Diary - 10/08
Diary - October 2008
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October 2008


Bethany collecting calendula flowers

The fire we kept going all day in the fire tray

Wand making around the fire

making elder beads on the summerhouse porch

Bethany’s elder bracelet

Woodworkers and their completed works

October was relatively dry, but a sharp contrast from the heat and desiccation of the American west coast. It was a time for decanting new vinegars – hawthorn, golden rod, lovage, winter savory, angelica and a combination of red clover, Echinacea, bergamot and yarrow.

I was concerned that I’d missed most of the autumn harvest, but I still managed to find enough rose hips, blackberries, elderberries and haws to make up syrups, elixirs and more hawthorn vinegar and brandy.

It was also a time for picking seeds – sweet Cecily, calendula and milk thistle.

I was asked to give a series of talks to residents living in sheltered housing and residential homes run by Broadening Choices for Older People. They enjoyed tasting the fruits of my hedgerow forays, especially the hawthorn liqueur, elderberry syrup and tincture, blackberry and rosehip syrup and bramble root vinegar with honey.

The October workshop is always about working with wood. This year there were still some herbs growing which allowed us to pick apple mint, calendula, hips and haws while Chris gallantly dug nettle roots for his tincture and kept an eye on the fire which kept us warm.

Maddie made a rowan wand where the hand grip looked like carved bone and some elder beads. Martin made a hawthorn wand and a smudge stick. Bethany made a beautiful ash wand and elder bead bracelet and Marion crafted an ash wand.

I had been wanting to make an enclosed pentacle for some time. I cut fresh hazel and willow fronds which I twisted together, while ash, hazel and willow formed the pentacle. Chris very kindly tied it all up for me as I hadn’t cut the sticks long enough and they kept falling apart when I approached them with string. (It’s very handy having an engineer in the family!)

The following day we ceremoniously picked the first five quinces off the quince tree. You can read about what I did with them on my blog.


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