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Hestia's Hearth
by Renee
Samhain 2001, Vol 1-1
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MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly eZine for Goddess Women Near & Far

Seasonal Musings from the Hearth (with Apple Crisp Recipe)
Environmentally Friendly Recipes for Cleaning our Homes

Musings. Autumn... falling leaves, harvest, the crispness in the air, apples, squash, pumpkins... preparing for winter... welcoming the crone... this is the time of year for remembering our ancestors and traditions that hold us together and make us family, tribe... traditions that mark the changing seasons.

When the leaves and apples started to fall, my mother always made apple crisp, a recipe she learned from her mother and one that I make now... the smell of apples baking with cinnamon and brown sugar filled our home and helped make our home sacred. We nested, preparing our home for winter by putting plastic on the windows, bringing our warmer clothes out of storage, and putting our summer clothing away until after the buds of springtime came again. Mother always made a centerpiece for the table, using squashes, gourds, corn, candles--whatever she'd found and thought was interesting.

Around Hallows, we would visit the cemeteries to bring back the flowers we'd left at Beltane and do any tending to the gravesites that needed to be done--trimming brush, picking up this and that, cleaning the stones of those who walked before us, and to whom we shall return when our work here is done.

During this time of preparing for cooler months, of focusing inward, I invite you to consider what your autumn-time traditions are and what you might like to add, change, or let fade away. We all mark the seasons in our own way, in our own time. The blessings of the season are yours to enjoy.

Mom's Apple Crisp. In our tradition of Kitchen Witchery, or Hestian Magic as I like to refer to it now, we don't measure many of our ingredients. This is a simple recipe, from my grandmother, from my mother, from me.

My kitchen is sacred space, and as such, I like to start with it clean. No dishes about, wiped down countertops, clutter removed and put in its proper place. Light a candle, take some deep breaths, consider your intent. You
are making magic with every meal you prepare.

1. Start with apples, peeled, cored and sliced enough to fill a 9x13 cake pan (or whatever size pan you are using) to the top - if you get these from the store, you may use the majority of a regular-sized bag

2. With a fork, mix together until crumbly:
     a cup (or two handfuls) of oatmeal
     a half cup (or handful) of brown sugar
     a teaspoon or two of cinnamon, to taste
     some butter (or not, if you are watching your fat intake)

Sprinkle over the top of apples and bake at 350 degrees until brown and bubbly, around 35-45 minutes, remembering that times change with size of pan, heat of your particular oven, etc.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Environmentally Friendly Recipes from Artemis "The major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of production and consumption, particularly in industrialized countries." -- United Nations Agenda 21 Report

Our Environmental Recipes will help our planet in many ways. The recipes we publish in this column will be especially helpful to those with environmental allergies. These recipes will help keep septic systems healthy. Using harsh chemicals to clean hurts the environment and pollutes our natural resources. These recipes only cost pennies and last a long time. So, enjoy a environmental cleaning that is cost effective!

borax (found by laundry supplies in a grocery store)
washing soda (found by the laundry supplies in a grocery store)
pumice stone (found in a grocery store)
Bon Ami

Clogged drains: Pour one cup of washing soda in a bucket and add one ½ gallon of boiling water. Stir to dissolve the washing soda. Pour it down the drain, then use a plunger. When the sink clears, run hot water to wash everything through.

Toilet cleaner: Pour one handful of washing soda into the toilet. Add Bon Ami (sprinkle a layer in toilet to cover surfaces of water). Swish with a toilet bowl brush, scrub under the rim. Takes care of lime build up if done regularly. For stubborn lime deposits use a pumice stone and water. Rub lime deposit with wet pumice stone. Use the pumice stone only on porcelain fixtures. Plastic will scratch.

Laundry: To make towels and linens soft, add one half cup of borax to the wash. If washing in cold water, dissolve the Borax in hot water first, then add to the washer. If you have really hard water, add ½ cup washing soda in addition to the borax. It takes two or three washes before you start to notice results. Do this every time you wash. The towels will stay soft from then on. There is no need for any fabric softener.