Christmas

Winter Mountain

The holidays have come and gone and I feel exhausted lol. Yet there is still so much to do. It is a simple fact that I have come to accept that the Winter is not a time of rest and respite for me. For me the Winter is a time of constant movement, creation, and work. It’s crafting, cooking, cleaning, gift making, offering, feast planning work. Work I love, but work none the less.

That’s what I’ve been doing. Crochet, cleaning, cooking, cleaning some more, crafting, offering making, more cleaning, prep work for the new year, and that’s right more cleaning. Which is sort of a vicious cycle in itself, because I clean and realize that I need to reorganize everything but I can’t stop to do that now I have to just get it clean in order to do xyz. I suddenly understand some of my mother’s manic nature.

I’m happy to report that on the whole most of my presents have been shipped and or received  With the exception of a few here and there that need finishing.

This year I made a batch of jerky which was edible but not gift material. The Lumberjack ate it all up and I myself knawed on it happily on the way to work. There is something intensely satisfying about knawing on beef jerky. The way the muscle shreds, the tang of dried meat. I don’t know what it is about it, but I enjoy it a lot. So plan B was enacted and copious amounts of Baklava was made. I have to tell you that nuts are insanely expensive in these neck of the woods, and it was quite a culture shock for me. I spent my teen years out in the farm land where almonds and walnut orchards were everywhere,  so nuts were cheap. This $8 a pound thing was a blow to my poor little heart.

But it was worth it. And the local honey omgs, topping on the cake. Seriously this stuff is just heaven layered between honey and more heaven.

Pistaschios

Heavenly mixture

Nectar of the Gods

Nectar of the Gods

Wrapped in goodness

Wrapped in goodness

Made so much of the stuff, delicious sticky stuff. That I’m surprised that I’m not in a permanent sugar induced coma. Hopefully my Dad will get his goodie package today or tomorrow and it will be up to his standards.

We spent our Christmas up at the Lumberjack’s folks on the Mountain.

Holy Winter Wonderland Santa!

I have never SEEN so much snow. Snowflakes the size of half dollars! It was purely amazing. We even caught full on crystalized snowflakes in our hands. So pretty. It was a white Christmas for me and I could not have been happier.

Winter Wonderland

 

I know that a lot of people don’t seem to enjoy the winter, for a plethora of reasons. But for me, I just continue to fall deeper and deeper in love with it. The clean cutting of the cold. The absolute stillness that seems to only be found on a snow laden night. The way the stars just bite through the sky, and the gleam of ice. There is something dangerous as well as magical about the snowy winter. The same flakes that seem to encapsulate the wonder of childhood and fantasy also hold a real danger of life and death. Something as simple as driving to the store becomes treacherous. Everything takes a little more thought, more preparation. I like that. And along with the danger and the beauty of the cold, is the warmth and glory of the hearth. The house is warm and begging to be filled with smells of delights, feasts happen continuously, good company is treasured.

Needless to say I adore it.   I made sure to go out and leave offerings to the Ancestral spirits, over the years I’ve learned that apples are token well loved here. We spent some time out in the snow and I carved out the faces of an old man and woman, then snuck out at night to pour brandy into the snow before them. Happily I cooked for the family, with my excellent Sou Chef, and in general we tried to make his Mom’s holiday a little easier.

 

SAMSUNG

 

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

Hope everyone’s holiday was delightful! Much more mischief is on the horizon 😉

2012-12-25 14.05.52

 

 

Ancestral Feast Part I

As I catch my breath from walking home from work, up a MASSIVE hill, with a backpack full of groceries, I shall take the time to write a blog post. If you hang around the same internet corners that I do (and you should, they are dark and wonderfully robust) you will have heard that Ms. Dirty threw down a Midwinter Challenge:

 I want to read/hear/see unapologetic, balls-fucking-out hedonism filling up the longest night of your year, and I want it to be truly effin’ special. So this year, my impish pampusky, I’m formally extending an invitation out to you to join us in your first loud-mouthed, rockin’-till-dawn dumb supper.

And really how could I say no? Naturally my little crabby friend, Temple Witch over at Smoke from the Temple, gave me those mischievousness jeweled hairy eyeballs from across the way and I knew it was ON!  So for the past…gods I don’t even fucking know how long at this point, I’ve been scrabbling like a madwoman to prepare for a Feast, send presents, hold ritual, prepare for a coven New Years event, and in general you know keep life rolling along. Yesterday I scrubbed my house within an inch of it’s life. Today I went to work, but I have a few things I can do tonight. One of them involves, this right now, lol. You see Ms. Dirty’s challenge was simple.

1. Write down your supper date (deadline: Jan. 19th)
2. Get your research on
3. Circle a few celebratory traditions
4. Make one traditional dish
5. Create an ancestor setting

Well one is taken care of it’s the 22nd, the Winter Solstice itself baby. And for number 2, that’s what this post is about.

My family history…is shady. By shady I mean most of it is unknown to me. You see something happened way back in the day, to the generation of men that fought in WWII. For some reason they decided family heritage was for the birds and better left to rot in a cold dark place. Basically both my grandfathers did not and will not tell bumpkis about their family. But I’ll break down what I know.

My father’s father, grew up somewhere in New England. His mom took his sister and left him with his dad when he was young, and then when he was about 17 his dad gave him $20 and told him never to come back (or so the story goes). He joined the Army and made his way to the West Coast where he met my grandmother. My father to this day does not know what his grandparents names were. And the fact of the matter is my grandfather was a wily fellow. Because not only is there a discrepancy in his middle name but also his birthdate. Was he Wallace Noonen Rogers born May17th or was he Wallace Nowack Rogers born May 18th? Or some combination thereof? My father recalls an incident where he heard the Granda had taken the name Nowack in his writing years (he apparently wrote western and mystery novellas) because someone was already writing under Wallace Noonen. In any event most the family seems to believe that his family was Irish/German. Fine. Not helpful but fine.

So we move on to my father’s mother. First of all she was adopted. Adopted in a time period where there are no birth records from adoption. Frankly that doesn’t bother me. She knew and loved her family very dearly, and my cultural outlook is chockful of the importance of fostering. With that in mind we follow the Wiess family and know they most certainly where German, what part of Germany remains unclear but fine.

On to Mother’s father. Mother’s father is still alive, but is reticence to speak of his family, tho she continues to try. What we do know is the granfather’s father came over to America from Germany. Story says it was during WWII, but I’m skeptical as that would mean my grandfather would have been born in Germany. But I suppose anything is possible. More than that, like names or anything is simply not known. Annoying but ok.

Mom’s mom was a Collins and were predominately of Irish stock. Tho the exact details she’s still trying to get me. I will continue to poke at her.

Out of all of that what we have is a lot of vague German and Irish lol.

For my Irish countryfolk:

  • I have collected some holly, pine and cedar. I haven’t found a good source for ivy as of yet (damn gardeners massacred the poor thing out front). It shall be displayed for them to appreciate. It was tradition in Ireland up until recently that while the men cleaned up the outside of the house, and the women the inside, that the children would go out and collect the decorations predominately Holly and Ivy.
  • I will be making a Christmas Pudding for the occasion, and hopefully will even be able to flambe the thing (YAY! Fire!)
  • After the feast I will have my version of the Laden Table. An Irish Christmas tradition of leaving the door unlocked with a loaf of caraway seed and raisin bread on the table. As well as a pitcher of milk and a lit candle. The idea seems to be leaving it there for Mary or Joseph to come partake or any weary traveller. But to mine Gaelic Pagan eyes I smell the remnants of an older practice. It speaks to the old sense of hospitality, towards mankind as well as Otherkind.

For the German good people

  • I will be making pork roast, Schweinsbraten. No where does it say that this is a traditional Midwinter or Christmas food. BUT Pork is one of the old traditional foods for Yule and winter. Plus it is authentic so I believe it will be well received. Along with our Schweinsbraten, I will be making Rotkohl, which IS traditional for christmas, it’s a red cabbage dish. I may or may not make potato dumplings at this point.
  • I would like to have a version of a yule log, but may not have the time. We do however have a christmas tree, which is a German tradition. Bedecked and bedazzled.
  • We shall have Gluewhein in a plenty!

Tomorrow I will be clearing down my main altar. Moving the Queen and Chieftain for a bit, with their approval, to make room for the ancestor’s place setting. They get the WHOLE big altar. And with the guest list turning all for the positive it shall be needed lol. I’ll finish the cleaning, and make the christmas pudding, and possibly dumplings and anything else I feel called to whip out for the occasion. Expect another post on the morrow, laden with photos of my exploits and mess making 😉

Happy Holidays everyone!!