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2 Aug 2008

Feast of Bread 2008 News

~ THE TURNING OF THE WHEEL ~

FEAST OF BREAD
2008

CALLING ALL MERCHANTS, ARTISANS, & MUSICIANS:
If you have something to sell and are interested in finding out more information about (or better yet, participating in the planning of) the upcoming Hex Folk Market please respond to this email stating your interest, and I will save your address in a seperate list just for merchants. I depending upon your opinions and your participation! cheers, ~Arrowyn

We have plenty of prints left waiting to be bought.
BUT WE ARE ALMOST SOLD OUT OF ISSUE 2!
Get them both while you can…Go to Hex.

* * * * * *

The first sheaf’s loaf
to wights and friends
we off
er.

now the riders hunt
and wolves run free
chasing the
hare
whose yellow flanks
fall before us.

bind them
cut them
take them in hand
threshing a
nd grinding
kneading the loaf
the clod
the loam
our lover
this land.

photograph, bread, and poem by Jason Craban

* * * * * *

He has sown his wild oats. He has left off his gay habits and is become steady. The thick vapours which rise on the earth‘s surface just before the lands in the North burst into vegetation in Denmark, are called Lok kens havre (Loki’s wild oats). When the fine weather succeeds, the Danes say, “Loki has sown his wild oats.”(1)

Many grains were utilized during the Heathen Era, but one in particular always brings back memories for me and that’s oats – Avena sativa (white or yellow oats).

When I was about 10 our family was transferred to a Navy base located in San Diego, California. Normally our duty stations kept us far from family but this time luck was on our side and my Aunt Helen and her family lived nearby. So, on weekends we’d have family parties, either at our house near the beach or at her’s in the hills, which (to my adolescent eyes) was precariously perched on the top of a ridge between two canyons. The ridge was just wide enough to hold the house and a paved street. The canyons were so steep, we kids, 5 of us, would have to partially slide down on our heels to reach the fantasy forest play-land at the bottom and then claw our way back up again when we were ready to go home. In the bottom of that canyon lived such interesting characters as Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and Sleeping Beauty with her Seven Dwarfs – just out of our sight!

Often we kids spent the night at one house or another and for breakfast Aunt Helen made oatmeal, well not just oatmeal, but the best oatmeal that I have ever tasted. She’d gather us around the table and brought in bowls full of steaming oatmeal with little white and yellow puddles made from melted butter and milk floating on top. My sisters and I took our cues from our two cousins and used our spoons to pile oatmeal on our toast and eat it like it was a dip. When the toast ran out we’d resort to eating it the regular way with a spoon. I have no doubt my Aunt learned how to make oatmeal this way from her mother, my Grandmother, who learned from her mother, and on and on perhaps back to at least the Iron Age and possibly even the Bronze Age!

In Europe, Oats figured into the seasonal planting rites as much as corn or wheat, with the common terms “corn-mother” and “corn-bride” being changed to the “oats-mother” and “oats-bride,” and then treated in a similar manner to the other grains. Oats grow in the cooler regions of the world and set seed freely, leading to the term “Sewing Wild Oats.” Or perhaps the wild part comes from another, little known characteristic of oats, their need to react to changes in temperature or moisture – if you put oat seeds into a damp hand or blow your moist breath on them they will actually move. This was apparently well known to folks such as fortune-tellers, witches, and magicians who used this trait as a part of their magical experience. They covered their tracks by saying the seeds were exotic things, like the leg of an Arabian spider, or the leg of an enchanted fly. These seeds were even used as fish bait! The grain was attached to a hook (how I don’t know!) and the water would cause the grain to move about fooling the fish into thinking it was an insect.

Oats are used in so many ways it’s hard to believe; food for people and animals, bedding, inner and outer medicine, and cosmetics. Some of its by-products have even been used to make a product like nylon, and also to help in oil refining!

Get to know more about this useful grain in the next issue of Hex.

~ Teresa Luedke

1 E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
http://www.bartleby.com/81/12292.html

* * * * * *

HAYMAKER’S OAT WATER
makes 1 gallon

1 gallon filtered water
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup molasses

Mix all ingredients and keep at room temperature several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. This is extra good for doing outside summer manual labor—hence the name.

~ adapted from The Fourfold Path of Healing by Thomas S. Cowan MD

* * * * * *

AN ODE TO CROPS ~
and Sharing Them
with Critters

It’s August 1st, and right on schedule I can see that my garden is in full production. I harvested my garlic yesterday and put in some fall kale and brussels sprouts. I tucked in new lettuce to fill up the spaces left by the heads that had bolted in the last heat spell. Cucumbers are peeking out between the leaves of the vines. I have an odd assortment of heirloom tomatoes growing this year, gifts from a couple of gardening buddies. One, called Oxheart, was smuggled here from Italy. It’s a very strange looking fruit, sort of pear shaped and pleated, but quite large. It’s still green, but I’m awaiting my first taste with anticpation. The onions are pushing up from the ground, and I can see their bulbs fattening. I’ve got green onions so big that one lasts a week. The carrots and parsnip plants are looking good, the cabbages are making heads. And the squash, well, I think this could be properly called “zucchini season.” I only planted 2 bushes this year, but that was still too many. Next year only one, I promise. I also have way too many patty pan squash. I also am growing several types of winter squash given to me by the above-mentioned gardening friends. One promises to produce a fruit up to 15 pounds in weight. I’ll believe that when I see it, but I’ve got the vine growing up the fence and I’m afraid now it might break something if it really gets that big. Beans are coming along but have been routinely uprooted by birds and have to be stuck back into the ground each day, which has slowed down their progress.

That brings me to the sharing part. Each crop comes with it’s own attraction to certain critters. This year my garden is home to a covey of California quail, who have actually become rather tame. If I walk slowly and carefully into the garden they will tolerate me—to a point. I expect they are doing some of the eating that I notice. I’ve got netting over the blueberries, but a bird occasionally gets caught inside and I have to remove it as it struggles to get free. I’m worried about my upcoming 4-day trip. I might have to unwrap the berry bushes, but then I wouldn’t get any to eat myself. I noticed a big bite taken out of an apple yesterday, but that might have come from my dog. And speaking of the dog, she eats peas off the vines. That would be OK except that in the process she pulls the vines out by their roots. Oh well, the pea crop is just about done anyway. All the veggie beds are pitted with little holes that I know come from all the robins digging for worms. I just share. My garden is also home to a number of Garter snakes, and I welcome them because slugs are one of their favorite foods. A pheasant is also a regular visitor to the garden and I am sure he’s chowing down. The silliest thing I do is share my greenhouse with around 7 yellow jacket nests. I know, they probably aren’t good for much, although every beast is good for something. I seem to be living in somewhat peaceful co-existence with them, I’ve only been stung 3 times this year. But I have to warn anyone else to stay out, they will attack. I am ignorant of the many other bird species in the garden, but take my word, they are legion. I have pulled my bird identification book off the shelf and have the binoculars at the ready, so I am slowly learning the breeds of these little folks. Along those lines there is a second nest full of barn swallows in the carport. They are a wonderful addition, they eat so many insects that we’ve hardly had a mosquito bite all summer!

It’s the time I live for, the reason I endure the dark winter, which I fear will never end each year. I’m trying to keep it in my head that this season does eventually roll around, that the leaves will be green and the flowers will bloom and the fruits and vegetables will be there for the picking. It’s all just asking for a little TLC and expertise from me to burst forth. I’m so grateful and so well fed. Life is good.

~ Alice Deane

* * * * * *

GEBO •

Those who are generous and brave live best,
And seldom nurse anxiety,
But a fearful man is f
rightened by all,
And the miser mourns what he gives.

~ Hávamál : 48

Even in the midst of the harvest season, when the earth is giving of her bounty, it is all bad news for our economy. It is easy in these troubling times to get caught up in fear and scarcity thinking, and shut down to the flow of prosperity. However, when times are hard and resources are scarce, it is especially important to remember to keep giving. And while it is difficult to make wise choices when fear reigns, it is imperative to be wise about how you give…

  • Give to yourself first. If your own cup is empty then you have nothing to give others.
  • Give next to your family, community, and the land that bears you, in equal stead. What comes around goes around.
  • Be aligned with the flow of give and take.
    Give gladly if there is a willingness to receive. Take gladly when something is offered.
  • Finally, remember that constant prosperity is not possible or desirable, for it leads to unhealthy resource use. It is a gift to be simple. Be thankful for lean times, and know that the tide will always rise again.

~ Arrowyn Craban

* * * * * *

Until the Autumn Equinox, may you and your
household be blessed and kept. Hail!

~ HEX Magazine

* * * * * *

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