Friday, November 12, 2010

Sad passing of a Friend, Irrepressible Springtime, and an Invitation

I do apologise if you have missed me. I have been rather preoccupied. Sadly, my dear old assistant passed away a couple of months ago. I went to Tasmania, to walk on the land of my ancestors, and it was a comfort, yet beloved friends are always be missed.

I have also been participating in a course to learn more about the ways of commercial cookery, which
has taken most of my time for the past half year. Commercial cookery seems a very busy sort of world, & I wonder how many people actually appreciate the effort that goes into producing their meal when they go to a restaurant.

My personal interest, as you probably know, is organics, & I know the production of really good food
all beg
ins in the garden,
& that the prod
uce is only as good as the seed, soil, weather & the skill of the gardener.

Garden produce must be harvested, handled & stored correctly to keep it in peak condition until it reaches the kitchen. This is an art in itself.

Next, the chef creates a menu designed to be not only tasty, or nutritious, or look pretty, but
is meant to be a totally pleasurable experience for the diner.

Food must be cooked to perfection, serv
ed at exactly the right temperature, & engage all the senses..... so much effort...your body transforms food into fuel........Alchemy!

The first purple artichoke this spring in my garden ............amazing design!

Certainly, I have learned to respect the artistry involved in creating
beautiful food.

Above is a rabbit's eye view of the vegetable garden

The garden is bursting with life once more, & the vegetables had to be fenced in order to keep out marauding rabbits this year. Again, we have a pretty little black one, & a couple of Peter Rabbit-type brown ones, that frolic in the grass close by while is sit quietly.

I have to protect plants as they grow over Summer from the Possums, Wallabies & Wombats too. Also from the Rosellas, who are very sneaky, & really like eating pea & bean seeds.
There 's not much I can do about clever mice that get into the fava beans, so I will try to pick them just before Ali Baba & the Furry Thieves discover them.......

Now I invite you to quietly enter this picture below

I invite you to sit very this scene...........
silently.......... from the sanctuary..............of a healing Grove............soft apple & elder trees.........
scent the cool breeze.............

curious birds will soon appear........... to investigate...............
Kookaburra & Magpie.......... always hoping for a free grub or snail...............

Rosella, King Parrot & Cockatoo have you under surveillance..............
in case someone has seed in a pocket ...........

one Duck stays...........
slowly......quietly..... sipping & siphoning tadpoles in the cold pool.................

as you sit,
gentle Rabbits creep from their cover.............

beneath the great Cedar..................

to nibble sweet Spring grass......

right in front of you.........

Springtime is happening...........

everything is new and tender.

Blessed Be

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Marigold Awaits Spring

After a few weeks break, I am pleased to be able to report that Spring is on Her way, Miss Marigold is looking forward to Her arrival. It has been very cold, & wet on the Misty Mountain. Although that is really as it should be in Winter in these parts, I tire of the dark, the cold & damp, & of having to stay inside.

The birds on the Mountain are ready for Spring & are making much music. Now that the Creepy Currawongs have moved on, all the resident birds & small mammals can get on with their now busy lives.Tiny birds flit around the garden like Disney faeries, & I have spotted 2 sleek brown rabbits this week.
In the bush, Dusty Miller & Heath feature, along with soft green mosses, lichens & ferns, which glimmer & glisten in the morning sun. Today I went for a long walk in the forest.......

Imbolc next week reminds me that ideas I dreamed up in Winter will either need to be laid to rest, or nurtured to fruition. This is the traditional time of "quickening" of new life, & of ideas. Tree planting goes with this festival, so on the 1st August, I strongly recommend that each person plant a tree & help it to grow, as a symbol of their personal commitment to life. It's a great feeling to do this, & good for the Planet too.

I hope you enjoy a gentle Imbolc this year.
Blessings upon all you decide to manifest!
May your optimism know no bounds, your creative energy be endless & may your heart be full of joy!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Winter Solstice has been profound for me this year. After sharing a delicious vegetarian Yule dinner, cooked expertly by Miss Lily, we celebrated in her garden under the stars, enjoying a cold, misty, evening surrounded by stunning views & a bright moon. We were warmed by good company, fairy cakes & some magical mulled wine. We lit a Yule log, with prayers, wishes & intentions attached, & if the way it whooshed hotly up the chimney is an indication of the coming year, I expect we will all be rather busy! How grateful I am for good friends with similar ways to my own.
I enjoyed the apparent stillness that surrounds Solstice time. I allowed myself to dream & drift, & made no great demands upon my life, but listened, waiting, for clues as to what I should do in the coming months. This inactivity, I think, is very important. It is a chance to to accept that I am not in control of the world, don't know what the future holds, and can allow my life to unfold without interfering with the process. It lasts only a few days, but it is a time of deep reflection, meditation, of being close with my own company, & being myself in most gentle & uncomplicated way.
Now that the longest night of the year has passed, I notice the light of morning arrives a little earlier, so it's becoming easier to get out of bed. I am ready to begin a new year's work. Preparation is the key for me at this time. The image above shows what I see as I contemplate.

The Earth's energies are expanding to generate surface growth once more. It's as if She's breathing out, & dawn is nearly here. It is still too cold for seed planting outside, but tender things are beginning to show themselves, & my "inner seeds" are beginning to sprout. Naturally, I will keep them well sheltered until they are ready to go out into the world.

The weather has been spectacular. Weak sparkling sunlight post Solstice gave way to hail, driving rain, gale-force winds off the snowfields. Now it is just plain cold - no wonderful wildness, only drizzling, bone-chilling, blood freezing cold. My hairy assistant hates to go outside to do what a dog's got to do. The mist will not lift today. And yet, all is peaceful. I hear the liquid singing of the lyrebird, & the dripping of moisture from leaves. The bush smells of eucalypt & leaf mould, & Luculia in the garden smells like a lady. See above how the garden beckons through the rain.....

There was a partial Lunar eclipse last Saturday evening. I saw the Moon with the Earth's shadow across her face. The atmosphere was damp & cold, so there was a large ring of light surrounding her that glowed faintly purple & green in the frosty air. I have no image for this page, but the one you have made in your mind. I wonder who else saw this graceful movement of celestial orbs. Did you see it? I wonder if anyone has noticed the impact of this event upon their life.

And hey, isn't it great we finally have a woman prime minister? GO JULIA! The Moon's effect is surely being felt somewhere....... Kevin, my heart really goes out to you. I was very pleased when you were elected, but my heart tells me the world is not only ready, but is crying out for the old, feminine way of taking care of business. When I saw a female governor general swearing in a female prime minister, I must admit, Old Marigold's glasses misted up for a few seconds, so moving was the occasion......

I have been recently been introduced to "hyperbolic crochet". Apparently, the mathematics of coral growth correspond with this method of knotting yarn. It's amazing that crochet ends up looking exactly like coral. There is a worldwide project at the moment to bring people's attention to the beauty & plight their local reefs & the marine life therein by establishing interested groups of crocheters, & having a public exhibition to raise awareness of the reefs around the world. Dublin has just has a fine one. There will be an exhibition at Burrinja Gallery in Upwey soon, & the Melbourne Museum may be doing something too. I think it a most wonderful project - there are quite a few groups around town crocheting marine life out of anything appropriate that they can twist with a hook!

Don't you love this sort of community activity? It brings people closer together in a very personal way. At this level, I truly believe we can achieve a better world, without waiting for bureaucracies & governments to decide if it's worth their while to get involved. We may not agree with each other on all issues, but I believe if we make personal connection with others, we can create a respectful, compassionate, understanding, tolerant & kind society.

Well, here is my garden on Solstice morning. With a new year of activity about to begin, I draw inspiration from the growth of the plants that nourish much more than my body. I am about to embark upon another course of study, & a new chapter in the story of my life. How about you? I truly wonder what will inspire, encourage & support people over the coming months.

Blessings of the Tender Growth,
With love, Your Marigold

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marigold's musings

This weekend I was lucky enough to visit an enchanted garden high above the sea. I hope you enjoy working out the 3 faces in the image above.

Oak, Ash, Birch, Willow & an assortment of Conifers were very welcoming,
& I was fortunate indeed to make the acquaintance of Scottish Elms, which are the subject of the image below. They are so elegantly twisted & spooky that I'm pretty sure Brian Froud or Arthur Rackham would make beautiful paintings of them, which would include the mysterious Fey beings they seem to attract. They have me to make their portraits this week though, & I hope I can do them justice. Er....the trees, I mean, not the gentlemen.

Winter Solstice next Monday night looms large in my world. After this time, the days get longer, the Spring is closer, & I will begin to put in place the ideas that have come to me over the dark of Winter.
Naturally, I will celebrate this celestial event with great optimism. It's good to have a cut-off point, where I can farewell the old year with the passing of the dark half, & welcome the new as the sun gains strength. This week seems like a no-man's land, leading up to the tipping of the balance of dark into light, but not quite being either at present. Things are shuffling themselves into place. I suppose I will know what needs attention once they are sorted

I see signs of Spring in buds, swelling in tips of bare branches, but fungi associated with Autumn are still to be seen everywhere...........cheerful early camellias & jonquils trick me every year into believing Winter is nearly over, but I know, after the Solstice, in these parts, things get seriously cold, & hopefully we will have lots of rain as well.

This tiny gossamer nest was revealed one morning last week after Magnolia dropped her foliage. It is much smaller than a tea cup & very fragile, yet has supported a whole family of busy little birds. I want to bring it inside to preserve it, but wonder if it is best left to be reabsorbed into the garden..........

My vegetable garden is bare, the seeds of broad beans & bulbs of garlic are slow to show their tender green shoots. Only wild Rocket & Jerusalem Artichokes are plentiful. Next year, I will need to plan more carefully if I'm to feed myself from my plot. It seems a responsibility to eat the yield of one's garden if one is lucky enough to have one to cultivate.

This week a hungry wallaby popped in to see what he could forage, & reminded me how fortunate I am that these gentle creatures are so close. You may see him more clearly on the left side of the image if you zoom in. It's best to take their pictures from afar so as not to frighten them. I want to put food out for these shy creatures, but wonder if that is really a kindness, as they may become too tame, too dependent, & so more vulnerable to attack from domestic animals or injury from cars. It is very hard to watch them slowly diminishing.

Well, the sun is shining weakly today, & it calls me to come outside to investigate. My assistant is groaning again - he wants to go for a little stroll in the garden.

Blessings of the Winter Solstice,
or Summer Solstice if you're upside-down!

And I hope your Yule is cool..........

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mostly Misty Mornings at Marigold's

The outrageously brilliant Copper Beech in last week's entry is now naked, thanks to some rather strong winds earlier in the week. Each night is cold, each morning misty, & the days are cool. Yesterday we were enveloped in a cloud, & the temperature stayed between 4 & 7 deg. Celsius - perfect for cosy fireside living, warm kitchen cooking, & internet plotting & planning with friends.
Just before the Winter Solstice, I begin to start pulling together all the new ideas upon which I have been musing..... it's not a conscious effort, I simply feel a stirring. Soon the darkest night will be over for another year, so I'd better see which things I really want to put my energy into, & what seems ready to come to light. Also, I must decide which ideas I'll let go. Sometimes it's hard to put an idea to rest if it's not strong enough to manifest, but it must be done so that the stronger ones will flourish. This is the way of my world.
With the return of the sun's strength, I like to recognise the past year & begin anew. For me, it's New Year, & what a relief it is to begin again! I will release any negativity within & without, take deep breath of clean, cold air, & begin again. In the Southern Hemisphere, New Year is not after Christmas, but definitely follows Winter Solstice & the Wheel of the Year turns again.

I'm rather excited. My dear friend Lily has invited me, along with some other dear friends to celebrate the Winter Solstice in her recently awakened garden. She has lately been spending more time there, watching, listening, nurturing, & generally forming a relationship with her land & all that lives within it. I expect it will be wonderful, as it is on the edge of the forest, & very magical. I am planning to bake some fairy cakes & make some Jerusalem artichoke soup, as this particular group of friends like to share the produce of our gardens when we meet.

It's a rather fundamental, but often overlooked principal, that you become what you ingest. So, by partaking of each other's produce, we share in becoming a bit of each other's gardens, & so become a bit closer to being made of the same substance as each other. It's not just physical, it's energetic, elemental, spiritual, or whatever you want to name it - by doing this we form a special bond. It really gives another dimension to the idea of thanksgiving, & to husbanding the land.

The Old Celts believed that the land was the perennial Queen, & that a King should firstly be married to the land. If he was a good husband, & cared for her properly, his wife, the "Earth Mother" would be fertile & bountiful, but if he was negligent or incompetent, she would withhold her bounty. Hmmmm, does this sound familiar? Well, these days, we who are blessed with land to care for need to take responsibility, as sovereigns. We need to remember we are not to reign over it, but to husband it! Yes, husbandry means caring for it so it can bear fruit. And so it goes.

Having said that, the current environmental crises happening around the world seem to have the same effect as they did in ancient times. They destabIlise politics! Obama is not the only political leader who might be concerned his popularity is waning due to the inability to protect his assigned piece of the Earth. The oil spill has really shown the world governments, our new "sovereigns", even the most powerful ones, still need to husband their land properly. This means protect it.

This week I haven't done much in the garden. I put in some broad beans & weeded a bit, but the soil is damp & cold, & I'm a bit sick of being muddy. I am knitting yet another pair of stripey socks, & will have a go at a Greek slipper pattern after that. It's the Belgrave Lantern Festival next week, so I will make a new lantern for that. I haven't been to the last 2, but intend to attend this year. Winter Solstice is such a great time to share.

I've been contemplating how "the Goddess" (whatever that actually means) may manifest in a visual art piece. I don't know where it's going, but I think the ideas around this subject are as much for my own contemplation as anyone else's, so I won't disclose details until the work is made. Enough to say I'm already feeling challenged technically, & I haven't even lifted a pencil!

Well that's quite a long post. Perhaps I should blog more frequently.

Blessings of the Silver Bark,
Blessings of the Misty Morning,
Blessings of the Glowing Fire.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ahhh, relax & slow down for Winter.....

Shhhh, I think we should be quieter now that the sun has lost its strength for a while........the days are noticeably shorter, & the trees in my garden have kindly decided it is time to brighten things up a bit, now that the flowers are fading away.......

Listen children: whilst I wasn't looking, & as the cold rain moistened the soil, another hoard of faery folk must have moved in. There are now so many little toadstools everywhere, I suspect it has become a faery metropolis around here. They just move in quietly when you least exp
ect them, then there's that special feeling - something is different....... Oh, they are secretive indeed!
Whilst I stir my fire & keep myself warm inside my house, they enchant my garden......

At night I have heard the foxes barking, & possums munch loudly amongst the tree tops. Daytime caroling currawongs & magpies rule the air, whilst kookaburras sit quietly, waiting for a fat worm to appear in the wet grass. King parrots & rosellas come to my window begging some seed, which I must give in my hand, lest the greedy cockatoos chase them off. In the valley below, I hear the sylvan song of the resident lyrebird. I can't imagine how anyone could feel lonely in this place. These wild animals are so familiar & interact with such trust & gentleness. There are wallaby, deer & wombats that are very shy, & usually only venture out at night. I wish people would drive more slowly. Much of the time these creatures are only noticed when their bodies are left on the side of the road after they have been hit by cars. We need to remember the bush moves more slowly than a car........

Under the cover of darkness & a blanket of leaves, there is much activity that I believe will become apparent when Spring graces the garden once again, but for now, it's quietly, softly, gently....don't disturb the damp soil too much or you will spoil its structure......let it be a bit wild, the trees making lace for the soft, velvety darkness of Winter...........

This week I've been raking mountains of golden leaves, which seem to cover everything constantly. I don't mind at all. They are beautiful in colour as well as form, & they smell wonderful. The Autumn smells always take me back in time, to playing as my parents worked their own beloved garden, then moving forward in time, to when my own children were the ones playing, & I was the one working. It was hard yakka then, but the now memories have softened. I look at these children, now grown into fine men, & know it was a good life for them. I feel at peace with my life, as my own rhythm slows with the declining light.

Much seems to be brewing over this time. There are 4 new projects in my sphere of knowing this week. I wonder which ones will come to fruition? As this is the traditional time of incubation, I am happy to mull & muse & dream over them all. The ones that manifest will be the strong ones. It's interesting to me that all of these projects involve other people. In previous years, I tried to manifest projects alone, & only a few came to light, due to my fluctuating enthusiasm, or lack of confidence. I will be interested to see what happens with this year's batch. Sharing responsibility & a renewed focus upon community may mean I have the pleasure of participating in something wonderful, rather than feeling as if I must make everything I've dreamed up a big success! I do believe people need each other as much as ever they did. The world is feeling bigger every day, yet it means so much for each person to be appreciated as an individual, rather than fade into the blur of faces in a crowd. Hmmmm, hence blogging, I suppose!
I have been drawing, so something's going well. I'm knitting more stripey socks as too. I like to make things from waste yarn. It's challenging to make the colours sing in harmony, although I do cheat & use purchased yarn to "tie it together". Recycling yarn from opp. shops into warm snuggly socks & gloves makes me feel virtuous, as I'm making good use of resources, but it also makes me feel nurtured, as I can create beautiful things with a huge variety of colours & textures.
The wind today is very blustery, & I must get this blog into cyberspace before the power goes off due to falling branches. Until next time,
Blessings of Winter's Velvety Softness

Friday, May 21, 2010

Miss Marigold's South Ausralian Samhuin

Hello Dears, Yes, Miss Marigold had a big adventure this week. She visited South Australia with her two Dear Lady friends, Hazel & Lily. Haven't they done a nice job with the imagery? Not sure who snapped the portrait, but thank you Dears, for the picture, but more than that, for your most excellent company.
We stayed in a lovely beach house with a beautiful friend who invited us to a most wonderful Pagan festival in the Adelaide Hills. It was called The English Ale, & it was to celebrate the coming of Winter. I enjoyed myself so much that this week has been quite a blur of thoughts, ideas & feelings.
I have written a couple of songs, & am now about to begin a drawing. My creative energy levels have risen at last. I now realise I need to get away in the company of like-minded folk more frequently. The spiritual element of the weekend can not be stressed too highly as a great motivator for expressing myself creatively. I do not separate spiritual practice from day-to-day living, as it is all a way of life.
It was most interesting to attend the first Druids of Oz meeting, & listen to ways in which others experience & practice this originally Northern Hemisphere tradition in the Southern Hemisphere. Phew! There were some very learned & influential people there. Your Marigold was honoured to be part of it. I look forward to the development of this group. It is a great opportunity to share in the evolution of a tradition.
As people move around the Earth, their spiritual practices must perhaps necessarily change in order to have relevance in new environments. The Druidic tradition is strongly connected to the land & the local environment. "Gods" & Goddesses" of the Celtic lands were more local spirits of place than the classical deities. So, it is important for those of us who want to have a close relationship with our current home environment to find ways in which we can keep drawing on the wisdom of the past, as well as discover wisdom for the future.
Sadly, I haven't done much in my own garden this week. I am harvesting lots of rocket, broccolli, spring onions & silverbeet. There are tons of Jerusalem artichokes. I will have to do a bit more work this weekend, as I need to plant some lemons & berries soon.
Autumn leaves from my big Copper Beeches threaten to bury the house, but how I love their rich golden light reflected in the pale sunshine.
Winter chills the air. I must light my fire before evening falls. Scampini, my assistant, is sighing. It is nearly time for his dinner. Dampness is falling. The Earth breathes in........
Blessings to you all, & may there be Peace on Earth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miss Marigold Begins

First blog, & I'm a bit excited to have the
opportunity to beam out my musings to the world.