Hexennacht – Witches Night Celebration 

Hexennacht or “Witches Night” is a celebration that seems to be growing in popularity. Or it could be I am just lucky to meet more people who are drawn to it. It is more commonly known as Walpurgisnacht or “Walpurgis Night.” Named for St. Walpurga. There are arguments that this day was sacred before the Christianization of the Germanic people and others speculate it was a Christian creation that was later led to have a different meaning. You be the judge. I have loved this night for more years than I ever was a Heathen. Though being a Heathen has nothing to do with it as most I know don’t celebrate it. Probably, because the origin seems to possibly be more in Continental Europe (though there are the Valborg celebrations in Sweden). I came to it through a group that discussed Traditional Witchcraft around 10 years ago. Though I had probably heard of it before that in connection to Beltane when I was a general Pagan. Until the last few years I have met very few pagans or heathens who celebrate it in America. In some countries in Europe there are still festivals where you can see its Pagan roots (in my eyes at least). There is a lot about this night that is very fascinating and I encourage you to read all you can! This isn’t a scholarly article so I suggest you read more if this peaks your interest. 

On this night witches are said to meet with the Devil at Brocken (if we’re going the German route as I do because of my ancestry). A sacred mountain in Germany. For anyone who has more Occult or Pagan and not so much Christian leanings the Devil isn’t seen the same way and the same names are not always used. If you want more information there are MANY books on this topic. On this day I feel the wights stir, the air change, my energy become more wild and free as it breaks through the stagnancy of the remnants of Winter that have clung to Spring and I just feel “witchy.” Though I may be scoffed at for it I do practice witchcraft and folk magic as a Heathen. Not generally together but it happens. Like tonight. I usually have a bonfire or fill my room with candles, howl outside, do something adventurous, cook good food, give offerings and…spend time with my partner. That last part I’ll keep at that as our parents and some family read this blog. It is a great time to explore your primal nature and free yourself from the modern and mundane world. If only for a night.

Tonight, I made pretzel rolls to eat and offer to the gods/wights/ancestors as we had a power outage for 9 hours and I was unable to make a proper feast. My husband is on duty as well. So it’s my just my daughter and I with candles lit, offerings made, singing and dancing and lots of growling and howling in between story telling. How do you celebrate?

Ready for Witches Night! 

Learning Loom Weaving – My Latest Craft Obsession 

New Crafts Obsession should be a “thing.” I often find myself obsessively lusting after different crafts. Both crafts I already do and those I yearn to do. Many crafts I have had on my list to do for so many years that I have driven myself nearly mad with all my research and yearning for them. I tried to be “into” one craft at a time and progress with it before moving on. The problem with that was that I would find myself in a craft rut surrounded by piles of supplies for one craft and nothing much else to do. That happened with jewelry a few months ago. Something I find difficult to work with considering I have a toddler and sharp wire and tools plus a kid doesn’t work well. This year is the “Year Of New Crafts” so I have been investing small bits of funds here and there to get started with beginning various crafts. I’ll never be bored again! I started learning how to crochet last November (2015) and started on Knitting in December. Trying to get lessons from a friend concerning knitting (she also started me on crochet) with my toddler trying to destroy her house wasn’t working well so I stopped learning to knit. I’m hoping to go back to it soon. In February of this year I began handspinning yarn. In March I was cross stitching (I still need to do a blog on it!). Now it’s the end of April and I have my $5 plastic frame loom I have been working on for a few weeks. It was much lighter on my wallet than the much larger more complicated wooden loom I was wanting. I got so obsessed with wanting to weave that my husband even started doing research for me (US eventually as he’s incredibly crafty) in his extremely limited spare time. When I found this loom I had to have it. I even bought a package of comb looms that are ridiculously hard to find tutorials for. If you find some please share! The only decent one I found was in French so that wasn’t going to work for me as I don’t speak the language. 



When I was a child I worked on a children’s loom. I don’t remember much except making pot holders. In my adult years I wove wire and also did stick weaving for a while until I had piles of woven belts no one wanted (even for free). I also made and sold stick weaving kits and have a huge container of them still in one of my storage boxes. It’s something I would love to do again for making baby belts for my kids garb but it can wait for now. 

There are many reasons I want to weave. One is really just to have the skill. If the apocalypse happens then myself and my descendants will be the weavers of clothing material! Just kidding. Mostly. Others include eventually using historical looms and teaching others this ancient art, connecting with the weaving deities/ancestors/beings, making art for my home and devotional pieces, something to use up the odds and ends of handspun yarn I made and….well, I had more to share but I woke up already exhausted today. I’m low on brain power. Imagine more good reasons here. 

The looms I purchased are all very light plastic. Completely unappealing to me but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s something and I am very happy despite having a bit more difficultly with the light weight of the frame loom and the slippery texture of the plastic. I had watched and read tons of tutorials before ever having the loom but I’m one of those people that if I can’t physically do what I’m learning in some way the knowledge doesn’t stick as well. I’m learning as I go and experimenting. Still trying to figure out bits like how to keep things even while weaving in ends, doing designs, figuring out fringe, et cetera. It’s a fun process. I can’t wait to get better and make these as gifts. 

Homemade Soy Nut Butter Recipe 

My husband and I are always looking for more healthy foods to try and ways to make things we love from scratch. We got the idea to make soy nut butter (like peanut butter) after making soy milk regularly and using the leftover bits in breads and such. You can use the ground bits if you make your own soy milk or you can buy/make roasted soy beans and start from there. 

There are different ways to make nut butters. I made a vanilla, raw cacao and cinnamon almond butter before as well as other butters but unless you have a bad arse expensive blender or something of that nature…don’t expect it to be smooth. You will not be creating a smooth PB or Nutella in your food processor if you got it for $20. That’s the kind I have…so I know. Still, it’s fun and the results are great for baking and sandwiches. Soy nut butter is actually smoother than many nuts I have worked with. The recipe below is just one way of going at making soy but butter. It won’t last as long as commercial nut butters and this recipe contains water so I would refrigerate it and consume in less than a week to be safe. Feel free to experiment and share your results! 

You will need: 

* 1 cup roasted and unsalted soy nuts (if they are salted exclude the added salt in this recipe) You can also cook down (to get the earthy flavor out) then roast the leftover soy nuts from making soy milk. 

*2/3 cup room temperature water

*1 1/2 tbsp of your oil of choice. I am using coconut oil for the added thick texture and creaminess. You may need to add more oil depending on how well your mixture is blending. Or more liquid sweetener. 

*1 1/2 tbsp (alter to taste) of your choice in liquid sweeteners. I am using local honey but you can use something like pure maple syrup or agave if you prefer yours to be vegan. 

*1/3 tsp salt (alter to taste)

Add your soy nuts and water to a blender or food processor. Blend well then let sit until the soy nuts have absorbed most the water and are soft. It doesn’t take very long. 


Blend again before adding in the rest of your ingredients.


Continue to blend/pulse until it has reached your desired texture. Again, be aware that unless you have a high powered blender this won’t have the perfectly smooth look and feel as factory made butters. I had to stop and stir a few times. Be safe and unplug your blender/food processor first. 

Scoop out and enjoy! I put mine on homemade bread. 

Water Kefir Tips and Tricks – What I Have Learned This Past Month

A month and one day ago I started making water kefir. A vegan probiotic drink that is vitamin and mineral rich. Even moreso when you add healthy ingredients for flavor during the second fermentation. I started based off of package instructions and the kefir was good but the tang needed to be watered down slightly with cold tea, lemon water or juice. You can find my original blog about making WK soda with instructions here: Strawberry Kefir Soda | The Heathen Homesteaderhttps://theheathenhomesteader.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/strawberry-kefir-soda/

Since then I have done more research. The water kefir became better and better with each experiment! Here are some tips from my experiences: 

*Add a few raisins during the first fermentation. Not only do they add minerals but will rise to the top of your WK after about 24 hours. This lets you know your grains are working! They might discolor your grains but do not harm them in any way.

*Use raw organic sugar. This isn’t a “hippy dippy” thing. I noticed a huge difference from processed white sugar and the raw. The grains started multiplying faster after their “recovery” and produced a better kefir. There are different types of unprocessed sugars you can use such as sucanat, rapadura and panella. If you’re buying from a company instead of a fellow WK-er they also will stress the use of raw. Don’t ignore this! 

*What you add to it enhances the flavor and vitamin/mineral content. There are things I am not fond of such as prunes that actually created an amazing WK. I’m an extremely picky person but the way the fruits, roots, teas and spices you can use work with the WK makes for drinks comes out a bit differently. I actually love a lot of the ingredients I have been using even if I didn’t love them when eating them before fermentation.

*After 12 hours during the second fermentation take your fruit (or whatever) out and bottle your WK. air tight is key. I did not know this before and basically had flat flavored tangy water. I leave mine sealed for about 12 hours before drinking. Some sources say 18 while “burping” the brew every four hours or so. A pop top helps in case of too much pressure but I use a bottle like this and keep an eye on it. This brew has been opened a ton today for drinking so it’s not nearly as fizzy as it was early this morning. 

*Dont be afraid to refrigerate! I was worried it would effect the work of the grains but it actually lasts longer in the fridge. 2-3 weeks max compared to 3-4 days at room temperature. Though ours never lasts more than a day because we can’t get enough! 

*Do NOT put honey in as your feed for the grains. It is anti-microbial and might kill them. I luckily revived mine well. I’m speaking from experience here! Other food items that have similar properties should also be kept away. 

*I wouldn’t bottle your WK to take anywhere unless you have time to burp it. I put some in a small jar for my husband’s lunch at work and it leaked from the pressure. 

*Some ingredients tend to up the alcohol content of your WK. Such as strawberries. Most WK has less than 1% naturally occurring alcohol content if that. Some sources suggest .05% so it’s hard to know unless you have something to test it. Most fermented foods have some amount of alcohol in them that is created during the fermentation process. I leave ingredients such as strawberries in the second fermentation for half the time as most ingredients.
*Never leave your WK for more than 4 days max. 48 hours is the suggested maximum amount of time for low alcohol content and more importantly so your grains don’t starve. If you can’t get to your kefir grains for a while you can freeze them. 

*Leave room in your bottle after the second fermentation so there is room for fizz and some of the pressure that may build up. 

I’m still new to this but if you have any questions feel free to ask! 

Versatile Sandwich Bread Recipe – Vegetarian and Vegan Included

I started using this recipe for a fairly quick sandwich bread recently. After I started on my first batch I found myself out of certain ingredients and ended up making vegan substitutes in place of the missing ingredients. It turned out amazing! Later, I tried the vegetarian recipe and today I made the vegan again but with other added ingredients. It’s one of those recipes that seems foolproof as every change I make ends up with bread that is still tasty. This blog won’t have step by step pictures so I don’t have to wait a few weeks to document all the different substitutions and additions. Instead I’ll be adding the original recipe and then the gist of a recipe I used today (I didn’t measure the extra bits I used so I kind of winged it). You can also use this recipe to make buns and rolls like I did. It only makes one loaf so be aware of that! Many recipes have recipes written for two loaves.

The Original Recipe (Vegetarian)
You will need: 

*3 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)

*1/2 cup warm water

*1/4 cup milk

*1/4 cup melted butter 

*2 tbsp sugar and a separate 1 tbsp sugar

*2 tbsp active dry yeast

*1 tsp salt

*1 egg

Mix the warm water, active dry yeast and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes until it doubles in amount.

Add your flour to a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add all the ingredients except the milk and then stir. Then you can pour in the milk and mix well.

Leave covered in a floured or greased bowl for at least an hour to rise.

After the hour has passed punch down the bread and knead lightly on a floured surface before shaping into a loaf. Add to a greased bread pan, cover and let rise for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven towards the end of the resting/rising period to 375 F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Let it rest a minute or two before removing from the bread pan. Enjoy when cool! 

My Alterations (Vegan)
You will need: 

*3 (you may need more depending on alterations) cups all purpose flour (plus extra for kneading). I have had great luck with half buckwheat or half rye to half unbleached all purpose. Other flours may do well though I have yet to experiment with gluten free alternatives with this recipe. 

*1/2 cup warm water (plus 2 tbsp for the flax seed)

*1/4 cup dairy free milk such as oat or nut milks. Dairy free creamer makes for a sweeter and softer bread I have noticed. 

*1/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter. Other oils will work as well but may effect the taste.

*2 tbsp raw (doesn’t need to be raw but it works nicely) sugar (I used turbinado) and a separate 1 tbsp sugar

*2 tbsp active dry yeast (I have been using 1 tbsp active dry yeast and 1/2-1 cup sourdough starter) 

*1 tbsp ground flax 

*1 tsp salt

Optional: nuts, oats, seeds and other extras

Mix the sugar, dry active yeast, sourdough starter and 1/2 cup warm water together. Let sit 10 minutes to double in volume. 

Mix the 1 tbsp ground flax seed with the 2 tbsp warm water. Let sit and the flax will begin to soften and change in texture. This is the egg substitute. 

Add the flour you have chosen to use to a bowl. Mix in any nuts, grains, seeds you may want to use. I used whole raw pine nuts and extra flax my first time. The nuts fell off easy when slicing but added a nice texture. Today I used flax, ground raw pine nuts and chunks of almonds I toasted after using them to make almond milk. Slightly more chewy but held up better to hungry toddler abuse. You don’t need to add anything but I love a little extra texture, flavor and added healthy goodness. You may need to add extra flour. I only had to in the recipe I used today but I was also doubling mine and used a tiny bit too much almond and oat milk as they were almost out and I wanted to use them up. 

Add in all other ingredients and mix well! Add to an oiled or floured bowl, cover and let rise for 1-2 hours.

Punch down and knead on a floured surface. If you used nuts some may fall out. I just tucked them back in. Shape into a bread loaf and place in a oiled bread pan. Cover and let sit 30 minutes to an hour. Depending on your substitutions and the temperature in your kitchen it may change the time needed. 

Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes until golden brown. Do the tap test to make sure it is done at this time. Let sit in pan for a minute or two before removing. Cool and then enjoy! 

HHH- Handspinning and Heathenry

The original article I wrote for “Huginn’s Heathen Hof” can be found here:http://www.heathenhof.com/handspinning-and-heathenry/

 

For more than half of my life the art of hand spinning has appealed to me. Spinning wheels especially. The various wheels I would see in art, old photos, and antique shops always seemed like more than a tool to create yarn and thread. There was something magical about them. Like a veil of mystery that each one had cloaked over them. A connection to so many people that it had created threads of life for, through making material via weaving, stitching wounds, in the tying of the umbilical cord of a newborn, clothes making, selling raw material for food to crafters, the creation of the spinning wheel itself, et cetera. Along with the story of the spinner or spinners and the ritual art of spinning. The repetitive and meditative motions echo through time with the millions of spinners that have lived their craft.

 

When I came to Heathenry spinning was a part of it. Not physically however. I became a heathen officially in 2008 and didn’t start spinning until February of this year (2016). Though I had owned a custom handmade drop spindle that was a gift for 4 or 5 years by the time I started. The time just wasn’t right when it first came to me to learn how to use it. Now that I have begun I can’t imagine not spinning. The idea has been with me so long that the fulfillment of this dream in one aspect (I still don’t own a wheel) has been deeply satisfying. What really brought me to Heathenry were the stories of Frau Holda and a spindle that led a young girl to her domain. Drawn in not only from the familiar symbol of the spinning wheel, but through what she stood for and had to teach. The stories of her love of industriousness and specific morals reflected my upbringing with a first generation German-American mother, and close German ancestry on both sides of my bloodline. Together they made this German goddess appeal to me in so many ways. I found connections through her to the more popular Norse figures of Frigga, Hel and even Odin. Soon after I got quite the nudge to proceed along the path after a dream concerning Thor. I had been a Pagan for around 7 or 8 years at that time and it felt amazing to find something more suited to me more-so than general Paganism.

 
I got my first drop spindle from a close friend that I called my “fairy godmother”, as she was extremely helpful during a confusing and gray period in my life. She used to gather reclaimed wood and burn the Elder Futhark onto the top, so that as I spun the wheel of runes would turn. I found myself unable to proceed with use of the gift until recently, but kept it tucked lovingly away for the right time. After moving to the Pacific Northwest I almost exploded with creative energy and spinning became an eventual outlet. I joined groups, watched videos, made new friends who spun and eventually spotted the most perfect drop spindle to start my journey at a local fiber shop. I started immediately. I spun a beautiful bulky cobalt blue Corriedale wool yarn. Later I bought my first Viking spindle. (A replica made in Europe.) Now, I use all three and lust over both historical replicas, as well as more modern adaptions. I won’t go into detail of my journey here, I have my own blog for that; though I will say that though my journey has barely begun, the fact that I spent so many years full of curiosity and yearning makes it feel as if I have always spun. Spinning is a part of me reaching deep into my soul.

 

Another reason I feel spinning may be so dear to me is due to my ancestors. I feel that most people more than likely had an ancestor who spun. So many cultures use quite an astonishing variety of traditional drop spindles as well as wheels that were introduced not too far back in history. It’s easy to forget the majority of our ancestors couldn’t pop into a shop to buy clothes. Especially cheaply. They spun and wove and sewed. Or had family members who did. Even if you claim noble ancestry, someone was at least taught embroidery or some sort of basic weaving depending on your heritage. For me spinning is one of many crafts I use to connect to my ancestors. I may not know them all or even their names but my intention is to honor and respect them in my work. So whether they did or did not spin is not of much consequence. I did however find a picture one of my aunts sent me of my 4 times great grandmother at her wheel. When I found out her name I was floored. Eleanore. A name I had loved since childhood. Funny how that works. Makes one wonder how close the ancestors are even when we don’t actively seek them out or try to honor them. With ancestor veneration being a part of my personal Heathenry I am trying to strengthen these types of finding are very important to me.

 
One could also use spinning to connect with the gods. This seems the most obvious seeing as I am writing this for a mostly Heathen audience. Readers that I do know personally work mostly or even exclusively with the gods in many cases. For me, wights are my go to in most situations but I can understand why it’s so popular to try and form relationships with deity. The most obvious choice of goddesses for forming a connection with via spinning would be Frigga. Many artistic pieces show her at a wheel. It isn’t historically accurate as the spinning wheel wasn’t introduced to that area until much later than our lore was written but then again most Norse inspired artwork isn’t accurate and is heavily fantasy inspired. Still, having her at a wheel could show her still thriving in later times. Changing as the world moves on to reflect our world. Other deities may include Frau Holda if your practice is more Germanic, Saule who spins the sunbeams if your practice is Baltic in origin, the Norns who spin the threads of fate and others. You could include Frigga’s handmaidens as well as many female deities. Whether lore or historically based or even experiential in your workings with them. One could argue the case for different gods as handspinners per their personal experiences but I will leave that up for debate.

 
In the end spinning is one of many crafts one could incorporate into their Heathenry. Nothing has to be based from the Viking age to “count” as something that will honor the gods and ancestors. It is your work, your drive and and your respect that honor them. Finding crafts that flow back into the ages past is an amazing thing but definitely not necessary. Now go and craft!

 

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Chain Stitch Coasters Tutorial 

In a month or so I will have been crocheting for half a year. I have loved it but also found myself under a weight to complete all the projects requested of me and those I chose to do for myself and my home. The other day I wanted to work through some cotton yarn from my stash so that I would have more odd bits leftover to complete scrap bags for shopping. I came across the idea posted here during a late night pursuing session on Pinterest. Chain Stitch Coasters! It is perfect for a beginner crocheter and is so simple and easy that even if you don’t crochet it can be finger crocheted instead. 
  

You start with cotton yarn and an F hook. Other yarns like acrylic can get fuzzy and react poorly with the hot glue. I wouldn’t use wool yarn. 

Once you have your supplies you make the beginning loop. You’ll be cutting off the extra yarn so you don’t need much of a tail as you won’t be weaving it in.
  

After you begin create a long chain stitch (tutorials available on Pinterest and YouTube!). The tighter the better! I made my first with what I thought was a long chain but found myself adding more and more. So just keep the hook in or leave a large loop where you left off. 
  

Once you have a good amount of chain you can tuck in the beginning and hot glue it to itself. Be sure to tuck in the flat side so that as you glue on more chain the outside will be curved and the inside will be more flat to apply the glue to. The hardest part of this whole project is the hot glue. I burned myself several times, got stuck to one coaster when I grabbed the wrong part, made a mess with drops from the top of the gun and had a bit of a gooey meltdown in my old glue gun. Just take it slow! I unplugged mine a lot during this project and it actually took me several days to complete due to lack of time. 
  
  
  

After you start the first part of the gluing you can turn and run glue down strands before wrapping it around. I only did a few inches at a time then gave it a moment to cool before continuing. Use plenty of glue! Some will leak up but I found it helps the coasters from moving on surfaces so it worked out.
  
  

Eventually you will stop. Most coasters measure 3.5-4 inches across. I chose 4. When you get to the desired width you can cut the string and tie off the end. I double knot mine before glueing down. Use lots of glue! You want these to last after all your hard work! 
   
 
  

  

Then they are ready to go! A bit frustrating at times but easy as long as you don’t try to rush! 
  
   
   

Family Adventures – Ravenna Park 

Yesterday, my family ventured to Seattle to acquire some new body art. While I was with the artist my husband took our toddler out to explore. We both are not fond of the bigger cities other than the variety of shopping that can be done there. So it didn’t surprise me when he stumbled upon a giant park and forest. After my appointment he took me there to see the glory of this natural gem. 
  

The area surrounding Ravenna Park has gorgeous houses that are in the perfect style I have dreamed of owning. The neighborhood also reminded my husband of one of his childhood neighborhoods. He even found a tulip tree he had grown up with and that we had been wanting to grow here when we have property. It was perfect. Though not perfect for our homesteading plans and being so close to the hustle and bustle of Seattle.
  

When we got to the park I was amazed by the play area. The biggest sand pit I have ever seen, a large tree with many branches that although it had been stripped clean was a fun place for the kids and full of joy, swings of all types to accommodate more ages and abilities, et cetera. 
  

The trails were the best part. There was a hidden pool, streams, fungi, many different trees, moss on everything, flowers blooming left and right and another fun park for children at the end. It was amazing. 
  

It was also very magical. I have never felt so many active land wights in one area in my entire life. One area was filled with a massive being that although my eyes could not see it I could feel so strongly. I was hesitant to near the entity but sensed no bad intent from it. Living here has opened up my senses so much more for the other beings of this world. Back home I could sense things but was very skeptical of my own experiences at times. Here it is much harder to be skeptical. Silly as my experiences may sound to other skeptical and non-believing sorts. 
  

It was a truly wonderful day. I am still in awe of the fact that everything in this part of the world is so beautiful. I am thankful to the gods and ancestors for their guidance and our placement here. 
  

Quick and Easy French Bread Recipe

This morning my husband may have hinted that I make something other than a bunch of different sourdough breads. I wasn’t up to making pretzel bread so I decided to use this French bread recipe I have had for a while. It isn’t the best for making sandwich bread or fluffy rolls but has a nice crisp crust and good flavor. It’s great for garlic bread and for dipping into stews and soups. 

You will need: 

*5 cups unbleached all purpose flour

*1 cup boiling water 

*1 cup cold water

*1/3 cup warm water (for activating the dry yeast)

*1 egg

*2 tbs sugar

*1 tbs room temperature butter 

*1 tbs salt 

*1 tbs dry active yeast 

Preheat the oven to 170 F and begin boiling water.
  
  

Mix sugar, salt and butter with a fork.
  
  

Add the boiling water and lightly mix.
  
  
  

Add the cold water and lightly mix. 
  
  

Mix yeast and warm water until fully blended then add to the bowl with the other water, sugar, salt and butter. 
  
  

  

Mix lightly. 
  

Add 3 cups of flour and mix.
  

Add remaining 3 cups of flour and mix well. 
  
  

Let rest 10 minutes (the resting periods in this recipe are vital).
  

Drop onto a floured surface and pull apart into three pieces. Shape into balls and let rest for 10 minutes.
  
  

Shape each into loafs using the pinch and tuck method. 
  
  
  

Put two onto a greased cookie sheet. Excuse how old and abused ours is. We are the 3rd or 4th owners and I’m out of tin foil to hide it. You can put one loaf at a time if you’d like since they will smoosh a little. The other loaf I made into buns and will post pictures of each step at the end! 
Slash bread with a greased knife.
  

Crack egg and mix to froth.
  

Paint each loaf with the egg including the slashed areas. 
   
 
Put into the 170 F degree oven for 10 minutes. Please again excuse this stove. Military housing doesn’t give you the most beautiful of appliances! Or the easiest to clean. We are lucky to have it though! 
  

Turn the heat up to 400 F and bake for 15 minutes. 
  

Turn down to 350 F for 10 minutes or until you can hear the cooked hollow core when tapped. 
  

Take out when golden brown and enjoy after it has cooled! Slice in half (like a hamburger bun) and brush the inside with crushed garlic, olive oil and then sprinkle cheese for a delicious garlic cheesy bread! Or dip in something savory! 
  
  
  

Here are the pictures for the rolls. Instructions are nearly the same as the loaf except you will need to shape each ball and let rest an additional 10 minutes before baking. That’s what I did at least! 
  
  
  
  
  
  

White Sage – Homesteading Herbalism

Growing up in Southern California we were able to find wild white sage in parks and on trails. When people (at least the people I know) think of white sage they usually think of smudging. Using the herb either loose leaf or bound together into a rolled stick to burn and then energetically cleanse areas and people using the smoke. Smoke cleansing and purification is found in many cultures but as this is a native plant to the area it was also associated with the Native Americans there. I had rarely seen it used outside of smudging but once found it used in herbal (legal) tobacco alternative cigarettes I purchased once for spiritual use. Those contained mullein unfortunately and I ended up with a slightly itchy throat but the rest of the blend was actually quite pleasant and I made a blend myself that I gave to friends after. I had also used the herb in oils for ritual use and perfumes as well as incenses. Please note that white sage and kitchen/cooking sage are NOT the same thing and even look slightly different.
  

When I met my now husband he had white sage in his freezer. I thought it was odd and asked him about it. He said he used it in tea and cooking. That in some stories he read it helped create a long life as well as having medicinal properties. I tasted it in food and it was actually great. Now I use a little (very little!) in certain foods and occasionally tea. Today I am making black beans with white sage, turmeric, smoked paprika and curry spice to go over rice. The white sage really adds that special something extra to the flavor. This herb is also great on gamey meats and in other savory dishes. 
  
  

I have no scientific or otherwise backing for anything stated here so please do your own research! However, from my readings the herb is said to contain antibacterial properties and is good for general healing, sore throats, congestion, skin problems and inflammation, heavy and painful periods, etc. It decreases breastmilk production so be aware of that. I am using very little in my food and rarely as I still nurse my daughter. Though through her own choice she nurses rarely now. Spiritually speaking it is used today in cleansing, purification, blessing and healing. 
  

Coming from a Paganism and Witchcraft background most of my herbal knowledge is more spiritually based and when medicinal knowledge pours out of me it’s almost always connected to herbs I have used spiritually. As I start working towards a homesteading lifestyle I look more and more into native plants and their medicinal properties. Working with what is around me is not only a smart thing to do but it’s actually fun too! I plan to make my herbalism posts a frequent thing so be sure to stay tuned for more!