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Living in Season Newsletter

Living in Season
The official newsletter of the School of the Seasons
Volume 1, number 14
September 19, 2003, St Sophia (Wisdom)


  • Welcome
  • Update: Mid Autumn Moon Festival
  • Living in Season: Making Wine at Home
  • In the Library: Books on Plants
  • New on My Website: Harvest Links and Sample Pages
  • Current Offerings: Harvest Packet
  • Copyright
  • Subscribe - Unsubscribe

Welcome to my semi-monthly newsletter featuring ideas for bringing the beauty of the current season into your life. Please forward this newsletter if you enjoy it.

If a friend send you this newsletter, welcome! You can subscribe for free at my website: www.schooloftheseasons.com
We never rent, sell or give away subscriber information.

Update: Mid Autumn Moon
Every year I forget why I don't usually celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, as Chinese women do, by gathering in a courtyard to honor the rising Moon. It's because we almost never get to see the full moon of September in Seattle. This year, as usual, the moon was muffled by a sea of endless grey rain clouds. I spent the evening with women friends, enjoying a delicious meal, followed by a great conversation while soaking in a hot tub. The wind rustled through the bamboo and struck plaintive tones from a wind chime as we talked. It was the perfect way to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon.

Living in Season: Making Wine at Home
Just got home from a wonderful wine-tasting of wines from Southern France at the local natural foods market so it seems like a perfect time to send out this newsletter.

For the past two years, I've been dating a man who's a connoisseur of wine, after a revelatory sip of an old Chateau Haut Brion (I find most wine fanatics have had this initiatory experience). Alas, not me. I've had some amazing wines with Michael but none that really blew me away. Which may be the reason I don't disdain (as he does) the idea of home wine-making. Or maybe it's just that I want to be involved in the magic.

In earlier times, in the right climate, every family grew grapes to make wine for personal use. My parents put in a grape arbor over the patio of the ranch house they bought in the 1950's in Van Nuys, California, but tore it down by the time I was ten (too messy with all those grapes squished on the concrete) and replaced it with corrugated green plastic which cast a sickly glow, compared to the dappled pale green of sun shining through the grape leaves. We never made wine from those grapes but I still remember with fondness sipping my Uncle Bob's blackberry wine at family Thanksgivings.

So I was thrilled this year when I was able to attend a Making Fermented Beverages class taught by my favorite local herbalist, EagleSong as part of her annual Food Camp, in which she shows students how to prepare "live" foods, like cheese, pickles, and wine, foods that are transformed through the actions of the little beasties that live around us and inside us and transform things from one substance to another, like the Catholic mystery of Transubstantiation (when the wine becomes Christ's blood).

EagleSong taught us a simple method for making wine at home, which I've added to the Harvest packet. You can view these PDF pages here.

This supplement also includes the pages on making beer, plus a warning about the danger of exploding beer bottles if the beer is still fermenting vigorously when you bottle it. I've also created links to several sites on home brewing and wine-making.

Participate in the Great Transformation Mysteries of Autumn this year

  • By making your own wine or beer
  • By making bread with yeast
  • By enjoying a bottle of wine or beer with your Harvest meal

In the Library: Books on Plants
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, Stephen Harrod Buhner

Buhner is a passionate advocate for a return to a time when people recognized the sacred nature of the plants and trees they used to create fermented beverages that were healthful, nutritious, sacred and intoxicating. He encourages readers to return to the simple methods of the earliest brewers, rather than following the high tech instructions and formulas found in other books and websites on beer-making, which also require investment in sophisticated equipment.

The Lost Language of Plants, Stephen Harrod Buhner, Chelsea Green 2002

Be warned: this book will alter your mind. I haven't read a book that had such a powerful and immediate effect on my world view since The Secret Life of Plants, that 1970's classic which Buhner quotes frequently in this juicy, yeasty compilation of anecdotes, scientific studies, quotes and poems. Buhner has the utmost affection for every living thing. He starts by admiring the amazing abilities of the most primitive plants, the microbes. We wage war on them with antibiotics and other deadly chemicals, a war they're winning since they can adapt faster than we can. In an ideal world we would live in cooperation and harmony for we need them for digestion, protection from disease, enriching the soil, fermenting and so much more. Then Buhner addresses the plants, describing the complex ways they nurture growth and health: their own and others. Here's a quote from the book that seems apt for the theme of this newsletter:

Almost any edible wild green is richer in vitamins than domestic lettuce. Table lettuce is to wild lettuce what the Protestant's grape juice is to Christ's blood, and plays a similar role. Part of us still knows we need the Wild Redeemer.

- Dale Pendell, Pharmako/poeia

New on my Website: Harvest Links & Sample Pages
I find research as intoxicating as wine. Which is why it's taken me so long to add links to my site. Every time I start exploring links, I get lost in cyberspace.

I finally decided to add links the way I create packets, one holiday at a time. So I've created a Harvest links section which lists links for more information on wheat weaving, home brewing and home wine making, three of the topics in the Harvest packet. You can view this new section, along with some of my favorite sites, here.

I've also posted sample pages in PDF format of the new material I added on wine making to the Harvest packet so those of you who got last year's packet can add this supplemental material and those who haven't ordered yet can get a taste of what the Harvest packet contains. Click here to download the sample Harvest pages in PDF format.

Current Offerings: Harvest Packet
My Harvest holiday packet contains over 50 pages of ideas on how to celebrate the Autumn Equinox, including the:

  • Ancient celebrations of Harvest and Michealmas
  • The meaning of the Harvest Moon
  • The September Full Moon holidays of Mid-Autumn Moon & Sukkoth
  • Transformation mysteries of beer and wine
  • Recipes for gingerbread, ginger beer and other traditional Harvest foods
  • Instructions for creating wheat weavings and a basket to honor Demeter
  • And much more.

$9 plus $2 shipping and handling. Please allow ten days for delivery. An email version is also available for $7. It will be sent as an attached Word file within three days of receiving your order. You can order through our store.

Copyright ©Waverly Fitzgerald 2003.
All rights reserved. You may reprint material from Living in Season in other electronic or print publications as long as you credit me and provide a link to: http://www.schooloftheseasons.com. Please send me a copy of the publication.

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