Ramble On

Sleep and his Half-brother Death. By John William Waterhouse
Sleep and his Half-brother Death. By John William Waterhouse

Well, it has been an eventless morning. We were supposed to go and sell herbs at the local farmer’s market, but it was raining and hailing something terrible at 6:30am when we went to setup. We bailed. I just didn’t think the dried herbs would hold up, and I had some fresh plantain, but I didn’t want it to get damaged.

So my witchy sister and I decided to retreat back to our waterbeds.

In garden news, the morning glories are taking off, and I had some huge pumpkin seedlings come up in the seed pots yesterday morning. Just dirt when I went to bed, and then two 5 inch seedlings the next morning. I am also absolutely inundated with tomatoes and watermelons! When I went to transplant the volunteer tomato plants, there were a lot more than I thought. I had originally estimated around 40 or so plants, it is a lot more like 90. And the little seedlings are getting huge. And all of the watermelon seeds sprouted! I thought I might get half, so I went ahead and planted all of them. Oh well, now I am also distributing watermelon sprouts along the with tomato seedlings.

Fact for the day: Calamine is another name for zinc carbonate.

Lessons in Flow

Cardinal Climber Morning Glory from the back gardens
Cardinal Climber Morning Glory from the back gardens

Well, after about 5 hours with both me and my hubby digging in the garden trying to remove a layer of gravel 18 inches deep, we give up. My parents were over for the holiday dinner tonight (side missive: Even after having been married and on my own for nearly 12 years now, it really feels like a milestone to have my parents over for dinner without a big to do or any major cleaning.), and we showed off our garden accomplishments with great pride. We talked about all of the problems and challenges we had overcome so far, and the many more we had to go.

My mother is really my first experience of the concept of fertility in my life. Not only did she bear me and my brother (obviously), but her garden over burgeons continually. She gardens like fish swim, as if she were born to it. When spending time in her gardens I can feel her love and attention oozing back out of the plants and the earth. As a child I fondly remember thinking of the new flowers in the garden as springing up beneath where she had set to sketch and weed the evening before. Her abundance in this respect has always inspired me and driven me to pursue a fertile abundance in my own life, and to nurture and rear new life and growth around me. And for many years I have always had a black thumb. And so I turned my efforts to the harvest part of the cycle, something I do excel at naturally. I am excellent once the plants are grown, and at wild crafting (ethically and sustainably of course), and in making the preparations and storing and preserving the harvest both in edibles, medicinals, and now magical plants and their parts. But never before could I grow anything myself. I killed any number of very hardy houseplants, including cacti and air ferns. And in the garden at our last house I managed no plants, and to kill off all of the honeysuckle, mints and poison ivy that was taking over when we moved in. So, to say the least, to share in the pride of my garden with my mother is quite a heart swelling moment. She even commented this evening that she never thought I would be working in the garden unless I was helping someone with a harvest.

Anyways, back to the garden of gravel. My mom suggested that we simply plant what we have in the ground and fold in some compost and just go from there. When she saw how much work it was going to be to try and take the gravel out she said it was just too much and we should just try to work with it. And you know, I had forgotten her wisdom of going with the flow and working with the land itself. I am so glad I can still hear her when I need it most.

A simple piece of practical advice about my garden may not seem like much, but the joy of hearing the wisdom of my mother, from my mother is a very big thing to me, and something that really drives the joy wheels of my life.

Putting in a Garden

My Celosia
My Celosia

I have managed to completely clear out and rearrange the front office in the last week, and I am now slowly unpacking and moving back in.Well, I guess I must now officially add gardening to my long list of hobbies. We have been spending the last couple of weekends putting in a veggie garden, and lots of house plants. So for outside we have 9 tomato plants (1 is already giving us tiny tomatoes, and 4 of them I just planted this morning), 1 artichoke, 1 summer squash, 4 butter lettuce, and 6 asparagus plants. In the seed beds I have planted carrots, zucchini, leaf lettuce, onions, garlic, wax beans, radishes and cucumbers.

Out in my front beds I’ve got four rose bushes that were here when we bought the house, and have added some digitalis from seeds, some spider worts, spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, and some pretty purple wild flowers I found by the river.

Inside I have starts for another 33 tomato plants, cantaloupes, watermelons, dill, basil, more mint, honeysuckle and pumpkins. And in planters we have some sage, rosemary, parsley, 2 airplane plants, several pothos, scented geranium and some petunias.

I spent about two hours this morning working on the next beds. The problem is we have encountered the section that was driveway in the backyard. And it is filled with gravel. I dug and dug, and picked, and scooped and dug some more in a little area about 4 by 3 feet. I had to dig down about 18 inches to get all the gravel. And now I am out of buckets! I need to make a sifting screen and find a wheel barrow or some other containers to catch the soil and store the gravel. I guess I can pile the gravel on a tarp, but I need a container up off the ground to sift through and get the gravel separated from the soil. I gotta go raid the garage and see what I can build.

At the moment it is the heat of the day, so we are all inside doing our afternoon interior chores. Me and the kidletswill go back out this evening since Superman has to work late and rebuild two file servers that crashed early this morning! Oz and MoTo have a friend over for the afternoon and they are a rolling batch of loud noise! But they are great fun. It is the first day out of school for them and they are all having a blast.

The kids spent the garden time digging up the paversfrom a buried patio we found the in backyard and moving them into the garden to build the paths. And of course some rain forest jungle dancing (better known as playing in the sprinkler), stalking the jungle animals (chasing birds and squirrels in the back yard), and bush whacking through the dense forest in search of buried Mayan temples (swatting at the tall grass with sticks).

May

May is the fifth month of the Gregorian calendar and the third month of Spring’s rule. The name of the month is garnered from the Greek Goddess Maia, the most important of the Seven Sisters (the Pleiades), and (some say) the mother of Hermes. Some form of this Goddess name is known from Ireland to India. She can be equated with the Irish Queen Medb or Celtic Meave. The Romans called her Maius, Goddess of Summer. This was the traditional month of “wearing of the green” in honor of the Earth Mother’s new garment, and of fornicating in plowed fields to encourage the crops. Hawthorn, her sacred plant, blossoms during this month. Artemis, Diana, Faunus, Flora, and Pan also have dominion over this month.

The Anglo-Saxons called this month Thrimilcmonath, “thrice-milk month.” In England, May was also called Sproutkale. Winnemanoth, “joy month,” was the Frankish name, and the Asatru name is Merrymoon. The Irish call May Bealtaine or an Ceitean, the first weather of summer. The two weeks before Bealtaine is ceitean earrach, spring May-time, and the two weeks after Bealtaine is ceitean samhradh, summer May-time. Bealtaine, also associated the God Bel, means ‘the fires of Bel’. In old Japanese calendar, the month is called Satsuki (皐月). It is also a common name for females. In Japan, there is the so-called May sickness, a kind of sickness where new students or workers start to be tired of their new schoolwork or jobs. It is due to a Japanese custom that all school years and fiscal years start on April 1st. In Finnish, the month is called toukokuu, meaning “month of sowing”. In Slovene, it is called veliki traven, which means the month of high grass.

The first Full Moon of May is called the Flower Moon. It shares the names Planting Moon, Hare Moon, Pink Moon, and Green Grass Moon with April. The May moon is also the Bright Moon, Dryad Moon, the Moon When the Pony Sheds, the Frogs Return Moon, and Sproutkale.

May begins (astrologically) with the sun in the sign of Taurus and ends in the sign of Gemini. Astronomically speaking, the sun begins in the constellation of Aries and ends in the constellation of Taurus.

May birthstones

  • taurus_1Modern Birthstone (officially adopted in 1912): Emerald
  • Traditional Birthstone (herald back to the 15th century): Emerald
  • Mystical Birthstone (Tibetan origin): Sapphire
  • Ayurvedic Birthstone (Ayurvedic Indian Medicine): Agate
  • Other Birthstone (alternative birthstone): Chrysoprase, Beryl

Magickal Correspondences for May

  • geminiAstrological Signs: Taurus, Gemini
  • Nature Spirits: Faeries, elves
  • Herbs: Dittany of Crete, elder, mint, rose, Mugwort, thyme, yarrow
  • Colors: Green, brown, pink
  • Flowers: Lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom, Hawthorn
  • Scents: Rose, sandalwood
  • Stones: Emerald, malachite, amber, carnelian
  • Trees: Hawthorne
  • Animals: Cats, lynx, leopard
  • Birds: Swallow, dove, swan
  • Deities: Aphrodite, Artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility