Mostly clear 57F, winds are calm, AQI29, UV7. 10% chance of rain today and tonight. It looks like today will be mostly clear as most of the 10 day forecast. There’s a *tiny* chance of rain down near the end of the week and one warmer day (Monday, near 70F). It’s mostly going to be more sun than cloud and low 60’s, which just sounds wonderful to me. It’s why I moved out here, for this in the summertime!
Yesterday we got open on time and then ran around trying to get caught up. I was fighting breathlessness, which sometimes happens in the morning, especially since I was sick back in early March. I just have to take it easy until my lungs catch up to the rest of me, but it’s annoying.
Linda stopped by to say hi and we chatted for a bit. I got some plants watered but ran out of oomph. Tempus tucked me up on the sofa. After I got up I had some lunch, but didn’t get much else done other than reading up on things and a little writing.
Once I was tucked up in bed I crashed until nearly midnight! I got up and got myself a snack, can’t really call it supper, and then worked on the computer for awhile before getting this ready. I did bring my doll stuff with me, including the “diversity” fabrics and the pattern for the little dolls. I hope the swatches are large enough. So I’ll probably work on that some more.
Today is more of the same. I still need to finish watering the plants in the north window and a couple of the ones in the south window that I can’t properly reach. I didn’t get as far as finishing the table, either, because I was such a slug yesterday, so that’s on the list, too. …and then to harvest/tend the outdoor plants. I need to add eggshells and dirt to the planters where I pulled the other stuff out, plus a couple of plants need harvesting or trimming back (mint!) and there might yet be some cleavers….
Today’s Feast is that of St. Kinga, or Cunegunde, who was Grand Duchess of Poland in the 13th century. She was married, but she and her husband, the Grand Duke, Boleslav V, known as “the Chaste”, kept their chastity inside of marriage. When he died, she became a Poor Clare, eventually an abbess, having sold all her possessions and given the money to the poor. She’s a patron of Poland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinga_of_Poland
Today’s plant is St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum, which traditionally blooms at mid-summer on the pagan festival that the feast of St. John the Baptist replaced. It is widely used in the treatment of depression and to ward off evil, both in a medical and magickal sense. Charms made of this herbs, harvested on the summer solstice (or on June 24 or July 7, depending on your culture) make some of the best protection charms (especially against lightning) and good prosperity charms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_John%27s_wort
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
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 8/3 at 8:59am. Diana’s Bow – On the 3rd day after the new moon you can (weather permitting) see the tiny crescent in the sky, the New Moon holding the Old Moon in her arms. Begin on your goals for the next month. A good time for job interviews or starting a project. Take a concrete step! God/dess aspect: Daughter/Son/Innocence – Associated God/dess: Vesta, Horus. Phase ends on 7/24 at 10:33pm. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm – Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends at the Quarter on 7/27 at 5:33am.
As summer progresses, bright Arcturus is moving down the western side of the evening sky. Its pale ginger-ale tint always helps identify it. Arcturus forms the bottom point of the Kite of Bootes. The Kite, rather narrow, extends upper right from Arcturus by 23°, about two fists at arm’s length. The top of the kite is bent slightly down, as if something banged into it.
By the time darkness falls tonight, the famous Coathanger asterism, which is part of Brocchi’s Cluster (also called Collinder 399), is high in the sky. Located in Vulpecula the Fox, this 90′-wide grouping of stars is 4° northwest of Alpha (α) Sagittae. Observers with excellent eyesight may see it unaided as a magnitude 3.5 “mist” against the backdrop of the Milky Way’s plane. If you want to challenge yourself, try using averted vision on that fuzzy patch — you may ultimately spot the Coathanger’s brightest members, which range between 5th and 7th magnitude. At least five of its stars are brighter than magnitude 6.3. Regardless of your eyesight, the familiar coathanger shape of the asterism appears easily with binoculars or a small telescope. You’ll see six stars oriented east-west forming the line of the hanger, with four stars in the middle creating the hook to the south.
Two supernovae for amateur telescopes continue in the western evening sky, both still magnitude 12 or 12½. Both are in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, in the edges of M85 and NGC 4457, which are getting a little lower in the west every day. Hunt them out right after the end of twilight with a 6-inch or larger scope, using the finder charts and photos in Bob King’s Two Bright Supernovae Light Up Nearby Galaxies.
Jupiter and Saturn (magnitudes –2.8 and +0.1, respectively) are at opposition this month: Jupiter on the night of July 13th, Saturn on the 20th. So they rise around sunset, loom low in the southeast in twilight, and climb higher as the evening grows late. Jupiter is brightest; Saturn is 7° to its lower left. Farther to Jupiter’s right, look for the Sagittarius Teapot. The two planets are highest in the south around midnight. Keep up with the telescopic interplay of Jupiter with its moons and their shadows, and find all the transit times of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, in the July Sky & Telescope, page 50.
Old Farmer’s Almanac July Sky Map – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-july-summer-triangle
Goddess Month of Kerea runs from 7/11 – 8/8
Celtic Tree Month of Tinne/Holly, Jul 8 – Aug 4, Tinne (CHIN-yuh)
Runic half-month of Uruz/ Ur, 7/14-28 According to Pennick Ur represents primal strength, a time of collective action. A good time for beginnings! Pennick, Nigel, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992 Runic half-month of Thurisaz/ Thorn/Thunor, 7/29-8/12 – Northern Tradition honors the god known to the Anglo-Saxons as Thunor and to the Norse as Thor. The time of Thorn is one of ascendant powers and orderliness. This day also honors the sainted Norwegian king, Olaf, slain around Lammas Day. Its traditional calendar symbol is an axe.
©2020 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Tinne/Holly, Jul 8 – Aug 4, Tinne (CHIN-yuh), holly – The holly (Ilex aquifolium L.) is a shrub growing to 10 m (35 feet) in open woodlands and along clearings in forests. Hollies are evergreen, and stand out in winter among the bare branches of the deciduous forest trees that surround them. Hollies form red berries before Samhain which last until the birds finish eating them, often after Imbolc. The typical “holly leaf” is found on smaller plants, but toward the tops of taller plants the leaves have fewer spiny teeth. Hollies are members of the Holly family (Aquifoliaceae). The common holly is often cultivated in North America, as are hybrids between it and Asiatic holly species.
Graves (1966) and others are of the opinion that the original tinne was not the holly, but rather the holm oak, or holly oak (Quercus ilex L.). This is an evergreen oak of southern Europe that grows as a shrub, or as a tree to 25 m (80 feet). Like the holly, the holm oak has spiny-edged leaves on young growth. It does not have red berries, but it does have red leaf “galls” caused by the kermes scale insect; these are the source of natural scarlet dye. Holm oaks are occasionally cultivated in North America.
F 24 High 3:17 AM 7.6 5:55 AM Rise 10:29 AM 11
~ 24 Low 10:05 AM -1.2 8:50 PM Set 11:35 PM
~ 24 High 4:38 PM 7.1
~ 24 Low 10:30 PM 1.6
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – The road to success is paved with good intentions.
~ Seek the lofty by reading, hearing and seeing great work at some moment every day. – Thornton Wilder, US playwright, novelist
~ But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time, – Mitch Albom
~ A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. – John Barrymore
~ All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. – Larry Bellinger
How many songs, O summer wind,
How many songs you know
Of fair, sweet things in your wanderings,
As over the earth you go. – Ina Donna Coolbrith (1841–1928)
Lughnasadh Bread Spell
In Wiccan tradition, and in many others, Lughnasadh is a day for preparing food from early ripening fruits like apples. It is also a time for baking bread in honor of the harvest.
Combining the two, make an applesauce bread. Stir the batter clockwise, focusing on any craft or sport in which you wish to excel. As you stir, chant,
“Flour from grain,
the spell begins,
let the power rise within;
Apples from trees,
Tailtiu, bring _______
to my heart.”
Fill in the blank with a word that describes the area in which you want to encourage improvements or develop mastery. Eat the bread to internalize the energy.
Time-friendly alternatives here are buying frozen bread and adding diced apples to it, having toast with apple butter, or just enjoying a piece of bread and apple anytime during the day. Chant the incantation mentally. Then bite with conviction!
Adapted from Patricia Telesco~ From “365 Goddess”
Harvest Bread Basket
- 1 recipe Cheddar Cheese Bread
- 1/2 recipe Banana Bread
- 1/2 recipe Apple Bread, minus the recipe’s suggested topping
- 1 recipe Cornbread
Bake each of these loaves, or any combination you prefer. (These have been chosen for this harvest recipe because they use bananas, corn, apples, and cheese, which are to some extent traditional foods for the harvest holidays.) Cut into strips or blocks that are easy finger-food size, and arrange in a basket–and take to a gathering or picnic! Bring sweet butter and honey!
When bringing this bread to a location where it will be in open air for more than a couple hours, it’s better to use a container that can be sealed! This container has a fitted lid.
NOTE: If you’re not such a masochist as to bake four loaves of bread on the same day, try getting into the holiday spirit by making a partial-week project out of it. I suggest baking the breads in this order: First banana bread, then apple, then cheese, then cornbread. Banana bread keeps the longest and stays moist for quite a long time without having to even be refrigerated. Apple bread stays good a long time too, but slowly becomes more mushy and less fluffy–try not to make this more than two days in advance of the date you’ll need it. Cheese bread, because it does have cheese, will spoil earlier–you’ll want this in an airtight container. And cornbread should be made a day in advance at the most for best freshness. Also, the cheese bread is the only one that requires rising time. The others are either flat breads (cornbread) or they do their necessary rising with the help of baking soda.
Banana bread and apple bread are very moist while cornbread and cheddar bread are drier breads, so keep this in mind when storing them in a shared container! A moist bread will “sog out” a dry bread and make it inedible if you don’t wrap them.
Baking bread is a wonderful harvest activity to put you in the mood for the season, so don’t be freaked by this recipe’s scope–give it a try!
Yield: 8-10 servings Source: A combination! Use for: Lughnasadh, Mabon
Cheddar Cheese Bread
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm milk (about 100ºF)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Just under 4 cups of flour–use until desired consistency
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 1/2 ounces mature cheddar cheese, grated
Combine the yeast and the milk and then stir, leaving for 15 minutes to dissolve. Meanwhile, melt the butter and let it cool. When it’s cool and the yeast is dissolved, add the butter to the yeast mix. Take out another bowl and combine the flour and the salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry mix and pour in the wet mix. (I suggest using three cups of flour and mix the salt into that, and then make the well, pour the wet in, and add more flour as needed. Add the flour until it’s a rough dough of a consistency that is easily kneaded.) Knead the bread dough on a floured surface until it’s smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, which will take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.
Grease a 9 x 5 inch bread tin. Punch the dough down and knead in the last ingredient: The cheese. Knead it for a while to make sure that the cheese is distributed evenly throughout. Pick up the dough and twist it in the middle, curling the ends in also so that it will fit in the bread tin. Leave it in the warm spot again until the dough rises above the rim of the tin (45 minutes to an hour). Preheat the oven to 400º F, then bake the bread for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375º F and bake 15 to 30 minutes longer, until the bread can be turned out of the tin onto a rack and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Wait until cool before cutting.
NOTE: The original recipe was in a British book, so the measurements have been translated to American measurements for my easier use.
Yield: 1 loaf Source: Martha Day, Complete Baking Use for: Lughnasadh, Mabon
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (4-5 medium bananas)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 2 loaf pans. In large bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add in the eggs. Add bananas, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla, beat until smooth. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Keep adding flour mix to banana mix. Pour into pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool for 5 minutes.
Yield: 2 loaves Source: Wood & Seefeldt, The Wicca Cookbook Use for: Mabon
For the bread:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons sour milk
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped apples
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
For the topping:
- 2 tablespoons margarine, softened
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon burnt sugar flavoring
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar, margarine, and butter flavor. In a small bowl, mix soda and milk, and stir. Add to the creamed mix. Beat in eggs and vanilla; add flour and salt. Fold in apples and nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 13 x 5 loaf pan. Drop teaspoons of topping over the batter. Bake at 350º F for 50 minutes; cool in pan for 10 minutes and cut into slices to serve.
Notes: First off this is an unusual sized pan; it’s a standard store loaf. Pans this size are hard to come by. You can possibly make a makeshift pan of this type–as I did–by creating a divider in a 13 x 9 baking pan (a lot more standard) and propping it up with small loaf pans to fit inside or some other way of dividing.
Also, I did not use butter flavoring; my milk was not sour; I did not use nuts; and for the topping I did not use “burnt sugar flavoring,” I just used a maple extract. It came out VERY yummy.
Variations: You can use pears instead of apples for a change, and try nutmeg or clove instead of cinnamon for whatever taste you prefer. Also, nuts are not necessary if you don’t like nuts–just put in a little less apple because you don’t have nuts to offset the moisture. You can also half this recipe and bake it in individual 6 x 3 mini loaf tins to get three baby loaves. If you do this, bake for only 30 minutes.
Yield: 1 long loaf Source: The Eckert Family, Eckert Family Cook Book
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat a greased 9×9 pan in a 425ºF oven for 20-22 minutes. Pour bread mixture into hot pan and place back in oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot with butter or honey.
Yield: 1 large loaf Source: McCoy, The Sabbats Use for: Lughnasadh, Mabon