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O sleeper of the land of shadows…

Oh William Blake, you make me happy.

But anyway, I totally suck at updating blogs. Especially this one. I have been reorganizing it, checking to see that all the links are working and whatnot, and gathering up scraps to begin posting again. And I started to, only to begin contemplating a fresh start, with less baggage. And so this blog is now abandoned. It served its purpose, and I’d rather move on rather than try to keep dragging this out. I’ve started a new one, that will focus more on hedge witchery and my attempted reconstructions of the path of the haegtesse, as well as my studies in herbalism. If you’re interested in finding this blog, let me know.

This blog…

isn’t dead, it’s sleeping. Well, hopefully it will wake up and be updated soon. :D

A quick update

. . . ’cause I’ve been neglecting this blog, lol. But first, a quote I liked:

“For the birds there is not a time that they tell, but the point vierge between darkness and light, between nonbeing and being. You can tell yourself the time by their waking, if you are experienced. But that is your folly, not theirs.”

— Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Found a new book at the used clothing store, it’s The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. I’m really enjoying it, although I don’t get most of the Christian references, the main concepts are fascinating. I’ve been reading a few books on medieval women, mostly looking for info on Hildegard of Bingen, but all of it is interesting. I also found a book on medieval gardens, which is awesome. So that’s where my reading has been lately. Well, those and Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett, lol.

I got rid of a bunch of older hens. Mom was more upset about it than me. I kept a few ancient ones that have lived here all their lives, but the hybrid layers that ate too much and produced little had to go. The pigs went this fall, as well.

Not much else going on (apart from school, of course; classes are Gender Roles, Interpersonal Relationships, Cell Bio, and Abnormal Psych: Specific Disorders). I read seed catalogues to keep sane. Every year I try to embrace winter as best I can, with varying amounts of success. But January’s half gone now, and before I know it, the crocuses will be up and the robins back.

I have a new pig. (Yee haw.) No pics though, my computer is protesting. She was supposed to be pregnant, but turns out she wasn’t. She’s a heritage breed, a Large English Black, which are on the critically endangered list in Canada. New discovery: purebred registered livestock are a pain. I mean, Mag is hilarious and quirky (she chases cars and runs downhill so fast I worry she’ll go ass over snout), but trying to find a boar for her that isn’t related to her seems to be impossible. So I’ll have to cross her to a different breed for now. Oh well. Better luck next time, I guess.

And that is that. 4-H tonight. :D

After the Flood…

Anyone else looking forward to the new Margaret Atwood novel? Back to the world of Oryx and Crake, people!!

Anywho, decided to write a brief update. The recent weather kind of trashed the veggie garden. We live on a floodplain, right next to the river, and while we benefit from the rich, beautiful soil, we sometimes get wet. Or at least, the lawn and gardens get a nice silty bath. Mmmm nutrients and minerals… and really gritty chard. :P The weeds are getting a tad out of control, but I try to liberate one tomato plant a day. Haha ambition.

I didn’t stake the tomatoes, or peas, or cucumbers, or mallow. I meant to, I really did, but I think that deep down I may just be an agent of chaos, and feel that things are more awesome when they are wild and free. Or I’m just lazy. Probably that too.

Exhibition is this weekend and the next. I didn’t enter anything, but I do intend to go and view as much stuff as possible. It’s not difficult, ’cause things get downsized every year. A lot of the work is done by older people, and when they can’t volunteer anymore, there isn’t a lot of younger people interested in taking on the jobs. Kind of like farming. On a brighter note, our Exhibition still has cattle, sheep, and poultry competitions, and is not merely a dog-and-pony show like that other exhibition. (*cough Halifax cough*)

Ze pigs are growing. I think it would be best for all involved if the actual slaughtering of them was done here, so they aren’t stressed out by being loaded onto a truck and taken to a strange place. Is this an odd thought to have? I worry that some stranger will be rough with them, and that they’ll be frightened, but I still intend to have them killed. Maybe I’m just a weirdo. That could be quite possible.

I’m also considering buying a gilt (young female pig) to raise next year. There are farms not too far away that have Tamworths, Large Blacks, and Berkshires, so it probably won’t be too difficult to get one of those breeds (all heritage!). Then instead of buying weaner pigs each year, I’d have my own source and some to sell. Time to make friends with someone who owns a boar. :D

And… it’s all quiet on the poultry-front. Well, relatively. Down to 4 and 1/4 roosters (Australorp, Ameracauna, Catalana, Faverolle, and Mille Fleur). So there isn’t a huge kerfluffle in the mornings anymore. Satanica (pictured here) hatched out one baby chick, and if anything it has made her more evil. She now has a small pen for herself and the baby (Damien?) for everyone’s safety, lol.

Oh, and I missed the Hand Mowing competition at Ross Farm, but I found pics of it on the Annapolis Valley Heritage Seeds blog, which is how I realized I’d forgotten to go. Not that I know how to use a scythe, but it’s totally on my to-do list. I’ll try to find more pics of the competition and link them, too.

And I guess that’s that. Time to go back outside… :D

This is Necessary

Does anyone remember Tool’s song Disgustipated? ‘Cause the “chorus” is stuck in my head today. Anyway.

Today I was thinking of a discussion I had on a pagan forum years ago, where someone had posted that they could no longer weed their garden because they felt so sorry for the plants they were uprooting. My response: Things die, and sometimes it’s because I killed them.

Which seems harsh, but true. If you don’t weed a garden, the plants you value the most, the ones that will become medicines and food, won’t thrive. If you don’t cull your herd or flock of unhealthy animals, others might get sick. If you eat meat, an individual animal with its own personality and spirit has died so that you could do so.

And it’s something you have to get your head around. We are living beings that consume other living beings in order to keep on living. There are ways to make this better, however. I’m not saying vegetarianism is the answer; I, for one, got very sick trying to stick to a vegetarian diet. I have no intention of not eating meat. But I won’t eat meat that was tormented and tortured while alive. And unless the animal was raised by me, a family member, or a farmer with the same values as me, I don’t know if it was treated with the dignity and respect it deserves.

To get back to the pagans: It’s not all light and pixie-dust. Death doesn’t go away just because we find Her methods distasteful. And I’m often wondering why the neo-pagan community seems to be so much at odds with these concepts. Is all this blathering about “Nature” just lip-service paid through a living-room window? If this is “Earth-based” religion, why the distance from the basic cycles of life on Earth? A bit of spookiness at Samhain doesn’t teach the necessity of death, and without that how can the preciousness of life truly be recognized?

And so as to not just pick on neo-pagans, I also think that heathens partaking of animal sacrifice in blót should only do so if they (or someone in their kindred) raised the animal themselves. I mean, if the closest you’ve gotten to a pig is buying bacon from the supermarket, is it right for you to offer a living one to the gods? If you have no connection to the animal that you are making an offering of, is that offering really yours to make? I mean no disrespect to anyone, because there is always the sacrifice of time and money involved (not to mention reputation, on occasion). It just seems a bit bloodthirsty (haha), if you aren’t invested in life, as well as death.

lol Do I make any sense? This is just kind of a rambling rant. To sum up:

Point One: We can’t live without killing things.

Point Two: We don’t have to be jerks about it.

Point Three: Having no connection to a sacrifice doesn’t make for much of a sacrifice.

Haha there we go. My thoughts for the day. :D Time to go back outside.

Everything around here is in bloom and looks lovely. Or looked lovely. The rain wiped out my poppies and foxglove, and flattened the mugwort, delphinium, and feverfew. The belladonna is thriving though; I put bones around her feet. She’s still loaded with blossoms; I wonder how long she’ll bloom?

bestbelladonna

And I have about six baby Brugmansia. I have no idea what species, and I probably won’t know till they bloom, which could be a while. The package said Maikoa, but I don’t know if that’s specific to a species or to the genus. More research is required, I guess.

brugmansia

And in other news, my new favourite book is Daniel A. Schulke’s Viridarium Umbris: The Pleasure Garden of Shadow. Sure wish I could’ve had it nine years ago; it would’ve helped me make sense of a lot of things. Oh well. Such is life. :)

Porky and Hammie

The pigs arrived last Wednesday. We picked them up at the feedstore and brought them home in a plastic tub in our van. I made up a stall for them to live in, with clean straw to sleep on, but they immediately rooted up most of it. They’ve left a small corner clean to sleep in, and have set about destroying the rest of the pen. Pigs have a very strong instinctual urge to root, and this is denied them in factory-farming situations. Here are the boys:

pigs

My siblings have named them, even though I’ve asked them not to. They couldn’t resist. One calls them Spider-Pig (as per the Simpsons movie) and Slim Pig (after the CBC cartoon); another Dimples and Slim Pig; and another Harry Plopper and Voldesnort. Sadly, I’m not kidding. Another thinks they look like pink versions of her dog. And another is convinced that they are utterly aborable.

As for myself, when I look at them, I just think mmmmm bacon. :D