Of Orchards and Hoses

7294832570_648f26271eAs some of you doubtless already know, I live in a co-housing community, which is a slightly more capitalistic version of the stereotypical hippie commune.  We all own our own properties, pay our own taxes, and participate on a voluntary basis. We do have smaller units in exchange for a large common house and associated facilities, and we have co-housing due in addition to condo fees, which allow people to fund all sort of different projects, from a hot tub, to a community garden, to a fitness  room.  We use a consensus-based model for decisions, with a vote-based system if consensus fails.

One of the many neat projects we have going at the moment is a newly planted apple orchard.  There’s a mix of traditional and heirlooms, along with a nut tree or two–8 saplings in total.  I admit to having little interest in what particular trees were chosen, but now that they’re planted, I’m having a great time learning about tree care and orchard principles.  We’ve given ourselves the extra challenge of doing things organically, so there’s going to be quite a bit of experimentation (and I’m sure, failure) ahead.

I need a new male end! This one will never screw again!

The biggest challenge right now is water. We haven’t had rain in a good three weeks, which with new plantings is a major problem. The orchard is several hundred yards away from the nearest spigot, so we needed quite the length of hose–which was promptly hacked up in several places by a well-meaning member of the Mowing Team. Ooops. It was rather fitting then, as I’m attempting to reengage with Water, that I ended up working on repairing the hoses this week.

Hose repair is one of those things that is so simple, you wonder why people throw out their old hoses instead of fixing them. I learned by following around a grizzled Costa Rican man named Bert as he did repairs on fountains and irrigation hoses in the garden center where I used to work.  I’d be a second set of (much smaller) hands for threading things up into various fountain bases, and thus I learned the basics of keeping hoses in good repair. (Also, get a good heavy rubber hose to begin with.  Yes, they’re most expensive up front, but you will thank me, I promise.)

First, figure out the hose diameter, usually either 1/2″ or 5/8″, pack yourself off the the local hardware store, and pick up splicers and/or male or female ends as needed. Also, get yourself a good sharp utility knife if you don’t already have one.  (It’s my favorite Scared Druid Tool, with my pruning shears running a close second.)  The only other thing you should need is a Phillips screwdriver.

Alchemical union of male and female achieved!

First, cut out the damaged part of the hose. Keep the cut vertical, since if it’s angled it’s difficult to get a snug fit when you put in the replacement part.  Then insert one end of the connector into the hose–you will likely have to be very firm to get things nice and tight.  If the hose aperture is really too small, sometimes making a few tiny cuts in the edge of the opening will allow you to get the connector started in the hole.  Once it’s in place, and the hose is snug against the connector lip, open up the collar and then screw it down around the hose/collar edge to make the join water tight.  Repeat with the other side and ta-da! Non-leaky hose!

Preventative measures are always superior: don’t let the hose get kinks, don’t leave it outside for the winter…and for gods sakes, check the grass before you mow! But in case of accidents, now you know how to spend $3 and a bit of elbow grease rather than buying a whole new hose. It’s that whole “reuse” part of the 3 R’s that so often gets forgotten. Happy watering!

The Ovary Grade

This bit of druid!crack is brought to you by AutoCorrect’s antics in yesterday’s post.

After journeying through the Ballsack Grade, the Druid Initiate arrives in the Grove of the Ovary. It is here that the Initiate will deepen their understanding of the inner workings. We will journey through the sacred fallopian tubes back to our ancestors that we may be blessed by their guidance and gifts of knowledge. The work of this grade culminates in great pains of labor, as the initiate is then birthed into the final grade of the Druid.

Sarah over at Starflower Alchemy gets most of the credit for this insanity. I just gave it room to grow.

Three iterations of field notes.

Ovate Field Notes: Vol. 3

 One of the most useful skills I’ve acquired in the Ovate grade, is that of making my own journals. I never considered myself a particularly consistent journaler, but now looking over my work not only during this grade, but in the Bardic grade, and even back to college and high school, I’ve written a fair amount.

Like most teenagers I started writing/journaling about every day occurrences. My English teacher senior year made journaling part of his curriculum. We had to do one entry a week, and if there was anything that we wanted to write about that was too private, he told us to tape the pages together. It was not only an excellent exercisein consistancy, but in trust as well. I’m happy to say he never broke it.

I found though, that I’m not a particularly consistent journaler when examined over the course of years. However, I am very consistent for very intense periods of time, such as when I was on a dig in Wales, or interning at a museum in Greece.

Like most spiritual practices today, OBOD greatly encourages keeping a record of your  journey. In an early lesson, there was a gentle suggestion that if you have trouble finding the perfect journal for your Ovate work, you might consider making your own. And of course, the opportunity to derail my studies by learning a new craft was irresistible!

This brings us to yesterday. I had finally filled my second little book of ovate fieldnotes, so it was time to make another. My technique is a mishmash of various instructions gleaned from the Internet (I actually did a practical class in this sort of bookbinding for ECG one year). It works pretty well for me, however, and is exponentially less expensive than mass-produced journals.

Three iterations of field notes.

Three iterations of field notes.


Sawyer Hill Sauté

Happy Memorial Day! As usual, our cohousing community had a great big potluck in honor of the holiday. I took the opportunity to do some weeding in the community garden and found a whole lot of Lambsquarters, sometimes called goosefoot, which I thought would make a great addition to the potluck. I cooked them in olive oil with some walking onions and lemon verbena, which we grew in the herb garden. In all, it turned out to be quite a tasty dish!

I love being able to introduce my neighbors to the forageables that grow wild on our land. There’s something fitting about the community eating food that comes from where we all live, plants that most people discard, not even knowing that the land supports us in so many different ways. It’s a way for me to share my Druidry beyond a very specific spiritual circle, into my broader community.  


Freshly laid frog eggs.

Gifts of Meadow and Mire

Freshly laid frog eggs.

Freshly laid frog eggs.

Fuzzy fiddleheads erupt from the floor of the pine grove.

Fuzzy fiddleheads erupt from the floor of the pine grove.

Dandelions mark the natural date of Beltaine on our land.  It was 5 days later than the calendar date this year.

Dandelions mark the natural date of Beltaine on our land. It was 5 days later than the calendar date this year.

Still working on identifying these lovlies.

Still working on identifying these lovlies.

Garlic mustard is gaining more and more of a foothold, sadly.  I will be making a lot of pest this year.

Garlic mustard is gaining more and more of a foothold, sadly. I will be making a lot of pesto this year.

The swans have returned.  I can't wait to see if we get cygnets again this year!

The swans have returned. I can’t wait to see if we get cygnets again this year!


Conversations with a Water Wight



This pond…

What about it?

There’s no fish.

Well, that’s because it’s not actually supposed to be full of water.  It’s supposed to drain, but there’s too much silt in the soil to let the water escape.

… I can’t fish here.

Fine. We’ll head down to the brook next time.


I’m sorry your statue got broken.  I shouldn’t have left you with my ex.

You thought I needed to be near the stream where you first met me. Wrong thinking, but kindhearted.

Still, I’m sorry.  I liked that statue.

Me too. Make another.

Really? Are you sure?

Yes. Take two pebbles this time, one for my head, and one for my heart.

Not three?

No. Did I say three?


Is this part of the brook better than the pond? It’s much like where we first met, where the water rushes out from under the dam.

Yes, much. [pulls out fishing pole]

I’ve missed you.

Yes. Your heart needs water. It’s dried out, beginning to crack.

I know. It hurt too much.

Just give it little sips for now.  That will help.

I didn’t think you’d be able to find me here.

I am present wherever a stream breaks free of man’s fetters.

That…explains a lot.

It’s good to be back here. I like the fish.

You know there aren’t any fish on this side of the dam?

Close enough.


Water, Water, Everywhere

17347170113_edae15167aBack in September of 2014, I had asked a good friend and seer to do a reading for me for the coming year.  Much to my dismay, she said, “You’re not done healing yet.  You’ll be crying in your sleep because you can’t deal with these emotions rising to the surface. You need to let them come.”  A bit dramatic, I thought, still, sound advice not to stifle.  I put the reading out of my mind for the next couple of months.

But she was right. Starting in February (thanks, Bride, yes I see your godly fingerprints all over this one!) my eyes would begin watering uncontrollably 2–3 times a day. I wasn’t crying in my sleep, but I was crying without being able to connect to the underlying emotion. Blocked, severed, whatever you want to call it, a gap lay between what I felt and what I could be conscious of.  After eliminating physical causes just to be sure, I turned by attention to the psychological.

I’ve spent the past two months reconnecting with Water.  It’s the element that I have the most trouble grasping intellectually, which should be no surprise since it’s not a mental realm in the slightest.  I don’t like that I can’t pin Water down, that it’s inconstant and in a perpetual state of flux. And yet, there are so many aspects of Water that are vital to my wellbeing—creativity, intuition, divination, healing.  It’s always the emotional component that lies furthest out of reach.

A few weeks ago, I remembered something Damh the Bard said between verses of “Wild Mountain Thyme” as he sang around the ECG campfire:

For those who can afford it, there’s therapy.
For the rest of us, there’s MUSIC!

I started playing songs (mostly Damh’s actually, with a bit of Mary Chapin Carpenter tossed in) that brought tears to my eyes, either because of the chord structure or the lyrics. I established a safe space, where I didn’t have to be strong for my son, or play nice to keep the peace, or be the dependable daughter.  The melodies enfolded me, and I wept. I performed this ritual twice a day at first, and now once a day is enough. Slowly, I’ve stopped needing the music to trigger my emotions, and I’ve been able to let them rise naturally when I have the time and space to do so. My heart is rehydrating itself with tears.

Starting at the new moon, I’ve been doing a daily iteration of the OBOD’s Ritual of the Element Water. On the full moon itself, I plan to conclude with the Water Weaving Ritual.  Already my words are flowing again, as are images I want to paint, jewelry I want to craft, and sculptures I want to sink my hands into.  Music played such an important part in my life, it’s somehow fitting that it’s what is reconnecting myself with my Self.

Instructions for further care: wash, rinse, repeat as necessary.