Thursday 31 March 2011

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Casato Prime Donne, Part 2

After siesta time, we were given a tour of the wine-making process and the cellars where the wine is aged in huge wooden barrels. It was fascinating and impressive!

It was cool and dim in the cellar. There was art here too.

After the tour, we arrived back in the small gift shop where wine could be purchased. The staff were experts in packing the wine in special styrofoam containers for safe transport home in our luggage. Because I am allergic to red wine, we didn't buy a bottle of Brunello but got a nice white wine instead.

Our intention was to drink the wine on our next anniversary in 2009. Well, we forgot. 2010 came and went too, with our bottle of wine still gathering dust on the wine rack. But this year we made a determined effort and remembered to open our special wine on our anniversary.

It was a wonderful remembrance of our perfect day at Casato Prime Donne.

[Photos © 2008 and 2011 by Debra She Who Seeks and My Rare One]

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Casato Prime Donne, Part 1

My Rare One and I are not big into wine so when we visited Tuscany in 2008, we only toured one winery. We visited the Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino, a region famous for its red Brunello wine. Montalcino is south of Siena and Florence and in the late Middle Ages, it suffered greatly in the power struggle between those two city states.

The Casato Prime Donne is owned and operated entirely by women, a rarity in Italy's male-dominated wine industry. This assertive feminist connection was the drawing card for us, not the wine!

But speaking of the wine, it is aged in the Casato's beautiful old stone cellar house --

There was lots of art displayed on the buildings and grounds -- see the white ceramic doves high up under the eaves on one side of the building?

We arrived at siesta time after lunch when everything was closed, so we spent about an hour walking around the surrounding vineyards and countryside. The soil here is heavy, dense clay which is ideal for only two things -- growing grapes and making terra cotta pottery and other items. No wonder those activities were traditionally Tuscany's two main industries!

Harvest was just starting on the day we were there and already, the fields were dotted with many bright plastic containers full of grapes. My Rare One had a lovely conversation with some women harvesters even though no one spoke each other's language. She can talk to anyone!

Tomorrow -- a cellar tour!

[Photos © 2008 Debra She Who Seeks and My Rare One]

Monday 28 March 2011

To My Rare One on Our 8th Anniversary

While we missed out on being young together, we can hopefully look forward to being old together . . . . I can see us many years from now in the seniors home . . . you, me, Her Royal Highness the cat or her successor . . . two old babas doting on our beloved feline . . . .

And if that's not excitement enough, we'll get all gussied up and go to the activities room to play canasta . . . .

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"

--Robert Browning

Love you! xoxoxoxoxo

Friday 25 March 2011

It's Earth Hour Tomorrow!

Tomorrow evening at 8:30 p.m. local time, people all over the world will be turning their lights out for one hour -- Earth Hour -- in support of action on climate change. Yes, it's just a gesture and it can't fix everything (or indeed anything) but it's still a symbolic way to show your heart is in the right place! My Rare One and I usually end up playing cribbage by candlelight during Earth Hour -- ooo, romantic!

Thursday 24 March 2011


Since I'm an equal opportunity pagan, today I'd like to celebrate the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Truly we are all touched by His Noodly Appendage . . .

And never forget . . .

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Indian Village at Calgary Stampede

Thought I'd share the photos of the Indian Village encampment which I took last July at the Calgary Stampede. When we visited, most of the teepees were closed so we couldn't go inside. But the exteriors were interesting enough!

The Indian Village has its own stage for dancing and musical performances. They also sell bannock and tea. But we were there too early for any of those activities.

It was cold and rainy that day too, as you can see from the overcast sky. The next day it was scorching hot -- one extreme to another!

[All photos © 2010 Debra She Who Seeks]

Monday 21 March 2011

Baby Emerson

Have you seen this viral video yet of Baby Emerson?

Apart from being just too darn cute for words, this video reminds me of that old Cat Stevens song Silent Sunlight --

. . . remember . . .
when all things were tall
and our friends were small
and the world was new.

It's a funny video but there's a real poignancy to it too, I think, at least from my middle-aged vantage point where no experience is new or surprising like that anymore!

And on another note, how long will it be until Hollywood turns this into a movie? Gawd knows they've based movies on slimmer premises!

Hey, what's this? Here's the trailer already --

Sunday 20 March 2011

Spring Equinox / Ostara

Today is the first day of Spring, hooray! The Goddess Ostara moves across the earth, causing the snow and cold to retreat and the flowers to grow in Her warmth and sunlight.

Of course, where I live in Canada, Real Spring is still probably at least 4-6 weeks away. But at least we know that eventually it will arrive, which makes all the difference! In the meantime, pass the @#$*!! shovel.

Ostara Blessings to you and yours!

Saturday 19 March 2011

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's . . .

Supermoon! Tonight's full moon is a lunar perigee which occurs when the moon, travelling in its elliptical orbit, reaches its closest point to our earth. As a consequence, the moon will appear about 15% larger and up to 30% brighter than usual. The best time to check it out is at sunset, when the moon is closest to the horizon.

The Supermoon will cause higher and lower tides than usual, but don't buy into all the malarkey that it will cause natural disasters (or has already caused the earthquake and tsunami in Japan).

Just enjoy this full moon's additional size and beauty!

Friday 18 March 2011

Random Photo Day

I can't get terribly arty with my little point and shoot camera, but this is probably the artiest photo I've ever taken. When My Rare One and I were in Victoria, British Columbia a couple of years ago, we took a Grey Line bus tour of the city on a double-decker bus. This is a photo of the convex safety mirror between the top and bottom decks with the spiral staircase reflected in it.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Beannacht (Blessing)

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

--John O'Donohue

Many pagans don't like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day because St. Pat christianized pagan Ireland and quite frankly, we still resent it. So instead of lionizing the auld saint today, I'm featuring this poem by the brilliant and sensitive contemporary Irish mystic, poet and Catholic priest, John O'Donohue, author of Anam Cara.

And here's an extra treat -- a video of John O'Donohue himself reciting this poem shortly before his untimely death in 2008. He had the most beautiful Irish brogue and musical lilt to his voice. I could listen to him forever.

Friday 11 March 2011

Be Back Soon!

Just off to see me old Mum in the nursing home for a few days -- see you next week for St. Pat's!

Thursday 10 March 2011

Cats with Thumbs

Her Royal Highness insisted that I post this video for you today.

Now she's going around trying unsuccessfully to snap her fingers.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Perils of Interspecies Marriage

I know every woman has felt like this at some point or other in her life . . .

A wonderful fantasy, I know. But alas, there's no greater guarantee of "happily ever after" with a feline spouse than with any other. That's just how life works.

Boredom, disgruntlement and resentments set in . . .

And before you know it, push comes to shove . . .

Tomcats! They're all alike. Better luck next time, girl!

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Happy International Women's Day!

Some day may all little girls enjoy this level of confidence and, even more importantly, retain it into their adult years. Yay, Jessica!

Monday 7 March 2011

The Saga of Biorn

I saw this last week over at Sarita's blog, A College Girl's Days, and thought it was so hilarious that I wanted to share it with you! It's well worth the 7 minutes of your time to watch it.

Friday 4 March 2011

The River Rock Labyrinth

These photos were taken in the summer of 2010, our labyrinth's third year . . . . Come and take a labyrinth walk with me!

We start here, just off the deck. The unicursal path takes us past our two garden sheds, a big pot of red geraniums and the Green Man in His supervisory position on the front wall of the little shed.

We wind our way around the corner, past the zucchini plants and the Himalayan impatiens:

Because the labyrinth is L-shaped and has no centre as such, we treat the corner bench and flowery nook as the centre of the labyrinth. See how the path comes out right at the bench:

Here we can sit amid the fuschia and the wave petunias, contemplating our journey thus far and thinking deep thoughts:

We'll look back over the labyrinth and when we're ready, we'll follow its unicursal path back to where we started by the deck.

My Rare One and I intend to enjoy our labyrinth again this coming summer. But sooner or later, My Rare One will heed the Call of the Veggies and turn the labyrinth back into a garden plot again. The soil will be rested and refreshed, just as we have been by the quiet contemplation that the labyrinth so unfailingly provides.

[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Thursday 3 March 2011

Tabouli Salad for EVERYONE!

At the end of our labyrinth's first summer, a vegetarian friend came over, harvested all the parsley and took it away. For tabouli salad. Endless, endless tabouli salad. Anyway, she told us that parsley has a two-year life cycle and that it would come up again the next summer without reseeding. Great!

And the parsley DID come up again in Year Two. But this time it was not lush and full. Our labyrinth walls were patchy. They had embarrassing bare spots. We tried to fill them in with more parsley seed but it didn't grow well.

We became disillusioned with parsley.

But then My Rare One had a brilliant idea. Screw parsley! Round white river rocks are the way to go! So we went rock hunting. We fetched and carried. Carried and fetched. Ripped out parsley. Put in rocks.

Wow! Turned out pretty nice, we think. And once it was done, low maintenance too. Sweet!

Tomorrow -- a guided labyrinth walk!

[Labyrinth photo by Debra She Who Seeks]

Wednesday 2 March 2011

The Parsley Labyrinth

These photos show both sides of our L-shaped Parsley Labyrinth. See how lush and full those short green parsley walls are? That's our little garden shed in the background. The tall flowering plants around the edge are Himalayan impatiens.

This is how the labyrinth looked the first year we had it. But unfortunately, our second year of operation was not so successful . . . more on that tomorrow.

[Photos by Debra She Who Seeks]

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Our Backyard Labyrinth

Every summer for many years, My Rare One has grown peas, carrots, string beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cukes and zukes in her backyard garden plot. But then, three years ago, she decided instead to try something different in that spot -- a labyrinth!

Sacred geometry fascinates My Rare One. And what is a labyrinth but an exercise in sacred geometry? She set her design skills to work. There were two complicating factors in designing a labyrinth for that space:

1. The garden plot is L-shaped and alas, there's not enough room for a round labyrinth. But who says labyrinths must be round? Using various labyrinth models, My Rare One extrapolated a unicursal path that fit the unusual shape.

2. What could we use for the labyrinth walls? Since the labyrinth would not be permanent, our materials must be temporary, cheap and easy to install. I'm proud to say that I came up with the solution:

Off we went to the store and bought a gazillion packages of parsley seed. My Rare One mapped the path with string and stakes. She planted the parsley. We waited. And waited. And then . . . our beautiful Parsley Labyrinth was born!

Tomorrow -- photos!