Flower of the Sun

There’s a full moon, the air is warm, the sky is blue, birds are in joyous song during their gathering of nesting material, and this soon-to-be sunflower is in its cocoon, tightly wrapped and protected until the flower of the sun bursts open.

Sunflower/Flower of the Sun

Happy Valentine’s Day From Me to You

My plans were to post this on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, but I’m getting the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow and if predictions are correct, I might be too sick to do anything but lay on the sofa rolled up in a warm blanket and watch Netflix or reruns of Bewitched, so here it is!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image result for 1960's old fashioned vintage valentine cards

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day in spite of the commercialism. In elementary school, I looked forward to the day we’d give and receive those little Valentine’s Day cards (including the inedible heart-shaped candies.)

Later on, I especially cherished Angel Boy’s handmade cards –which I saved–every single one of them.

There’s something lovely and old fashioned about being thought of as someone’s Valentine, and I like that a lot.

I have simple wants; a bunch of wildflowers is treasured as much as a dozen red roses; all gifts from the heart are appreciated whether it’s a Chanel or a seashell. Or a handmade card from the Angels.

These flowers are called alstroemeria. Native to South America. I prefer their other name,  Lily of the Incas, ‘cos it sounds exotic. I’ve been growing them for about fifteen years. Surprisingly, they do quite well here and are drought tolerant. I’ve even been able to successfully dig up and divide the tubers.

I hope you’re having (will have) a happy, happy day!

Sage Advice

February 2021 is a busy sky month. There are five planets piled atop each other in the sign of Aquarius (six if you count the asteroid Pallas) — which form the rare and powerful Aquarius stellium of 2021. Those who know about this stuff tell us that this month could bring loads of innovative changes, out-of-the-box ideas, and revolutionary energy. Or not.

We shall see.

With all these planetary energies wreaking havoc all over the universe, it seems to be a good time, not only to balance our chakras, but to cleanse the house with some of my white sage picked from the garden that I have been drying for a while.

I don’t always tie up the leaves in the traditional smudge bundle; sometimes I simply put a few leaves in this cute little censer from Greece.

I hope this cosmic alignment is positive for all of us. Stay safe and healthy, y’all!

Apple Blossom Time #WordlessWednesday

It’s a little early for this blossoming activity because SoCal can’t decide if it’s winter or spring–looks like spring won the contest.

They smell so delicious, I might have to try Helena Rubinstein’s Apple Blossom perfume which was originally released in 1936 and is still in production. The license from Helena Rubinstein was acquired by Kent Cosmetics in 1988 and according to the manufacturer, the formula is still the same.

Hmmm, I’d be curious to see if any human-made scent could duplicate the purity of intense fragrance contained within these five little flower petals. If so, I’d be tempted to bathe in it every day.

After Abcission, What’s Next?

My ash tree might be slightly confused.

Although leaves appropriately dropped during autumn’s abcission, I assumed it would lie fallow and stay calm until springtime, but that’s not what’s been happening.

This particular tree seems to be on its (his/her?) own schedule or maybe the mild weather is confusing the internal timeline, because in the last two weeks, it flowered, dropped the flowers, and is showing all new green leaves. In January!

Read about abcission HERE:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/11/20/the-process-of-abscission/

And then the flowers fell…

Covered in bright green newly birthed leaves.

If you listen very carefully, you will hear the buzzing of hundreds of bees who love the little flowers. We peacefully co-existed.

We might get a bit of rain next week and the temperature won’t stay as summery warm as we’ve been enjoying; I wonder what my ash tree will do?

Here she is, in all of her glory. (I decided she gives off intense fertile divine female vibes; definitely not an “it” nor male, for sure.)

Winter Veggie Garden

Today’s temperature hovered around eighty degrees and we’re in the middle of a Santa Ana heat wave. I’ve known a few January days that have been this warm, so I’m not exactly sure if it’s climate change related or if it’s simply because it’s Southern California.

It’s the perfect time to pick fresh garden veggies and make a salad.

My lettuce crop is thriving; so are the ruby red radishes.

I also started growing celery from the base of the stalks. It’s really easy. One method is to cut off the base and place in a cup with water to watch it sprout, or you can do it my way, plant it directly in the ground. The ribs aren’t as fat and wide as the original, but it’s super fresh and tasty and the leaves are deliciously herby. They’re surrounding by protective spicy mustard green leaves.

These pepper plants are two years old and still producing. There were almost completely destroyed by squirrels when they were in another location, but I rescued and replanted them in a safe location that was critter-free, and they’ve thanked me by continually producing tasty little green peppery jewels.

How does YOUR garden grow?

Witch Ball, Y’all

Following the horrific acts of violence –sedition, insurrection, treason–in the Capitol with the knowledge that it was incited by that orange POS, discovering that many people from my little town are among his supporters, I decided it might be time to secure my house with something more than an alarm system, just in case civil war breaks out.

I had never heard of witch balls until I was looking for clear, empty Christmas decorations to send to the Angel Boy 2.0 as a craft. Have you ever heard of them?

My thought was that he could go on a nature walk with mom and dad and pick up special things like we do when I’m there; rocks, seashells, leaves, feathers–but I didn’t know that it also had a historical spiritual connection.

Image may contain: text that says 'Witch Ball A Witch Ball is a hollow glass sphere filled with herbs, crystals, sticks and stones (etc) According to Appalachian Mountain folklore, a witch ball was tool used protect the home. "hanging a witch ball near window, or in a corner of a room provides protection from negative spirits and thoughts, but they can also produce luck, much like the purpose of an upturned hanging horseshoe.", ilmypsychicjane'

I sent four clear plastic spheres thinking it might engender a family crafting experience, but I discovered that AB 2.0 appropriated them all for himself–he’s a hoarder like me–and I guess they’ll remain stashed away in his bedside drawer until I can finally get there and do it with him.

I also got a couple for myself and had a great time filling them and now one is hanging near the front door and one is near the back door so I feel completely protected and all demons have been vanquished.

Mine contain cinnamon sticks, red toyon berries, lavender, rosemary, bay leaves, sparkles, sea salt, sand, seashells, rocks, feathers, rosehips, white sage, faux pearls and diamonds, and crystals.

It was fascinating to see how many things I could fit inside the sphere. I felt like I should be mumbling an incantation under my breath as I was meandering around my garden, but I only laughed out loud and thought happy thoughts.

Just another very witchy day at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Yummy Vegan Veggie Lentil Soup

My doctor totally depressed me cos she told me her husband’s best friend just died from Covid-19 and because she’s on the frontlines treating patients, she cautioned me to be extra careful and stay home and away from people.

I decided it was a great day to make another version of my favorite hearty and healthy soup.

Lentil Tofu Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
*Carrots, 3 large
*Celery, 2-3 stalks including leaves
*Tofu, whole package
*Lentils,1.5 cups
*Kale, 2 cups
*Broccoli, half head
*Canned organic tomatoes, 28 ounce can
*Bay leaves and other garden herbs

–Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large pot.
–Add roughly chopped carrots and celery. I don’t like onions so I didn’t add them, but go ahead and chop up half an onion if you like them.
–When they’re nicely browned and have released a lot of flavor, add dried lentils and six cups of water along with a couple bay leaves.

–Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
–Add bite-sized pieces of broccoli and tofu along with chopped kale.
–Simmer for about an hour, stir every once in a while. Add more water as needed.
–Add a large can of diced tomatoes in juice and any herbs to taste.
–I picked sage and oregano and thyme from the garden.
–Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt (optional).

–Serve in a large bowl with freshly chopped cilantro and basil. I’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful lettuce this season, so I picked a few fresh leaves for a salad to accompany this delicious soup.

Sometimes I make a crusty French bread but I didn’t feel like it because I’m sad about almost losing our precious democracy but I might make vegan biscuits tomorrow cos I’ll eat this soup for a few days.

It gets better every day.

Birds of SoCal

Here in SoCal it’s pretty warm during the day, bugs are out and about and these noisy little birds snapped them out of the air right in front of me. It was daylong entertainment, at least half a dozen birds catching flies and (I think) termites in mid-flight.

Black Phoebe

Scratching on the ground, a few California Towhees make my garden their home. They love their reflection and tap at the window or anywhere they can see themselves.

This was a peaceful first weekend of 2021.

DIY Yule Wreath

As promised, I’m posting my homegrown Yule wreath. I used a ten-inch wire circle and all the rest of the ingredients were foraged from my garden.

Toyon berries:

Rosemary, lavender, pine boughs…

Manzanita, the star of the show with her lovely pink/red flowers:

Getting started, with a ten-inch wire circle and the bendy manzanita…

…to the finished product, ready to manifest all kinds of positive energy and magic for the solstice and 2021…

If I feel like wearing it on my head like a flower crown and dancing in the moonlight, I might just do that.

I feel very witchy today.