Saturday, November 28, 2009

Luverly of the Week: The Tolkien Professor

The Tolkien Professor {Cory Olsen} has a great podcast of lectures which are a must listen for all J.R.R Tolkien enthusiasts! Here is a little blurb from the site:

In my lectures on this site, I am going through Tolkien’s books in detail. In each lecture, I discuss one or two chapters, exploring the fascinating details of Tolkien’s world, his characters, and his language while also tracking some of the large, important themes in Tolkien’s fiction.

My favourite one so far is a talk called Tolkien and the Environment, one that I am sure many of the nefaeria blog readers would enjoy.

Happy listening! :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Some Odds & Ends....

...and new beginnings too!

I can't believe that the Winter Solstice is less than a month away! The weather we have been getting the Bay has been fairly mild and rainy; a little more like Vancouver than Northern Ontario. I guess Mama Nature is being kind to us for the crap Summer we had. I might be able to get some garden work done that I had deferred to next year before we get the white stuff dumped on us. ;)

One thing we will be getting done sooner than I thought is a move. My friend's tenants finally bought a place so the space will be freed up soon. It will be nice to have a backyard again! {It's at the same place where I had the garden this past season}.

Something else that might be happening sooner than expected is the book The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Dark Shamanism and Witchcraft in 17th Century Scotland by the brilliant author Emma Wilby becoming available. The latest through the rumour mill is that it is to released in the Spring of 2010 instead of the Fall. If interested, I would purchase it now.

While you wait you can always read Emma Wilby's book Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, check out this great post at Hoydens and Firebrands, and have a look at The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft.

And lastly, I posted another video onto our Youtube channel about deer in myth and folklore. I tried to make sure that it was a picture, not a bunch words on the preview, but it didn't quite work {as you can see!}. Someone told me that Youtube picks the preview from the middle, but it seems that it is more like a third of the way in.

If anyone knows the secret then please share! :)



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kuri Squash

Kuri squash really is a blessing to homesteaders: it is versatile in the ways in which you can prepare it to eat, it is relatively easy to grow {even in smaller gardens}, and it stores quite well.

It is an heirloom winter squash from Japan and can be grown probably in any temperate climate. Just like pretty much any squash, it likes soil that is well-drained and high in organic matter. A safe pH range is anywhere from about 6.0 to 7.0, although I have seen people mention that it can do ok anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5. It can tolerate partial shade (!!!) and takes about 95 to 115 days until it is ready for harvest. Imagine how beautiful this squash would look in a Three Sisters garden, with heirloom corn and beans! *swoon*

My favourite ways to eat kuri squash is in pies {can replace pumpkin in pumpkin pie recipes}, muffins, and soups. I have linked to a few nifty recipes below, so check them out and give them a try, and make sure to put kuri squash on your wishlist for next year's garden!



Baked Kuri Squash & Apple Maple Pudding

Baked Kuri Squash {can be used as a pie filling}

Curry-Kuri Squash Soup

Kuri Squash Soup with Cranberry Compote

Kuri Squash Pasta Sauce

Veggie Quinoa Bake with Kuri Squash

Kuri Squash Gratin

Spiced Kuri Squash & Chicken Stew

Braised Short Ribs & Kuri Squash Orzo

Kuri Squash Lobster Bisque

Roasted Kuri Squash Seeds

Kuri Squash Stuffed with Shiitakes and Almonds

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Luverly of the Week: Medieval Wolf Patch from King's Hand Press

Yet another Etsy shop with gorgeous stuff to drool over! King's Hand Press has a gaggle of printed pretties, and it seems like the woman behind the shop, Nikol King is updating it often!

Here are a few more of my favourite luverlies from her shop:

Plaid Wolf Scarf {a really nice tartan choice!}

'Goodbye Little Brother'...'Welcome Sweet Daughter'.

This week I ended up going down to Toronto last minute with a friend who was going down for a conference and asked me if I would like to tag along.

I was super stoked to see a couple of people who I haven't seen since I was in Toronto last year, and one of those people is an old friend who just had a baby a couple of weeks ago.

Little did I know while heading down that this would be a trip to learn some lessons on as too.

My friend and I checked into our hotel on Tuesday evening, at around 7:30pm. We chilled for a bit and went to bed pretty early because she had to get up early for her conference.

I called everyone I wanted to see the next day to solidify plans, including my friend who is a new mom. When I called her I got the horrible news that her little brother was gunned down in a home invasion and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. This happened at around the same time we got into Toronto the night before.

I know that it is customary to speak kindly of the dead {especially if they were murdered and died before their time}, so customary that it is probably a cliché...but her little brother was an awesome person, and he surely did not deserve to be murder by a band of thugs.

My friend understandably had to be with her family that day, so we ended up going by to visit her on our way back to the Bay on Thursday evening.

I met her beautiful baby girl and we cried together for her little brother. I noted that my friend really is holding it together for her family and for her new child.

Just before we left, my friend looked at picture of her brother and said, ‘Goodbye little Brother’.

Then she looked down at her child and said ‘Welcome sweet Daughter’.

My friend is an inspiring woman. Just by being with her for from that too short a visit I learnt that no matter what is thrown at you, you can still be strong if you need to be. I learnt that I need to stop being drowned in self-pity and get on with it.

If a woman who just lost a loved one to a vicious murder can still feel blessed, then surely I have no reason not to.

My heart goes out to her and her family, and she also has my eternal thanks.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Coloured Fairy Books Series by Andrew Lang

I just discovered that the Andrew Lang's wonderful 'coloured fairy' book series is available online at Sacred Texts and have just added it to our suggested reading for spirituality and folklore which you can find here.

Happy reading!



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Luverly of the Week: The Bodhrán

The bodhrán is one of my favourite instruments, and I intend to learn how to play it {one day when I have the time!}. For the folks who are not familiar with the bodhrán, it is an Irish frame drum that is most often used with a cipín {or tipper} and sometimes folks use their hands to beat it as well.

The use of the bodhrán goes back to at least the 17th century, where it was reportedly used as a battle drum during the Irish rebellion {the Nine Years' War}. It is possible that the drum's history does go back further, even to pre-Christian times, which was the claim of composer Seán Ó Riada.

Below is a nifty documentary for you to watch on the bodhrán, and if interested in seeing folks rock out on one, there are surprisingly many different videos on Youtube for that as well.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yes, It's Another Blog Makeover...

Now that Hallowe'en is well over, I thought that it was time to get rid of that theme for the year.

The banner was made on Scrapblog.

The photo in the banner with the girls and cute pony came from The Graphics Fairy.

The background was made on Photoshop CS2 while following a great tutorial from The Cutest Blog on the Block.

The luverly papers used in the background come from an adorable set called Welcome to the Wood done by Bouble Scrap Hobby. You can find other nifty papers and the like for free at Digital Scrap Depot
And lastly, our new email button was also made on Scrapblog and the horse and faery come from The Graphics Fairy.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Another Video: Aesop's Fables!

This is our take on 5 of our favourite Fables from Aesop:

The Stag & His Reflection

The Crow & The Jug

The Lion & The Horse

The Fox & The Crow

The Town Mouse & The Country Mouse



Thursday, November 12, 2009

A New Video on our Youtube Channel:

Practical Superstitions Episode Two: The Art of Horse Whispering:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Updates and Post Samhain Stuff

Howdy all!

Sorry we have been really been around here the last little while! Aymi has been having plenty of folks visiting and I have been getting over the plague {my over the top nick for the flu!} and haven't had much energy for anything besides the normal day to day things.

I hope that you all had a fantastic Hallowe'en/Samhain! Mine was pretty low key as I was too sick for going out and having fun, but I did muster up enough energy to pay homage to my Ancestors {decorating our altars was made easy thanks to a couple of local farmers who had extra pumpkins, corn stalks, and kuri squash on hand!} and to do some magical workings that were much needed.

As previously mentioned in an earlier post I am currently purging negative things in my life so I can be a happier and healthier person. The transitions have been challenging and I am still in the thick of them, but they are starting to pay off methinks. More work to be done there!

Now that Winter is on its merry way I will finally have more time to work on art projects that I have been putting off for far too long. It will be splendid to get back to it and have some quiet time! ;)

I leave you all with some photos from my Samhain {excuse the shoddy quality of some of them!}. Enjoy and be well! :)