Monday, December 29, 2008

Shutesbury Holiday Market 2008

The next town over, Shutesbury, holds a Holiday market in December. I was blessed to be a part of it this year. Here is a view of my display for 2008. I brought my usual eclectica and a new collection of jewelry that I called Jingle Bell Bling. The jewelry featured snowflakes and small bells that jingle as you turn your head. Blessings of the Yule!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

YULETIDE 2008-2009

It has been a very interesting Yuletide around here! In November I recieved an email from the folks at The Barre Christmas Fair asking If I was interested in being a vendor. Other than the Pagan Pride Fair in October it has been a few years since I had done any fairs and I was more than happy to be a part of this one. Then I found out about a couple more Fairs and was scheduled to be a part of the Holiday Farmers Market at Hampshire College, and possibly the Holiday Fair held at The listening Center in Barre Massachsuetts. The Christmas Fair in Barre was wonderful! Folks from as far away as Worcester came to spend their hard earned dollars at a local event. I had enough stuff from years past to sell and had been making a few things here and there to sell at my eBay store - Harvestand Home Natural Fiber Garb - so I had a good selection of what I call my artf-full eclectica. I have been making wands for a couple of months, Faery Wands mostly, some Jingle bell bling, and a few hats. Then the weather hit ! The Thursday before the Hampshire Fair the hill was in a deep freeze. Ice coated everything. The roads were closed and the National Guard called in. I lost electricity and telephone on Thursday night around 8 pm and it wasn't turned back on until the following Thursday around 4 in the afternoon. The Telephone service came back on the Monday after that about 7 pm or so. I have two woodstoves, one at each end of the house so heat wsn't an issue. I am heating only with wood this year anyway so that was no change. Refrigeration was an issue and I emptied the contents of my fridge into a Cambro cooler, shoveled some ice form the back yard and kept things cool enough. Water was the other issue. Our local volunteer emergency squad kept the Fire station open 24 hours and I was able to get water from them. I am truly blessed to live in a wonderful community. Each time I went up to the Fire Station there was a pot of hot coffee, hot water for tea, donuts, homemade cookies, chili etc. Folks from town were stopping in to drop off goodies and to see what the chat was about the weather and affected utilities. Route 202 was closed because of all of the wires brought down by the ice laden trees. I stood outside my house and listened to the crack and crash of branches. A good bit of next years firewood has already been felled thanks to mother nature! I was able to heat water up on my Jotul Black Bear in the Kitchen. It has one burner ring. I would fill up one of my large stainless steel canning pots and would wake up to nicely hot water each morning. I have continued this particular habit because it helps to heat water without oil or electricity, it adds mousture the air, and it helps to heat the kitchen as the water holds onto heat throughout the night and early morning. It is a great way to warm chilly fingers too! I just wrap them around the pot of hot water. I even managed to cook a whole Turkey on the woodstove! I have a large stainless steel roasting pan that I had picked up at a yard sale awhile ago, I butterflied the turkey, laid it flat in the pan and in about 7 hours it was done. The skin never crisped up the way it does in my oven but I had plenty of meat for the week. Needless to say I couldn't make it to the Market at Hampshire college or to the Fair at The Listening Center. The next week about 12 inches of snow fell. I am in deep gratitude to the utility workers who cleaned up and got us back on line as quick as they could, and much appreciation to the emergency workers who knocked on every door in New Salem to check on us folks living out in the Quabbin Woods. Just this past week our band merry revillers went door to door caroling through the snow! I love this place. Blessings of the Yuletide to all.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Western Massachusetts Pagan Pride Day Booth 2008

Mabon Pagan Pride Day Western Massachusetts

What a wonderful event yesterday. And a perfect day for my re-entry into the Faire World! After closing my stores a few years ago I wondered if I would ever begin again. And now I have! I spent the last month and more sewing and sculpting, creating and crafting. I packed everything up in totes and carted it off to the Western Massachusetts Pagan Pride Day. Sposored by Spirals at UMass Amherst. My booth was positioned so that I had a perfect view of the stage. The performers - Gypsy Nomads (magical and mesmerizing) and Kelliana (Pagan en'chant'ress) were wonderful! I had wonderful and Gracious Faire Neighbours -The Fine Folks from The Witchs Wart - Alison and Russell. Their booth held many delightful things, and they were giving out the most marvelous Pagan Packs - cellophane bags with free incense, business cards and info about several Pagan businesses. I will be adding some links from the pack soon! Thank you to everyone who purchased an item from me and to all of you who signed my mailing list. Blessings of the seasonin the light of a new moon!!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Today is August 1st, and is known as Lammas. It is the ninth moon and there is a total solar eclipse. Known by the Celts as Lugnasad, this is the feast of first fruits. While we've been harvesting stuff for some time now in the Northeast US, this is the time when things really begin to be harvested. The Berry harvest this year has been bountiful and it looks like there will be lots of tree fruits too. My vegetable garden is a bit pitiful this year, so I am very grateful for the local farmers who have farm stands and for the local Farmers Markets. My favourite for the past few years has been the mixed greens from Old Friends Farm. They vend at the Amherst Farmers Market. I like greens overall, but I think their mix is especially good. They are master flower growers and usually have corn and their wonderful greens.
I have posted a picture of a Female Mole Salamander that was discovered in the yard today.
I have started sculpting again. Will post pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fair Trade and Right Livelehood

Right Livelihood

Before I moved to the Quabbin area I was living on Long Island in New York, out towards the East End. If you have ever been there you may have noticed the extreme natural beauty of the place. I lived in Mattituck for about three years. It reminded me of Cape Cod, a place I had spent some of my childhood summers. The beaches, the traffic every summer, the influx of tourists and the sweet desolation of winter. But one thing was different - farms. I don’t remember seeing many farms on the Cape. Out on the east end it was mostly potato farms, cabbage and row upon row of Brussels Sprouts. I love Brussels Sprouts they are like tiny cabbages and I do love cabbage.

But the farms are one of the reasons I left Long Island. Potato farming had left residues of Temic and it had filtered down through the sand into the drinking water. My cats wouldn’t drink the water. I was told not to even shower in the water.

This is the moment that I became aware of food issues in regard to the use of pesticides and the effect agriculture had on my environment and on my health. I decided to move to New England and start to learn how to grow my own food.

It was about this time that I learned about the Buddhist idea of right livelihood. What better way to reach into that idea than with Organic farming. I began to grow lots of different things. My farm is basically in the hedgerow and the diversity of Birds and Butterflies is astounding to me. Every day I am greeted by a green world that offers it’s bounty of food and fauna. Just about a month ago a doe stood yards away and early in the spring mists a Stag just feet away.

I have stepped away from vegetable gardening for a couple of years, though I still put in a few tomato plants and a cucumber or two. And of course the volunteers that pop up in the compost pile. This year there are eight tomato plants and a squashy type thing or two. The true bounty of this small farm is fruit - Black Raspberries, Red Raspberries the size of my thumb, Grapes, Apples, Pears, and Cherries. I don’t sell much of this fruit, but put some of it up for my own pantry and share some with friends.
This is the first year that there has been enough of the black raspberries to make more of them than a mornings topping for a bowl of cereal. I was able to pick about seven cups which was enough for my friend Sue to make Jam. She told me that she had been waiting forty years to be able to make black raspberry jam. They were always so expensive to buy. I picked the berries, she made the jam. We split the jars between us. Now that’s what I call Fair Trade.
As for vegetables, there are two farmers with stands just minutes from my house, both who grow organically. They each sell at local Farmers markets, one in Belchertown, one on Orange, both markets are on Thursday evening. I fill me freezer with food grown less than 5 miles from my house.
Kirtan for me fits right into the idea of right livelihood. What I had thought was a direction that I would be going in for a long time changed dramatically due to life circumstances. It was then and there that I decided to truly adopt the idea of right livelihood as a real principle in my life. Just as I describe in my bio about how I became aware of the lyrics that I was singing, I have become aware of the choices I make and how they affect the world around me. Which brings me to the real reason that I have for writing today. I find that I am bursting with gratitude for the donations that you all give to us every Kirtan. And I wanted to make sure that I took this opportunity to let you all know. Thank you and a billion blessings on you all and those that you love. Thank you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Spring has come and gone. The frost slipped away as the face of the sun showed itself more and more. It has been an unusually rainy season. I have stepped away a bit from gardening/farming and did not put any Tomato plants in until the end of June. I am sure that by August they will have caught up. I honestly don't really like eating tomatoes unless they are freshly picked.
The rest of the garden has outdone itself once again. Lupine and Peony surrounded by Lady's Bedstraw so that the entire cutting garden looks like a bouquet of grand proportions. The black raspberries are now well established and this year there are more than ever. The red raspberries are starting to come on fast and strong. It's almost as if they ripen as I watch. We have had a fair share of sun too and this weather has been perfect for berries. This year we even had a bounty of what I call Fairy Berries. These are Alpine strawberries that have naturalized throughout the back garden. For years there were wild strawberries that have gotten so well established and perhaps intermingled with the strawberries that I had planted and now there are berries about the half the size of a pea. The flavour is intensely strawberry with a slight citrus tone. It's fairy food and I have eaten of it and now I shall never crave mortal food again! As the wheel turns towards Lughnassad I celebrate the bounty of gifts that she gives us. Oh I almost forgot - there are two tomato plants that have volunteered themselves right in the compost pile and seem very happy there indeed. I wonder what type they will be? What great and glorious gifts the mother brings. My heartfelt thanks to the green world for all that it gives!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Imbolc 2008

This week marks Imbolc in the Celtic Wheel of the Year. The moon wanes into what I call the cup until it begins to wax again on Februaru 4th. Signs of Spring are all around. The Basket Willow growing in the western edge of this Hedgerow Farm has been pruned to the ground. The cut branches are sprouting Pussy Toes and tonight I will hand them out to those who come to share Kirtan with us in Northampton. I will also bring Pub Biscuits for Prasad and as we chant the 'Prasad' as it's called will be infused with the energy of the chanting. I have just been invited to lead the responders for Dave Russell's band The Bhakti Shakti Express. We chant for two hours interspersed with Dave telling short and sweet stories of his journey to devotion. Kirtan is a path of devotion, we chant together then share prasad together and journey together on the path of the Heart. Bhakti is a sanskrit word meaning devotion anad shakti means divine energy. So we are chanting to divine energy, divine energy in the Hindu Dieties whos names we sing and chant to the divinity in each one of us. Jai Bhakti Shakti Express!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Welcome 2008. May this be the year that peace guides the planet. My life has always been a bit weird and wonky, but I have to say that the past five years have been particularly interesting. During one especially trying time when I was just trying to survive the next hour I happened upon a Music CD that helped me to do that. The CD is Jai Uttal's Loveland. Jai's format for this cd is Kirtan. Kirtan is Hindu call and response chanting. I was introduced to this form of Bakti a few years back. I find it to be an intense form of chanting. Practicing Kirtan has brought my heart to a place of devotion and has supported and enhanced my other meditation practices. For Kirtan in the Pioneer Valley I recommend Dave Russell who offers loving Kirtan every Sunday at Yoga Sanctuary in Northampton Massachusetts. The Kirtan starts at 7:30.

Every year for the past 10 or so I pick a theme to guide my actions throughout the year. For 2007 this was Gratitude. I posted notes around my house and on my date book that said - GRATITUDE - remember to say Thank You. I have found that doing this really gets the idea across, and eventually the behaviour becomes a habit. This habit then becomes a trait. And so the alchemy of my personality gets transformed. For 2008 I have decided to place PEACE as my theme. I will mediate on peace, ask how my actions promote the idea of Peace, and walk the path of peace.

The following poem is from the Loveland CD and I am honored to share it with you.

Peace to the inner and outer environments
Peace to the five elements within and without
Peace to this body
Peace to this mind
Peace to this huge ocean of emotion and feelings
By the power of the truth
And for the happiness of all beings
May we have a culture of Peace
A society of Peace
A world of Peace
Where we can have days of Peace
Nights of Peace
Sleep with Peace
Dreams of Peace
By the power of the truth and for the healing of all beings
May we have Peace in all moments and in everything.

Excerpted from
Jai Uttal - Loveland

Yule Blessings

What a wonder winter can be here in the Northeast. The temperature has been down to zero on some days. I am heating my house with wood with oil as a backup system. For Yule I have cut a tree down from my backyard and decorated it with small lights and many years worth of ornaments. My favorite this year is a small pale pink doe that is stretching her neck up so that her head points straight up. She has roses painted on her side and is very sweet looking. This holiday season I have been working at the Fiber Arts Center in Amherst Massachusetts. What an incredible place! Every day I am there I stand in awe of the artists who the Gallery and shop represent. There is so much creativity here in the Pioneer Valley. The staff and customers are some of the sweetest folks you will ever meet. As I dance among the snow and ice here in the wonder-full north I send you all blessings and tidings of joy. May peace guide you and love find you!