Monday, October 23, 2017

Life Finds a Way


No matter what happens around us the Wheel of the Year continues to turn. As Autumn continues to shower us with beautiful colors and cooler weather I am reminded that no matter what, life goes on.

This year has been especially trying. Lots of hardships and struggles, yet there have also been some pretty fantastic things. My lovely daughter and her equally lovely girlfriend were married on the Fall Equinox. It was beautiful and fun and all of my children and their significant others attended. Much joy was had that week. It was an honor to welcome a new daughter into my family. I also got to take my grand daughter to the zoo - FUN TIMES!

One of my favorite quotes is "Life Finds a Way" Dr. Malcolm (Jurassic Park). While he was referring to something completely different, the sentiment is accurate. No matter what our family has gone through this year, we found a way to make the best of it and move forward. Life definitely goes on whether we want it to or not, may as well make the best of it!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

California Burning :(

As you may know, I live in Northern Nevada, just 45 minutes from Lake Tahoe and 4 hours from San Francisco. When we want to get away we visit Northern California. The wine county, the coast, San Francisco... it is a beautiful drive from my place and there are always so many wonderful things to see and do.

Right now, my heart is breaking for Northern California. I can't imagine what these people are going through. Entire neighborhoods are gone. Living in the high desert we have a plan. It is there in the back of my mind, what I would grab if the worst was to happen and I had to evacuate. The pictures, the dogs (my kids are grown)... I always joke that I would have to grab my clay tools and the sewing machine. The fires that are burning in No. Cal. have reminded me that you don't always get the changes to grab and go, sometimes you just go and sometimes you don't even get that chance.

If you have a spare moment and believe in prayers, healing thoughts, sending strength and energy or just sending up request to the Gods..., please send your thoughts and prayers etc. to all of those in disaster areas, I think people can use all the good energy they can get.  


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WINE!

I have been a total slacker with my blog for about 2 years now. Since I am trying to get back into the blogging groove I decided to share my wine making journey.

A couple of years ago I bought my man a wine making kit. It was a box kit that was supposed to be easy to do, had all of the ingredient and directions. We made the wine but had no idea as to what we were doing and ended up with yummy juice! No alcohol in it at all! I finally poured it down the drain. I just can't drink the calories without the alcohol.  I'm not a juice person... just saying :0)

Fast forward to last summer. My good friend moved into a house that has a bad ass peach tree. I picked about 20 pounds of peaches and made wine with them. Since I still had no clue I didn't use as much yeast as I was supposed to and the wine had an odor to it.

It tasted great but it had a terrible bouquet. Desperate to save my first batch of actually drinkable wine I went to the local home-brew supplier and prayed he had an idea on how I could save my wine. He did. I spent a couple of hours pouring the wine through a copper tube to remove the mineral that was causing the smell and the result was ... yummy, great smelling peach wine. I bottled 2 cases of peach wine and gave some of it to friends.

This year I made blackberry wine, apricot wine and 2 different batches of peach wine - 1 sweet, 1 dry. I bottled 2 cases of the blackberry, the apricot is getting bottled this coming weekend, the peach will be bottled in about 4 weeks. I am having a lot of fun making wine!

The blackberry was a bit of a challenge. I used frozen fruit and left it in the fermenter to defrost. The next morning I woke up to a sarcastic note from my son. It said -  Nozzle down = bad, Nozzle to the side = bad, Nozzle Up = Good. I had forgotten to close the nozzle on the fermenter and blackberry juice leaked all over the kitchen floor. Fortunately my 20 year old son was visiting and heard a weird sound. He walked into the kitchen and saw "blood" all over the floor. So what does my kid do... he looks up. My bedroom is over the kitchen. I have no idea why he looked up but it made me laugh when he told me.

My amazing, wonderful kid cleaned up the juice that had leaked onto the floor and closed the nozzle at 3:00 AM! He will never let me forget that. The blackberry wine that I made from those berries had a HIGH alcohol content and tasted like cough syrup. Since it was my second batch of "drinkable" wine I fiddled with it, diluted it a bit and let it sit. I really didn't want to bottle something that I wouldn't drink but I also didn't want to pour 5 gallons of wine down the drain so I procrastinated and let it sit.

I eventually had to either bottle it or toss it because I needed the fermenter for the apricot wine. I tasted the diluted blackberry wine that had been sitting about 3 months longer than it was supposed and it was amazing! I bottled 2 cases of it and love the taste. I can't wait to taste it in another 3 months.

If you haven't made wine I highly recommend it. My man makes beer. He makes really amazing beer. It is a serious process when he makes beer. Once he is done the beer is drinkable but if the recipe is not right the beer isn't great. So far (knock on wood) he has made some really great beers! I make wine. It takes about 1 hour for me to make the wine. Then I let it sit for 5 days, then I removed the fruit and let it sit again. In a few months I drink it. The longer it sits the better it tastes but it is totally drinkable in 6-8 weeks. While my process takes longer, it is much easier. I process the fruit, add then necessary tannins, yeast, energizers, etc... and let it sit. I remove the fruit, add camden tablets to kill any bad bacteria (after fermentation of course) and let it sit. Then I add more camden tablets (just to be safe)bottle it and let it sit. Wine making takes patience but it is easy peasy!

If you have read this far... thank you and welcome back to my magical world.




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Wowsa!

My Girls Sophie and Alice

So this year has been a blur and not in a good way. My significant other lost his job, he found a new job but he makes a lot less than he used to so things have been super tight financially... so what happened to us this year- my dog gots sick, my car had issues, my lovely daughter and her girlfriend decide to get married on Mabon (it was fabulous and I am so happy for them) and last but not least, my man ended up in the hospital and had to have surgery... yep this year has not been my favorite! With the exception of my daughter getting married to her love this year has been pretty awful.

I have missed my blog. I have missed my magical friends. I have continued my magical life but it has been a very long and stressful year.

With all of that said... I am looking forward to this month. I love Samhain, the cool weather, pumpkins, soup... yes, even pumpkin spice everything! My man has an interview tomorrow and I think this is the position that he has been in a holding pattern for. It is perfect for him... hopefully the powers that be thing so to ;0)

There is something in me that just knows these last months of 2017 will be so much better that the previous months have been.

I hope to see you around. I'm planning on being here more often now...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wintery Weather



I live in Northern Nevada, near Reno and about 45 minutes from Lake Tahoe. This week has been rough! We had flooding in Reno and the surrounding areas, lots of snow, ice, and now more snow. The mountain areas have had between 4 and 11 FEET of snow since Tuesday night, great for the ski resorts but a pain for people trying to get to and from work.

Yesterday I started my drive to work on 1/2 inch of ice. The roads were awful but by 4:00 pm ALL of the snow and ice had melted. I thought this morning would be a nice, dry drive - NOPE, I woke up to more snow. Since I am considered essential personnel at work I left early and made it to the office 1/2 hour before they told us to go home. It is supposed to snow until around 10:00 PM. I was really impressed that our central office staff were told to go home due to worsening weather and all too happy to oblige.


I love snow - when I go visit it up in the mountains but I really don't like having to drive it in with people who have no clue. I did see Karma in action several times and while that was sort of fun even I was glad to be off the roads and no longer a witness to mass stupidity! Dear Goddess, if you have a big truck the ice still rules, you can not stop on ice - Slow Down... just saying. I'm am always grateful that I drive a Jeep, especially in snow, but no matter what you drive you need to be cautions.


Anyway, now that I am home, safe and sound, I am thoroughly enjoying the snow. I made cookies for the family. The dogs and I have had some hot chocolate on the deck (Ok I had hot chocolate, they had a biscuit), we played in the snow and now I am going to settle in by the fire and read a book!

So this is what a snow day feels like!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Witchy Green Cleaning: Window and Glass Cleaner


This is a re-post from my Witchy Green Cleaning Series. I've been using these homemade cleaners for several years and I am hooked! They work, they can be personalized and my hands no longer burn after I clean.

For this post I experimented with two green window and glass cleaners.  Both are simple to make and the ingredients are very similar.

Window & Mirror Cleaner 1

This recipe was listed on the Being Frugal website: www.beingfrugal.net
·         2 Cups Water
·         ¼ C. Vinegar
·         ½ tsp. Original Formula Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

      Add all ingredients to a spray bottle. Gently shake to mix.

Window & Mirror Cleaner 2

The second recipe is super simple, very similar to the one above and was found on the Daily Green Website: www.thedailygreen.com

·         2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
·         1 Gallon Water

Mix and pour into a spray bottle.

With both formulas you spray the mixture onto your window or mirror and then wipe clean with newsprint, not paper towels since paper towels tend to cause streaking.

My results: Both cleaners worked beautifully. The mirrors were sparkling clean and were streak free.

After the first use I decided to add a tiny bit of essential oil to the second formula. The reason I chose to experiment with this particular formula was because it did not contain the Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and I am pretty confident that if the oil does not leave a file with this formula it will also be fine in the first formula.

Since this product is for windows as well as mirrors I chose to add Bergamot oil for its protection, prosperity and luck properties. I added 10 drops to the 25 oz. spray bottle of my solution.
My results were fantastic. No residue, no smearing and no streaking.

Cost:
Formula 1
2 Cups. Water = .12
¼ C. Vinegar = .04
½ Teaspoon Dawn Dishwashing Liquid = .01
Total:  $.17 per 18 oz batch roughly .01 per ounce

Formula 2
2 Tablespoons Vinegar = .02
1 Gallon Water = .88 (cost for 1 gallon of bottle water at Walmart)
Total= .90 which breaks down to .007 or less than 1 penny per ounce!

Cost Comparison
Windex = $3.49 for 20 oz = .18 per ounce

While saving money is awesome, the fact that I can whip up a batch from ingredients I almost always have on hand, in less than a minute, can personalize the scent and can add some additional magical mojo to my cleaning… I have no idea why it has taken me so long to do this. Seriously!


Next up and all purpose cleaner, this one is a bit more involved ingredient wise but it is very versatile, still a green choice, inexpensive to make and again, I can add some extra oomph to it! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Witchy Green Bathroom Cleaner

Below is a re-post of my first Witchy Green Cleaning Post. I have been using these products for several years now and I have been very happy with the results. My house is clean, it smells great and I don’t worry that I am working with hazardous chemicals every time I pick up my cleaning products.  My hands are no longer cracked and red after I clean and the products are quick and easy to make and – once you get the basic ingredients- inexpensive compared to the harsher products. I hope you enjoy my Witchy Green Cleaning Series. 

Originally posted January 2, 2013:

Some of my Natural Cleaning Supplies

As the year begins I always feel like cleaning, well, pretty much everything! I really like to start the calendar year off with a deeply cleaned house but over the holidays(the day before Thanksgiving) I managed to do some serious damage to my hands because I forgot to wear gloves while cleaning my oven(yes I acknowledge that it was my own fault)! It has taken almost 6 weeks for my hands to be almost healed.  After that horrible experience I decided to make the switch to green products that are economical, easy for me to make at home and safe to use around my family, my pets and in my house.  Above is a picture of some of the ingredients I will be talking about over the next couple of weeks as I make the switch from chemical cleaners to homemade. 

The first recipe I choose to try was for a Bathroom cleaner that I saw on the www.beingfrugal.net site.

This bathroom cleaner is an easy one to make. You’ll need the following:

Spray Bottle
½ Cup Original formula 
Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and
 Vinegar (I used white vinegar, it is easy to find and very inexpensive)

Pour the Dawn Dishwashing liquid into the spray bottle and then fill the rest of the way with white vinegar. Gently shake to mix and you are ready to go. Like I said – easy peasy!
Cost for this batch (Based on the prices at my local Walmart and Lowe’s stores) –
½ cup of Dawn =  .24
18 oz of Vinegar =  .36
22 oz Spray Bottle = $2.28 at Lowes
Total Initial Cost = $2.88 (cost decreases each time you refill since you don’t have to purchase a new spray bottle)

Cost for the cleaner comes out to about .03 per ounce (I did not include the cost of the bottle in the per ounce cost because it is reusable and not part of the actual cleaning recipe). Formula 409 is roughly .18 per ounce

A great money saver and making this product is easy on the environment and on me!

The first time I used this I was thrilled. It did an excellent job cleaning the tub, toilet and counter tops - in the bathroom my boys use – ‘nuf said! It was also easy to make and did not of require tons of scrubbing. There was a very strong vinegar odor at first but that only lasted about 10 minutes. Once the tub was dry the vinegar smell was gone. After that first use I added 25 drops of essential oil to my bottle of cleaner. The result, the vinegary smell dissipated much quicker and there was a very light, lingering fragrance of my choosing, over all - I LOVE it!

Another benefit – I did not cough, my eyes did not burn or water and my still healing skin did not get red, cracked or become sore, in fact, after cleaning all three bathrooms in my house I am surprised at how soft my hands are. I will definitely not be going back to chemical cleaners. 
Now, for the Witchy add-ins…

The fun thing about making your own cleaning products is that, as a witch, you can add a little bit more oomph to the recipe just by the essential oil you decide to add. Of course you want to make sure it has a scent you like as well as a purpose that is compatible with what you are using it for.
A couple of ideas:

Add 20 -30 drops of peppermint oil to clear a room of negativity. This will also help get rid of the tendency to procrastinate and during the holidays it smells very festive.
Add 20 -30 drops of Lavender Oil to balance and calm an area, this is great for bedroom windowsills (mine are tile) and bathrooms, imagine taking a nice warm bath in a room that has been cleaned with a lavender charged cleaner!

Add 20 -30 drops of Sage Oil for overall purification and cleansing, this is a great way to purify spaces between uses of your sage smudge stick!

The variations are limitless! I love working with oils so this was an added benefit to making my own cleaning products. I chose to add Clovebud Oil to my cleaner due to its purification properties, ability to drive away negative forces as well as its tendency to invite abundance. It also has a smell that I find very pleasing!  

What I noticed about adding the essential oil was that there was no oily residue, only a very light scent of the oil that I added. I would imagine that this is due to the small amount of oil used, the fact that I used essential oil AND the fact that it is combined with a really nice grease cutter in the Dawn dish washing liquid.

One thing to add, vinegar has been proven in many scientific studies to be an effective disinfectant.  Here are some of the sites I visited while researching green cleaners which discuss the effectiveness of vinegar.


Coming Up Next:
A  Witchy Green window and glass cleaner