During the fall when the weather begins to cool I practice a small ritual to honor the trees that will provide heat for the fire to warm me during the months ahead. It is a flexible date because I wait until the days are consistently cool before I start my wood stoves to burning. During the year I gather any small branches that may be presented to me, a fallen apple branch, a twig of oak, a flower that has blown onto the path. These treasures are kept in a basket or bowl on top of the kitchen wood stove and are used for the first fire ritual.
When starting this stove for the first time I tie with twine a bundle of each type of wood that I will use to heat. This year it is apple, black walnut, oak, hawthorn, and birch. This bundle is used as the kindling for the first fire. Once the fire is going I offer the treasures one by one and recite "By oak ash and thorn I honor these who will warm my hearth with a blessing of the trees" I then recall the year, and whatever comes up I give to the flames so that the year will pass and allow new experiences to flourish. I will also add a blessing to the Beavers who left many downed trees before they left the pond and eased my workload of felling trees for wood. Praise to the engineers of the wood and wallow!!
This rite is followed by a meal of seasonal foods - Squash with Rice, raisins and apples, Pumpkin ice cream on Gingerbread, and of course Apple Cider.
Now the preparations for Yule begin.