Midsummer 2016

I joked a few days ago that when you’re a single person celebrating a holy day it seems to be a lot easier to do what you planned. Even last minute. Even with no plan. To have funds for supplies for cooking or craft making, to follow a schedule or ritual of sorts, etc. That in comparison being a parent with a family and a child/children can be a lot more difficult. That you can plan all you want but inevitably you’ll probably end up with pizza delivered as your family feast. With a mumbled: “Sorry. It’s pizza again.” When you’re setting out the first serving as an offering. That half your crafts may be unfinished and you’ll be cleaning your sacred space up right before it’s time to use it instead of preparing it ahead of time. Luckily, we fared well for Midsummer this year.

My daughter woke me up with a soft “hai” about an inch from my face before she bounced down into my arm and snuggled her face against me. My husband was downstairs and came upstairs to greet us with a “Happy Solstice!” after hearing us get up. Soon after we ventured downstairs and my husband lured me into the kitchen to show me a nice clean table (such a rarity) and a piece foxglove he collected for me. He knows how much I love them and how sad I was they were all at the end of their lives by Midsummer. He found one with a few blooms left for me. Then he revealed he had actually collected everything. Top to root. That it was waiting for me in the garage. I was so happy! I had only harvested a root from this plant once before. He said: “I wonder what the neighbors think of me going for a run and coming back with a 5 foot plant.” Haha! As if they are not somewhat used to it. After that we listened to Swedish Midsummer music and watched videos on traditional celebrations before moving onto more child friendly songs for our toddler. AKA more upbeat songs with funny words that she laughs at without knowing what they mean. Accompanied by lots of silly dancing of course. Eventually, my husband made us his amazing waffles stuffed with goodies for a special breakfast and we sat together and enjoyed that. 

Throughout the day we cleaned and talked and enjoyed ourselves. My husband had opened up the house in the early hours of the morning so our home smelled like the sweet dampness of the dewy flora around our home mixed with the invigorating scent of various pine and Western Red Cedar from the forest behind our home. We burned candles and incense as the day grew slowly warmer. Lately, the sun has not made much of an appearance until the afternoon when it fights it’s way through the clouds. 

Other things we did were putting on brightly colored clothes (mostly) and then we went for a walk to collect wildflowers.

Checked on our small but thriving vegetable garden. 

Transplanted a Fern to a pot I painted with the rune “Sowilo” on it (and added a Lemurian Seed Quartz to the soil). 

Baked honey and strawberry cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting. 

And honey and milk bread (with half coconut flour). 

Later, we played with friends outside and shared cake with them. 

Our “feast” wasn’t anything amazing as our day had been full of celebrating and merrymaking. We also were on our second day of celebrations! So cuddles with our daughter were called for to end the second day. 

The day period we had attended a local Midsummer event. We are lucky to live in an area with a part of the county that has a large Scandinavian population. There are many “Viking themed” shops and a local chapter of the “Sons of Norway” that holds regular classes, meetings and events that appeal to us. This year we were able to make one of their Midsummer events (last year we moved to the area a month late). 

We showed up to watch them decorate their midsommarstång (also called a majstång among other names) or “Midsummer Pole.” with local flora the club had collected. Once finished the children and teens from the club led a procession through the city to bring more people to watch the pole rise. Once gathered it took some time to raise the pole but it was fun to watch. Traditional Midsummer songs (in Swedish) were sung and dancing occurred. It was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to attend again next year! 


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. 

Today’s Project: Crocheted Bar Soap Bag

When I lived in San Diego we had an abundance of large year round Farmer’s Markets. One of my favorite things to buy other than fresh food was cold process soap. It has been far too many years to recall when my addiction to cold process soap began but it has been a while and I still love it as much as I always have. Living in NW Washington state our Farmer’s Markets locally are a fraction of the size back home. They also only run part of the year probably due to the rain and cold. So unfortunately, I had run out of my soap a few months back and looking online wasn’t the same as being able to smell the soap in person and interact with the person who made it. My commercial body washes didn’t make me feel as good either. So when I found locally made (technically it’s a few hours from where I live but I bought it when I was visiting closer to the farm where it is produced) at a co-op I was super excited and it was hard to choose which one I wanted. I knew the market season here was about to start so one was enough. I chose honey and lemon goats milk soap. 

When I found the soap I knew I wanted to finally crochet a soap bag for it. I had been waiting to try and make one until I had a bar I could use as a guideline for sizing. I am a newer crocheter and horrible at following written patterns so I make most things by winging it. This bag in the pictures you will see scattered about I made from 100% cotton yarn started along the same way I made a tarot bag recently for my mom. Then I tried something else and it started to look like a wonky net. Works for me! Something I hope will look better the next time around. 

Someday, I hope to make my own cold process soap. I have made various types of hot process soap over the years but it is never quite the same. I have researched making my own cold process but it is simply not cost effective if I want a variety. Nor do I have the space for a good set up. I also plan on using milk from goats I have raised so waiting on a few life changes to make the soap happen. Which I am perfectly content with. I can wait! For now supporting local handcrafters is the way to go for me. 

Looking For Land – The Search Continues 

Listening to your gut feeling (some would say responding to a nudge from the gods/ancestors) is a great thing. I resist at times thinking I’m just being indecisive. So glad I listened recently with a recent glimpse into our future and didn’t get my hopes up about property we explored online. We are not ready to move. We have a bit of debt to still pay off so we can start fresh instead of adding more to the pile. We also want to expand our family in the next year or two and starting on a bigger homestead with a toddler and a pregnant lady/newborn is kind of silly. Not saying it can’t be done but that for us as a military family it would be extra stress we don’t need. Slow and steady wins the race. Waiting gives us time to prepare and adjust to living in the PNW. 

The land we were considering was something that wasn’t going to be placed on the market for quite a few years. That was great for us so we could get to know the area in the meantime and prepare for the transition. Knowing what we were getting in the long run seemed like an impossibly true dream. Like knowing the future and just having to wait for it to come to be. Well, it was impossible. Which was actually more than fine for me. 

My husband and I share many of the same dreams for our life and future. It makes many things easier for us. One thing we differ on is people. He grew up on a chunk of land in a small town. I grew up in the city where you have a neighbor within spitting distance. I fear living too remotely. He craves it. We have made some compromises in trying to come to a conclusion that will suit us both. The plans make sense considering we want to farm and own animals. So having neighbors too close wouldn’t be great for us. Being able to be heard if I scream is basically the distance we decided on. I’ll be buying a megaphone to be sure they can hear me if I need help. Sort of joking there but not entirely. My main concern is having medical care nearby. Living on a small farm with eventually multiple people is bound to end up with someone needing a couple stitches or cast at some point. We can hope that won’t happen but better safe than sorry. I would also prefer not to give birth on the road to the hospital like I have heard of so often of before when living in more remote areas. Home birth isn’t something we personally after my first birth. 

This property was too far for me from neighbors, hospitals and stores if any of my (future) kids were sick or needed something ASAP (though we would plan to be prepared for this instead of needing to o into town). It wasn’t nearly as far as other farming areas we looked at but still too far for this part of our lives. It was perfect in many ways for our homesteading plans. We even drove out to it to take a peek and talked to the owner about visiting when the land was a bit more dry. It looked great in the back (from looking online) but the house itself wasn’t our style and too hidden in the forest. Not enough bodies of water for us either from what we saw. It’s something we feel our best near. It was the best option we had found since moving here though. Just not quite right. Our idea of a perfect home may change once my husband retires from the military or other things change but for now a more urban homestead may be our best option for the area. 

Plans change. People change. 

Loving In Poulsbo

When we got our orders (military) to move to Washington State the city of Poulsbo immediately grabbed our attention. Nicknamed “Little Norway” due to the influence of the Scandinavian immigrants that is still VERY visible today it had instant appeal. Not only because of our ancestry and faith but because of the culture it might have. My husband is from a Dutch city in the Midwest and he lamented constantly about the lack of European food and bakeries (mostly bakeries) back where I am from in California. I remembered the German markets, restaurants and bakeries that by the time I was an adult had all but vanished in San Diego too. We both yearned for those things from our childhood that were lost. We were fairly happy in San Diego other than the heat, painful intensity of the sun and lack of greenery where we lived but learning of our new orders we were beyond excited. 

Poulsbo is a place we visit on many of our free days. They have a “Sons of Norway” hall full of events that make us feel part of a community. It’s lovely. We stop into “The Nordic Maid” every time we go to the main part of Poulsbo and generally pick up a token there. The main shopping area is next to the bay and the water has always called to my family. It is a gorgeous place and one where I don’t have to deal with others questioning my mjolnir or tattoos (or my husbands). The city is covered in Viking longboats and imagery of the Norse. Even their religious symbols are found in stores. 

We look here (away from the downtown area) often for a future homestead but often find land that is not suitable for us. Unless, we want to piss off the neighbors with our future goats, chickens and children who we would let run free on the land. We don’t feel judged and are comfortable here but realize this may not be the place the gods have in mind for us. So we move on. 

I highly suggest visiting this city if you are ever in Kitsap County. It is and probably always will be one of my favorite places in our area.