July 31, 2011 at 12:03 (Uncategorized)
Tags: Equinox, Herbs, Witchcraft
The typical Bieszczady landscape, once you climb them.
Well, I’m back. It wasn’t all that long a trip, but this particular part of the world has an amazing detachment quality – no matter how much time You spend there, it feels strange to come back to the (more) civilized world. The weather was bad, rain either drizzled continuously or poured in inconvenient mo- ments, my boots were soaking wet for six days straight, and at some point we had to wade a considerable distance through water-soaked clay and mud. And yet it was great, and I will definitely do it again.
I had hoped to find a few herbs that only grow in that particular part of the country, but was unsuccessful. I might have found something else, though, but it’s too early to tell. Whatever the consequences, I’m back, and feeling strangely restless – no mountains to climb, no mud stains to clean… Fortunately, I only have enough time to wash up, dry up my tent and pack for the fantasy convention. Oh, and give my readers a sign that I wasn’t eaten by bears or wolves, both of which can be found there.
You don't see that kind of trees around. In children's' books, sure, but not in reality... Usually.
KW will probably only pick up its regular tempo (ha, ha) after 22 August, when I’m back for good, but I must tell You all, my good readers, that this trip did me a world of good. I actually feel like picking my book up again – the actual book I am supposed to work on all this time.
A group of elves dressed in gray and green would be perfectly natural here. More than tourists in trek boots, actually...
So I’m off to do more strange things in strange woods, but You will definitely be the first to know when I finally cook something nice. In the meantime, the customary blessings!
July 20, 2011 at 20:35 (Uncategorized)
Just a quick note to let You know, KW will probably go on a month-long hiatus as of today. I know it wasn’t exactly bustling lately, but I’ve had a bit of a hard time, what with trying to make ends meet in self-employment, getting this damn shell of a heart of mine into something resembling working order and dealing with death in the family.
I will be going into the mountains as of tomorrow night, and a very special kind of mountains, too. You can read about them here. I hope to be back in a week, but after that I’m going into another kind of wilderness for a fantasy convention I attend every year. So chances for actually achieving something here will pop up around mid-August.
In the meantime, take care, help Yourselves to the recipes (or the book) and live with my blessings.
July 12, 2011 at 11:14 (Uncategorized)
Tags: Book, Cosmic horror, Equinox, friday 13, Kindle, Lovecraft, Magic, Music, Raven, Solstice, Witchcraft, Writer's block, Writing
I actually did it. I self-published a novella on amazon.com in kindle format. It is not the one I’ve been working on for the last year, though, it’s something else. A lovecraftian bit of haunted house horror I had written on account of being quite a Lovecraft fan.
I’m not expecting huge sales and making a million dollars on it. It’s more of an attempt at determining whether anyone would actually want to read my prose. I’m treating it experimentally, although of course a million dollars would be nice. If you’re interested in the book, it has a website here and can be bought for kindle e-reading devices here. I made the cover design myself, too. It was fun.
It’s a story that aims to maintain some of H.P.L’s original flavour, but refresh some of the more…. lacking areas of his writing. If any of You are familiar with him, You’ll know what I mean.
I would be most grateful for any help in promoting this little folly of mine, but by no means feel obliged to anything. It’s already a big thing that You actually read this blog.
July 8, 2011 at 12:16 (Ingredients)
Tags: Cooking, Cooking tips, Cuisine, Equinox, French cuisine, Gluten free, Herbs, Imbolc, Incense, Italian cuisine, Magic, Recipe, Salad, Solstice, Soup, Spaghetti, Spell, Witchcraft
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.
- Midsummer Night’s Dream
The common thyme. Strong, fresh scent, beautiful, small leaves and the resilience of something much bigger and tougher. This ancient herb has been used by many nations throughout the world since antiquity, respected for its antiseptic and preservative qualities that could be profited of by cooks, medics and even embalmers. Even nowadays, many throat remedies are still made of thyme, coltsfoot and marsh mallow, despite all the progress in pharmacology.
Thyme is an easy herb to keep, even in a pot on your windowsill. It likes sunny spots best, but will actually make do anywhere, as long as there’s some direct light. It does not need a lot of water – indeed, too much of it can hurt the plant – and will struggle along even if You forget about it for a week, which makes it a good start for beginner herbalists. Even dried up and brown, the plant will regain almost all of its strength when taken care of.
If You want to have some fresh thyme at home, the best way to go about it is to buy a live plant. Thyme is very difficult to raise from seeds and is usually propagated by cuttings, even by professionals. If You bought a plant and want to put it in a pot, remember that thyme is a survivor ; it has evolved to withstand harsh conditions and those are the ones that suit it best. The most important thing here is to keep the soil well-drained. But don’t worry : just take the intended pot and fill the bottom with a 3 to 4 cm layer of stones (gravel or sea pebbles, anything small) and the rest with soil. This will make Your plant feel right at home.
Thyme can also be used to great effects in gardens, as it really is rather decorative, very resilient and can take severe cold well. An interesting fact is that ants like to make nests among thyme roots, and gardeners have successfully drawn ants away from an undesirable spot by planting thyme bushes somewhere else.
Because of the strong aroma, thyme herb is a great seasoning for all those dishes that need an extra zing. Meats of all kinds can benefit greatly from being marinated in olive oil and thyme (and will keep longer). It’s a great ingredient for all kinds of salads and casseroles where the taste would otherwise be too bland. The only problem is that the leaves are very small, and if You have a live plant, You’ll have to pick quite a lot of them and it becomes tedious after a while. But that’s hardly a real disadvantage.
Thyme is most commonly used as an antiseptic, due to high concentration of essential oils. Most common use for it are throat infections, which can be treated with infusions, thyme oil (it’s hard to make as it has to be distilled twice, so at home best stick to infusions) or some more complicated recipes I will not dwell on right now. It is also used to stimulate the digestive system and can raise blood pressure, although not enough to be any danger to patients suffering from hypertension. Usually. Of course, ultra-high concentration of thyme oil should be avoided by them, but then again, it’s not likely to come across that sort of dose anyway.
In magic, thyme can be used to great effect. Due to the strong and persistent nature of the plant, it can be used in charms to grant courage and resilience. The potent, healthy aroma invigorates the spirit and clears thought similarly to lavender, but with more emphasis on action. Thyme can also be used to ward off nightmares, be it the fresh herb, the dried herb used in a witch bag, or incense. It is definitely worth to keep this small, but noble bush at home.