Sometimes Omens are Clear

In an effort to live a nice long life and not gain twenty pounds while writing my next book, I take a walk most days.

(During the writing and publication of “Staubs and Ditchwater”, I did indeed gain 20 pounds. I have since lost my book “baby” weight and would prefer not to repeat the gain/lose process with this new book, thank you very much.)

I walk through my neighborhood which has the advantage of clearing my mind, getting me some exercise and giving me more familiarity with my neighbors and their pretty front gardens.

I learned today that Juneberries (sarviceberries) are ripening up now–and I even ate a few of them in my rambling. I saw how lovely the roses were in our community garden.

The omen sightings began as I started up the steep hill that leaves me breathless when I reach the top. First a pair of bluebirds zoomed directly in front of me and into the bushes across old Roberts St.

I stopped for a chat with a neighbor’s visiting mother–who was planning to make strawberry jam today–and turned back to the edge of the street, only to spy a sleek black form in the white clover. A black snake almost three feet long but slender still from a lean winter.

I reminded her that it would be well with her to keep to the tall grass and not try to cross the busy roadway. She was uninterested in my advice and I returned to the little hill and home.

Blue birds. Black snake.

Good omens on a nice walk.

Breaking All the Rules

Since I was a little kid, I’ve planted by a simple set of guidelines. Root crops are planted on a dark Moon (waning) and above-ground crops are planted in the light of the Moon (waxing Moon). Lots of folks have more elaborate planting systems than that, having to do with astrological signs.

But I learned those simple rules, early on and have stuck with them. Onions, carrots, beets, radishes, taters–dark of the Moon. Corn, cukes, maters, squash, beans–light of the Moon.

Until this week.

The beds are ready and so is the weather. I planted root crops during the last dark of the Moon but then I missed the light of the Moon because of travel and preparation for travel. So yesterday I planted some root crops–radishes and more beets–and held my breath as I also planted corn, cucumbers, sunflowers and okra.

Scofflaw. Reprobate.

Given my travel schedule, I was afraid I’d never get those crops in. And corn is tricky even if you get it in the ground at the right time. Still, I’m taking a chance that the germination rate will be off a bit and maybe the yield won’t be as high.

But if they don’t come up at all–I’ll let you know.

I Would Walk Five Hundred Miles

and I would walk 500 more.

I love that song.

I can’t actually say I’ve been walking a thousand miles but I have been busy. “Rushed off my feet” as they say. My dear friend Mareena’s dear husband Richard died and we had the memorial, which was very cool.

Then the next day, we went to Boone to see my daughter graduate from university, which was glorious and fun.

And the day after that, we left for the Pagan Unity Festival in Tennessee, where I was teaching, as well as vending. That was great fun.

I’ve managed to get some gardening done this week but am still woefully behind. I have a wedding this weekend and another next weekend and then two gigs with local (local-ish) UU churches. In between all that,  I will plant to okra, the peppers and a few more tomatoes and get ready to leave the country in the middle of July.

So, dear friends, if you don’t see me around here, go find me on Facebook.  I am hopeful of doing lots of blogging from Britain so you may be sick of me by the middle of August!

Cold Start to Summer…natural


Today we are celebrating Beltane with a public ceremony in a public park.

And it is cold and windy.

Beltane marks the hinge of the year into summer and we are laughing today with the summer-like weather we’re experiencing. High 40s, windy, rain is imminent.

But it often happens like that here in the southern Highlands. The first weekend in May–Derby day, Beltane, my daughter’s birthday, the Herb Festival–are often graced with chilly weather, and sometimes even snow. It is absolutely natural here. In some areas, it’s called “dogwood winter” because the dogwood trees are blooming. And in some areas it is “blackberry winter” because the blackberries are.

It is one last cold snap before we enter into the warm parts of the year and I intend to enjoy this one, even if it means wearing a heavy jacket to our summer ritual. Too soon for my comfort, it will be in the 90s and dry as a bone, so I’ll relish this cool damp weather while I can.

Maybe we’ll be encouraged to dance a little faster today!