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Jun. 21st, 2016 02:05 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Monday was a relatively quiet day, but L was up for some yard work. He did some more mowing (there is always more mowing), and got the grass in the grove to a manageable height. By which I mean that barring enduring rains it can be kept up with the reel mower if we do it weekly.

And, he put a lot of stones on the altar. We started stacking stones last year, then it sat over the winter. This was actually a good thing, as this gave the stones time to settle or heave if we'd chosen badly. We've been adding a few over the past few months -- the goal was to have it done by Solstice but of course with L getting ill I didn't think that would happen. It needs a thin stone under one corner of one of the top stones but otherwise it's pretty nice. We'll let it sit for a bit and see if it needs more than that. I think it looks pretty good -- I mean, it's essentially just a big cube-like stack of stone, but still.

We kept things super simple for the day, otherwise.

I did some work on making sun catchers -- good time for making them :)

The fireflies treated us to a lovely show at night, and we were fortunate that clear weather held for moon viewing. Apparently the rain we were going to get decided to pass us by -- my BIL R, who has been bringing in hay, is fine with that.
helwen: (Tower)
First - because it starts first - Happy Hannukah!

Many Blessings of Light and Hope for all who celebrate.

Second, starting at 12:38 a.m. EST, Happy Solstice!

In these sometimes dark and often challenging times, may there be a light when you need it, a friendly hand to help, inspiration when there seems to be no further way forward, and may you have the clarity of purpose and courage of the heart to forge a true path.
helwen: (Default)
Oakstone celebrated Solstice yesterday morning. Cold but sunny, so not too long outside but I still enjoyed it. Followed with good companionship for a few hours with fellow grove members.

[EDIT: went to Amherst kung fu school and picked up the extender pole we'd lent to Sifu for painting the new school in Springfield. [/EDIT]

Then off to a friend's 40th birthday party -- a surprise successfully pulled off by his wife. His b-day's on Dec. 24, so he'd given up on ever having a party of any sort, given many of his friends and family would be busy with Christmas eve. activities -- so a doubly pleasing party :)

Interestingly, I'd say all the presents will get fair use - an ornament (dragon resting on a wreath, that he'd been admiring), a soft puppet in his heraldic colors (which undoubtedly will get used to entertainment their child), a superheroes t-shirt featuring Captain America prominently, maple brick pops in a leather pouch and also a bottle of mead (from me and L), and rather a lot of books. Some of the books may come in handy at work, it turns out... he's gotten permission to teach an additional class, and hopes to make it one on some the history of medieval tech - how and why things developed, etc.

There was a chance to go to another solstice celebration in Buckland, but we passed on that for the chance to go back to S and J's to hang out for a bit more, before heading home.

Part 2 Solstice will likely by Ashfield's on Thursday evening, unless I'm inspired to stay up Wednesday until 12:38 a.m. for the astronomical time...

Time to go wash eggs. Delivery to make, and more flyers to put up for the Ashfield celebration.


Dec. 21st, 2010 02:29 pm
helwen: (Woodsy)
Things look to be on track for Solstice in Ashfield tonight. Meeting in Elmer's Store at 6:30 p.m., things officially start at 7:00 p.m. and go to 8:30 p.m.

Concentus songs will be Green Growth the Holly, probably Ego Sum Pauper (group sing), and the new song I wrote -- super easy to learn, because, well, I wrote it, LOL. L tells me it is in A Minor, in Diatonic/Dorian mode.

A good Solstice to you all - good health and joyous times, whenever possible.
helwen: (Default)
Good if busy weekend. Family Christmas gathering was on Saturday and this time Ma was able to be there, and for quite a few hours too! Good times, and a few good gifts in there too ;)

My lucky find for L was a Bert and I record -- he tells a few stories in the Yankee style, and now he'll have more of them -- well, once we re-locate the record player :D

And I am now the fond owner of a very lovely otter pendant, made from mammoth tusk and resting in silver waves.

Sunday morning was running around the farm first thing (mostly chickens), delivering syrup to Elmer's for their kitchen, then down to the Sunwheel for Winter Solstice with the grove. Good ritual, as per usual. I was noticing things a bit more than usual, which was a pleasant surprise. We had a friend from Central MA there, who is now in AODA (candidate) and OBOD (I don't know their system).

A few weeks ago I'd found a song I started writing last year at one of the Ashfield Solstice meetings, and on the way to the Sunwheel I finished writing, and got feedback from L on ordering the melody. Good reviews from friends, so looks like we'll be singing it on Tuesday night.

A pleasant repast and various conversations after, then off to the mall at Ingleside for a few things -- the mall at Christmastime is not terribly stressful if you aren't shopping for presents.

Bought a few books: martial arts, nutrition, mysteries, and compendium of The Walking Dead.

Went to Y and M's for choir practice. M's not doing well, but he could hear us at least, so we sang him a year's worth of music. He even got to hear my new song.

Tuesday is Solstice, and Ashfield will have their annual celebration on the green that night. Half of Concentus will be attending and singing. There will be music, stories, and dance, for anyone interested in coming up our way. South Ashfield carollers will be singing 6:30-7:00-ish, with the event officially starting at 7:00 p.m. and going to 8:30 p.m.
helwen: (Default)
Didn't do farmers market Saturday - haying, etc.

Celebrated with the grove yesterday, after the initiations of a couple from Ohio. Both ceremonies were excellent :) Some interesting chats after, staying longer than we expected. Did not go to Taste of Amherst but I'm sure that was lovely too.

Time to sort through and find a few seeds that are supposed to be planted in July/August, and put the rest back in the fridge.

Think I've settled on later 18th c. for local demo outfit -- having a resource for decent shoes was definitely one factor in that decision, plus since I'll be spinning and maybe eventually weaving, I'd rather be pre-industrial revolution. Plus if the town ever does any 1776-type stuff, I'd be all set for that too... stays have been the holdup for me, since I'm losing weight and changing shape, but I'll worry about that later -- skirts and a jacket will probably do for now. I'd love to make a Polonaise, but not sure I can justify something that fancy-looking for working in. Still, I'd like to go higher class rather than lower, as I'd just as soon use the same foundation garment for "Sunday best" as for working, rather than two entirely different outfits.

Learning things like apparently linen wasn't used for outer petticoats unless you're poor -- wool or silk more common. Although apparently by later 18th c., cotton was also an option... there were in fact abolitionists in Ashfield, but that would be more of a factor in the 19th century.

Been reading some at this site: 18th Century New England Life... not the end all and be all of 18th c. living of course, but seeing as I live in New England, seemed like a reasonable place to start.

Learned some nifty stuff at the historical society Saturday, and shared some knowledge too. Thought it was fascinating that silk used direct from China back then was more durably made than American silk. The reason was that the Americans were using a process to weight the silk that suffused the material with metal! So over time the metal caused the silk to rot -- probably a side effect of oxidizing?

Belated Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there!

This morning we'll be going for a walk. L's company is doing some sort of walking thing, with the different branches of the company competing for number of miles put in over x-amount of time. Naturally I'll be going along, even though my miles won't count :)


Jun. 21st, 2009 02:25 pm
helwen: (Default)
Happy Solstice to all who celebrate it! Midsummer it is, although it may not feel like it with all the damp we're having.... Just sort of overcast up here today, thank goodness. Grove celebration ended up being astral because of all the wet -- the Sunwheel is surrounded by water, so it could have been not just awkward for us walking about, but also damaging to the grounds :( But an interesting morning nonetheless.

Happy Father's Day to [livejournal.com profile] fitzw, [livejournal.com profile] daurdabla, [livejournal.com profile] bkdelong, [livejournal.com profile] hugh_mannity, and any other fathers reading this who I missed!

Choir practice tonight -- gotta wash and cut up a bunch of strawberries for the potluck!

But first, lunch (yeah, we're running a little late on some things....)
helwen: (Default)
Happy Solstice, Everyone! (And Happy Channukah for those who celebrate, and Happy Christmas-to-be)

I hope everyone has a lovely time this weekend and that you are all given what you need, whatever that may be.

Last night our town held a Winter Solstice celebration (3rd annual, our first time being at one). Most of the activities were outdoors on the town commons - poetry, songs, storytelling, Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, Border Morris dancing, and lighting candles of Intention for the next year, and generally observing the Long Night and the Return of the Light. Some of the festivities were also at Elmer's one of the local stores that's also a part-time restaurant and deli. Met up with some friends there and chatted about various things, and Carw Gwynt (L) got dragged into dancing with the Morris team (Juggler Meadow Morris) indoors -- he's done some sword dancing before so he was able to run through the similar-but-not-the-same dance moves with them. One of their guys had already gone home and they wanted to do a bit more dancing. Wisely they put him in 6th position, which meant he had time during parts of the dances to see what was coming. A bit more singing happened at Elmer's including our friend Sarah S. sang Of All the Birds along with me and Carw Gwynt.

Late last night I lit a beeswax candle shaped like a pine cone for some personal observances, and as well we did an I Ching reading. Very illuminating. We'll be making some changes in the coming months. It promises to be a challenging year.

This morning was Oakstone Grove's group observance, which we had to do astrally, as the snow has made travel difficult and dangerous. I have to say it's kind of fun walking through astral snow :D

Under the mistletoe-laden oaks,

/|\ Troed Gysgod/Shadowfoot
helwen: (me1)
Midsummer is here! Happy Solstice!

Not sure if we'll go to the sunwheel today or tomorrow. We do have strawberry-picking on the agenda, as I'd like to try my hand at making strawberry jam. Also a trip to one of the garden places, to see if we can find vervain. If not, I may use lavendar. I know, not traditional, but I have it, and it's a worthy herb in its own right.

Likely will spend a good part of the day in the garden, today and tomorrow. Peas, beans, and tomatoes are all getting a little frisky, and need their string supports. The first potatoes are getting tall and need soil added on top of them. I was borrowing some from one of the spots where nothing had come up, and discovered another potato stem... covered it up promptly, of course!

Lettuce is completely out of control, so more salad today :) I took some up to the farm this weekend, for the in-laws to enjoy.

The blueberries and black currants are starting to color. It won't be a lot, but we'll enjoy them next month, nonetheless. Might be enough for some tarts, perhaps.

Next month is the start of blueberry and raspberry season! Mmm...

I'm hoping to get to Webs again soon. We have a project in the planning stages, for weaving a bunch of napkins. One person noted that probably we can't afford linen and will have to use cotton instead. He's probably right, and I did get a huge cone of cotton for $10 the last time we were there. But I'm hoping they might still have a cone or two of linen there.... huge cones, and not as fine quality as the Irish stuff, but infinitely less expensive. Still, the cotton may be the best we can do... the project involves making around 30 napkins, and I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on the good stuff.

Some folks have been talking this spring/summer about how SCA events aren't as medieval and/or fun as they used to be, people aren't as helpful, and of course there's the email lists where some people feel quite free to be rude and/or downright nasty. I'm not on very many email lists myself, but I do know what they're talking about.

I had a few random thoughts on it, that I started writing about in reply to one of [livejournal.com profile] zaduzbina's posts:

"The gatherings and workshops are probably my favorite parts of SCA right now. Events are the parties we throw when a bunch of us get together... what I think would be good is if people wore their medieval clothing more often though, and used hand tools more, and maybe had meetings by candlelight sometimes... so that when we get together at an event, we would all be more comfortable and not feel like it's 'dress-up'. Hm. I might post this to my LJ..."

When I first joined the SCA, we sometimes dressed in medieval clothing for the business meetings. From what I've heard, some groups still do that. For some folks that seems to be a terrible bother for them, but really, the more often you wear them, the more they become _clothing_, not _costume_. If your medieval clothing isn't comfortable enough to wear whenever you feel like it, then it isn't real clothing. I expect all of my clothing to hold up for at least 6-8 hours (work clothing standard), and preferably all day. Anything I don't want to wear for more than 4 hours is "Go-to-church clothing" -- the stuff you wear at weddings, funerals, etc. And for me, even that stuff is starting to move over to the higher standard. I don't like most synthetics anyway...

We also use candle light or an oil lamp around the house on a semi-regular basis. Saves electricity, and is just more pleasant in general. Quieter, too.

The local cooking guild is looking into maybe a field trip or two this summer/fall, to learn more about older ways of cooking; Plymouth and Sturbridge are the possibilities. I'm hoping to go, because I'd like to get a little more comfortable with the idea of cooking over flame or in wood-fired ovens. Of course, I also want to try a solar cooker and maybe a haybox too.

We need to find some less expensive places to rent for events, so that we can hold small events. Bergental's core personality was founded on small events; it's part of how we got to really know each other and enjoy spending time together, pursuing simple medieval pleasures. We held tournaments that yes, had a winner or winners, but the primary interest was in the joy of the tournament, not the need to win. At Love Tourney, for instance, there were many contests for fighters and non-fighters alike, but the true victor of the day was Love.


helwen: (Default)

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