September – Fresh Start

Hey there,

I know I’m not alone in thinking that really, September is the start of the new year.  Everything is new and beginning again.  I don’t like to rush the seasons…OK, now I’m fibbing…we all know how I feel about Winter – it’s OK for a little while, but then, enough already.

It’s not officially Fall yet, but it’s in the air.  Especially this year, after the “Summer that wasn’t” here in Southern Ontario.  I love the Fall and it’s normally such a short season, but September and October – FAB!

There are many activities art related in my area in September and October…all the things I love: shows, tours, classes.  The food is amazing with the fresh harvest.  I get the urge to make things with my hands. There’s a coziness to it all and yet, I still have my gardens…it’s still too early for “Jack” to take them from me.  Ahhhh  Mums and pumpkins and all the rich colour.  The sky is a deeper hue.  The fields are dotted with gold, purple, white, rust and warm shades of brown.  Darker at night a little bit earlier, but not too early yet.  Cooler for sleeping, blue jeans, maybe a light sweater or jacket, but most days, you can still wear sandals and Pearl still wears her pretty summer wheels. YAY!  What’s not to like?

Mercury has been in retrograde and I have not been at all inspired to write.  Mercury being the planet of communication – you see where that came from.  Mercury plays a big role in my birth chart.  Not an excuse, just a statement.  Besides, I’ve been spending every spare moment outside and not in front of my computer. There will be lots of time for that later.  I’m going with the flow.

Round two of seeds have been planted in the veggie gardens.  Peas, radish, spinach and lettuce, hoping for a second crop in the cooler weather.  Swiss Chard is still going strong.  I’m harvesting tomatoes daily, made some dill pickles from my cucumbers (where I often find Niles peeking out from beneath the vines…)

← Meet His Royal Cheekiness, Niles!  Looks like he’s wet (again) from being out in the rain (or in the garden).

There are squash on the vine, green beans are yummy as are the yellow zucchini. Carrots and beets processed and round two planted.  I’ve really enjoyed my veggie gardens this year and so glad that my plan from last Fall – the apple harvest bins – have worked out really well.  They seem to be just the right size for the amount I need.  Easy on my back and easy to plant and harvest – not large enough for me to go too crazy with amounts planted – but you’d be surprised at how much I can sneak in. 🙂 A saunter out to the barn in the morning with my scissors and my basket is the routine…what will I bring in today?  Happiness.  Soon, I’ll be harvesting and drying the culinary herbs. Oregano is already in the jar.  Hello homemade pizza!  Can you smell it?

 

 

Some of my harvest!

Oy, the drying frenzy hasn’t really started yet, but it’s coming.  As is the bringing in of the plants. Very soon. My big pot of Rosemary has not had a happy Summer.  Even sitting out on the deck on the South side, where it sits every Summer, it’s been too wet.  It was actually happier inside the dry house in the Winter. I’m hoping it perks up and am thinking about bringing it in now.  I’d hate to lose it, it’s a good sized plant and one that I use often in Winter for flavouring.  On my bucket list is visiting those countries where it actually grows as a shrub…one day.

Not a wild greenie here in Canada, but Rosemary is an awesome plant.  It tastes and smells divine and is the herb of remembrance.  Even Shakespeare said so!  One of those culinary, curative and cosmetic herbs that may be used year round.  Not only tucked into bridal bouquets and wreaths for centuries, but once used as a religious herb as well.  It has been burned as incense in ceremonies as protection against evil and at funerals. Sometimes mixed with Juniper to cleanse and purify the air.  I like to use it for adding flavour to roasting meat and potatoes.  I will also make an oil with it for use in cooking and/or the bath.  A very clean scent when mixed with Lavender.

The oil from the plant leaves is antibacterial and anti-fungal.  A good “breathing” herb to relieve headaches. Used in a tea, it makes a good mouthwash.  All good reasons to bring my potted plant in sooner, rather than later!

What else am I harvesting?  The Moon’s energy.  Tonight she is full in Pisces and the Sun is firmly planted in Virgo.  So an excellent time to dream big, as Pisces is ruled by Neptune and is the sign of dreams, whereas Virgo, a very grounded, Earth sign is the one to get things done and make those dreams a reality. A powerful combo.  Win-win!  The September Full Moon is the Harvest Moon, a little earlier this year.  Watch for the orange colouring.  I will be straining some bath oils this evening and using the preserved energy in the cold months ahead.

Today’s colour is white.  Appropriate in speaking about the Rosemary in bridal bouquets and wreaths above.

What will you dream of under this Harvest Moon?  Make it big and then make it happen.

Until next time,

-Debra

‘Shrooms under the Harvest Moon

 

harvestmoon

Hey there,

Taking time out of this incredibly busy season, because I promised, once a week, to keep you informed on all things (well, maybe not all things) going on, under and around the blue roof.  We are now officially into my favourite time of year.  Yay!

So many things going on – the weather is gorgeous, the plants need harvesting – time to dry, make teas, tinctures, oils, vinegars and other stuff to carry me through the dark months ahead.  Lots of fairs, club stuff, art, tours, it’s movie season…I could go on…it’s a wonder I’m even home to get all the things done that need to be done. (What’s a little dust between friends?)  Lovin’ it 🙂

What am I up to this week – besides all the stuff above? (who needs sleep – kidding)

Mushrooms – my latest obsession. 🙂  Certainly never a dull moment here…Mushrooms, not classified as a plant, but a fungi – in a class of their own.  Fungi isn’t usually part of polite society conversation…sounds gross.  What do you think of when you hear the word FUNGI?  Ew – thought so.  Me? Memories of science lab and the horrors of high school.  Double ew.  High school is a period of my life I choose to tuck away in a dark corner in the ol’ memory bank.  Taken out, dusted off and examined, every once in a while, when appropriate, on an as-needed basis – then dismissed and tucked back away. It was necessary – and the law. Previous life.  Nothing to see here.  Move along. Not sharing. Double ew.  Are you getting that I didn’t like high school? 🙂 The good news? I did enjoy all the education post high school.

“Life is hard – It’s harder if you’re stupid”
-John Wayne

Getting back to mushrooms…No, I’m not talking about the psychedelic ‘shrooms from high school (hey man, wanna buy some…) – although they are still out there – hiding amongst the greenies!  I’m talking about the edibles – all those tasty morsels, just waiting to be plucked and cooked for your dining pleasure.

This is something that you seriously need to be educated in before foraging.  I am learning the ropes myself – you have to be very sure about what you consume in this world of fungi.  

Eating the wrong thing could be fatal.

So I am only sticking to what I am absolutely sure of in the very common varieties.

mushroom-lactarius-deliciosus

Why bother at all?  They are very nutritious! Besides selenium, potassium, B vitamins, Vitamin D, among others (including copper – which is difficult to find in food).  The many varieties also have distinctive tastes, ranging from fruity to anise spice to the earthy taste we associate with mushroom anything. They are a good meat substitute for vegetarians. Aaannnd – it’s cool to dig around amongst the greenies looking for them.  I know I’m weird.

Look at these beauties!  Delicious Lactarius is the name – hard to miss the lovely colour when you start looking down for them!  Be careful where you step.  I happen to live amongst and close to some of the best places to find them – including my own back yard!  It’s a very interesting world, learning all about them. Part of the education is which variety grows when.  Foraging for them in Spring or in Fall.  We’ve all heard of Morels in the Spring – just the tip of the iceberg, my friends.

Looking at the colour of the ‘shrooms above and talking about the harvest leads me to our Full Moon this month, the Harvest Moon, in Pisces.  Pisces is ruled by Neptune – the planet of altered states of reality, dreams, meditation.  Emotional and glamorous, sparkly and mesmerizing.  We are in the second quarter, opposite the Sun.  Kinda like the altered state I seem to be in these days, with so much going on!

The Harvest Moon isn’t until tomorrow night, although the Moon is in Pisces tonight, as well, but I’m posting today because I know I won’t get to it tomorrow.  Ahem: altered state.  Even though I am a homebody at heart (my Cancer ascendant) – I am a social butterfly these days! 🙂 Busy, busy, busy.

Back to the Harvest Moon – the obvious name for it as this time of year signals all things harvest.  Time to start saving, making and storing all of our plant friends before the nights start to turn towards the “f” word. FROST.  Gotcha!  (Frost makes me sad, because I have to start wearing socks again.)

But why is the Harvest Moon so large and orange? The Moon is lower on the horizon in Fall and closer to the Earth – we are coming up to the Fall Equinox next week (we will talk more about that then).  It has to do with dust and particles in the air; the atmosphere of the Earth and the way our eyes see light being reflected through that atmosphere; more dust particles scatter the light. Maybe because it’s harvest time and all the dust and particles are being scattered by farmers and their harvesting?  Perhaps.  That’s my take.  Or, you could choose to think that Hallowe’en is around the corner and all things pumpkin…can you say pumpkin spice?  Mmmmm

Tomorrow’s colour, for our Harvest Moon, is coral – very fitting.  Today it’s red – also fitting.

I’ll leave you to get on with your own harvest – even if you’re just clipping a few culinary herbs to dry for winter use and enjoyment.  It sure beats the store-bought stuff that sits on a shelf for who knows how long! A big thank you to Mother Nature as we bring in the harvest.

Until next time,

-Debra