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

De-vine Intervention

red-wine

Hey there,

De-vine Intervention?  Where could I possibly be going with this one?

“There is a great legend of the guardian angel who traveled across time and space for the human girl he loved, slaying those who would threaten her with a gleaming sword made of heavenly light.”

This is not that story.

Gasp!  Have I given up on woo woo. 🙂  No, my friends, certainly not!  What’s on my mind is vines (and wine) – my title was just my cheekiness showing through.  Gotcha!  What particular vines are on my mind? Well, grapes, of course.  They are everywhere, and certainly plentiful here at Blue Roof Living (the vines, not the wine…although).

Right now in September, they are flowering.  A drive along a country road will show them bobbing and weaving and twirling and winding over fence posts and trees and anything else that gets in the way.  Is it any wonder that the Vikings called America “Vinland” when they first arrived, because of the many varieties of wild grapes they found?  Yup, true story.

wild-grape-vine

Can you eat them?  Oh, yes!  The leaves, especially before the plant flowers, are more tender and citrusy tasting – you can put them in your salad.  Many cultures wrap food in the leaves…stuffed grape leaves, anyone?  Usually the leaves are pickled first, which is a form of fermenting – very good for your gut bacteria. But you can absolutely pick and eat the leaves raw – they contain polyphenols and phytonutrients which have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory agents.  All good things.

The actual vines, the wood part, can be used to make wreaths, baskets, furniture, fences and all kinds of funky things.  Lovin’ the funky.

After the flowering, well, you know what comes next – grapes!  You can eat wild grapes, if you can get to them before the birds do. Wild grapes are very small with thick skins – they are more sour tasting than the cultivated grapes we buy in the supermarket.  You could absolutely still use them for making grape jelly – and wine, for that matter. They are full of antioxidants and that lovely Resveratrol – the antioxidant that is found in red wine…and there it is!  Yay!  My social beverage of choice.  Good and good for you.  Ahem.

I know my boat buddies are reading this.  We love to kick back and enjoy some Resveratrol after time out on the water…it’s our “girls only” time.  You know who you are! 🙂  Find your happy place.

virginia-creeper

Another vine that is interesting and plentiful?  Five Finger Ivy – or Virginia Creeper.  This is the vine that turns vibrant red in the autumn.  It also grows everywhere – sun or shade.  Some may find it a nuisance “weed” in the garden – it grows along the ground as well as up trees, fence posts, telephone poles…you get the idea.  Sometimes she grows alongside our friend grape.

I prefer the name Five Finger Ivy – kind of has the tone of some western gal; brave and fearless – just try ripping me out and I’ll come back two-fold to haunt ya, pardner!  Also, that name better describes how to identify her.  Five leaves (or fingers), all connected at the centre, three bottom leaves are larger than the two top ones.  Taste her (ask first, remember the wild crafting thing).  Citrusy – yup, she contains Vitamin C.

So, are you getting the “de-vine” yet?  Witness de vine!  The “intervention” part – well, sometimes there has to be an intervention, in order that our vine friends do not take over everybody else…they’re kind of bossy that way.  Title explained, moving on…

Feeling renewed, now we’re into September – my favourite month.  Although the extraordinary heat of this past summer is still hanging on here in Southern Ontario.  My goodness, we have broken records for heat and very little rain.  My light watering has helped carry the gardens through, but it’s been a very stressful season for them and they haven’t looked their best.  Better luck next year!

September is so very busy for me – but I like being busy.  Not only am I starting to harvest my green friends; making things – oils, vinegars – drying things for use over the cold months, but there is so much going on with art and festivals and tours! Yay!  I love all those things.  Trying to squeeze in some final outings on the boat, while visiting all of the weekend events.  I don’t want to miss anything. 🙂  Still able to wear sandals (I hate socks), but might need a sweater at night.  LOVE.  Not to mention the humidity disappearing and being able to wear my hair down again…my goodness, it’s gotten long over the summer! 🙂  All the windows open at night, leaves rustling outside, sleeping under a light blanket in a cool room…ZZZZZZ.  Finally, a good night’s sleep.  These all mark the fabulousness of September for me.  Anyone “of a certain age” will get that last one…

The birds are starting to gather to get ready for their long journey south – that’s the one thing I don’t like about September, saying good bye to many of the birds.  The year round residents are moulting and losing their colour, particularly the cardinals and the goldfinches.  The little humming birds are still zipping around. But I know one day soon, I will notice they have moved on.  I like to pay particular attention to the nyger feeders and the bird baths at this time of year – sometimes I get some unusual visitors on their migrating path.  Just stopping in for a snack.  I keep my binoculars with me.  We don’t want this to happen again!

Ahhhh, breathe it in.  Tonight our Sagittarius Moon is in her first quarter.  She’s there, waxing in the west after dark, a crescent, gaining light again.  That would explain my love-in rant above…optimistic, casual and loving to travel, go places and experience something new.  Dressed for adventure.  Pay attention to your hunches under this Moon!  Today’s colour is turquoise.  Thursdays are ruled by Jupiter, as is Sagittarius.

Well, I have gone on this time, haven’t I?  Enjoy some Resveratrol with a friend or two and toast September. Do get outside and enjoy all the season has to offer, before we go within again as the seasonal wheel turns.

Until next time,

-Debra