The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Witchy Wanderings // Avebury

Way back when I started writing this blog, almost two years ago, I wrote about visiting Avebury stone circle, here in Wiltshire. 

Avebury is a really special place to me - it has become a bit of a tradition for B and I to visit there, usually on a Sabbat. For me, it is definitely a place I go to when I want to 'reconnect' with myself and my spiritual world.
Do you have any particular sites that you feel drawn to?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Wheel of the Year // Going to sleep

Everywhere you look, at this time of year, you see that the earth has little left to give.

Summer's vibrancy and even the warmth of the autumn colours is fading - there is hardly any energy left.

All is pared back, to its barest form: the trees betray no sign of life, the birds quieten down and the hedgerow's creatures retire into hibernation. 

This is no bad thing. It is not death, but sleep. The earth will rest and restore itself over the forthcoming cold months. When the light returns in spring, everything will wake up with renewed vigour. This is how it is supposed to be.

I too long to hibernate - to cosy up indoors and rest - yet each morning I have to force myself awake in darkness and work through, in spite of my body's natural instincts. 

Do any of you struggle with low energy levels at this time of year? 
It is a season I would dearly love, could I put work on hold and focus on hearth and home. 
Five more weeks before a longed-for Yuletide rest...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Three Word Thursday

Rocks my evenings.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hearth and Home // Links to the past

Several months ago I found an old 'Lubitel' camera that was my dad's. He had it when he was in his late teens and early 20s - back in the 1970s. 

It looks beautiful - the twin-lens reflex instantly highlights its vintage appeal and we loved experimenting with different shots, using it as a prop this summer.

I love this picture of B, reflecting through the 'viewfinder'!

More exciting than that, however, are the results we got from testing a film...

As it is a medium format camera, we put some of our 120mm black and white film in and hoped for the best. The images we got back are quite eerie. They look exactly like they're from another time - softly focussed and grainy. Aside from the fact that, in some of the shots I'm carrying a digital camera over my shoulder, you wouldn't be able to tell these weren't taken back in the 1970s. 

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Allotment Tales // Parsnips

Although most of the allotment seems to be winding down now and large areas have been dug over and sprinkled with the reddish browns and oranges of the falling leaves, there is still growth and we are still harvesting.

One of the vegetables we grew from seed is just beginning to produce crops - the parsnip.

Parsnips take up quite a bit of space for a large chunk of the year, so gardeners with smaller plots may avoid them. We were lucky this year to have an abundance of space and parsnips are one of my favourite vegetables so I was really keen to have a go.

Apparently parsnips grow best in quite heavy soil - those grown in thin, stony ground will grow small,  misshapen roots. However, you shouldn't manure your soil as this can cause the parsnips to fork. 

Some varieties of parsnip seed can be sown in late winter, but ours went in in late spring. We then thinned them out once they had grown their first set of full leaves and were about 5cm tall. They need a good 20cm between plants to allow those roots to grow. 

Parsnips are ready to be harvested from autumn, when the leaves start to die back. However, many claim that their flavour is improved with some exposure to frost. You can leave parsnips over winter - come spring they will grow a new set of leaves - although they tend to be rather tough and woody by that point and would be little use for anything other than soups and parsnip wine. I'm going to be picking the majority of mine for Christmas but I will be making a batch of my favourite Parsnip and Rosemary soup in the meantime with the few we have just pulled. More on that next time.

Three Word Thursday

The great escape.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Kitchen Magick // Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie
Image courtesy of

Last night we made this spiced pumpkin pie and it was really delicious. 

You will need:

* Shortcrust pastry to fill a 9inch pie tin - we used ready made, but if you have more time you could make your own
* 450 grams pumpkin flesh, chopped into small cubes
* 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
* 75g soft brown sugar
* 275 ml double cream
* 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
* 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinammon

~ Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the pastry in your tin and blind bake (using baking beans or hard chickpeas) for about 15 minutes.
~ While the case is baking, steam the pumpkin flesh until soft (this may take up to 20 minutes). I did this using a colander over a pan of boiling water. 
~ Push the pumpkin down into a coarse sieve to drain any excess water. 
~ Lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk into a bowl. 
~ In a small pan, heat the cream, sugar and spices until simmering gently.
~ Pour the cream mix into the eggs, continuing to whisk gently.
~ Add the pumpkin to the mixture and whisk to ensure it is thoroughly mixed. 
~ Pour the filling mixture into the pastry case and bake for around 35 minutes. The pie filling should be firm but wobbly when you take it out, like a set custard.

It is delicious warm, but would also work well chilled, with some cream or creme fraiche. 
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