Jan 27, 2012

B is for Beauty - PBP

It was not until I started following a Pagan path and a simplified life,  that I truly started to see the beauty in simple, Goddess given gifts..Over the years I have learnt beauty does not come in a bottle and I still work on beauty not just coming in a size 12.. *smiles*
Today, I looked purely around my home and garden to enjoy the things that delight me.
The smell of freshly cut grass, it is one of those very fresh, raw scents, that breaths beautiful summer days and abundance.
 The beauty that is the size of this flower. Sunflowers standing tall, their faces following the sun as it crosses the sky.
The beauty and the joy seeing the humble buzzy bee, working busily in his camouflaged work place. What a precious gift to see.
I love the sound of a wind chime, there is something beautifully ethereal hearing this one picked to honour the dragon flies, as it tinkles above our garden for the fae.
Nothing soothes like the sounds of water tricking over rocks and back onto it self.. there is beauty in this serene sound.
There is such wonder in the simplicity of a fragrant bud, this one scents the garden and adds such a beautiful contrast of colours.
This banner, a wee dedication to the Goddess... and asking her if she may bless the beauty in my yard.
The peace and tranquility of our home.. there is beauty in the stillness and the silence.
The goodness of nourishing food, made with love and beautiful organic goodness.. Such a blessing to share this wonder of natures bounty.
There is beauty to me, in the flickering of a flame,  the rising smoke and scent of incense.. both burnt to honour the Gods and Goddesses - to celebrate all they bring to our lives. Blessed Be

Jan 26, 2012

A glimpse of a miracle

My husband and I have had a week of running in damage control.. trying with all we have to be pro-active not re-active.. I doubt I will ever share the reason for the turmoil, we are still coming to terms with everything.. but today.. there was a phone call from my son that made this mother happy.. I'm excited to learn today, there is a little miracle going to happen in our lives come September. My thoughts and prayers are with my little grand baby (frodo bump) I am so looking forward to meeting the new buba..  May the first part of your journey be blessed with health, and a safe cocoon to nourish you.. Blessings to your Mummy and Daddy..
I would be most grateful if those of you who read my blog and who practice a faith, if you could offer a prayer/ light a candle or however you worship do this for this wee one. This bubs little haven needs to remain snug and secure, a warm cocoon until the birth..My DIL has a bicornuate uterus and this has led to a previous miscarriage which was heartbreaking for all of us.. We could all do with a wee miracle and please let it be this wee baby bumb. Blessed be little one..

Jan 24, 2012

Strength in Song

We swing on the wind
We're unraveling
I inhale your touch
We are traveling
Here lives my love
Here hide the sacred
This is where I sleep
Where I become The Pagan 
I am where you are from
And I love you much
Taste it on my tongue
Sing it in this song
Here lives my love
Here hide the sacred
This is where I sleep
Where I become The Pagan

Jan 22, 2012


Sometimes unexpected, unexplainable and unpleasant things happen to ordinary,nice,everyday people. Their walls get shaken to the very core...
So I am taking things one day at a time, keeping it simple - moving slowly to the beat of the earth, shaking off the dross -  breathing each breath, feeling the pulse, gathering our feelings, strengthening the walls, as we rebuild the fortress around all those things that should have been safe and sacred.. and I offer no apology for that.

Jan 20, 2012

Hanging About

It's amazing what you find hanging in peoples houses - hats or coats at the front door.. photos and paintings.. drying flowers or cooked apples... that's what was hanging about in our house recently.
I got brave, broke out my of my comfort zone and decided to make some apple jelly and some apple and raspberry jelly. Now I have to admit to messin' the photos.. so your going to have to play pretend and imagine it's raspberry in the pot. cause I forgot to take a photo ..
For those of you who haven't tried to make jelly.. try easy as.. for those of you who have then.. you know what comes next..
Apples.. and a big pot.. now the thing I like about this recipe is there is no peeling or coring.. you just grab your 3kg of apples. I used Sundowner , probably not best to use a green apple like Granny Smith because you will end up with a major pucker factor at the end - so chop them little babies up cores, skin and all, pop them into your pot with about 6 cups of water.. you can leave it like this or do what I did was toss in the dregs of the raspberry bag, about 300grams, you could add more just take a cup of water out. Cook your apples for about 30 minutes.. till they are soft and mushy but not like apple sauce. Cook them down and strain them through muslin or cheese cloth.. you could use a clean old pillow slip, but I used a ham bag.. Suspend this from somewhere, I know not that easy a taste, with cats, dogs and kids but this is a improvise, adapt and overcome moment.  They say not to squeeze the bag.. I didn't, so maybe you shouldn't either.. you can't argue with hundreds of years of  woman saying * don't squeeze the bag it makes it cloudy*
In the morning measure out your apple juice.. I had about a litre.. I measured out four cups. brought this to the boil then added 4 cups of sugar. Next time, I am going less sugar or stevia to see what happens. Boil this brew for about 10 minutes.  A good rolling boil..
This is the pretend photo, pretend this is pink from raspberry.. nice and clear.. test after 10 minutes by putting a little on a saucer.. it will wrinkle if you run your finger through it.. if it is still to wet, boil for another 5 minutes. When it will set, pour it into hot sterile bottles. I water bath these for 10 minutes..
This is my finished apple and raspberry jelly.. It was really so easy and rather tasty.. and something to enjoy in the cooler months. *wonder if this is how a squirrel feels when he fills his house with nuts for winter*

Jan 17, 2012

A is for Apothecary

If you were to look in a dictionary, for the word apothecary or apothecaries you would find this as one definition a·poth·e·car·y - a person who prepared and sold medicine and drugs.
The origin of the word apothecary is old.. one of its origins is derived from the word apotheca which is a place to store herbs, spices and wines. In my research on this, I found the that during the 13th century the word became popular in Britain and it was used to describe those people who sold the spice etc from shops and stalls, basically they were grocers.  By the 1600's these grocers had become what we today would call modern day pharmacists.  These apothecaries even formed a society with a little help from King James wife Anne who swilled potions from one of the grocer types.. Scary eh :-)
King James justified his decision in the House of Commons in 1624: "I myself did devise that corporation and do allow it. The grocers, who complain of it, are but merchants; the mystery of these apothecaries were belonging to apothecaries, wherein the grocers are unskilful; and therefore I think it is fitting they should be a corporation of themselves." 
 So how does this word apothecary fit into witchery?  While I am no expert nor historian,  I know that cunning men and wise woman have been apothecaries, known by many other names long before the word apothecary was ever written on parchment, by some bald headed bloke, in a bad wig.
Before there were drugs and doctors there were herbs, cunning men, wise woman, midwives, grandmothers, witches.
History has long confirmed this, that village people knocked on the doors of these wise folk, seeking herbs and healing hands, in latter times this often leading to persecution.
Many of the herbs they used were those dispensed by apothecaries, barbers, surgeons and clergy but the practitioners of those occupations were never burned for their dispensing.
Comfrey, Feverfew, Arnica, Woodruff, Yarrow, Meadowsweet, Hyssop, Lavender, Marigold, Borage, wild Bergamot, Chamomile, Plantain and Valerian to name just a few that are part of my life.  I know, as well as my ancestors did, the powers and magickal abilities of plants. Although, I do not sell herbs as medicine per se, personally they as well as teas, tinctures, washes, sachets, oils, salves, incense and charms all have important roles in the eclectic journey I amble along.
It is not unusual to find jars of herbs infusing on my window ledges for salves, handmade soaps and magickal oils.
While, I do have a bit of a love affair with those delightfully witch-y apothecary jars, I tend to make things in portions to be used. 500ml to 1 litre bottles in fact. Some of those would be the likes of a house cleansing wash, healing salves of Comfrey, Plantain, Calendula or Arnica then there is four thieves vinegar.. my recipe is not for your salad greens. Some of the easier apothercary mixtures can make for a little daily magick on the most basic level within your home and craft..
I use on a weekly/fortnightly basis in my home,  a house protection wash for doors and door steps
So easy to make;
I prefer to use rain water or filtered water.. tap water left out over night would be fine.. I heat the water and then add a bundle wrapped in cloth of Rosemary, Hyssop, Lavender, sometimes Rue all in equal parts then I add some Van Van oil ( I make my own) I let this steep for a week or so. I then add a cup to half a bucket of water and use this to clean the external doors to my home and door steps..  if your house is feeling a little "down or negative" you can use this to wash the floors.. when I have finished with the water, I pour it down the drain out side my house on the street, quiet conveniently placed I must add.  . but any external drain will do...
A word of warning though.. please be mindful of what your doing with herbs and what your ingesting.. not all plants are of the eating/drinking variety and can make you very sick.. if not worse!

Jan 8, 2012

$12 well spent

Yesterday, my D and I headed up to Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, now usually this wouldn't have made me go 'duh us'.. but with D still on leave we are not looking at clocks or calenders, so when we left we forgot it was Saturday. Saturday on the Peninsular, at places like the farm this time of year screams a squillion tourists.. we walked up the hill through the car park and ran straight into a wall of people, seriously wall to wall people - everywhere... I almost said to D "lets make a run for it back to the car" but I put my big girl pants on, grabbed my sailors hand and pushed him into the throngs.. he wove his way up the steps, to a few box's of jam strawberries, I pointed to the one, he grabbed it with his spare hand, and we headed inside.. that 'look' on his face made me think, his Navy brain was yelling "Brace Brace Brace"  readying himself for the onslaught of a couple of bus loads of Asian tourists and as many red stained, sticky faced, screaming children! I tossed the money to the teller and we made a break for it.. It will be a cold day in Hades before we venture to buy strawberries on a Saturday in tourist season.
I turned our treasure into Jam.. rich, sweet and tasty.
Smells so good
There is about 3.7 kilos of jam there.. 
I pulped a few of the left over berries to freeze, for yogurt and Kefir 
And... this boring old plastic box.. is going to make an awesome soap mold, should hold about 7kg..

So all in all that was $12.00 well spent.   $15 if you count the sugar..

SARA.. left a comment on my post Baby Magpies.. Sara if your reading.. have a look at this post.. I think you might like it. http://butterfliesandbreezes.blogspot.com/2011/06/wee-visitor.html

Jan 7, 2012

Baby Magpies

I took this photo the day of our last heatwave.. I had, had a plastic bowl on the ground but I felt it left the birds to vulnerable, so we picked up this bird bath for next to nothing.. it has been so well used in the short  time we had it.. do you remember this post H Triple M  well look who has come back with her 2nd or 3rd mob..
Mama on the ground guarding  her two babies..

Watching for harm, as the little ones drink - she didn't herself.

It is a huge delight to me, to see the wildlife in my yard.. I have got quiet attached to this family and the Crow who gets an equal amount of delight from peering in my windows.
For those interested, I have posted over at Tales From A Crones Hearth.. Magickal Plants

Jan 6, 2012

Altar your attitude

Today is the first of the Pagan Blog Project posts.. starting with the letter A.  I thought about a few topics but my line of thought kept coming back to altars. Even before there were established religions, people from all continents have, for thousands of years been constructing shrines, cairns and altars in caves, forests, fields and in their homes.. turning mundane and ordinary places into those that were both mystical and sacred. This is true in my own home..
When I first started walking a Pagan path, it was one of joy in each new discovery.. hearing the wind rustling the leaves in the trees, spoke to me like the voice of the Goddess, walking along the beach each crashing wave was like her heart beat.. while digging in the garden feeling the cool earth between my fingers I knew I was holding something special, there were age old secrets in that dark rich loam. The wind through my hair left me feeling more alive than I had remembered, like I had breathed in creation itself.. Feeling the sun on my skin left me energised, eyes closed I could feel the fire..standing imagining my spiritual roots going deep into the earth left me feeling centered and with a sense of being home.. and be it in the shower or even running water over my hands I could feel any negative emotion just washed away.. it was such a cleansing feeling.
I was and still am very drawn to the elements, and at the very start, I was led to create a "space" where they could be honored.. this was my first altar - dedicated to Earth, Air, Fire and Water.. my main altar is still set up to this, it changes as the wheel turns with a few things added that are important to me, things that I may find.. recently I found a wee birds egg shell unfortunately not so Sacred Temple Kitty stole it.. but I digress..
My sacred space and working altar in the family room..a place where a table is dedicated to the elements, incense is burnt here, candles are lit here, hands are clapped to music here, drumming happens here. This is my space; this is the area of the home from where energy flows to every corner. It is a place of grounding.

 I work with two Goddess's and have spaces in my home that are dedicated to them..  they have in essence turned into altars. One is for Hekate who is a triple Goddess representing Maiden, Mother and Crone. She is the Goddess of night, the crossroads, life and death, beginnings and endings...

Not all altars or sacred spaces have to be big.. this small tile beside my stove, holds a red candle, an amethyst and a small bunch of lavender to honour Hestia.. virgin Goddess of my hearth and home.
As the pagan wheel turns, we celebrate different sabbats, one of my favorites is Samhain - it is a time when we honour our ancestors and the ancients that have gone before..
While each altar we have looks different and is used for a different reason, there is one thing each does that is the same.. It can and will alter your attitude. A glance toward it, can change a negative thought to a positive one.. to gently touch it can leave your spirits uplifted.
There have been times when I have struggled with my faith, my spirituality. Times where l have lost sight of my own truth.. but one thing that helps bring me back to basics, is a place/space that I have created with a purpose.. it puts me in touch with deity, with my earth mother, with the essence of all things.. and importantly, with myself...

Jan 5, 2012

Change and Gratitude

Lots going on the last few days..  I have decided to take part in the Pagan Blog Project.. over 12 months, once a week I will write a post about my faith.. beginning with the letter A.. it will be interesting for me for a couple of reasons, it will give me more focus on my spirituality, something that has been a little hard over the last few years.. and perhaps it will be enlightening to those who know little of a pagan path.

The other thing, I have decided to become involved is.. I CAN change one thing... which is a goal setting exercise. There are a number of things I want to archive this year, some of these things are developmental.. for example..show myself a little more love, one of the hardest loves to give.. so over at witch-blog there is a free little book to down load, so you can write and follow your goals.. if you want to check it out pop   over to I CAN Change One Thing  download the booklet. There is also a Gratitude Journal, something I am looking forward to working on, and I do have many things to be grateful for..

I also got some great news yesterday at the Dr's..  as some of you know, I have been adjusting to life with AS.. however just before Christmas, it was discovered that the medication I was on to help treat it, has caused problems with my heart in the form of atrial fibrillation and angina.. I have had numerous tests over the last few weeks.. and yesterday was told that, while I need to stay on medicine to help my heart rate, there has been no permanent damage to my heart - I am so relieved, it has been a huge worry over the last month but it has also been a bit of a wake up call for me.. to be in the ER and wondering am I going to have a heart attack and that's the end of it., so this has led to a new place for sharing.. a new blog.. it will not take the place of Butterflies and Breezes, this has been my baby for 4 years now.. my new blog is going to focus more on my personal change, on my Pagan path, on how I feel about growing older and entering a new phase of my life.. Crone. I could write all this here, but I feel Butterflies and Breezes has evolved into something I am happy with, a place to share living in general, recipes, ideas, some paganism.. I just didn't feel it was the right place to explore this new area.. soooo if folk are interested in reading this new blog.. come and take a peek at "Tales From A Crones Hearth"   It is set up to go but I am sure I will be changing the layout and tweaking it a little..  I would be happy to have you stop by..

Jan 3, 2012

My Container Garden

We had a bit of a heatwave here yesterday, the temps got up to 40.5c that's 104.9f -  I knew once the wind got up and came from the North, it would scorch and sear anything in it's path, because it comes in off the desert. Being on holiday here getting out of bed early was a bit hard..but as I am a container gardener I knew if I didn't, my small garden would suffer badly and possibly fry without a good drink before the heat of the day.. In a heatwave, even large established plants wilt and wither.
I wonder though if I am the only person outdoors at 6.30am in their pajamas, messing about in the garden.. I took my camera to take a few photos the other day.. and tonight it was lovely eating fresh vege - organically grown and by my own hand.. such a satisfying feeling while nourishing our bodies with chemical free produce.

A pot of zucchinis, these are a dwarf variety..but look I have babies in here
Im thinking this would be tasty, stuffed and fried in a little tempura batter.
Pots of cucumbers.. the tall one is not going to do so well, its mates died, so I am not sure it will have enough pollinated flowers to grow more fruit.
however, I will get two cucumbers which isn't bad for the cost of two seeds.
Three tubs of tomatoes. I am amazed at how well these guys have done.. .
the fruit are huge 
My first red tomato
The lawn so needs mowing, but this container has beetroot and capsicums, the green, wooden ammunition box has dwarf beans in it. 
Beautiful fresh beets
More ammunition case, beans.

A different herb garden.. in the recycled old wooden book case, spring onions, garlic chives and flat parsley and in the black tub.. coriander
Pots of Russian Tarragon, Holy Basil (Thai) and its hot

And that is the vege patch.. It shows if your not able to put plants into the ground that you can still feed your family.  Have you ever grown vege in tubs, if so what do you grow?

Jan 2, 2012

Simplicity in 2012

I hope you all had a safe and happy entry into this new year 2012.. at nearly 51, I remember when that date was something you would see in a 80's Sci Fi movie. But wait, this 'would see' is now 'do see' I swear there are days when I feel like I am living in a sci fi movie.  When you see adverts for 3d television, 3d camcorders, ipads, ipods, ebooks, androids, robotic vacuum cleaners, ethanol fireplaces and coffee makers that cost more than a small car one could be forgiven for feeling that way.
I had always tried to keep up with modern technology in the past, hey I have a four slice pop up toaster, a waffle maker, yes I even have a girl in my mobile phone that talks to me - Siri but I woke up one morning and everything had changed. I had turned into a technophobe.
Trying to turn on the dvd player these days, leaves me feeling like I am trying to launch the space shuttle.  I bought a new alarm clock recently with an iPhone dock on it.. duh me, it only took two nights of being woken up at midnight to realise I had not done what I thought I had done to switch the alarm off.
I watch the teens of the house breeze through, gimmicky gadgets with the ease of toddlers putting blocks in holes which indecently I still struggle to do and I just blink at them dumbly as they do.

Recently, my eldest daughter (29) said to me "Mum,  I want one of those old fashioned telephone handsets, the ones that had round dials on the front" so I went looking online for what she meant, thinking she wanted a 1940's vintage phone.. bless her.. this is what a 29 year old thinks is an old fashioned phone.

Ummmm you can still buy these AS phones and people still use them. So I have decided, even as a modern, iphone using, sneaker wearing woman living in the 21st century, I am happy to stop my knowledge of technology right where it is. I am happy to get back to basics.
Yes, I will use what I have but I still prefer to use a broom to a vacuum cleaner.  I could do without a microwave, hair dryer and my new clock. I prefer to use my own hand made soap and cleaners. I am happy to be slowing my life down in a society that needs to have more things to save them time, so they can work longer hours to buy them. Simplicity is slipping through the nations fingers and I for one, find that a shame.
What are you going to do this year to simplify your life and get back to basics?