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    Seed, Root, & Stem

    Dried beans of many colors are rattling about in zipped, plastic bags. The brown pods of the broccoli rabe are still attached to the stalks waiting for me to harvest them.  The thin, papery husks protect the red orach seed. Poppy pods are like hollow bones rattling on the table. Standing dead fennel yielded a large harvest of seed, as did the calendula. The harvest has been good. Appeasing the inhabitants of the underworld has been in focus this past month.   To ensure the health of the next harvest, I have been plying them with gifts of grain and meal, gemstones, herbs and wine in the hopes they will protect…

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    Seed, Root, & Stem

    Gleaning and gathering are the keywords for October.  Tromping through the forests in our rubber boots for the Chanterelles, subjecting ourselves to the thorny vines on which the rosehips hang large and ready for the jelly or tea pot, trying to get as many tomatoes as we can before the slugs reach their ripened meats – all the work of Autumn’s first few weeks.  Rewarding work, too! Recent days have brought us the remnants of a typhoon and so the rains have come early and heavy.  We removed the peppers and tomatoes from their vines, and a new set of fruits is already trying to come on.  The peppers[1] have…

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    Seed, Root & Stem

    August has come to an end and it’s time to begin the process of fall planting preparation.  Beets, kohlrabi, kale, carrots and fennel will be overwintering in the raised beds.   The groundcover this year will consist of mustard, Daikon radishes, turnips and rutabagas.  Next year’s garden will be considerably larger by a few acres in the hopes it will provide more food for the community.  The field has seen many years of grain and grass, so the compost crop will provide a grass suppressant, add the richness of green manure to the soil, help control pests and disease, boost the soil’s nitrogen content and best of all, those Daikon…

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    Seed, Root & Stem

      The homestead is abuzz, quite literally, as I’ve released some three thousand ladybugs in to feast on the gray aphids.  Calendula heads are clipped and their vine-dried seeds harvested. Bunches of oregano, thyme and rosemary are hanging to dry.  Lavender and fennel are deflowered, hibiscus blossoms in their natural wrappers are almost ready for the teapot and honeysuckle flowers are twining their golden arms around each other on the rack. The drying room is filled with intoxicating odors and I have already begun to blend them for next year’s ritual incense.  My favorite season of all is just about here – Autumn. I’m reflecting once again on the year…

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    Seed, Root & Stem

      The month of June has sizzled with excitement. The seedlings have all pushed themselves up from the earth and grow exponentially.  Progeny of the Mortal-turned-Goddess, Cynara, stands tall in my garden. Aegean legend[1] on the origin of the artichoke describes Zeus exiting the sea after visiting his brother, Poseidon, and finding himself taken in by the beauty of a mortal girl – Cynara.  He offers to transform her into a Goddess. She agrees and accepts this transformation, but later finds herself pining for her mother and sneaks away for a visit.  When Zeus finds out, he sends her permanently back to the land of the mortals as the artichoke —…

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    Seed, Root & Stem

      I love this time of year. I say that about every season, but it’s always true. There is a palpable sense of excitement as the homestead burst into life courtesy of a fortnight of unexpectedly sunny days and warm nights. The stalks of velvety silver-green, now taller than my 63” frame, boast eleven of the wine and green globe artichokes already. The nearby honeysuckle has inched its way along several feet of the hedge-frame; the lemon balm, mint and oregano are clamoring for my hand and the pruning shears.   As the Witch of this place, my work has been reclaiming yard, garden and field; removing, recycling, composting, disposing,…