A Wise Word:

Witchcraft is all about living to the heights and depths of life as a way of worship. --LY DE ANGELES

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Witch is Free

The move and all the business that comes with the seasons changing has had me feeling a bit uninspired in the blogging realm.  Thankfully, this morning I saw a post from Nar's Witchy Kitchen in which she used a blog prompt from Mom's a Witch.  Just what I need!  This is a new project that was started in February and like Nar, I am going to go back to the original post and choose one of those prompts.  Next week I will visit the March prompts and post from them.  Then I will be all caught up and try to make the monthly post with in the first seven days of the new calendar. No promises though, I have toddler. 

Pagan Blog Prompts: February 2015

My favourite thing about being a Witch/Pagan is... the confidence I now have that comes from the ability to take control of my own life and situation.  No matter how much talk goes around about free will, as part of a mono-theist religion, one is completely at the whim of a fickle and somewhat sadistic higher power.  The effects of this is a feeling of immense helplessness and the sensation of being tossed around like a straw hat loose in a cold wind.  As a witch, I no longer make pleading petitions and then hold on to the edge of my seat hoping that the world goes my way.  I don't have to leave it all up to "god" and hope he doesn't pull the rug out from under me once again.  These days, I make life happen.  I bring positive changes to my family and cushion us from the inevitable ups and downs of life.  I fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly because I know that my home and family are warded and we have nothing to fear.  Being a witch is being free. 

**The image for this weeks post is borrowed and I honestly have no idea where it came from.  I pulled it out of my tattoo inspiration file.  It is certainly lovely and I thank whoever shared it originally.  If it belongs to you, please let me know and I will gladly give you credit. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hiding Behind the Boxes

The smoke wafting from my altar not yet dressed for Ostara seemed particularly beautiful this morning while I did a bit of spell work and then puttered around putting the house in order.  I always get more done to the smell of incense and the flicker of altar candles. 

I really can't tell you where the last week and a half has gone. We are looking at yet another big change in our little world and it is turning things upside down. For the past year, Superman has been playing around with the idea of going back to school.  Two months ago, he started working with MSU on the enrollment process.  Then last Monday, we made the trip across the state for him to meet with his advisor and get everything in line to enroll for the summer semester.  Now I am looking at organizing another move.  Just the thought makes me tired! 

I may fuss about making the move, but there are so many good things that I can see coming from this relocation. 
  • The area around MSU is breath takingly beautiful and has a plethora of public lands for outdoor recreation. 
  • We will be living in married student housing with a family neighborhood, many playgrounds, two community gardens, and free onsite laundry.
  • There is a metaphysical store and a large natural foods co-op with in two miles of the school.
  • It is a much more diverse area and I am feel it will be much easier for us to find a place with in that community.
So...that is where I have been hiding. Plotting a move and trying to get all my fun artsy projects done in the meantime. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sourdough and More Sourdough

A few years ago, I had a little homemaking blog that never took off.  It was a bit random and I didn't know how to do the networking involved in being a successful blogger.  That said, there were a few good posts.  The two I want to share with you today are my favorites.  I just recently got my sourdough starter up and going again, so this topic has been on my mind lately.  The witch is in the kitchen this week! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Like Grandpa's...

My kitchen is starting to smell like sourdough!

Sourdough flap jacks were the comfort food of my childhood.  My grandpa made them every morning for over 50 years and even when he traveled his crock of starter rode along with him in a red Coleman cooler.  I have kept a starter myself off and on most of my adult life and now that I am once again settled in to a domestic existence, I just had to get one going again. 

Growing a starter is a process that to initiate takes 5-7 days.  It also requires adhering to a few simple rules.

  1. Use clean, preferably seamless, metal utensils.  The spoon in the photo is NOT ideal because of the rivets and seam that can collect bacteria you wont want added to your starter. 
  2. Keep loosely covered.  I use a square of clean, light weight cotton secured with a  rubber band.
  3. Don't neglect it.  Feed your starter every evening and stir it down every morning.  If you are not going to be using it at least every other day, store in the refrigerator and remove 12 hours prior to planned use. 
  4. Keep the sides of your sourdough crock clean. 
With those few things in mind, the only materials required to get started are a glass jar or crock with a loose covering, a clean metal spoon, flour, and water.  Any kind of flour can be used in a starter, but for the initial week I prefer rye since it is less likely to mold than other varieties.  After the bacteria has taken hold and my starter is going well, I switch over to all purpose white flour. 

Day 1:  Mix 1 cup of rye flour with 1 cup water in your very clean container.  Cover loosely and set aside for 24 hours.

Day 2-6:  Stir down and feed your starter 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup water every evening.  Over the course of this week you will start to notice first a sour smell coming from your starter and then see some bubbling activity.  The consistency of the starter should be like thick pancake batter and the ratio of flour/water can be adjusted to obtain this. 

Day 7: Use 1-2 cups of your starter today!  Stir it down early in the day and remove what you want to use. Good first uses for sourdough include biscuits and bread.  I usually give two weeks before attempting flap jacks. 
Tonight feed your starter as usual, but switch to white flour if you have been using rye. 

A well cared for starter can live indefinitely and with all the fun recipes to try there is little chance you will grow tired of it's use. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More on Sourdough

After posting what I thought was a fairly thorough article on sourdough starter, I started thinking about all the little details I take as a simple matter of course when working my "doughs."  Since I want the best out come possible for anybody who attempts a starter, I decided to expand this topic a bit and add a few more tips. 

-When feeding the starter, use room temperature to lukewarm water.  Hot water can kill the culture and cold will slow down its activity. 

-To keep the sides of the sourdough crock clean, use a sharp knife to scrape the sides when you stir it down in the morning.  The dried scraping will fall into the crock and be incorporated back into the starter. These dried bits end up on the side of the crock because after feeding the bacteria works on the added ingredients and will raise the content level slightly before settling back down. 

-Always stir the starter gently.  It is a living thing and does not like to be radically disturbed.  One thing I always remember about my Grandpa was how slowly and methodically he maintained his starter.  Everything was done carefully, properly, and with love. 

-A forgotten feeding or stirring down is not the end of the world.  It's not a good habit to get into, but on occasion it will do little to harm the starter.  Just resume regular care as soon as possible.

-Any sign of mold or black scum on the starter is a red light.   Throw it away, sterilize the crock, and start over.  Between workings the starter will separate with the ticker starter below and a light brown liquid on top, this is normal.  Any nasty growth is fairly unmistakable and is usually accompanied by an unpleasant odor. 

-After spooning out the starter required for cooking, use a just laundered dish rag moistened in hot water to clean any starter that may have dripped on the rim of the crock.  Do not let the rag come in contact with the remaining starter. 

Grandpa and I, the last time I saw him. 
***Please note: since my last post on sourdough starter, my sweet hubby bought me a proper sourdough spoon. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Changes and Making Progress: 3 Month Dread Update

Let me just come out and say it.  I gave up on free form dreading.  Although the messiness and uncertainty didn't bother me at all I actually kind of liked looking like a hot mess all the time, it did bother Superman.  He's quite OCD about things being neat and tidy and the extended messy, in between stage of my hairstyle drove him bonkers.  So, in the name of love I decided to step in and make locs happen. 

What I have now is a head full of twist and rip baby locs.  As one friend pointed out, anything that involves hair and ripping sounds horrendous, but it's really not.  In the spectrum of dread installation, twist and rip is one of the most gentle methods.  Since my hair is quite short, I do have bands on the bottom of my little creations that I will leave on for a few weeks.  I am still going natural in the sense that I am not using any product besides Dr. Bronner's soap, baking soda, and vinegar. 

Overall, the look is neater and I like it.  My little sprouts of hair sticking out in amazing randomness make me smile one is particularly naughty and doesn't know which direction he wants to go.  There are a few of these little guys that are barely holding their own and will need reworking after all there is a learning curve, but since I started at working the underside of my hair in the back they are not noticeable.  I also should have viewed this particular video before I started the one I watched was not nearly as good because I did a bit too much twisting at the onset and my locs are quite loose at the root.  Fortunately, they will tighten up in time. 

I am completely loving my new look and am once again putting my massive collection of scarves to good use.