup, ginger and water.
Crop the heather when it is in full bloom, enough to fill a large pot.
Cover the croppings with water and set to boil for one hour
Then strain into a clean tub.
Measure the liquid and for every dozen bottles add one ounce of ground ginger,
half an ounce of hops and one pound of golden syrup or honey.
Bring to the boil again and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain into a clean cask.
Let it stand until milk-warm and then add a teacupful of good barm.
Cover with a coarse cloth and let it stand till next day
Skim carefully and pour the liquid gently into a clean tub so that the barm is left at the bottom of the cask.
Bottle and cork tightly
The ale will be ready for use in as little 2 or 3 days
* BARM The yeasty foam that rises to the surface of fermenting malt liquors

NATURE NEWS

RELIGION NEWS

DRUID NEWS

PAGAN NEWS

ARTS

NEWS WE CAN USE

HEALTH NEWS

POLITICS/ETHICS

May your summer be bright and your gardens fruitful. All blessings of the warm season!