Today, marks the fortieth day after the birth of the sun at winter solstice. The day Mary brought Jesus to temple. 2-2-22 The second day of the second month of the two thousandth twenty second year on some people's calendars...In cultures and traditions around the world this gateway is celebrated. The oldest being the recognition that spring in the northern hemisphere on planet earth is once again coming, yet not quite here. Midway between winter solstice and spring equinox falls this cross-quarter fire festival. This is the time spring takes one step forward while winter takes two steps back. Each day, light increases and the dance step slowly reverses. Hang in there, gardeners! The time is nigh to nudge seeds toward earth!
A time of dreaming possibility for what's ahead, whilst throwing another log on the fire...
We are Betwixt & Between!
I was born on this day 71 years ago. I use the term Imbolc, in her belly, as it honors my life and heritage. There are lots of stories around my birth. Today, I'd like to tell just one. Forty-four years ago, I lived at Bittersweet Farm, a12 acre place where I had just begun the adventure of homesteading in the Stillwater Valley of SW Washington state. The farm came with a small flock of sheep. We inherited Alfie, a bred milk goat, from my cousin who had reached an age where girls were more interesting than goats!
February marked the beginning of lambing and kidding season at Bittersweet. The year my first son, Walker, was born, Alfie gave birth to a doeling at dawn who I named, Morning Star. Reading old books on animal husbandry, I'd found that colostrum, the thick, yellowish first milk that comes at birth promotes growth and health in newborns. It also supports immunity, helps fight infection, and improves gut health.
I'd discovered a recipe for traditional custard called Beasties that was made with colostrum and served to women who had just given birth. Beasties became my first food after birth. Delicious, easy to digest, Beasties, was a perfect food for a brand new mom. With plenty of colostrum for Morning Star, as well. From that day to this, I was hooked on nourishment. I wanted to know how cultural food traditions can connect and support people's lives and the earth.
Sending Borscht, Rye Bread and the warmth of the hearth your way
Thank you for joining me at the hearth today. So many of you have sent well wishes for my birthday. A big thank you. I'd invite you all over for lunch but as we're currently in the grips of Khaos** we'll have to do that down the road a bit. For now, I'll do what women have done in every culture through the curve of time, share recipes cooked at the hearth, filled with earth, nourishing the heart & soul of those they love.
Hearty Rye Bread with Caraway & Nettle Seed
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons or 16 grams)
1 1/2 cups warm water (just barely warm to the touch) + 1 cup coffee
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds (optional)
1/4 cup nettle seed
1 tablespoon salt + salt to top dress if desired
1/4 cup vegetable oil (for dressing the rising bowl)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
5 cups rye flour
2 cups bread flour
Mix yeast, water & coffee. Let sit until yeast is bubbly.
While yeast is activating, mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Hollow out the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour liquid ingredients into the hollow of the dry ingredients.
Begin stirring from the center with hands or a wooden spoon pulling the flour mix into the liquid. Continue until the mix becomes dry enough to knead with your hands. Knead 5-7 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and let risen a warm place until double. 1-1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down. Knead briefly, then cut in half.
Knead lightly then shape loaves for baking. Place dough loaves into either oiled 8x4 inch bread pans or on a baking sheet or stone that has been dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with damp cloth. Let the loaves rise by one half volume 30-45 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. You can mist the loaves with water the first 10 minutes for a crusty exterior. Bake 40-50 minutes or until done. The loaves will sound hollow when tapped.
Imbolc Beet Borscht
Ingredients and quantities are what's at hand in this rustic vegetable soup...this is a place to play/experiment in the betwixt & between...let me know what happens!
Olive oil or fat of your choice
Salt to taste
Caraway Seed toasted
Broth to cover vegetables (Meat or vegetable as you like)
Cut vegetables in 3/4" dice. Saute' onion & garlic in olive oil or fat of your choice to soften.
Add broth & seaweed. Then, beets & carrots cook until 1/2 done. Then add potatoes, celeriac, bay, caraway. Cook on low heat to meld the flavors into a tasty soup. Serve with a dallop of sour cream or yogurt. Enjoy!
**As the goddess of the air Khaos was also the mother of birds, just as Gaia (the Earth) was the mother of land animals, and Thalassa (the Sea) was the mother of fish.
A year to move forward 2x2 with the Water Tiger | Experiment | Accept Curiousity & Wonder as Guides | Get More Plants Inside of You | Go Outside & Play | Live in the Questions |
Follow Your Heart