Author: runa

Preparing Animals for Winter While Writing A Book

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This is what we’re working towards here at Villa Westwyk. Right now it’s a dream and in a box in the big barn.

Our weather station here at Villa Westwyk measured a balmy 82 degrees F on October 14. Two days later we got our first frost and we haven’t seen anything above 50 degrees in weeks. The Average temperature for the last month is 38 degrees. The last two winters we did not see freezing temperatures until on or near the Winter Solstice. Sure technically, winter isn’t here until the Winter Solstice, but we’re certainly feeling it already. We weren’t quite ready for winter here. That can be a problem for a Permie Witch. 

We had plans to set up a poly tunnel to enclose our laying chickens in their tractor coop, but that hasn’t happened yet and this morning it was 22 degrees. When the rains return the temps will be warmer, but chickens aren’t fans of the rain like the ducks and geese are. So the tunnel gives them a respite from the rain as well and lets them get more exercise, otherwise they are prone to just sit in the coop all day, which means I have to muck it more often. Also in the polytunnel we can do a deep litter method and get all that good composted material come spring for putting on our raspberries, blueberries, black currant bushes, and more. Material management is part of so much of what I do as a Permie Witch, to include “making” it like with the deep-litter method during winter with my poultry. 

And since we’ve just gotten the freezing temperatures and there’s been no rainfall, our seasonal streams and ponds that help support our ducks and geese are bone dry. I caught them just sitting in the river bed waiting for the water. It was so pitiful. No running steam means the Permie Witch has to go out extra and make sure the water fowl have extra water. When they can’t bathe because pools and troughs just freeze, they drink even more water. Having extra barn chores is not where I want to be since I’m under contract to write a book right now. Even though I know those outdoor breaks are good for a writer who spends so much time sitting at a desk.

But here’s the thing, the animals are prepared. It’s the Witch who is not. The animals already have systems in place to set themselves up for winter success. The ducks and chickens have slowed their egg laying to conserve daily energy. They’re plumped up cold-weather feathers that arrived shortly after the Autumn equinox are doing the job of keeping them well insulated. The geese are so hardy, they will likely laugh at us (honk-honk) when we do get around to setting up that poly tunnel. Lastly, we’ve culled the number of geese we have so their winter home is more spacious, but are happy to lay beneath the arbor or against the barn. 

My chickens don’t need a heat lamp. They don’t need to be closed up air-tight (yikes! That’s like asking for illness!). I’m sure they would love to have the polytunnel just to get out of the rain (or snow), but it’s not necessary. Trees and bushes around the property do that for them as well. 

Even when the weather is inclement, my animal partners on this covenstead do what they need to do to survive and even thrive. No Permie Witch required. 

I’ll continue to improve systems and infrastructure to make sure my livestock have only one bad day in their life, including through winter. But I don’t need to pressure myself about this project or that project, since small, slow solutions and nature’s ability to survive do a lot of that work for me. So now I can work on getting the Witch ready for winter, which is mostly all about shifting my perspective. I’ve got a book to write. Pond creation and polytunnel construction can wait until the sun is higher in the sky and we’re not having to put on snow suits just to feed and water the animals. Oh, and the word count reaches 60,000 words. 😉

Putting The Permie Witch Garden To Bed

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Originally this was going on IG, so the orientation was weird. Thank you for your forgiveness.

One of my Patrons asked me about putting my garden to bed as a Permie Witch. It looks a bit different than what perhaps a Master Gardener from your local Ag extension might do. I’m still trying to grow things all winter, whether that’s garlic, winter greens, over-wintering root veggies, or just feeding the soil.

Watch the above video and you’ll see lots of weeds and plants left to die off naturally and spread its seed (cilantro, I’m looking at you). But all this vegetation provides a network for the mushrooms, which create a healthy soil system, as well as is a bio and dynamic accumulator which feeds the soil in other ways.

Villa Westwyk, my covenstead, is in the Pacific Northwest. As I walk this path and do so from the perspective of a Crone Witch, I’ve learned that the chaos in nature is actually full of the primal fire of creation. And in permaculture you’re mimicking the chaos of nature. Like the more rigid gardening that one may find landscapers doing, I’m still moving materials. I’m covering soil to prevent erosion, and laying compost over plants I hope to tend throughout winter and into early spring, and I’m pulling weeds (where necessary).

One day this space may look more master garden-esque because all the systems to support it will be in place. But, that permaculture tenet of #SmallSlowSolutions comes into play here. This space was already used as a garden by the prior owners of this property. Although it had gone fallow, we knew that a garden could grow there, and until we could determine where at Villa Westwyk we would prefer to grow food (raised beds and poly tunnels, hello!), we could start here. After three years of growing food in this space, we’ve determined that half the space needs to be a pond for water management and livestock quality of life. If we had built raised beds or other infrastructure just to turn it into a pond, how much labor and resources would have been potentially wasted because we didn’t use the other principles of permaculture to our planning, especially #ObserveAndInteract, #UseAndValueRenewables, and #DesignFromPatternToDetails? The answer is: Too Much! Instead we are now preparing the ground for pond construction – coming soon!

There was broken glass, weeds, trash, and just a whole lot of negative energy here when we moved it. I think it looks fabulous now.

Moving from the garden to our cold frame/hot house/season extender, which again was in a wild state as I will continue to grow food in this space all winter long. As of this writing, I’m still harvesting tomatoes and peppers inside that space. Again, this structure was here when we moved in and was full of pig weed and thistle. We renovated it and reinforced the structure where we could, but it’s not far from its usefulness and we do have plans to turn this into a chicken coop/yard space. A larger poly tunnel will be placed elsewhere on the property, potential near our new raspberry beds. But we’re not there yet. A good poly tunnel is a huge investment. In the interim, we will continue using this space until its absolutely not safe. But right now, can’t you see how the marigolds are thrilled? We also learned more things about growing cucumbers in a poly tunnel and that squash really don’t like it. #SelfRegulation #AcceptFeedback #ObtainAYield

So that’s what’s happening for the Permie Witch this month. I’m prepping to grow where I can, moving materials, and covering vegetation to make pond making easier as we get closer to breaking ground on that project. If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to ask me in the comments below. Have a great November!

A Spiritual Team of Horses: Working with Ehwaz & News

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It’s been 10 months since I started working with Ehwaz. In that 10 months, my understanding of this Rune is deepening. My shorthand as described in the illustration above for this Rune has helped me kick start myself again when the outside world made things feel too hard to do much more. It was like a little team of horses was inside my solar plexus pulling me forward.

That said, I’m not a horse person. My interactions with them have always been fraught with a bucket of nerves. They are huge creatures and their size alone often gives me pause. Even though I’ve had very little instruction when it comes to those animals, I’m very aware that one wrong move could spook them and spell disaster for either me or the horse. The latter of which would make my heart break even more. But to feel like there is a spiritual team of horses pulling me forward towards my goals is an interesting metaphor to reflect on.

Ehwaz (ᛖ) looks like a mirror image of Laguz (ᛚ), which pricks my curiosity. Laguz is the fluidity of our life force. Ehwaz is duality and movement. So it makes sense to me that two Laguz put together would make Ehwaz. Fluid implies movement. A force of life creates development. They are together and apart. As above, so below. As within, so without. From that thought I moved forward in my connection to this spiritual tool.

The ‘E’ and the ‘L’ in the Elder Futhark are far apart when we put Western sensibilities on it. In my daily rune castings, which you can find on Instagram and Twitter daily — Monday through Friday — I explain the Runes’ Elder Futhark connection – its alphabet quality, if you will, this has little bearing on the spiritual or energetic meaning of it. Yet, it is a part of it. Much like many Witches have a deep spiritual life, but their spiritual life and ‘Muggle’ life may not intersect much outside of being part of the same Witch’s life.

All of the above to say that dissecting the energy of this Rune has provided even further meaning for me. Huzzah, as that was the point of choosing a Rune of the Year. How that showed up thus far (I still have some weeks before I’ll start this exercise all over again), has been enlightening, to say the least. For instance, when I didn’t want to send out my writing for consideration, I would do my meditation on the Rune (yes, I’m meditating on it near daily) and suddenly I’d have some inspiration or motivation to push a piece to be finished or send something off. Ehwaz is known as the Rune of gradual development and since January things have gradually developed, but that development has felt enormous. My client list for my services and magical goods has firmed up to a strong foundation and I’m moving towards having my goods on just my site (mostly). I have a new mystical writing group that has been such a blessing. We’ve progressed to have so many stars in our meals (meaning the food on our plate comes from right here). I’m not as frazzled when spirits knock on my psychic door unexpectedly. And if you’ve read this far you’re finding out that I am under contract to write a book! Woot! More on that in the weeks to come.

The year has been a slow and steady climb towards reaching my goals, which I often say is what being a Witch is about: always improving.

I feel that activation of energies of my inner Fetch, meaning the divine within (some refer to Fetch as the guardian within). When before I may not have had the trust in myself to move forward, Ehwaz comes in and reminds me that I have already overcome so much and stepping forward is easier than I perceive.

So although I’m not a horse person, I have a team of spiritual horses inside of me, lead by Ehwaz and driven by my inner Fetch. It’s been a thrilling gallop through the year towards new levels of creation, connection, and curation, the latter of which was my word for the year. More on that next week.

In the meantime, I need to saddle up and go write that book. 😉

Blessings,

ᚱᚢᚾᚨ ᛏᚱᛟᚤ

When It’s Mundane, Work With The Moon

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The Moon helps me remember. It’s my secret weapon to get all things mundane done. 

Dear Luna helps me remember to soak my ultra sensitive skin (something new since menopause) in a salt bath. It reminds me to sew my mending. It tells me it’s time to make another loaf of bread. It reminds me to clean my broom (more on that on my Patreon, if you’re interested). It reminds me to check in with my goals. It helps the energies within and around me to accomplish what I need to do to be my truest self and live my best life. 

Whatever her phase, there is a task that I have learned to do depending on where she is. As I’ve deepened into my Crone Life, more and more tasks are filed under either Dark, New, Quarters and Full Moons. 

For instance, on the week before the full moon, as mentioned above, I tend to any mending that needs to be done. Sewing for sure. But that can also be fences – as a Permie Witch, fences are uber important, otherwise you lose half your broccoli crop to runaway geese. But it’s also a time to look at mending or strengthening relationships. Additionally, I make a journey to the water’s edge. I’m fortunate that I live just a hop to the ocean or the mountains, so a body of water is never far away (and that was one of the reasons we chose Villa Westwyk). 

Because this full moon on Sunday is in Aries, there’s other things to consider. Aries rules the head, teeth, tongue, striated muscles, penis, gallbladder, arteries, and blood. So what of these body areas need some extra attention? If I was one to regularly cut my hair, I might plan to get a haircut this weekend. This week I’ll be making an appointment with my dentist for my next cleaning and check up. If I was on maintenance meds that required regular blood work, I might look at scheduling that work. 

Lastly, because this full moon falls in the midst of the hefty harvest season, I will likely be putting food by heavily this weekend. That full moon in Aries is all about firing up the cauldron. 

Understanding and learning how to work with the energies of the Moon has deepened my connection to the Universe and allowed me to be easily led through the mundane tasks of life to an existence that is way more Magical. 

How about you? Do you move with the moon? Do you design not just spell work and ritual around the moon, but more mundane things like cooking, cleaning, sewing, and other maintenance? If so, please let me know below.  

Launching a Patreon

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A little snapshot to get you going…

Well I did it. After a year plus of people asking me to set such a space up, it’s here. I’m on Patreon now, creating a digital Witchcraft-learning Covenstead. And you don’t have to live exactly like I do to participate. This is a place to help you connect with our generous and awesome Earth, whether you’re a city mouse, a suburban bird, or a country opossum.

I still will be blogging here. However, much more content, learning opportunities, spells, and the like will be available over on my Patreon. Want a weekly Rune casting? Join my Patreon. Want monthly Witch Calendar? Join my Patreon. Want to learn more about Permaculture, Dream Work, Kitchen Witchery, and everything else this Crone lives day and night? Join my Patreon.

Go over to Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=53229226&fan_landing=true&view_as=public and see what fits for you. Join me at the Garden Gate, On The Front Porch, Under The Willow, In The Witch’s Garden, At The Witch’s Table, or Around The Fire Circle. Lots of opportunity to learn from a Witch whose been walking this path for more than 40 years.

Thanks and Blessed Be.

Categories: Announcement Blog Post