Coming up from the roots…

root veggies

Two nights ago I did some cooking, though I was not feeling particularly inspired to do so.  It was a week night and I’d worked a full day but we had some root veggies in the crisper that weren’t going to make it much longer.  They’d been patient and stored well (as they do, bless them) but I had waited to the point of no return and they seemed to sigh and say to me “now or never darlin”.

So I went about making roasted root vegetables – as well as a big batch of potato soup.  As I peeled and/or cut the golden beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes (for roasting) and white potatoes (for soup) I took the time to breathe and to give thanks to and for those lovely gifts of the land. 

I also began to think about fall and winter, about those fallow times where things become more still; times when we store what we need to get through.  I have been living a time like that – not only this past winter, but for all of last year.  Much like the food in my hands – I have felt bright, rich and sweet on the inside – but quite dull, drab and wrinkled on the outside.

I know though that I needed that time, needed that storage and quiet.  As I prepared a delicious meal of roots, I gave thanks for the deep times, the fallow times – the resting periods.  I gave thanks to Anna, Arddu and the allies who help to teach me about culling (as someone with 5 planets in Taurus…culling is not always easy for me).   I gave thanks to Freya, Herne and the Peacock, who encourage me to push past stillness and quiet, even when it scares the crap out of me. 

I found myself crafting transformation while I worked, distilling the flavor from this past year so that I could take it in again.  I set an intention of letting that flavor and that lovely food truly feed me (on many levels) in my preparation for spring, for rebirth.  I want to do more than move on from this time…I want to appreciate and learn from it.

The food was delicious, despite my having done very little to make it so (I love when simple meals remind me of the beauty of whole foods and their divine allure).   The magic was delicious as well. 

I am well fed; by life, by magic and by my own will.  Storing my sweet lessons, I am ready for spring and beginnings.

I will not rot in life’s crisper… ;>)

Honey, please?

Honey sweet
Honey sweet

Hello magical ones…

I have been inspired by the honey magic that took place at Wintercamp this year and have been continuing it at home.  I found some delicious local honey from the Chicago Honey Co-op, which I recommend highly for those in my area (check out their website, they have an interesting blog on beekeeping).  I also found a web site that will help you find local honey wherever you are!

I would like to gather some good honey recipes.  I see many on line but it is hard to determine the culinary quality on the page.  Do you have any “tried” recipes that feature honey which you’d like to share?  If so, please post them here.

I will share any mellifluous delights that I discover.

Much love to you and gratitude to the bees.

Midwestern locavores take note!

Baba goodness
Baba goodness

We have limited local foods here in Chicago unless we grow our own and/or the Farmer’s markets are in season.  Therefore when I find a local food product I get really excited.

I have been very pleased with Chef Earl’s products (which are made in Illinois), most especially their Baba Ghannouj.   I like that they are local and that they don’t use chemical preservatives.  Imagine how excited I was when I read that their containers are also compostable!  They are made from a plastic derived from corn starch.

For me…that’s some great food magic!

If you live in the Midwest and are looking for ethical eggplant (hummus, salsa and other things) you might want to give them a try.

YUM!

Seed dreams and other things…

Forsythia
Forsythia

I am dreaming of spring…no, lusting for spring and the food magic of gardening.

It may seem a bit early to be doing so since I live in well-wintered Chicago but I am a child of more southernly climes and my seasonal rhythms are forever set by Tennessee.  There, where the rolling hills dance with the Cumberland River, March brings green kisses and buttercups amidst the heavy winds and rain.  April (a favorite for me as it is my birthday month) would be mild, sweet-scented and full of the ephemeral pastels that only spring can yield.

Though warmer temps won’t be in ChiTown for a long while (and in fact it is snowing here as I type) I am jazzed about spring and visions of this year’s food garden.  I live in a “green building” (which strives to be as sustainable as possible) and together we have worked to create an edible landscape in our yard.  Last year marked our first attempt which was not wholly successful.  While we got some perennials established (including some raspberries that I liberated from my former garden under a midnight moon) we lost much of our harvest to the critters.  Yup, we became a catering service for the birds, squirrels, raccoons, bunnies, possum, skunks and rats of the neighborhood (and you thought Chicago didn’t have wildlife).

Having learned that lesson a bit sadly, we are making plans for this year that will still allow us to practice permaculture (which won’t harm the animals) but will allow us to bring healthy, fresh, local produce from our yard to our tables.  In addition to gardening, we are also planning on raising chickens (which is very exciting to me).  We will build a coop in early spring and hope to have four chickens who will bless our lives with laughter, our garden with bug-eating (and poop!) and our kitchens with fresh eggs.  At that point I feel sure that I’ll give up the veganism (but that, I fear, is another post all-together).

So in garden planning we are considering what we like to eat, what the land seems to desire, what is expensive to buy at the store and what will fit given our resources.  I am also thinking about ways to continue to weave magic into the food garden and my daily life. 

Last year we charged the seeds and plants as they were planted and transplanted.  I also did a lot with water, charging it from the rain barrels before pouring it on the plants.  I’d like to continue that work and feel inspired by rune magic and the work of  Masaru Emoto  (I’m seeing a well decorated and intentioned watering can in my future!).  My roommate and I also believe that singing is a powerful magical act so we try to spin a lot of tunes in the backyard (despite sometimes getting protests from the neighbors and/or being set upon by swarms of biting bugs).  I am working to put much more energy into my relationship with Fae and the Spirits of the Land there.  I have built an altar in the yard (from stones from my ancestral home in TN) but feel as though I am only beginning to have a relationship with the beloved denizens of that place.  I am partially challenged in this by our housemates who are not pagan and who whisk away any offerings I leave out.  However, I am hoping that in time the beings who dwell there will come to know me, welcome me and will want our little ecosystem to thrive.

I would love to hear from those of you that grow your own edibles and hope that we can share and learn together as the season progresses.  Perhaps by weaving plans and dreams of spring we can pass these last, glittering winter months with cozy ease as we prepare for next year’s bounty. 

I leave you with a bit of music to feed your seed dreams…enjoy!:  \”Suvetar, Goddess of Spring\” by Gjallarhorn