Autumn Equinox 2010
* Hex Issue 7: Fall/Winter 2010 is Here! *
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Schwarze und weisse Koschin (Black and white Pullets)
Antique print from The Artful Chicken by Linda Arnaud, Stewart, Tabori, and Chang
What are we Harvesting?
Autumn Equinox brings the peak of harvest season so I take some time to consider what my Heathen spirit has managed to coax into a harvest on our land. I can hear the rooster crowing, again, and I’m reminded of our egg harvest. I think the rooster is calling to our newest and somwhat wild hen, who can fly out of the coop and likes to forage just outside of the fence where he can’t reach. It’s said a rooster crows about every hour or so to let the hens know where he’s at and I’d have to agree he does crow regularly. Last night it was the full moon and that had him crowing at night as well. Home grown eggs are just delicious and worth the music, though a rooster isn’t necessary for egg production.
Eggs were recently in the news when “Wright County Eggs” located in Iowa recalled half a billion eggs sold across 8 states under 13 different labels for possible salmonella contamination. That’s a lot of eggs coming from one area. Apparently most commercial eggs come from large factory farms today. Up until about 20 years ago small egg houses were scattered across every state making them a local product. Unfortunately huge factory farms seem to be the way of the future and the family farms have all but disappeared. Check the label on any purchased egg carton and see how far it has traveled by visiting this web site: http://www.organiclinker.com/egg-miles.cfm.
Know what the label on the carton means, sometimes they are misleading. Any eggs labeled “Certified Humane” or “Certified Organic” must follow particular rules: “Certified Humane” chickens are cage free with density requirements, while “Certified Organic” chickens must have outdoor access and be fed only organic feed. Some sources claim that no nutritional differences exist between commercial and Humane or Organic eggs, however Mother Earth News conducted their own studies in 2007 which seem to show the opposite is true.
“Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene”
The slow food revolution can help offer consumers more responsible choices, if they can accept the added expense that quality usually demands. But what’s the harvest we are getting if we don’t make the responsible choice? More factory farms, less humanely raised food, lower nutritional value, soylent green…oops my mind is wandering…You can find locally grown foods on web sites such as http://www.localharvest.org/.
Or try raising your own eggs! Anyone can raise laying hens: even in the city (local zoning permitting) they require only a small area of space. Secure housing is the number one priority, something with a roof if at all possible. Commercially available chain link dog pins can offer a quick choice, or something similar. Additional wire stretched across the top will save your chickens from predators like possums and dogs. Sources and tutorials for chicken and egg culture abound on the internet.
If the sound of a rooster is putting you off from having your own laying hens remember that roosters aren’t actually necessary to produce eggs. Instead a high protein diet promotes the laying of infertile eggs – so you are not even taking a life when you eat one! However a rooster does spice up the coop.
One large egg has about 70 calories, 6 grams of protein mostly from the white, and 5 grams of fat mostly from the yolk. They also contain the antioxidant lutein, in an easily digested form, which is essential for healthy eyes.
The rooster is crowing again. The wild hen seems to be getting used to him and finding his calls more and more attractive. We hope this is the case because she has the mothering instinct, meaning she will sit on her eggs faithfully to get the next generation started.
Hail the Harvest!
Teresa L. Hedgewife
For a great source of information check out http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chlinks.html#history
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Old English Rune Poem
Peorth [Dice cup? Board game? Musical tune?]
is ever play and laughter
To the proud [missing word], where warriors sit
In the beer-hall, merrily together
~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright
Of all the runes the P-rune is the most ambiguous, at least going from historical sources: we can only speculate on the meaning of the word Peorth itself. Everyone has their own take on the meaning of this symbol, and if all rune work is heavily couched in conjecture (though many folk decline to admit this liberating but hard truth), nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Peorth.
Yet we can at least explore the imagery of the rune, and do so in light of the Autumn Equinox. Equinoxes are liminal, neither-neither points when day and night cease for a brief moment their endless mutual ebb and tide. How might we relate our beer hall revellers to such a thought?
If we agree with most authors that this rune is connected to wyrd, the old concept of mutual interconnectedness through time and space, then we find a vein of significance to drawing this rune at this time of year. Is the hall a place where plans, friendships, dreams, tales, myths, and memories are all created? This is the stuff of wyrd. It is among our fellows that we find our place in the scheme of things.
The image of play and laughter invites an interesting attitude towards the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Heathens might say “the infuriating elf-shot of wyrd”). Oh, but it is so tempting to isolate ourselves and feel sorry for ourselves, to crown ourselves with misery, when wyrd seems to be turning against us, when we face the oncoming deathly winter. Yet as the great Cicero admonished: only a lunatic makes personal happiness dependent on the things that happen in the course of living life.
What on earth does Cicero mean? That the events of life are never entirely (or sometimes at all) in our control – therefore we should try to make our happiness a function of whether we have been true to our ideals, our dignity, our worth, regardless of the outcome of our actions. We always have choices about how to respond, even if sometimes some of the options are much harder to select than others. While some possibilities are always out of reach – the weight of örlog cannot always be denied – it is rare that our attitudes and assumptions fall into this category (though often it is hard to realise this in a moment of strong emotion or conviction).
In the hall of wyrd, in the liminal cusp of the equinox or the sumbel rite (for perhaps this is what Peorth’s laughing warriors are enjoying) we are all too conscious of the vast threads that the norns weave. Their awesome universal web is imperious and undeniable – what are we mere mortals to do? Celebrate and carry one another forward in good cheer seems like the best response I can imagine, and it seems the author of the Peorth rune poem might have agreed.
Dare, then, to defy your frustrations, wounds, and defeats. Dare, in times of reversal, to dream stubbornly of new horizons and different, fresh, more joyous possibilities. Don’t forget, now that we are on winter’s doorstep, that spring will eventually bring relief to the months of darkness. Dare to find joy in the presence of your fellow human beings, rather than wallow in the mire of the endless over-thinking treadmill that every one of us seems to have lodged in our skulls.
Awareness of wyrd means awareness of the infinitely mysterious nature of this unimaginably vast cosmos. Let’s find relief in the knowledge that, no matter how narrow our field of vision sometimes gets, there’s always a bigger picture that makes a mockery of the small-making negativities of daily life. It’s out there, just beyond the walls of the homestead; to invite it in with a spirit of harmony and good will, all we need do is proudly play and laugh, as warriors do, happily together.
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Just in time for autumn! This is one of my favorite cold weather desserts. Some apples are better for cooking than others, ask your produce person or CSA farmer which are best…or just experiment. It’s tasty either way.
6 large apples
6 T butter, softened
1/2 C of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or rapadura)
Grated rind of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. cardamom (opt.)
1/4 C dried fruit (raspberries, raisons, currants, dates, etc.)
1/4 C coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts would all be good)
Raw cream or yogurt (opt.)
Core apples from stem side, but not all the way through. Peel away the skin from the top 1/3 of the apple if so desire (I’ve had it both ways so try it out to your taste). Cream the butter and sweetener. Stir in the remaining ingredients and place a spoonful of stuffing in each apple. Place in a buttered baking pan with a little water. Bake for about 2 hours at 325 degrees or until tender. When cool put in individual bowls and top with homemade whipped cream or yogurt if desired.
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Arrowyn Craban
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By the Hum of Ullr’s Bow: Winter Songs Compilation CD is still available!
Bands on the compilation CD include:
• A Minority of One • Allerseelen • Andrew King • At the Head of the Woods
• Beastianity • Hamramr • Irij • Ironwood • Ruhr Hunter
• Sangre Cavallum • Sieben • Steve von Till
• Svarrogh • Waldteufel • Wardruna
(You can read more about the artists here:
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: Issue Three Almost Gone! :
Issues One, Two, Four, & Five are sold out!
Limited numbers of Hex Issue Three (and also issues Six and Seven of course) remain…
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Until Winter Nights, may you and your household be blessed and kept. Hail!
~ HEX Magazine
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Due date for Autumn 2011 submissions
is Spring Equinox 2011
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