Today is the Grand Opening Celebration for the Seashore Literacy Center in Waldport!More info here: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s227/sh/232be774-3ddc-4103-bec2-27c7acdb7f62/6e74e109d2e5331647626b96d29ea4c2
Don’t forget the Small Business Saturday specials that end at 6pm tonight. Details in Friday’s Daily Stuff, and yes, you can take advantage of these by contacting me here, on Facebook or by e-mail.
As I looked up in the bathroom this morning I saw blue through the skylights! Now the sun is rising in a glory of gold with a fuzzy trim of mist, pouring golden sunshine into the study! It’s far south of the last band of trees, getting closer to the farthest south for the year. It’s only 37F. The house roof next door is covered with frost. It’s definitely winter, now, but one of those days that make living on the coast so beautiful in all the variety that we get.
Just before sunrise more than a dozen birds were on the feeders. I watched a hummingbird, his read head flashing like burnished metal in the growing light. A towhee was flapping on and off of the railing planter, which really looks battered from having been dumped by the raccoons several times, now. A sparrow, looking huge with his feathers all fluffed for warmth, was holding court on the feeder with all kinds of flapping and fluttering of juncos and sparrows in and out of the clematis and on and off of every perching spot you could think of, and here came a Stellar Jay and away they all went!
The frost has done in the lettuce, I’m sure. Almost the last of the plants got pretty mangled by the last storm, but frost will blacken and wilt like nothing else. I didn’t get the greenhouse up in time. <sigh>
Yesterday went back and forth between crazy and slow. I did three readings, and worked with a lot of customers. No one was there for Herbs or for Crystals again, but Sewing had 3 of us and I did a basic Holbein Embroidery class, mostly because one lady was fascinated by the biscornu pieces that I’m doing. Here’s a pic of the partly done 12 squares. I got some more pictures as the work progressed. I have 14 squares, now, and need just one more. Three of these got the outside frame and 12 have had the basting stitches pulled, and they’re all cut apart, so I’m getting closer. I’m thinking I’m going to start construction today or tomorrow. Yes, I’m getting pictures.
We closed at 8pm and came home. It was *very* foggy, but when we got up to the top of the hill, you could see Jupiter and the Moon was very bright. When we got out of the car, yup, She had a halo *and* a corona!
We didn’t actually eat until past 10. I had gotten a bunch of the Yule decor pulled out this morning and Tempus got it into the car at the shop and out at the house and I started holiday decorating with the table, putting away Thanksgiving and pulling out tablecloth and candles, etc. It looked great while we ate!
Today the Angell Job Corps folks are going to be at the shop early on, but they’re going with some of the Sundance folks for a sweat in the afternoon. I’ll have the readings sign out, but I’ll probably be working on the biscornu. Robyne’s still with us and will be for part of tomorrow. Tempus is out working.
Today featuring more ornaments! You’re surprised, of course. 🙂 These are some more of the tiny wreaths, this time, sunwheels with a violin, a gift and a bell!
Windmill Blessing Day, Holland – “Many millers would bless their windmills by throwing a handful of flour into the wind as an offering to the mischievous windmill spirits.” I’ve *never* run into this festival anywhere except for Wilson’s Almanac, and the link he gives as a source has nothing there, but it’s a cool idea!
Love & Light,
NASA Science News for Nov. 23, 2012 – Eclipse chasers always hope for clear skies, but observers of last week’s total solar eclipse in Australia discovered that clouds can add a surprisingly beautiful twist to the brief minutes of totality. FULL STORY: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/23nov_cloudyeclipse/ RELATED VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn5nKlMY5cI
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is Waxing Gibbous. Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 11/28 at 6:46am. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Phase ends on 11/26 at 6:46pm.
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27
Goddess Month of Astrea runs from 11/28 – 12/25
Celtic Tree Month of Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22
Runic half month of Nyd – November 13- 27 – Time to prepare for winter.
Runic half-month of Is November 28-12 Literally, ‘ice’: a static period. The time of waiting before birth. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, 1992
©2012 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Ruis Elder Nov 25 – Dec 22 – Ruis – (RWEESH), elder – Celtic tree month of Ruis (Elder) commences (Nov 25 – Dec 22) – Like other Iron Age Europeans, the Celts were a polytheistic people prior to their conversion to (Celtic) Christianity. The Celts divided the year into 13 lunar cycles (months or moons). These were linked to specific sacred trees which gave each moon its name. Today commences the Celtic tree month of Elder.
Elder or Elderberry (Sambucus) is a genus of fast-growing shrubs or small trees in the family Caprifoliaceae. They bear bunches of small white or cream coloured flowers in the Spring, that are followed by bunches of small red, bluish or black berries. The berries are a very valuable food resource for many birds.
Common North American species include American Elder, Sambucus canadensis, in the east, and Blueberry Elder, Sambucus glauca, in the west; both have blue-black berries.
The common European species is the Common or Black Elder, Sambucus nigra, with black berries.
The common elder (Sambucus nigra L.) is a shrub growing to 10 m (33 feet) in damp clearings, along the edge of woods, and especially near habitations. Elders are grown for their blackish berries, which are used for preserves and wine. The leaf scars have the shape of a crescent moon. Elder branches have a broad spongy pith in their centers, much like the marrow of long bones, and an elder branch stripped of its bark is very bone-like. The red elder (S. racemosa L.) is a similar plant at higher elevations; it grows to 5 m (15 feet). Red elder extends its native range to northern North America, and it is cultivated along with other native species, but common elders are seldom seen in cultivation. Elders are in the Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae).
Ruis – Elder Ogam letter correspondences
Month: Makeup days of the thirteenth Moon
Meaning: End of a cycle or problem.
to study this month Straif – Blackthorn Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: SS, Z, ST
Meaning: Resentment; Confusion; Refusing to see the truth
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Su 25 Low 3:47 AM 2.7 7:26 AM Set 4:41 AM 87
~ 25 High 9:51 AM 8.2 4:41 PM Rise 3:04 PM
~ 25 Low 4:51 PM 0.2
~ 25 High 11:11 PM 6.4
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Be grateful for people who make us happy; they are charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~ At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.- Barbara Bush, Former U.S. First Lady
~ But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time, – Mitch Albom
~ Do what you love, love what you do, and deliver more than you promise. – Harvey McKay
~ Either dance well or quit the ballroom. – Greek Proverb
If you wish in this world to advance,
Your merits you’re bound to enhance;
You must stir it and stump it,
And blow your own trumpet,
Or, trust me, you haven’t a chance. – Sir William Gilbert (1836-1911) English Playwright and Poet.
Magick – Yule – Dukati & other special cookies
Cookies are part of Christmas traditions all over the world and several are special to my family.
Snickerdoodles are what my Czech grandmother called a cookie that she invented to keep me out of her hair in the kitchen when I was a hyper 3-year-old, fascinated with the magic that she created out of such simple ingredients. Babicka heard the name somewhere and just used it. I would say that the best cook in the world (yes, I DO believe that!) can borrow a name, don’t you? And yes, for those of you out there who grew up making real snickerdoodles, you’ll see that these are NOT the usual recipe!
Oil drop cookies sound awful, but that’s how the name translates! They are probably a depression era recipe, since they take no butter and only 1 egg for 5 dozen cookies, but they’re so good, that you never notice. Preschoolers love to roll up the balls of dough and squash them. Also, if you have a child with a wheat or gluten allergy they can be made with other flours. I especially like rye flour with a pinch of allspice substituted for the regular flour and a small piece of crystallized ginger pressed into the top. Baba called these Saski, (pronounced SOSH- key) which means “imps”. One of my Czech aunts used to roll these in Old Bay seasoning and the elderly Czech uncles ate them with beer!
Press cookies are an easy cookie for elementary school-age children to help with. I usually make up the dough on a Friday evening and then make a mess of the kitchen on Saturday, so I have help the rest of the weekend to clean up! Having one area to get the cookies ready to bake and another to get them off the pans and to decorate them helps enormously.
Cookie-type dukati have been around for a long while, at least 700 years! There are lots of variations all over central Europe on how people make these, the recipes they use and names they call them, but they are all traditional for December 6. The gold-foil-covered chocolate coins are the descendants of these and the name means “ducat” which was a common Center European coin of the Middle Ages.
In Czech tradition, these were originally balls of dough, brushed with egg white, gold leaf carefully laid over top and pressed with a mold that made a picture like the real gold coins that were in circulation at the time. Gold leaf is expensive, so cookies that were press-molded with colored sugars took the place of the older-style dukati and now, the cookies are baked and then colored pictures are attached with a dot of icing. All 3 types can still be found in the Christmas Market in Old Town Square in Prague! I have a special wooden pin, a cylinder with one flat end plain and the other carved. These can be found on the web or in specialty shops, but you’ll have to hunt. The wooden “pastry press” pins that can be found in specialty shops, can be carved, if you’re artistic, or used plain if you’re going to make these with the pictures, or you can use the flat bottom of a drinking glass. I’ve even seen people use deeply carved rubber stamps to press in designs!
This cookie dough is sometimes rolled out flat and cut with cookie cutters, the same as we do with sugar cookies and then similar-shaped pictures are attached to the top. The most traditional of these shapes are Mikulas, Andelicka (angel), Sasak (imp) and hearts. You can blow up clipart pictures and cut shapes out of the dough with a sharp knife, if you want to try these.
There are special rolling pins, with pictures carved in them that emboss cookie dough that are sometimes used. The Germans make a special anise cookie, called springerle that lead to these pins being found under the name of “springerle pins” at specialty cooking shops. They make square cookies. The basic process is to roll the dough out with a regular pin, sprinkle it with colored sugar, and then roll with the carved pin and cut the squares apart.
Sometimes you find this same dough pressed into large wooden or ceramic molds. The cookies are then turned right side up, sprinkled with colored sugar and baked.
All of these cookies can be hung on the Christmas trees, which start being set up just after Mikulas Day. Cookies for this purpose need to be pierced with a skewer or toothpick (I use the metal one that came with my meat thermometer) both before going into the oven, and immediately when they come out. When they are cool, they must be dipped in the sugar syrup to preserve them, unless they’ll be eaten in a day or two. Then they can be strung on pieces of 1/8” ribbon, threaded through with a large-eye tapestry needle and tied into a loop to hang. Don’t use yarn. The fibers get stuck in the sugar glaze and you get bits in your mouth. (Ick!) I have used hemp cord, though, and cotton string.
The lebkuchen dough that I use is my Babicka’s recipe. It takes well to any of the variations listed above. I often use up the scraps from rolling out cookie house parts for the basic cookie dukati.
Mama’s Snickerdoodles – (kid do-able, VERY!)
Peanut butter (chunky is best, but creamy works)
Chocolate Chips (or pourable chocolate syrup, Hershey’s Special Dark® is delicious!)
Fancy Christmas sprinkles or raw sugar crystals (optional)
Tools – Tray or big plate, Spoon
Break the crackers along the lines and line up on the tray.
Pick up the crackers one at a time and smear each with peanut butter from end to end.
When you put them down push them as close together as possible.
Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips.
Sprinkle evenly with sprinkles or sugar
Once kids have done these a couple of times with parents’ help, even three-year-olds can make these, once the ingredients are set out. Of course, half the ingredients end up OUTSIDE of the kids when you do this and most of the rest on the inside, rather than on the tray, but that’s most of the fun!
By the way, we’ve varied these by holiday by using orange and brown M&M’s on Thanksgiving, conversation hearts on Valentine’s Day, candy corn on Halloween, and on one memorable St. Patrick’s Day, with little sugar shamrocks!
Oil Drop Cookies & Saski (pre-schoolers love to roll and squash these!)
Basic Oil Drop directions
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 cup of sugar
2 ½ cups flour
Rolling ingredients (chopped nuts, poppyseeds, coarsely grated spices, crushed dried mint leaves, colored sugar, raw sugar, candy sprinkles, crushed candy canes or peppermints, mini chocolate chips or M&M’s, or whatever you please!)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Have ready: two lightly greased cookie sheets, small bowls of whatever you wish to roll the cookies in and a shaker of flour.
2. Combine all ingredients except sugar, flour and rolling ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure that the spices don’t stick.
3. Add the sugar and mix well.
4. Add the flour about ½ cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition, scraping bottom and sides of bowl.
5. Using lightly floured hands, make balls about the size of a large marble and then roll in the stuff in the bowls. Don’t worry if stuff doesn’t stick well.
6. Place on cookie sheets about 1 inch apart and squash.
7. Bake about 10-12 minutes.
8. Allow to cool and store tightly covered.
Saski – (These are not as sweet, the recipe is to adult taste, so for kids roll them in raw sugar!)
Follow the directions above, except
a) add ¼ tsp allspice
b) use 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ cups of rye flour instead of regular. The amount needed varies by the dryness and grind of the flour.
c) Roll in poppyseeds, or if you’re adventurous, in Old Bay Seasoning (most kids hate this!)
d) Press a small piece of crystallized ginger or candied orange peel into the top.
Mama’s press cookies – (elementary school-age kids love to run these through the press and decorate.)
1 cup butter
¾ cup white granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp almond extract
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour (if you want to use whole eggs, add another ¼ cup of flour)
colored sugars and candy sprinkles
1. Heat butter in microwave in glass or ceramic mixing bowl for 30 seconds, or in smaller microwave safe container for 30 seconds on medium.
2. Beat together well: first, butter & sugar, then add almond extract and eggs, mix, then add baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly.
3. Sift the flour into the mix, or add it in small amounts and mix thoroughly.
4. Stick the bowl in the fridge for about an hour.
5. On waxed paper or foil, form the dough into several rolls that are just slightly smaller than the diameter of your cookie press, and roll in colored sugar. This keeps the dough from sticking as much to the press and colors the dough. If you want plain, use white sugar.
6. Place the rolls in the fridge for another hour or two.
7. Preheat oven to 350. Have at least two ungreased cookie sheets ready, along with your cookie press, colored sugar, a narrow spatula (for cleaning the press) and a flat metal spatula (for picking up the cookies).
8. Taking one roll at a time out of the fridge, feed the dough through the press onto the cookie sheet, no less than 1/2 “ apart.
9. Sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles.
10. Bake each sheet separately for about 10 minutes per, until lightly browned. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack or paper plates after about 2 minutes of cooling.
Stained Glass Window Cookies
These are really just any kind of cookie dough cut in 3-inch circles, (use a glass) with clear hard candies placed into them to make the window. You can also set the cookies with a hole cut in the center (we had a tiny liqueur glass for this, and one year we used a shot glass) on a piece of baking parchment and use smashed up candies (use a hammer on a Ziploc® bag with the candies still wrapped) to make pretty designs. The parchment usually sticks to the candies, and pulling it off can break them, so I usually just cut around it with scissors when the cookies are cool. Of course, the broken pieces are great!
This same technique described below, can be used with the lebkuchen panels to make translucent windows for a cookie house. That’s why it’s included here.
You can use the lebkuchen dough, sugar cookie dough or just regular butter cookie dough. Here is the recipe that I use.
½ cup butter (1 stick)
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups regular flour
Hard candies – clear, round, unwrap before putting in the cookie, unless you’re smashing them!
Colored sugar or candy sprinkles
1. Heat butter in microwave in glass or ceramic mixing bowl for 30 seconds, or in smaller microwave safe container for 30 seconds on medium.
2. Beat together well: butter & sugar, then add vanilla and eggs, then add baking powder and salt and mix thoroughly.
3. Sift the flour into the mix, or add it in small amounts and mix thoroughly.
4. Stick the bowl in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 375. Have two (better yet, 3) greased cookie sheets and a small bowl ready. Use a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover if you have them. Use as little flour as possible.
6. Roll dough to between ¼ & ½ inch.
7. Cut cookies in about 3” circles. Use the floured rim of a drinking glass if you don’t have a 3” circle cutter.
8. Lift each cookie carefully with a flat metal spatula or icing spreader onto the first cookie sheet, placing them about 1” apart.
9. Cut a 1” circle out of the center of each cookie. Use the floured rim of a shot glass if you don’t have a 1” circle cutter.
10. Lift the 1” circles onto the second cookie sheet, placing them about 3/4” apart. (you’ll probably get two pans of 3” cookies to 1 pan of 1”)
11. Place 1 hard candy in the center of each 3” cookie. (or use smashed candies poured into center).
12. Sprinkle the 1” cookies with colored sugar or candy sprinkles.
13. Dump the scraps in the bowl and repeat, until you run out of cookie sheet, then bake each sheet separately, about 7 minutes for the 1” cookies and 10-12 for the 3” cookies.
14. Remove the 3” cookies IMMEDIATELY from the cookie sheets, and place on cooling rack or paper plates. 1” cookies can usually be just dropped into a bowl after a couple minutes of cooling..
15. You can re-roll the scraps ONCE. After that, these make great “worm cookies”. (see * below) The dough breaks with too much flour!
* Let the kids roll them under their hands like play-dough worms, place on a greased cookie sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, bake and eat. If you’re trying to save the regular cookies for later, this will pacify most kids!
Gingerbread for Cookie Houses and dukati
This is not a cheap cookie recipe. It takes honey and molasses, which can be expensive, and lots of spices. The good side is that this is nearly a perfect dough for cookie houses, can use up spices that might otherwise go stale, the dough is easily cut into fancy shapes for cookies and stores well (up to 4 weeks, airtight, in the fridge) and the cookies will keep for six months if kept airtight!
You can double this recipe, but have an extra pair of hands to help with the stirring if you do. It gets very stiff at the last. It’s better to make the batches this size, and just keep it up until you have “enough”. I usually make a couple of batches a night until I fill my box and then do the baking.
I have an airtight plastic storage box that holds a little over 36 cups of dough. I usually fill it once for our dukati, cookies and big cookie house, which leaves enough over to give some away or have plenty for a party and a then fill it a second time to have enough to have “munchables” until Easter, usually.
Any dough that isn’t going into projects, I roll out, sprinkle with colored sugar and use a pizza cutter to make it into diamond shapes and bake it up. My option if it’s gone past midnight and I’m wiped out, is to make the dough into logs about 2” in diameter, roll them in colored sugar, tightly wrap in foil or cling-wrap and store in the fridge for a week or so until I have more time or energy, then slice about ½ inch thick and bake.
Ingredients – Cookies Ingredients – Icing
1 cup honey 1 cup of sugar
1 cup molasses 1/3 cup water
1 ½ cups brown sugar 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon rind
5 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground clove
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp nutmeg
1. Mix honey, molasses, lemon juice and egg together
2. Stir in one at a time: soda, spices, lemon rind and brown sugar and mix thoroughly
3. Mix in flour ½ cup at a time. You will probably have to knead in that last cup or so
4. Chill overnight.
5. Roll small amount at a time, keeping rest chilled
6. Roll out 1/4 – 3/8 inch thick and cut into shapes.
7. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet.
8. Bake until, when touched lightly, no imprint remains.
While cookies bake, make icing below. Brush it over cookies the minute they are out of the oven. Then quickly remove from baking sheet, cool and store to mellow. Bake in 400 degree oven 10-12 minutes.
Icing – Boil together 1 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup water to 230 degrees in a candy thermometer. remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup confectioners sugar and brush hot icing thickly over . When icing gets sugary, reheat slightly, adding a little water until clear again.
Directions for basic cookie-style dukati
- Make thermofax, regular copy-shop or laser-print color copies of pictures that you want to use, not ink-jet, because they’ll run. If you can, use card or cover stock to print them on.
2. Make a batch of lebkuchen dough and chill thoroughly.
3. Make a recipe of the icing, and have waiting. Keep warm, but stir often. If the edges start to crystallize, brush the insides of the pot down with warm water on a pastry brush and then stir well. If the icing itself crystallizes, add about 2 tsp of warm water and stir well, until it clears.
4. Preheat oven to 350 and grease at least two cookie sheets. Have ready: the cookie sheets, a flat metal spatula, for lifting the cookies from the cookie sheet to the cooling rack, your pin, press or a flat-bottomed glass and a shaker of flour, your syrup and waxed paper or foil to dry on and if you plan to hang these, your skewer.
5. Roll the dough between lightly floured hands into balls between the size of a walnut and a small egg. Place about 12 on a small cookie sheet, 20 on a large one. Lightly flour the end of your pin, glass or whatever and squash each ball to about ½” thick. If you’re using a carved pin, first press them with the plain end of the pin, sprinkle with colored sugar and press with the carved end. If you want to be able to hang the cookie, push the skewer in about ½ from the edge.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until, when touched lightly, no imprint remains or until they’re just about to burn. Watch carefully! These vary so widely in how long they take to bake, most everyone burns the first batch, at least on the edges, but after that you’ll know how long to keep them in. While they’re still hot, re-skewer the hanging holes.
7. Dip in sugar syrup (or brush on) and allow to dry.
8. Using a small dot of the syrup, attach the picture. Thread ribbon.
(Excerpt from Mama’s Awful Christmas ©1988, 2001 M. Bartlett)
Silliness – GCF: Doorbell
I was accompanying my eight-year-old daughter who was selling cookies door-to-door for the Girl Scouts. After visiting several homes, she commented on the different styles of doorbells: some buzzed, some rang, some warbled.
We made a game of guessing what the next bell would sound like.
At the precise moment she touched the doorbell at one house, the church tower down the street began to chime.
She wheeled around with a look of amazement on her face.
“Now that’s a doorbell!”