the Mountain

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

 

 

Advertisements

Sacred Places: The Mountain

I don’t know about ya’ll, but its important to me to find sacred places in nature to frequent. Now we can argue that all space is sacred, and I certain believe that to be true to some extent. But when I apply the term “sacred” to a place it usually denotes a place that I make offerings/do ritual/have a relationship with. I’m fairly lucky in cultivating a number of these type places and I thought that I’d do them the honor of putting them on my blog as I visit them.

First and probably rightly so, is The Mountain.

The Mountain is sort of a misleading name. In that it’s not referring to just one mountain, nor really just one place, it’s a large expanse of land and valley that has become very sacred to me. You see the Lumberjack use to live on the Mountain, and when we were first dating he would have to travel a couple hours down the Mountain to see me. And in fact he would drive the couple hours down the Mountain to get me, bring me back up to his Mountain and then down again all in the same day. (What can I say he really is a keeper). So this Mountain has a lot of memories for me. It’s also the place of the Lumberjacks ancestral home, his folks still live in the house his Grandfather built.

It is a spectacular drive to get up there, thru a canyon of just sheer beauty. In the valley the view is just breath-taking. Up on the mountain in the picture is the mysterious and elusive Crystal Lake, a lake on top of a mountain! I’ve been a few times it is always spectacular and magical but that’s for another time, its own Sacred Places page. There are hot springs, and endless trails of forest. There is the road where we go looking and find actual fossils! So many beautiful and beloved camping nooks. All under a sky that is just bedazzled with stars. Really I had not seen the night sky until I had seen it up on the Mountain.

Then there is the Lumberjack’s land. 5 acres of wholesome steadfast goodness.

It’s surrounded by plum trees. All of them playful and giving spirits. Every year they are so over loaded with plums, just brimming, and so pleased to have people come out and harvest them. Every year that I go up for a batch I bring them each a little ginger candy and some rum for all their hard work. Then there are the two ENORMOUS pear trees. Much more mischievous and aloof than the plum, they’ve gotten so big that you can’t even harvest all the pears especially not from the top. The Lumberjack’s mom usually just takes whatever pears fall out of the branches, but the Lumberjack himself will scale the tree in delight and pick out what he chooses. He always comes down grinning from ear to ear, I half expect him to start crowing. Apparently the pear trees use to have bears frequenting their yard often, which I think accounts for  the pear’s rugged spirit. I like to leave some whisky for them. The blackberry brambles protect the west end of the property and run wild trying to over take the road. I give them a little milk to soothe their feral spirit. The two crab-apple trees sit closest to the house and seem to enjoy just being sung to. While the garden on the side is well tended to you, it’s rustic in nature and likes a good hardy slice of bread and milk for the work it’s done. This year there are strawberries, rhubarb, and broccoli growing. Then there’s the creek!

I love this little creek. It’s only about two feet wide, but it runs clean fresh water all year round. It runs right behind the house, they have the most adorable little bridge.  Lots of frogs and little garden snakes enjoy the cool waters. I have to say I love having fresh running water on the property, it just feels right. I usually make something special for the creek, and cast flower petals into it’s clear waters.

This is the place that I held my first vigil for Winter solstice and brought up the sun with a HUGE bonfire. It was glorious. This is where we come for Christmas. This is where I go to just get away, and reset. It’s where I like to do most my wild crafting for my incense. It’s where I like to gather my fruits for offerings, because I can give the trees offerings too. It’s just sort of one of those places that seeps with calm, wild, magical energy.

Like I said, the Mountain encompasses so much more than just that 5 acres of retreat. It’s also the drive up there. And there are so many wonderful little sacred spots on the way up. We don’t always stop at all of them, because sometimes we’re in a hurry. But we did this time, and I love it whenever we do.


This is a little fountain shrine off the side of the road on the way thru the canyon. Now it’s just a drain of water off the mountain with a little slate/cement around it but that extra bit of effort really made a gathering spot for energy. It’s a little spot to sort of take in the harmony that can come when humans and the outdoors meet. I tell the Lumberjack every time that I want things like this on our land, when we buy a home. It’s a perfect place to leave offerings for a safe trip up the Mountain. I usually leave an apple. This time I sprinkled some smoking tobacco on it as well.


And then there was this beauty. A lush fresh ice water fall, guarded by a sage handsome Oak tree. We had never stopped here before, but it all took my breath away. The roots of the oak where crawling out to caress the water. The ground around it was slate, and wonderful bits of slate where everywhere. I really didn’t want to leave. Despite the face that I knew it was freezing I just wanted to bathe in it lol.



This is just a touch of the wild and wondrous nature up there. Really the only thing missing is the sea…

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”
― John Muir