The End of Summer

  Magnolia’s Journal Entry:

(almost the) Last week of Summer,

The air this morning was a cool kiss goodbye from Summer.  She’s packing away her green trimmings, folding up warm afternoons, and making room for Autumn.  The path is already dusted in golden leaves.  This year’s last fawns have lost their spots and the red berries of the Spice Bush and Jack-in-the-Pulpits are the showiest blossoms in the forest.

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Jack-In-The-Pulpit berries growing along The Path.

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Spice Berry Bush in the late Summer

I have devoted myself entirely to the Society of Moss and Lace.  Despite the distance between us, I feel close to Ironroot when I am creating for the Great Mother Rebellion.  I can almost feel his breath against my cheek as Juni and I bend our heads over bead work and his laughter is in the whirring of the sewing machine.  Knowing my love and I are joined in the same task makes his absence more tolerable.

Juni and I spent a whole day yesterday wrapping up parcels to go beyond the Santooshkan Border and into the lands of the Purblind.  I wonder if our magical packages will be drunk up by the thirst of the civil lands.  Our enchanted labors will take root, and like weeds in a fallow pasture, the tiny seed of magic will sprout in the willing minds of the Purblind.  We pondered the destination of our enchanted articles and hoped they would bind the fate of their new owners to Santooshka and the Still Water Way.

SAM_9599Greystone was the first to see Thimble Sip and Betsy paddling upstream.  He ran down to the sandy bank, waving his arms, and hollering, with Azalea quick on his heels.  Bedecked with packages, Juni and I carefully maneuvered to the water’s edge.   By the time we made it to the shore, Betsy the spiny soft shell turtle had lumbered onto the sand.  Her long snout nosed at some vegetation in Azalea’s hand, and Greystone had climbed on top of the great shell to better speak with the small wild haired gnome.

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Betsy looking hopeful as Azalea pulled the greens out of pouch.

Thimble Sip‘s palanquin was tied to the giant turtle’s shell with thin lengths of braided pond grasses. By way of wooden wheels and leather straps, his peddling turns a small paddle at the rear of the turtle, churning the murky waters, and propelling the creature-craft forward.  Betsy and Thimble Sip are the quickest way upstream, and the best conveyance to Honey Bower’s cottage.  Thimble Sip, always kind, agreed to take our goods upstream for one of Azalea’s kisses and a joke from Greystone.

The Still Water Almanac (the last but most used pages of the Grimoire) decrees that today is for “pruning to discourage growth”. All week Azalea and Greystone caught saw-nosed pixies down by Beaver’s Dam.  Funny little fae, they fall fast asleep when they are trapped inside a bell jar.  Because the creatures are hatched in the heart wood of Ancient Oaks, they are stubbornly tenacious and known through out the wood for their hunger.  If you place an open jar against a tree limb they will munch their way through in little time.  Juniper and I finished all the fruit tree trimming, and there were even a few left over , so I managed to cut back a little more bramble to expand the garden.pepsgoose

Juni and I have been so busy with the Society that I have been in the vegetable garden only in the early mornings.  It is so peaceful among the buzzing of bees and dewy leaves.   I spend most of my time harvesting produce.   The mulch we put down has done a good job of keeping the weeds out.  The last of the squash is swollen on the vine and the toms and peps are in their radiant climax.  Ironweed, tucked between the beds, smells sweet and is the current beauty of the patch.

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pepIn the late afternoons we have been cleaning, sorting, storing, and canning our bountiful fruits.  We have begun to set aside the best to be served on Mabon.  It is true, that I love all the spokes of the wheel, but Autumn equinox is my favorite!

We expect several of the wood’s inhabitants to attend.  Many travel across Santooshka with small wains to exchange bumper crops.  I am looking forward to the cranberries from the Bog.   The heady smell of the bonfire smoke mingles with the crushed leaves beneath our feet as we dance around the fire.  It is a reminder that Winter will be riding Autumn’s coat tails. It is comforting to know we have full pantries and a well stacked wood house.

Mabon is almost a week away, and by then our enchanted packages should have made it to the Western Enclave of the Silicon Elves.  They are well versed in the Purblind Ways, and have secret plans to distribute The Society of Moss and Lace magicked goods.  It will be our first true act in the rebellion, and the beginning to a journey we can not yet imagine!

M.M.

Excerpt from the Still Water Grimoire:

How to save Tomato Seeds:

548587_374213255986929_1967206707_n It is necessary to save the seeds from the best plants if you want to continue to have a good crop of Tomatoes.

  1. Gently scrape the innards of the best tomatoes into a glass jar.
  2. Cover jar in cheese cloth and mark the variety
  3. leave out in the sun until a white scum is on the top
  4. Skim the top and then rinse the seeds in water486798_374213219320266_1017809147_n
  5. All the good seeds will fall to the bottom
  6. Place wet seeds on cloth until dry
  7. Store in a dark dry place until next spring

In Which Magnolia Receives a Moon Message and Helps a Luna Pixie

Magnolia’s Journal:

 Sturgeon Full Moon FreeDay,

I can say for certain that I have been growing anxious for this night.   This eve is the first full moon since my husband has left.  I have just returned from my night adventure and the 1440868699647grassy glen just beyond the creek’s edge.  Midnight seemed to never come, as I waited sitting upon a mossy rock.

The spell worked as I hoped it would.  Written in Ironroot’s own hand were the words I longed to believe.  He IS safe!  He has reached his North Eastern enclave.

SAM_1268After reading Ironroot’s message, I sat still and listened to the night song of Santooshka.  Two Bard Owls sang spiraling duets in the finale of their nightly competitions. A soft wind dried the sweat from my face, it’s cool fingers tussled my locks, and tugged my nightgown.  It smelled like tomorrow’s rain and cooler weather.   The breeze beckoned me as I found myself walking down the moonlit path.

The new found power that Juniper and I discovered has helped in keeping my mind off Ironroot these last weeks.  We were amazed and delighted to discover a few pages that had been stuck together, I suspect magically sealed, in the Sweet Water Grimoire.  This hidden chapter contains a cash of Creatrix incantations and charms to enhance our innate power for creation.   The simplest and so far my favorite, is a summoning spell for a little pixie that sits atop my sewing machine.  She hums such lovely tunes, that make the sewing treadle go twice as fast, with half the effort, but is so shy she vanishes if we ask her name.

Juniper found a spell for her spinning wheel.  The most difficult task was to obtain a spider spun sachet to store the herbs in.  Luckily, I had received such a bag on my handfasting day.  After adding the final ingredient, a fist full of wooly Mullein harvested the last moment before day break, the pouch melted into a soft waxy ball.  When she rubs this substance on her spindle, the yarn always comes out the perfect thickness.

1440866634313Lost in my thoughts, I stumbled over a root and fell face first into a loamy pile of decaying leaves.  Unwilling to get up I rolled unto my back and stared at the slim span of stars between the branches that mirrored the forest path.  I laid there, in this manner, for an unknown time.  Knowing Ironroot is safe has  reduced the tightness in my chest, but his absence still weighs heavy on me.

I must have fallen asleep, because the rustling of nearby underbrush woke me.  I caught my breath and kept still, it sounded like a large beast, and I did not want to frighten any forest dweller away. In Santooshka there are nocturnal creatures  that keep away from the light of our cottages.  Only once or twice after a long hard winter, before spring begins to show any green, have the Sasquatch come to our valley.   On Feast days we leave jugs of ale, always gone in the morning, for the tanaki, but we have never seen them.  Juniper once heard the mad cry of the Hamadryad, and just recently, while out collecting Moon Beans, Greystone caught a glimpse of a man sized owl taking flight.

I slowly rolled onto my belly, as a litany of curses wafted through the trees.  I blinked the sleep out of my eyes, and noticed a blue luminescent sphere tucked between two tree roots off to my right.    The rustling grew louder as this sweet voiced foul mouthed creature thrashed about in my direction.

“Oh stagnant pond sludge!   Where in the dammed river did it go?”  A rounded rear end stuck out from the foliage as the Pixie walked backward with its head down and it’s arms thrashing behind it.  Her bare heel caught on the same root that was my down fall, and in a tangle of sparkly blue, she came crashing down beside me.

“PLASTICIZED PRICKS!” she yelled as she fell backward.  She landed on her behind, her elven shaped face next to mine.  Then, “Ooup.”  Wide eyed, she gulped.  “Pardon my mouth.  I didn’t realize anyone was about.”

I couldn’t contain myself, but managed to slap my hand over my mouth as laughter escaped.

“Plasticized-“ I giggled.

Blushing slightly ultramarine the blue girl shrugged and offered her hand.

“I have always wanted to meet one of the Ladies of the Wood, but I am  far too busy to drop1440866633710 in, and now just look at me, what an impression I have made.”  Her green eyes sparkled as she smiled.   “I’m Star Dust, and you must be…”

“I’m Magnolia, Juniper is my sister, and you’re right, we are the Ladies of Santooshka.  Never mind the how, we both were ensnarled by that treacherous root, it is happy chance to meet you in the forest this night.”

“I’ve just the thing to celebrate this happenstance meeting in the dark.”  Star dug around in a leather sack tied to her hip.  She pulled out a small pipe fastened from a deer antler and stuffed herbs into the end.  She caught a bit of a moon beam, and pinched it until it expelled a flash of flame that she stoked by taking deep puffs on the pipe.

“Fortifies against the dark,” she said, her voice distorted by a lung full, and passed me the smoking pipe.

1440793835903I joined in on her little ritual and as the tension left us, we chatted freely.   Star is a Luna Pixie.  Her kind are all sisters born from eggs lain generations ago, every millennium a new crèche is hatched.  A disaster occurred when Star was just a hatchling, killing all the sisters in her generation.   Her elder sisters too old, and the young ones too small, she alone could leave their underground burrow and preform their worldly duties.

“And that is why we have never met and why I can never find time to visit you.  I must perform the work of a hundred sisters,” Star finished

.“What is it that you must do?” I asked

“It is a heavily guarded secret of my people, but I will tell you this: Long ago when the Fae Kind and the Purblinds could no longer coexist, the magical people combined their powers and created many small havens that were hidden from Purblind eyes.”

“Like Santooshka?”
“Exactly,” Her azure tinged fingers tucked her dark curls behind her ear.  Her midnight locks shimmered like a star filled sky.  Her face darkened as she grew serious.   “However, the net surrounding Santooshka and all magical enclaves must be refreshed by every full moon, or it‘s strength will fade with the waning.”

Then she burst into tears, “And now I have ruined it all to bloody hell.  I have lost the Moon Key, and will be unable to rekindle the dammed hollows.”

“My friends and I will help you look!  Don’t cry, tell me what this moon key object looks like, and I can begin to search right away.

Star wiped tears from her face and took a deep breathe, ”It appears as a small hand sized glowing blue bauble, and it should be bleeding easy to see in the dammed dark wood.”

Of course the description sounded familiar, I had just seen the moon key on the other side of Star.  I smiled widely and laughed out loud.

“Don’t you understand anything I have just said?  You are as crazy as a Purblind if you think this is funny!”  Star said with her hands on her hips.

“Oh I understand,“ still smiling I crawled behind the blue pixie and reached into the low growing ferns.  “Is this what you are looking for?” I handed her the glowing sphere.

SAM_1219“Sweet Water!” Star exclaimed!  “You’ve saved the night, City Lights, you’ve saved us all!!”

I told her not to be silly, and assured her that she would have found it as easily as me, if I hadn’t already been sprawled on the ground when she fell.  She hugged me tight and did a little dance, sending, a shower of aqua sparks flying from her feet.

Once again able to go about her important business, Star was eager to be on her way.  “So many Hollows, you know,” she said.  She dug into her pouch once more, but it was not her pipe she pulled out this time.  Her hand was full of dazzling crystals.  Each one shone with it’s own light.

image“We call them star shards.  My sisters and I know when a fragment of star light becomes entangled in the protective web around Santooshka. I collected these myself, I give them as a small appreciation token!

“You do not know the trouble you have helped us all escape, not to mention saving me personally from my elder sisters’ wrath!!!”

She also gave me some of her pipe herbs, which I tucked away into one of my pockets.  We promised to look for each other on the next full moon, and to keep our new friendship.  After a long goodbye, we parted ways.

Meeting Star was a good omen!  It reinforces my decision to stay at home, while Ironroot walks the wind.

I think what I need before I retire this evening is long hot bath.   I’ll wake the fire pixies, and after they take a dip in the tub, the water will be almost boiling!  And I have the perfect Full Moon Bath Soaking Salts!

M.M.

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Full Moon Soaking Salts

You will need:

1 Cup Sea Salt

1 Cup Baking Soda

1 tsp of skin-safe quality sourced Essential oil ~ we used a combination of Lavender, Rose and Vetiver oils.

In a well ventilated area, combine the salt and the soda and the essential oils in a large bowl being sure to mix well.

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Spoon in to a colored glass jar and enjoy under the full moon!

In which Wandering WoolGather drops a parcel and the Forest Gives a Gift

Magnolia’s Journal:

Ides of August

I woke to the warbler’s song this morning.  It’s sweet song trilling between my covers and into my heart.    The sun was just peaking over the hill as I poked my head out from my cottage.  Thick mist rose from the dewy grass and clung to the branches over hanging the SAM_0963commons.  Spokes of light persisted in sheering through the fog and dappled my goose pimpled arms.   A slight breeze blew over the stream, sweeping cool air across my face.

Untold days had passed since I had last really paid attention to much else than my wounded heart.  I suppose I have been out of sorts, mourning Ironroot’s sudden departure.SAM_0966   However in the light of this new day, I finally felt a little reprieve.  The metal vice that had gripped my heart, not vanished, but had at last loosened.  I could finally take a deep breath.  And, as I already know, but must keep learning, the wholesome Santooshkan air lightened my heavy burden into a load I could bear.

In the last fortnight Summer had cloaked our little valley in bright green.   Curly locked moss had over taken the rock path, and tickled my bare toes.  I meandered down to the creek’s edge

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SAM_0674 All my favorite late summer wild flowers were in full bloom and the Bell Flowers filled the air with a grape like fragrance.  The clear running water was cold against my skin, and as I splashed water upon my arms and legs, the icy rivulets further revitalized me and swept the darkness into the far corners of my mind.

SAM_0681Suddenly I heard a loud whoosh, as if a concert of giants had all sighed at once.  Out of the corner of my eye I caught just the hint of the Wandering Woolgather’s hot air balloon.  I jumped up and ran down the path back to the cottages.

Having caught the wind, the balloon bobbed gently over the clearing.  Wandering’s balloon is not only a most welcomed sight, but proof of magic-if there was one.   It appeared to be always landing, but swooping up at the last moment over a stubbornly large tree.   Its lopsided dome is a literal quilt of patches.  Squares of all sizes, layered madly in an eye wrenching kaleidoscope of colors.   The rag tag balloon leaned precariously towards the bow, so it was often that you could spy Wandering, hanging nose down over the stern, with his long toes anchored through the rope, in a poor attempt to straighten the flying contraption’s path.  Though, he says he does it that way, so he can see where he’s been.

Wandering Woolgather likes to make his drops in the smack dab center of the meadow.  It is a good soft place for the packages to land, and free from tall trees to snag woolgather’s wonderful balloon.

Juniper and the changelings rose a little later to the whistling of the tea pot.   Sleepy eyed and wrapped up in her summer sheets, Juni stumbled over with her hand outstretched, reaching for the cup I offered her.

“My, you’re up early,” she smiled through golden tresses.

“It’s such a beautiful day!  I feel like I have finally woken up from a dark dream I’ve been living in.  Summer is slipping by and I will not spend the rest of it with my head buried beneath my pillow!   The sun is shining, birds are singing, and I can feel Santooshka soaking into my bones!

“It is good to see you in high spirits, not mention the clean smock,” Juniper kindly chided.   “And with hot tea.”   She put her face over her steamy mug and took deep breathes.  “But for truth, I am very glad to see you smile.”

“Thank you for helping me tend to my wounds.  Hot tea, is the least I can do.  Plus I have even better news!  Guess who I saw careening by?”

Juniper’s eyes lit up and she said, “I thought I was just dreaming, but I knew I heard the wandering woolgather’s balloon clunk by.”

After tea, the changelings, Juniper and I set out towards the meadow.   The morning had shed its early chill, and the sun warmed our faces as we crossed into the field.  Marked with colorful flags on long poles, several boxes lay in a neat bundle tied in blue string.   Juni and I took turns carrying the large box back to the cottages, while the changelings juggled a few smaller packages and ran ahead.

We reached the clearing just as Azalea and Greystone opened a package bearing their names in the curly script of Honey Bower.  They both let out a little whoop of delight, as they each pulled out a small peach pie

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“It’s still warm too,” Azalea giggled.

“I will put the kettle on, and we’ll all have tea and pie,” Greystone stood up, dusting off his breeches, mindful of the pastries.

“Honey’s peach pie for breakfast?”  I laughed, “This day keeps getting better and better!!”

Having been decently fortified by Honey’s gooey, delicious pie and Greystone’s steaming tea, we attacked the unpackaging with celebratory fervor.

Other than the pies, Honey Bower had also sent a few taffy candies, a handful of licorice, and a jar of this year’s maple syrup.  Colored wax sticks for Azalea, a child size set of silver hand tools for Greystone, and new shiny pins and needles and pair of sharp shears for Juniper and me, all lovingly wrapped in crisp colored papers.  There was letter for Juni, which she tucked into her pocket, for later scrutinizing.

We all turned our eyes to the last unopened box, it stood unmolested in a sea of crumbled papers and gaping packages.  Greystone attacked it with vigor, diving in head first, as he pulled wide the folded flaps.   He dug around for a moment only to reappear, with a rather less than pleased look on his face, “Its only cloth.”

Juniper and I looked at each other with matching enthusiasm, “Fabric!”  We grinned in unison.

The last parcel was indeed filled with magic; shiny blues and calicos, soft muslin, and rougher linens, bits of lace, and bobs of thread.  We pawed our way to the bottom, rubbing the silky ones on our faces, and running our fingers along intricate designs, holding up bolts and waving things in the air.  This continued in such a manner for so long the changelings had run off with their prizes and the sun moved across the sky by the time it was finished.SAM_0860

Alone, I was able to tell Juniper that the hole in my chest had become smaller.  I was able to enjoy the moment once more.  We chatted until our soft tones had turned to merry banter, discussing one fabric or the next.

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We took the bolts of fabric bundled in our arms and placed it in the clearing between some oak and cedar trees next to Juniper’s Moon Garden.  Juniper fetched the Still Water Grimoire, blue moon fairy dust and some sage, while I arranged the newly acquired material.

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The forest crooned as we danced around the circle.  The trees swayed in a still air and little sprites spun in tight circles above our heads.  We summoned the magic of the four Fairy SAM_0915                      SAM_0895SAM_0926

Queens, from each direction.  We called upon the meadow’s flowery breath, the stream’s clean spirit, we asked the mighty Oaks to lend their strength to the threads, and the wild flowers to share their colors.  We asked the Mother Earth to enchant these mundane items with magic of the forest, binding the destiny of the each garment to that of Santooshka.

In a final crescendo of forest buzzing, the piles of fabric began to slowly move.  It gathered speed until it was a blue swirl with magic being released in azure popping sparks.   One fabric rose above the rest billowing and rotating to its own tempo.   Two corners extended outward and the top formed a sphere. Then suddenly the wood was quiet, and the gold flowered material fell to the top of the still pile.

Juniper and I rushed forward each picking up the silky fabric.  It was no longer a simple square of fabric but a beautiful caplet.

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“Ooo” we cooed together

“I have read about this in the Grimoire,” Juni said.  “We must be Creatrixes!! The Grimoire tells that in some cases where extraordinary women work together, their individual magic expands exponentially.  They have been known to be create magical artifacts out of single particles of forest matter!

“Mags, do you know what this means?  There hasn’t been any Creatrixes in Santooshka for a thousand years!   The forest could read our desire for creation.  It fed upon our ideas and gave us a gift.”

Even as I write, the smile plastered on my face has not faltered.   It is good to be here with Juniper and Azalea and Greystone!  I now know my heart can be in two places and not break into pieces.  I am Magnolia, a Lady of Santooshka, a married women, a friend, and O holy Still Waters, I am a root’n Creatix!  And I will not wallow in brokenness, but will live my life making magic and laughing.

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M.M.

In Which Magnolia and Juniper Receive Tidings from the Fay Court, and Prepare for MidSummer

Midsummers Eve,

Four days ago, we received a sparrow post from the Fae Court. Over the years we have added our own voice to the other magical enclaves in requesting a parousia of the royal court to our Midsummer Celebration, though she has customarily declined politely, sending lower Elven aristocracy in her stead. This Midsummer, Queen Titaina is coming to Santooshka.

Her arrival adds frenzy to our preparations. The valley hums with activity. We spent that first afternoon airing out all the linens.Featured image The way side Thistle Pixie triplets; Iota, Speck, and Jot (it is impossible to tell them apart, and so I think of them as a single chaotic force), appeared just as Juniper and I were hanging them out. Crooning a quiet flaxen tune, they flitted among the flapping cloths. Diving in and out, causing a tiny wind storm. Now, and until long after Midsummer, the sweetness of the meadow wind will diffuse from all the linens.

Thank goodness for small eddies, the larder is full, our garden bountiful, and Ripple only just delivered four more parcels of flour, milled at the beaver’s dam. Azalea has been diligent in her foraging and we have good store of wild berries in the cellar. Greystone took a few jars of honey and traded with the Water Sprites for several large crayfish and a handful of salt.

Featured imageIt’s as if the very forest is jubilant, giddy for the Queen, composing symphonies. The myriad of cicada’s tidal buzz washes over us in near tangible waves. The tree frogs song weave in and out, trilling out the chorus. The deep resonating thrumming of the bull frogs makes a slow percussion, whilst woodland warblers carry arias from branch to branch. They are spreading the news.

Featured imageAnd news from the royal court spreads quickly, all manner of forest folk are arriving daily to lend a hand. The Willow Nymphs brought strands of pebbles and Robin eggs. Their long slender bodies easily strung them in the Oak bows just above the common. An earth of foxes spent an afternoon weeding in the flower beds. Garden spiders have spun lacy spirals, with dew pearls in along the fences.

At least a single member of every community has appeared with contributions, both in labor and supplies. A cave troll, Long Tooth, has shored up some old and neglected stone work along the path. A magnificent stag left a packet of powder on Juni’s doorstep. A rare root concoction, from the high plain at the very edge of Santooshka, it is said to lighten the spirit and will be added to guests’ cups. Our humble vale is done up in ribbon slender, looking better than it has in many seasons. Even, a flock of woodland birds collected all the debris from off the paths,weaving the small twigs and leafs into intricate works of art. I’ve noticed the few Magpies have tucked pieces of shiny mica and bits of quartz into the crevices.Featured image

All these days of shared labors have had an undertone of magical revelry. It delights me to see our friends and fellow denizens work in such perfect unison. I feel it is this spark of unity that will ignite us in the future. I cannot be alone in this thought. In the coming days our mission to quell the darkness, will need to be mortared with fellowship.

Featured imageAfter day lit hours our work concludes, but our guests stay and share the hearth. Meade and Elder Berry Blossom Tea is passed around and stories woven. Never able to be idle, I’ve been embroidering during these happy evenings. The silk from Iron Root is truly radiant, glinting in the dim light of dusk.

One day, I desire to look upon the Rainbow River where the silk was dyed. I can hear Iron Root, speaking softly, his deep voice vibrating my hollows and sending tingles down my spine. He told of an old river meandering slowly across a golden stalked plain. At every long bend, a different mineral spring effervesces pigment into the ox bow. From afar it appears as a brilliant scaled dragon slithering through the grass.

The most renowned Elven Guild of dyers has a Hall on the banks of the river. All day there is perpetual motion, every stage of production occurring simultaneously. Women with dyed legs are said to stand in the slow current with long staffs, stirring the steeping textiles. Their long, lazy, strokes send brilliant ripples downstream. Other workers are a literal blur as they heft the wet fiber to the drying racks. There is a constant stream of wagons, hauling plain bolts of cloth, mohair, yarn, silk, every fiber imaginable in and leaving with stacks of brightly hued bundles.

I wonder if Iron Root has passed safely onto the next leg of his journey, wherever that damn torrent of a man is.

Featured imageToday, the first of the Fairy Court has begun to filter in through the wood. They seem eager as a lark to take some leave of responsibilities before their monarch graces us with her presence. Dice and card games are scattered along the commons. My favorite early attendants are the queen’s own musicians. They have set up off the side, allowing their music to flow down the valley, but remain tucked out the way of the bustle.

Featured imageGossamer gowns swirl in ever expanding and collapsing circles like billowing sails along the forest paths.

Everyone has begun celebrating already! I think Juniper, Azalea and Greystone have done all we can in the kitchen, that needs prepping before tomorrow. The practical details of feeding so many mouths has lead us to preparing berry and cheese- filled hand pies. A recipe from the Still Water Grimoire.  An enchanted Crust that is known to fill even the largest of appetites.  However, they are taken from the ovens as soon as we can bake them! Despite our pleas to allow the pies to cool, they disappear so quickly, the baking seems a Sisyphean endeavor.

The Queen arrives tomorrow, a merry concept I can barely contain!

MM

Still Water Grimoire Recipe:

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In Which: A Merry Berry time is had, and a Stranger comes to Santooshka

Moonday, Mooald

Juniper’s return is only brightened by the two changelings she has brought back to the Wood.  In the short time they’ve been here, their haunted looks have been replaced with the healthy glow of happy sprites.  I am already accustomed to their bell-like laughter echoing through our valley.

Azalea is quick to make friends with all the Fae and Forest Folk she meets.  The Cottage Fairies were first to love her, and so I think they adore her best.  They leave her violet candies and bits of colorful thread.  Just last eve, her nimble fingers easily mended Flit’s broken wing.  The red tailed hawk was most grateful, rubbing his tawny head against her small hand.

I can see the innate earth magic in Greystone.  He certainly has the power to harness the Purblind’s “magic,” Eleckricity.  His only belonging was a small parcel tied up in string.  I recognized the flowing symbols of the Silicon Elves from the far west, but their meaning is unknown to me.  It contains various rare earth metals and tiny tools.  He is most interested in the wind mill, and has plans for improvements.

Juniper and I have long been the sole keepers of the Still Water Grimoire.  My heart is swelling and my soul lightened by our little changelings!

The water Elements have been running a muck of late.  Dark gray clouds have been slowly dragging their way across the sky, dumping heavy rain for days.  Finally, today, the sun has decided to show her shining visage.  Taking advantage of the good weather, we packed a picnic and headed to Woods Edge.   The meadow was overtaken by Beards Tounge.  The white belled wild flower swayed in the slight breeze beneath billowing clouds and brilliant blue sky.

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Azalea and Greystone spied the row of mulberry trees along the field’s outer boundary.  The limbs were heavy with fruit, the first berries just turning the dark purple-red of ripeness.   The sun kissed berries were warm in my mouth and juice ran down our faces.

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We spent the afternoon lazily snacking on berries and constructing poems.  Juniper wrote this for me:

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Hair as long as the river/Hands as small as a wren’s /Reaching the mulberry branches /The wind was kind to bend

On our way back to the valley, we passed our own little berry patch.  The strawberries had been neglected in the rain and were drooping with large red globes.  Even Juniper’s blueberry bush had the first fruit of the season.  Gleefully, we added them to our bounty.

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We had an impromptu jam-ing.  Four extra hands made the work light and was a merry night, indeed!

M.M.

Strawberry Full Moon

Joyful and most auspicious happenings today!! The time, we have so long prepared for, is at hand.  After these years of preparation, it is difficult to believe, but I welcome it wholeheartedly!  The way of Still Water and Santooshka will be broadcast across the land.  Sowing the seed of magic and awakening the latent Purblind’s need to fit into the natural world.

After morning tea Juniper gave me a jug of honeysuckle cordial and asked me to give it to Ripple, for her most fortuitous gift of the amulet.  The path is now over grown in its early summer greenery and I heard splashing long before I could see the running water.

Standing knee deep in the middle of the stream was a  man.  His dark curls too short to keep the sun’s reflection from dappling his face.  Laughing, he was holding the largest sunfish I have ever seen.  His laughter was contagious and I could not keep from giggling.

Startled, he lost his grip on the fish and what followed was nothing but comical.  The fish sensing it’s last chance for freedom wiggled frantically, while the bearded man put hand over hand as if pulling an invisible rope, trying to secure the flopping fish.  In the end, he lost his balance and landed in the stream with a large splash.  He recovered, flourished his sopping hat and bowed most gracefully, “My lady,” he said.

“Since I am the cause of your lost breakfast and wet tumbling act, I insist that you come to the cottage and allow me to show you the hospitality entitled to any guest who makes through the veil of the Santooshka.”

He bowed again, smiling, “I am called Ironroot, a wanderer by nature and raconteur by choice. I’d happily take the company of a beautiful lady anytime over that of a fish, and I am much heartened to learn I have made it to this enchanted wood, for it is my journey’s destination.”

We walked the short way back to the cottage, between the noise of his watery squelching and shared laughter, there was little space for chatter.  The changelings heard and ran to meet us on the path.  Excited queries gushed from their berry stained lips.

I shushed them and told them to run tell Juniper to put the kettle on.  General mayhem descended into Juni’s kitchen, dry clothing was found, wet ones hung out, cats and the Cottage Brownies ran beneath our feet, and the changelings constant questions were drowned out only by kettle’s whistle.   We had just laid out thistle seed muffins when Ironroot arrived wearing –if not well fitting- a well suited tunic and breeches.  Again, the children’s voices were woven into an intricate tapestry of questions and suppositions.

“Now, now, lit’ uns, let the gentleman drink his tea, and he will tell of his travels in due course, ” I cheerfully chided.

He laid his hand atop of mine; stirring up a place in my middle I had long forgotten.  “Madam, it is time for me to tell you why I have come.  ”

And so it was, over steaming sips of raspberry tea we learned the time has come for the magic we have held so dearly to our breasts, to spill over the boundaries of Santooshka and into the unnatural world of the Purblinds.

His tale went this way.  For certain, he was an outer worldly traveler and had had many adventures, but they had all led him to this inevitable sequence.  After spending the winter in the mountains, he returned to Stonestack, a northern Elvish village, bringing the enchanted Angora goats back to their spring pastures.   Knowing his gypsy heart, the village elders called upon him to serve the Earth Mother Rebellion- as they were now calling it.  They bade him to go from one hidden magical enclave to another, calling upon the denizens of each enchanted community.  He was to be a harbinger of revolution.  Spreading the word, it was now time for the Fae Folk to change the heart of Man.  Time now, to show them the love they seek can only be given, not taken.  To teach them that the earth, water, and sky were not resources to be used and thrown away, but our mother, father, and protector.  That magic is an never ending well of heart healing.    It was time to share the way of Still Water.

Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic like Ironroot's! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

Ask Magnolia Magpie to sew you a tunic like Ironroot’s! Magnolia@societyofmossandlace.com

M.M.

Freeday,

We spent yesterday in Juni’s kitchen, discussing Ironroot’s plan of action further.  He hoped he could spend a fortnight here before continuing south.   He had followed the Cahokia ley lines to the outskirts of Santooshka, but the way to Evergreen Glade was more dangerous and there would be times when he would have to use glamour to blend in with the Purblinds.

After we had discussed our devotion to the cause, the forming of councils, supply lines and other needs must associated with what I could only think of as a magical uprising, our conversation wandered like the paths through our forest.  He is a man of conviction and has spent ages on the road, opening the eyes of the Purblind, only when it was safe.  It is obvious why the Northern Elves entrusted him with such a mission.  We shared heart and hearth with him until the moon rose.  He set up camp in the commons betwixt the cottages for the night.Featured image

This morning he appeared in his own clothes, clean shaven and bright eyed.  He is truly most handsome.  Out of a sack he produced a variety of packages in different sizes.

“I heard from certain armadillos that to gain the true admiration of the Ladies of Santooshka, I must bring gifts along with good tidings.  Locks of curly mohair fibers for the lady Juniper,” he said handing her the first parcel.  “And a bolt of the finest calico for the Lady Magnolia.  And here; silk strands dyed in the rainbow river by the Northern Elven Folk.”

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“Such finery!” Juniper exclaimed, running her fingers through the silken locks.

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He smiled back, “…Which pale in the comparison with your hospitality.”

The changelings looked mildly rejected until he turned to them, “Don’t fret, I did not forget you littles.”

He gave Greystone two lengths of silver wire and Azalea a lovely blue ribbon.  “For you both,” he laid an old tome on the table.  Written in western Elvish, the symbol for changeling was engraved on the leather binding. “A beginning to discovering your past.”

Azalea eyes became dewy, but Greystone grew quite serious, “Thank you Sir Ironroot.”

Juniper and I had plans to do some spinning with the Meadowlark.  The silly conceited bird believes his song sounds best when accompanied by the soft humming of Juni’s spinning wheel.  Despite our insistence that we could postpone, and be perfect hosts for him, he waved us off and said he was quite good at keeping his own company.

It was such a beautiful day!  The sun was especially sunny , the grass wonderfully green and for once, I completely agreed with the Meadowlark, his song was the most beautiful, yet.   Juniper whirred up skeins of the Mohair, while I gave up my attempts with the drop spindle and lay down dreaming Iron Wood’s face in the clouds.

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On our return,  I realized (and I must add sadly) that Ironroot’s belongings were no longer assembled in the common.  And after moments looking through the valley I found a small bunch of wild flowers on my doorstep with a scrawled note beside it.

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“In this life, we do not make friends but recognize them”

The note said nothing else. I must admit I am surprised at my own disappointment.  It seems that the wind has blown Ironwood out of our lives, just as it had brought him.

M.M.

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All things have meaning especially in Santooshka : Honeysuckle- psychic powers, protection Mint-love, healing, travel, protection Clematis- communication with spirit, imagination Daisy- joy, youth, family Also- Mulberry- protection, strength

Juniper and Magnolia’s Honey Basil Berry Jam

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