As for me, I have a batch of peaches waiting to be turned into peach butter which I always enjoy making. There's something soothing and cozy about jam making, well, about home cooking in general, at least for me. It is a magickal experience, imbuing love and healing into every bit. If we all cooked our own food from scratch, we'd all be a lot healthier according to the Real Food movement. I get my info about this from The Weston Price Foundation, the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon and various blogs and articles. My goal is to have home cooked, real food everyday. The jam, while it contains sugar, is healthier than anything you will buy in the store. I use organic sugar and fruit. I prefer fruit butters as they need no added pectin and it is simply fruit, sugar (which can be adjusted to use less) and spices - just keep cooking it down until it is the right consistency - very easy. The canning part is really very little trouble and I love to listen for that little ping as the jars cool after processing and the lids seal. One of life's pleasurable and useful activities.
Another thing I love to do as September rolls in, is make pomanders. I'm talking about the real thing - oranges studded completely with whole cloves, then dried in a mixture of aromatic spices. I have a huge bowl that I put the powdered spices in and just sit the clove studded fruit in, turning them and sprinkling them daily. Toadstool Condo is scented with the warm aroma and these pomanders last for years! I have some that are twenty or more years old. Of course my fingertips are a bit worse for wear after studding the oranges (I use an old fine knitting needle to pierce the fruit, it doesn't stop a bit of staining) but they smell heavenly. I love the scent of cloves and it has many fine healing and magickal qualities.
Cloves are a most favorite spice. I use clove and lemon essential oils in my homemade vinegar cleaner, it smells wonderful, is antiseptic and germicidal, lifts one's spirits while calming as well as attracting good energies. The best part, aside from the fact that it works well, is that there are no harmful chemicals. It is very inexpensive to make. I use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, but you can use less vinegar if you like. I find the 1:1 ratio makes a better grease cutting agent. For two cups of liquid, I use about 10-15 drops of each essential oil, but this too can be adjusted to your liking. Shake well before spraying surfaces. Also, this is for countertops, sinks, tile - not wood. Test on the surface to be sure it won't damage it.
Magickly speaking, cloves are very useful. They repel negative energies, attract good ones, good people and can be used in protective ways. . Cat Yronwode, recommends studding a red candle with cloves, then burning to stop lies, malicious gossip and slander. This will also make your enemies friendlier. I find that having some cloves in a pot pourri or clove oil in an aromatherapy lamp, keeps visitors happy and feeling good.
Cinnamon and clove tea will help sooth an upset digestive system as well as taste divine. The scent will give an emotional lift while the spices do their work internally. Any medicinal tea is best made from scratch. Simply break up a cinnamon stick, bruise a few cloves, add some chamomile if you like , then pour boiling water over and steep 10 minutes, then add some black tea if you like and give it another 5 minutes to brew. Strain and serve as you like. I prefer my tea with a little cream, but to each her own!
It seems that August has just sped by and it is time to stitch a few holiday ornaments for my own Solstice tree and to give as gifts along with the jam and shortbread. Did I mention how delicious the merest smear of jam is on shortbread? Again - homemade is best, but in a pinch, Walkers makes theirs with just butter, sugar and flour, the best way and will do in a pinch.
All of this chatter about tea, jam and shortbread has stirred my appetite. I'd best be off to sleep so I am well rested for my various activities tomorrow.