Thursday, April 11, 2013

After Easter R & R

Chakra Labyrinth

In the days following Easter this year I recovered from the spiritual/liturgical/emotional marathon by spending some time in physical labor building a labyrinth, a passion of mine.  After some thinking and praying about the shape, I decided on building a "Chakra" Labyrinth.   This was a design I had not tried before but was intriguing to me especially because of the spiral at the center and because it has a womb like shape.

Creation Sculpture
I also like the "Y" shape that gives the labyrinth its structure.  It mirrors the Creation Sculpture of the Spirit throwing stars into the heavens.  

At Crickhollow there is this large side yard that is perfect.  I have loved incorporating trees into my labyrinth in the past and there is a small grove of older trees in the side yard before you get to the forest proper.

Fire Pit

Day 1:  I began with the center that I wanted to be larger than normal and to include a small firepit.  I dug down, lined the pit with gravel and soapstone slabs and surrounded it with large rocks.

Femto Henge and Inner Spiral
Day 2-3:  I harvested rocks from the quarry and from my land and began to work the layout with the trees.  I cleared some mountain laurel to make way for the paths.  I decided to make the inner spiral about 3 feet from the firepit and dug holes for uprights to define the spiral.  I call this the Femto Henge (a femto being very small and a henge, of course is standing stones).

Labyrinth Entrance with
Bell and Creation Sculpture

Day 4:  I brought stones from my older labyrinth in Goochland, added herbs and plants between some of the stones, placed the Creation sculpture and a bronze bell at the beginning and distributed symbols around the outside circle to change the look as you walk.

Eventually it will be mulched, but it is done for now.  Come and walk it!

The Labyrinth

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reflections on the Year 2012

From RevGalBlogPals
1. What is some "old news" this year that you'd like to repeat for 2013?
      Mindful eating (except on the cruise)
2. What "new thing" have you started that you want to keep going in 2013?
     Actually taking a day off and keeping Sabbath.
3. What event, experience or gift would you just as soon "Return to Sender"? Maybe it was a disastrous sermon, a congregational kerfuffle, a vacation nightmare, or your own mis-step. It can be funny or sad. 
      I was very ill in July.  I NEVER want to do that again.
4. Share the brightest bit of joy that was a part of your year.
      Being on the crew of the Ladyslipper in June.  This is the only all woman crew in the festival and I have wanted to do this for a decade.  It is a week of hard work poling the boat down the James River and is more fun than a woman my age ought to be having.  If you go to you can find out about it.
5. Share a picture that says far more than words. (You can use it to illustrate one of the above.) 

Share a recipe! I'm in the doldrums and need some healthy eating options for my menu planning. Soup, stew, main dish, side dish or a healthy dessert - any and all are welcome!


1 lb dried white beans (the best beans for this are flageolet, a dried pale green bean that cook to a creamy consistency)
1 smoked hock
1 chopped onion
3-4 chopped garlic cloves
4 cups cubed mixed leftover meats
     lamb, turkey, chicken, ham, pork
     goose, pheasant are all good 
½ lb hot sausage or polish sausage
2 c breadcrumbs
1 stick butter
“the mouse”
            1 stick celery, some parsley,
1 sage leaf, 1 T rosemary,
            1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano,
           3 cloves. 1 bay leaf

Pick over and wash beans.  Soak beans overnight in water to cover.  Make “the mouse” by laying ½ celery stick on cheesecloth square.  Put herbs and spices on the celery, lay other half of celery stick on top.  Fold cheesecloth around bunch of herbs and celery and tie with string leaving long “tail”.  Drain beans.  Cover with water.  Add ham hock, onion, garlic and “the mouse” to the beans.  Cook until beans are nearly tender.  Remove “the mouse” (this is fun to do when kids are around) and discard.  Remove ham hock and cut meat from bones.  Add meat from hock back into pot.  Add mixed leftover meats.  Saute sausage or slice polish sausage.  Add to pot.  Cook until beans are tender.  Put bean and meaty mixture in a large casserole.  Cover with buttered bread crumbs.  Bake at 350° until top is golden brown.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

St Elizabeth in Advent Cookies

OK, they are just Mexican Wedding Cookies, but I put a half of a pecan in the middle and rolled the cookie into a ball around it.  They, like Elizabeth, have snow on the roof, but have a little nut inside.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Today is the beginning of what Sam Portaro refers to as the Autumn Triduum.  These three days are set aside for a feast time which reflects the Spring Triduum from Maundy Thursday evening service through the Feast of the Resurrection.  The Spring Triduum is about new life...the Autumn is about remembering the dead.  Tonight the goulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night will invade our spaces.  It is an ancient practice to keep away the evil spirits that may walk this earth at this thin time.  Tomorrow we remember the Saints, holy women and holy men who have shown us Christ in one another, and then on  Friday we redundently remember the souls of the faithful departed who are also saints.

The ancestors called this feast Samhain (pronounced Sowan).  They lit fires and moved into a silent reflection on mortality.  The lush fruitful garden has been put to bed, we are hopefully saying farewell to ticks, fleas, stinkbugs, and ladybugs, and regretfully saying farewell to geese and remembering the hummingbirds who have already found warmer places to winter over.

I silently sit by my fire and give thanks for those who have contributed to its making.  For Missi who contributed the kindling, for Ben who contibuted the tinder (old WSJs), for the Goochland Rotary club who sells firewood to fund their community outreach, for my dh Bob who split the wood.  I give thanks to God for the trees that are our so very renewable resource, and for deliverance from the storm.

Samhain Fire

Silence descends
a cloak warming and wrapping
the inner soul's self

Here are three days
of seeking the heart's desire
and hearth's fire
burning offerings of past pain.

I offer my self
cleansed on an altar of fire
to face the cold silent season
with warmth and joy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We were blessed here in Central Virginia with a near miss from the huge storm event.  No trees down at the rectory, just a lot of needed rain and some wind.  We are heading out to Crickhollow later in the week to see if there is any damage out there.  We have heard that there was snow out there.  I am keeping my friends and family in the hardest hit areas in my prayers.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Crickhollow Sabbath

Keeping sabbath at Crickhollow is different this week because my mom is with me.  She is recovering from a pinched nerve that has caused sciatica and she is with me so I can take her to physical therapy.  We are learning to get along.  She finds it hard to accept my help.  Sometimes it is like having a 3 year old who always want's to do it herself.  Our relationship changes as we work out our differences.  Meanwhile I am enjoying autumn colors in the woods and cool mornings.  I love fall.  I love the woodsmoke and the mist in the hills in the morning.  I love the clear skies at night and the starshow with the near new moon. Thank you God that I still have my mother to work on our relationship.  Thank you for a beautiful autumn, for the gift of a hunting hawk in the morning as I sit outside with my coffee, for all of creation that is spread out in its complexity and wonder.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mom comes to Crickhollow

Yesterday, Harriet, my Atlanta sister-in-law, and my 90 year old mother came for lunch in the country.  It was a good visit stretching from lunchtime until evening with time spent in the garden admiring the herbs and flowers and ignoring the weeds.  Mom is pretty sharp for a nonagenarian.  She wants one of everything for her garden when I get ready to dig up and split some of my plants and she was fascinated by the moonflower vine.  We chatted in front of the fire sipping wine and eating pie until the light began to fade, discussing our histories, our relatives, Sunday's sermons in our churches, and what was coming up for us next.  After they left for Mom's home I sat outside watching the waxing gibbous moon rise over the trees and waited for my darling husband.  As I watched, I saw his truck move very slowly down the drive, occasionally stopping.  When he finally parked beside the house he explained that a very large red fox had been walking in front of him all the way down the drive.  When he neared the house the fox turned and looked at him then slipped into the forest.  He reckoned that what I thought was a young cougar was actually this large red fox.  Maybe...or maybe it is a shapechanger.  The Cherokee, from whose people I claim some of my genetic makeup, believed that the fox brought healing.  As I continue to find limitations in my stamina I am glad to have been blessed with the presence of a fox.