Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Drop everything but your pants!

Thanks to Jason at Wild Hunt Blog for finding this out...

There is a new music compilation from Mark Coyle!

The new album is called John Barleycorn Reborn and is sure to be amazing.

Other useful links: Woven Wheat Whispers and The Unbroken Circle

Mark's compilations are wonderful, as those of you who own "Lammas Night Laments" already know...This would be a great gift for the fan of pagan, psychedelic or folk music on your gift list...including moi!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Harvest Home

Heading out to Conjure Cinema in central Mass. to watch the mini-series adaptation of Thomas Tryon's excellent novel Harvest Home which was retitled, for the purposes of sounding spooky, "The Dark Secret of Harvest Home."

It's a great series, starring Bette Davis (post stroke), David Ackroyd and a young nubile Rosanna Arquette. I have been wanting to do a new script adaptation of this for a while now (looking into getting the rights) but this one was really pretty well done. But it could definitely be updated for a contemporary audience.

Ya know, it strikes me that one difference between life in the 1970s and life now is, everyone is attached to some sort of electronic device on a nearly constant basis. So a writer has to include things like cell phones and iPods and Blackberries and make sure their characters interact with them. But with this story, where a couple who lives and works in Manhattan decide to move with their teenage daughter to a tiny village in New England that still keeps the "old ways" it is not implausible to think that cell phone coverage might be, well, spotty at best...the better to make sure the hero is not able to call for help from the dark, scythe-shadowed cornfield, ha ha...

I am not sure where Walter got the DVD copy of this, maybe it is a bootleg. It is shown on TV once in a while but I am sure it gets cut a lot by commercials...the original version is 300 minutes long, and we are seeing it in two parts (part 2 next month), so hoping he has the whole thing!

Of course this book is also the basis of my coven's Provider Cycle rituals, along with a few other key texts including Robert Duncan's poems from The Opening of the Field and Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha."

Trying to figure out something appropriate to make for the potluck. If the idea of cooking and eating tongue were not so repulsive...hmm, maybe fruit salad.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Festival of the Trees

I am pleased to announce that I (well. my blog, really) will be hosting this very cool thing in March 2008.

The whole concept of a blog carnival is new to me, I also found one at Treehugger which is a great website in and of itself.

I'll remind you all next spring to send me your favorite links about trees! I think I will probably do an orchard/apple tree theme, surprise, surprise...

Sunday, August 19, 2007


This is the time of year when I drool over gardening catalogs and try to decide what bulbs I want to plant to come up next spring. Above are tulips I photographed at TulipFest in Albany this past spring. I love tulips and want to plant plenty of them this year. I have gotten a couple of catalogs with "wholesale prices" that offer large amounts of tulips for a good price (50 bulbs for $20) so I am going to get some Cum Laude tulips and maybe some Angelique ones. I will also get some Siberian Squill, and maybe some Kronos hyacinths.

I will also maybe order some things from Gilbert H. Wild, which has great late season specials on daylilies and peonies. UPDATE: I did get some things. Some daylilies (including some red and yellow ones to plant at Brushwood), 3 peonies (3 for $12 special, they send random varieties, hee hee I love surprises), a copper-colored iris, and 3 Asiatic lily bulbs.

Still hoping to create a gardening blog with my pal in Florida, and maybe an additional fiend she says is also interested! But for now, my gardening news will be here or on my Livejournal blog.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I took a trip down to look at the faire...

We're planning to go to the Altamont Fair later today. I have not been to this fair before, although I have attended Old Songs at this fairgrounds a few times. I like fairs, I hope this is a good one. There are a few exhibitions and events, like pig racing, sheep-shearing, a lumberjack event, demolition derby etc. I miss going to the Tunbridge Fair in Vermont which is a real wolrd's fair in the old style, lots of agricultural and animal exhibits, plus plenty of great food, etc. and a maple sugar house where you can buy, then eat, all sorts of treats made from maple syrup.

I love fairs! I am looking forward to going. I have not been to a renaissance faire in a long time, either, mainly because King Richard's was the only one close by and is simply no longer worth going to: too expensive, no longer authentic or fun, crappy vendors (except for a a few die-hard quality ones like Moresca, the others can't afford it anymore).

But I might go to the Maryland Ren Faire to see the Medieval Baebes in October!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I just got an email: Goblin Fruit is going to publish my poem in their Fall issue!

I had expected to wait several weeks for an answer, but it took less than a week. They asked if I can record myself reading it for them, which I found odd since there were no links for sound files in the previous journal issues (must be a new thing). That seems cool, I like to read my work aloud. T. is going to help me with it since he is more technically-adroit than I am.

My first published poem in a while, it feels good! I have sent out a couple of others, we'll see if they do as well.

hmm, morbid yet fascinating

If you go to, it will calculate the day you will die.

My personal death day is January 4th, 2043, which means I will be 80. Not bad I guess.

Gotta get that BMI lower if I want to live longer, though!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I don't like cherries but...I do like fairies

This is a lovely quote from Emily Dickinson:

“When I sound the fairy call, gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall, cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry, take a cherry, mine are sounder, mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter for the eater, when the dews fall, and you'll be fairies all.”

Trees in trouble

I saw this on Isaac Bonewits' blog Views from the Cyberhenge, and it kinda scared me a little: a map created by, in a post where he suggests buying oceanfront property in northern California... (and wouldn't we all love to do that!)

This is a map showing Zone hardiness changes in the last 17 years and how global warming has affected the growth of trees and plants in those zones.

Hardiness zones are areas mapped to let us gardeners know which plants will do well in the areas we live in. For example, when I lived in Boston, it was Zone 6, but now in Albany I am in a Zone 5a. My pal Wren in Florida lives in Zone 9; this means she can grow all kinds of cool tropical plants and have stuff in bloom year-round, but it also means cold-hardy plants and trees which need a period of cold temperatures for their growth cycle will not grow there at all, like peonies, daffodils, lilacs, apples, pears, etc.

Global warming is causing some zones to get warmer, while a very few (mostly in desert areas) have gotten colder. Global warming, despite the name, does not just make things warmer: it intensifies weather conditions that already exist, hence bigger floods in Bangladesh, more severe droughts and dryspells in Florida, hotter muggier summers in New England, and windier gale storms in Europe.

How does this affect us? Well, in areas where farmers grow certain crops their ability to grow and harvest fruit from trees (like apples, cherries, peaches, pears, oranges, in short ALL THE FRUITS WE LIKE TO EAT) will be compromised, thus affecting their livelihood, and our ability to purchase locally-grown fruit. It is likely Californa will still be able to grow large amounts of produce like it does now, so we will still be able to get many fruits at the supermarket. But in recent years there has been a nationwide movement afoot to support local farms and eat local food for its benefits to our health and local economies, not to mention supporting the farming way of life which helps us all to acknowledge and participate in our most basic connection to nature, the fact that the food that feeds our bodies comes from the earth.

This is important.

My thought is that if this type of farming gets more difficult because of weather changes (as we saw earlier this year when some Northeast apple growers feared crop failure due to an abnormally-warm winter), that more of them will throw in the towel. So we need to support them now if we want the coming difficulty to be lessened.

If any of you have never tasted a locally grown apple, ear of corn or tomato, let me just say there is no comparison to that pale, mealy often tasteless stuff you buy at the supermarket. The freshness is everything. And if you can get organic local produce, so much the better. Even if the health benefits from not ingesting pesticides were not a factor, the superior taste alone should get people to switch to organics. And eating local produce means your immune system gets a boost from the local pollen and bees that helped to pollinate these plants.

It worries me that this warming trend is going to affect trees and crops. I want to try and do what I can to raise awareness. I try to buy local and organic produce, visiting my farmer's markets every week, but my purchases alone won't do much. So I will continue to try and write about these issues and talk to my friends about them.

There are so many problems in the world, that if a compassionate person tried to decide among them it is enough to drive you crazy. I learned long ago when I worked as an environmental activist, you have to choose your battles and put your energy into issues that are important to you, and apply your skills where they are best utilized. So in my activist activities connected to paganism, I have written about media portrayals and the like for years. But I am feeling a need to reach out a bit further and help the planet.

My focus now in environmental activism is on promoting healthy local food, lessening pesticide use, and helping protect trees and orchards. Join me in eating well and preserving the beauty and majesty of nature's wisest plants.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dreams, and Fish

Wow did I have some weird dreams last night. Probably because I watched this movie. But my dreams were nothing like the film, not darak or scary or paranoid, just full of people from my life past and present and all sorts of activity...some sort of trip to a conference or event seemed to be the central event. We (a group of friends and I) stayed variously at a hotel, my house, and my grandmother's house. We also ended up in a very chic, beautiful city where we walked around and visited a farmer's market and other places. Lots of food and coking and eating out in this dream (maybe because I skipped dinner in favor of carby snacks? I definitely woke up feeling some low blood sugar this morning) All in all a fairly pleasant dream. One person that showed up was an old high school friend, Jim R., who wanted to date me in junior high. Of course he looked exactly the same as he did twenty five years ago, as people do in dreams.

In other news, NOAA, my favorite weather website, has created a new site to help people find safe seafood. The site lists many popular types of fish and seafood and gives the latest information on mercury levels and other contaminants, as well as overfishing and supply levels. I love fish but rarely eat it because of fear of heavy metal contamination, so maybe this will change that.

Another gorgeous day today, perfect for some gardening. T. was too tired last night for meteor gazing, so we skipped it. Oh well, maybe next year! Hope we have a new moon for it again.

Monday, August 13, 2007


I found this lovely journal online:

Fairy Tale Review

A piece by Aimee Bender in their "Blue Issue" is called "Appleless" and I thought it would be a lovely thing to share on this blog. I am also adding this journal's link to my list. Oh, and I think I will have to send them some writing.

Here is a sample, visit the website for the rest:

Aimee Bender

I once knew a girl who wouldn't eat apples. She wove her walking around groves and orchards. She didn't even like to look at them. They're all mealy, she said. Or else too cheeky, too bloomed. No, she stated again, in case we had not heard her, our laps brimming with Granny Smiths and Red Deliciouses. With Galas and Spartans and yellow Golden Globes. But we had heard her, from the very first; we just couldn't help offering again. Please, we pleaded, eat. Cracking our bites loudly, exposing the dripping wet white inside.

It's unsettling to meet people who don't eat apples.

Sunny day, summer is slipping away...

For someone like me, who enjoys observing the passing of seasons on nearly a daily basis, it's hard to choose a particular time of year that stands out as a favorite. But in addition to the days of late November, after the leaves fall but before the snow comes, and the bright, colorful days of autumn, and the damp, fragrant days of early spring, I do love August, which I think of as "high summer." The colors of green in the landscape, seen in the tree-covered mountains of New York state, have reached their pinnacle of vibrancy and have begun their dying fall. This always seems to me to happen right around Lammas, coinciding with the time we think of as "harvest" when produce begins ot become plentiful and will be so until October. It is the beginning of abundancy, yet also marks the start of a decline. The fullness and deep green of the leaves will continue to lessen and fade as we journey towards winter. But I try to enjoy each day for its own pleasure.

Some of my most common instances of deja vu happen at this time of year, because I recall so many times as a child being struck by the peacefulness and beauty of these August days, particularly late afternoon, when you could start to smell the scent of barbecue grills on the air (back then it was all charcoal of course), or hear the sound of lawnmowers or sprinklers (nowadays people have noisy weed-whackers too and I do not look forward to the proliferation of leaf blowers a couple of month sfrom now: one of th emost obnoxious and lazy inventions of the 20th century)...I'd also be reminded that these idle afternoons would soon end when I went back to school, and that would make me a bit wistful. Little did I know, the feel of a carefree summer afternoon would become a rarity once I became an adult and entered the working world.

Why is it that so many of us consider August the "end" of summer? I mean, September brings such gorgeous weather, often as hot and sunny as July! I think it is because we all associate it with the few weeks left of "freedom" before going back to school. It's funny how being raised in that timeframe, which follows the seasons so closely and consistently, is a habit and memory that is so hard to shake off after many years/ Of course if you're a teacher it remains the case even more than usual...

Not teaching this summer gave me lots of free time to work on my garden, etc. but I'd have preferred the paycheck! Now that I am going back to work and will be commuting again I am at least thankful I only have to be in Boston for a couple of days instead of four. Should make it easier to continue to get some work done on our house and yard. Other than working outside we have not done much on the indoors this summer. But I have really enjoyed our time spent camping at Brushwood, and having some unstructured days in which to do whatever I want at home, indoors or out. This makes me strongly consider the possibility of trying to work from home once I stop commuting to teach. Being able to work in the garden for a couple of hours each day, and a few hours of work writing or researching, instead of doing some 9 to 5 somewhere, would be a much healthier lifestyle for me, and for T. too, since he only works every fourth day.

Missed the meteor showers last night as it was cloudy, but tonight there may be another chance. I will make fresh peach ice cream today, and do some gardening, and go for a long walk with the dog. Then tonight I will pack us some snacks as we head to the mountains in search in shooting stars. And you, what will you do when you get home from work today?

Here's to the joys of summer and enjoying them in all their sweet languor...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Perseid Meteor Showers

Earlier this week, the forecast for our area was for clear skies at night; but now it has changed and we have cloudiness and chance of showers expected!

This will interfere with watching the meteor showers tonight.

Hoping we might still be able to see some meteors tomorrow night...but am regreting not getting out to Brushwood for the sky show, as I think it is clear out there.

This happened to us last year: we drove to the mountains but the clouds obscured much of our chances to see the show; but we did see a few good ones. Also, my partner has to work tomorrow morning, so we can't stay up too late. According to an article from the BBC, it will peak Monday and be visible into Tuesday morning. Here is hoping for clear skies!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Green Egg on line

Green Egg magazine is back, but in online format only. Which is good news, and I am happy it's back. I went to a workshop/talk Oberon had at Starwood briefly (I had to get to something else going on at the same time), and the webmasters of the new zine talked about the site.

I looked at it for a bit, as they have provided a free sneak peek on the website as they try to get people excited to pay for a $13 subscription (for an online zine?)

The article topics look pretty good, but the online layout leaves a lot to be desired. The articles simply are not very readable. They are single spaced in bold font, and for some inexplicable reason, the text is all centered! This makes it very hard to read.

I wish Green Egg all the best but before I am willing to pay money to subscribe to an e-zine, it needs to be in a format that is easy on the eyes and readable.

Indian Ladders

This is an orchard in New Salem, NY, not far from us. An old, family-owned orchard (the family name is the same name as our street!) with many acres of orchards. You can pick your own apples there, or strawberries or other fruits in season. They also have a great seleection of local foods and goodies, and the line for fresh cider donuts in the fall is always out the door on weekends!

This place represents a dying way of life in this country. Please support your local orchards!

The orchards at Indian Ladders.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Pagan "Community" and Witch Wars

I remember having conversations with F & W over the years, on how sad and frustrating it is that the pagan community seems to have no interest in achieving any sort of unity or common ground. People just love their witch wars too much, it seems.

Well, now that I am embroiled in one, it drives the point home even further. I am sure it will not get too teribly public, since it is only some dumb slob's blog we are talking about, but he has drawn a lot of attention to himself by engaging in some witch-hunt-like tactics trying to destroy the reputations of two community elders.

I have always wondered at the efforts of pagans to draw attention to themselves via the internet... I mean, it is one thing when someone actually has somethig beneficial to offer: good writing, or art, or humor, or teachings of some kind. But when one is offering negativity and arrogance and personal attacks, why do they think people want to listen to that?

I guess I am no better, in my attempts to defend victims of such attacks, I engage in the same tactics to denigrate the attacker. But this does seem justified to me, especialy when the victims cannot speak for themselves in the same forum in which they are attacked.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Back from the Woods...musing on pagan blogs

I have returned from three weeks at Brushwood and had a wonderful and relaxing time there. Still not sure this blogger format is for me (maybe I can upgrade to one I can post photos to and such?) but I will keep trying. I am trying tio figure out the mechanics of it all but I am kinda blog-challenged, I admit.

I need to decide how I want to approach this blog thing. There are so many wonderful pagan blogs out there (like The Wild Hunt, or Letter from Hardscrabble Creek, or Wren's Nest, all listed at right) and I do not want to duplicate what is already there. I also do not necessarily have time to post on alot of current events, and again, others are doing a better job than me already!

I think maybe using it to work on current writing projects and provide updates on them is the best way to proceed now, in addition to posting random thoughts, rants and dreams...and maybe a recipe or two, and an occasional poem.

More very soon!