Merry Meet and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again

Monday, October 31, 2011

Samhain 2011

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Blessed Samhain to you and yours!

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May this night be sacred and meaningful.

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We remember those who came before us.

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And we say farewell and thanks to the year that is ending.

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Blessings and hugs from Robin.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wondrous Nature

An amazing and wondrous sight very early this frosty Friday. In mind-boggling numbers, the sky was filled with grackles and blackbirds as far as the eye could see. This vast cloud went on and on and on for ten minutes at least.

The sound of millions of wings defies description.

It was an honor to witness such a gift of Nature.

Blackbird flock, similar to what I saw this morning


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't say the "SQ" Word

First, for an update. My brother has been in the hospital for 13 days now. He had another stroke while there, and some other medical issues have complicated things for him. We are taking things day by day, hoping to get him strong enough to be transferred to a place for acute rehabilitation. He joked today about the "mystery meat" that was sitting on his lunch plate. He never did figure out what it was. We don't really want to surmise! It was nice to share a chuckle with him.

And so we soldier on.

Meanwhile, back at home, the place is falling apart!! Well, not really, but the dust is piling up and I believe the house spiders have taken on the task of Halloween decorating. Thanks to our friend, Dee, my husband and I had an enjoyable lasagna dinner one night, with a nice apple bread for dessert. That was lovely. And The Godmother (really, she is our kids' godmother) came up for a couple of days to see my brother, keep me company since my HH was away and acted as cheerleader, cook and gabfest inducer! 

So onto lighter things:

While on the phone with Raethan (beautiful newly-wed daughter), she mentioned something that made us giggle. A Halloween costume that, if we dressed up our dogs (which we don't) would most likely cause a riot amongst our dear canine companions. Our dogs go nuts over squirrels. You cannot say the word, or even words that start with "SQ" as it sends them into maniacal  rampaging rage and rushing around the yard barking. So what if we were (which we won't) dress them up like this:

Identity crisis? Conflicted feelings? Total embarrassment?  Unknown, but just don't yell "SQUIRREL"!!!!

I am looking forward to a peaceful and meaningful Samhain on Monday. It won't be fancy but it will be special in many ways. A little quality time with the ancestors, the cauldron, many candles. Divine!

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Take care, back very soon!  Robin.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Few Steps Forward, A Few Steps Backward

It has been quiet on my blog, I know. My last post was happy, with good reports of my brother. He has had some relapses and problems to hinder his recovery. We are still trying to work things out for him, and that may take a little while.

Meantime, I will visit your blogs as I can and post a little something now and then, till things smooth out here. I miss you all very much, and I am sorry I am unable to participate much in the Halloween Countdown.

Hoping all is well with you and yours.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Fly-By Posting

Tuesday greetings! The Blog-o-Sphere seems to be functioning quite well without my bright and shining presence! I spent some time last night catching up with blogfriends and their various and sundry activities, as well as the Countdown to Halloween bloggers. Some great things going on, and I appreciate the respite.

My brother is still in the hospital, though improving. A few issues have come up, so they are addressing those, and hopefully he will be home soon. He could use the rest! Hospitals are very noisy places and trying to sleep can be a challenge! Especially when the patient in the other bed snores like a Guinness world record seeker for Loudest Snoring in a Small Space! We have had some light moments, for sure.

As a public service, I will NOT be re-posting my delightful and charmingly witty Halloween jokes from last October. For those who are curious, though, and would enjoy some great Halloween "corn" here is the link to that post:  Mine Eyes Have Seen the Gory

Candy CornHenge
The scene above is from last Halloween too.  You all will pardon me I hope for recycling last year's photo! It's too sweet, isn't it!!! (lol!)

Gotta fly, my broom is idling out front! Hugs and blessings from Robin! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Some Not-Good News

Hello, my friends....I am going to be a bit scattered the next few days. My brother who lives with me, had a stroke Thursday evening (10/13). Have spent quite a few hours at the hospital. Fortunately it is a "small" stroke; right now he is talking and is able to move his arms and legs. His balance is terrible though, unable to walk without falling over. He is numb on the left side of face, left arm and hand. Prognosis is unknown at this time, as they are still running a lot of tests. I know you all will keep him in your thoughts. I will be back soon. Hugs to all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Special Birthday

My darling Mom turns 96 years old today. She lives in Virginia and I have not seen her in a while. We talk at least twice a week on the phone, even though she is hard of hearing. She always sounds cheerful and of course will never say if there is a problem! Mom maintains her great sense of humor, loves to reminisce about her childhood in Montreal, her young adult life there, and her subsequent move to Washington DC during World War II. That is where she met my father, married and had four children.

My mother taught me so many fantastic things when I was growing up. A gracious, gentle woman who spent her days tending to the home and kids, baking and cooking (an incredible cook), creative seamstress, artist, pianist, floral arranger; a true reveler in the home arts. I am so blessed to have such a sweet, dear lady for a mom.

We spent lots of summer times traveling up north to Canada, to the wild and rural woods of northern Quebec. Her family had a sort of "compound" of summer houses, all with charming French names. Her sister's place at the bottom of a steep hill, near the little lake. Her youngest sister owning the original family place at the top of the hill, a typical sloping roofed cottage, built almost 200 years ago. And my mom's little chalet across from that cottage in a wild blueberry patch, with apple trees and sugar maples.  Wonderful memories, wonderful family times with all the aunts and cousins. My mom was in her element there. She had to give up going there several years ago, her youngest sister is gone now, and her other sister has moved away to British Colombia. But happiness in the memories give her pleasure.

Nowadays, Mom spends her days in her cozy, sunny room at my brother's fine house in the Shenandoah Valley. Because she is partially deaf, mostly blind and infirmed by terrible knees, her mobility is limited and she can no longer sew, cook, read. Still, she keeps a positive view of life and always has something interesting to say, and is always keenly interested in what's going on with the family, her grandkids and even the dogs!

I love and adore my mother so much and am sending a million happy birthday wishes. I thank her for who I am, the woman I grew up to be. I hope to go down in November to see her. I can't wait to sit with her and chat and laugh and just be with her.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mom!!

My mom and me with family (my husband, kneeling)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scary Movies for October Nights

The Halloween season is the perfect time to indulge in a scare-fest of horror movies. We all have our favorites. They are the movies that give you the creeps, make you jump, have agonizing moments of suspense and terror. What kind of movies do you watch to scare your socks off?  I do not care for the "slasher" type movies such as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Saw", although the first "Halloween" movie with Jaime Lee Curtis was a shocker. The subsequent installments (I think there were about 25 of them!!) did not appeal to me though.

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Here is a list, in no particular order, of movies that I find truly scary, gave me nightmares and possibly some deep-seated phobias and trauma. Wait for a stormy night to watch these, or at least turn off all the lights.

"The Innocents" starring Deborah Kerr, based on Henry James' 19th century novel, "The Turn of the Screw". Stark, eerie, suspenseful; is the governess going mad, or are there really ghosts in the isolated manor house?

"The Birds" and "Psycho". These two Hitchcock movies are probably on everyone's list. When you see a large flock of crows, do you have a slight moment of fear? And how about taking a shower right after you saw "Psycho"?

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"Alien" The sense of anxiety that just kept building during this movie was unbelievable.

"The Ring" and "The Grudge". The spooky child in "The Ring" was horrifying. I found "The Grudge" even scarier.

"Poltergeist" This story of a little girl abducted by dark spirits was very frightening to me when I saw it at the theatre.

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"Sixth Sense" and "Signs". These M. Night Shyamalan movies were terrific for subtle frights.

Three movies that I watched as a child had strong impacts on me. Very scary. These are the original flicks, not the remakes. Remember I was young and very impressionable.

"Invaders from Mars", "War of the Worlds" and "The Thing". All three of these movies were shown on television on a Saturday afternoon, oh so long ago. I cannot describe how frightening these were for me.

So, that is my list. There are quite a few more great scary movies that I have enjoyed and been freaked out by. I would love to know some of your scariest flicks. What do you watch when you are in the mood to scared out of your mind?

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Medley--Garden Discoveries: Good, Bad & Ugly

Great weather over the region this weekend. Sunny, warm, wondrous blue sky. The dogs did not want to come in, lounging in the sun and basking in the day, even ignoring those scampering critters on the fence.

Speaking of those fluffy-tailed fellows, did you know squirrels like tomatoes? I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the tomato plants have been ravaged and sacked! The squirrels carry away some, chew on others, leaving the remains; or just stick a claw or tooth into random tomatoes still on the vine. See the "bad" photo below. (clicking on photos will make them larger).

Tomato Rampage

Blueberry Plant
There were some good things to see in the garden though.  The deep red foliage of the blueberry plants, almost the same Autumn Red color of my house.

Climbing rose
Roses still blooming, even with some of the cooler temperatures and light frost of the last week or two. These roses have given us so much pleasure over the past summer.
My husband's rose, "Veteran's Honor"
Hanging cone planters from the Wedding
The four hanging planters from Raethan's wedding are still going strong. I highly recommend this trailing bacopa for any hanging pots or window boxes you may want to plant next summer. So full, and pretty tolerant of bright, dry conditions.

variegated hydrangea
No blooms on this variegated hydrangea this summer. But it put on lots of growth. The foliage is  impressive, with the white streaks the perfect accent in the Moon Garden.

Weeping Willow
The little weeping willow we planted this summer (having bought at a super bargain price) has grown very well and is weeping splendidly! Directly behind the willow is the amazing Japanese Maple that provides such glorious views all summer into fall. It was here when we bought the house 6 years ago, and is really stunning. It should be changing from dark red soon into a vivid bright red.

Mountain Ash, also called Rowan
We have had a huge crop of berries on the Rowan this year. Folk lore tells that a bumper crop of berries on the rowan portends a harsh winter. May I just say no to that?  I am actually harvesting some of these berries for my magickal herb cupboard. (Look at that gorgeous blue sky in the photo!! Fantastic)

Mums, chives, weeds and more weeds
Okay here is the ugly portion of this post. Isn't this shocking!! This is what I call the Chimney Garden, as it is on the side of the house where the stove pipe from our wood stove is attached.(Photos above and below)
Lemon balm, chives, goat's beard, mums, weeds, weeds, weeds
This bed was terribly neglected all summer. All our energies (and money) went into the Wedding Garden. This is a perennial bed with spring bulbs blooming in April and May, then the chives and lemon balm, shasta daisies, goat's beard, mums and some other "stuff" popping up. It really is awful-looking, and what's worse, this bed is totally visible to everybody who passes by.  Really a shame, but next spring and summer will be a different story. It will come forth, like the Phoenix from the ashes. In the meantime, the birds, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks have been having a blast in the Chimney Garden.

Meanwhile, I hope you have been checking out some of the blogs that are taking part in the 2011 Countdown to Halloween. Just click on the button at the top of my sidebar to see some great bloggers and their Halloween postings. You don't have to read all the blogs at one sitting, you know. They will be there all month!!

Have a great Monday, and a fab week!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

PSSST! Come Here!

Yea, it's me again. Rotten Darkspur. I thought the Wiccan would never leave. She took off somewhere, something about mumpkins and pums, or pumpkins and mums. Who knows! Whatever.

Hey, listen, I gots some cool, dark stuff for you today. Go ahead, spray yourself with some lavender water, if you feel the need for protection. Keep the sage-burning to a minimum, please, it makes me nauseous. I said, "please", okay?!

Wanna meet some of my buddies? These are the ones you really don't want to meet in a dark graveyard. Some might do your bidding...for a price. Others you may not want to reckon with at all, unless you are feeling dark and nasty. I pass this information along to you as a, let's call it, public service, hahaha. Do with it what you will because after all, it ain't no nevermind to me.

Let's see, here's a good one to start with, the name says it all:

Buggar: These shapeshifting types never leave the astral world. Too bad, unless you travel there regular-like. They are very dangerous to humans and they really won't help you in your magick. Some people call them the Boogey Man. I wouldn't call them if I were you.

If you like to visit Faeryland, make sure these next guys don't follow you home:

Kolbalds: These dwarvish faeries like to make themselves at home and expect you to make your house available to them. They probably won't do work, mainly because they will sit around all day and night with their pipes. Funny thing is, they don't smoke those pipes. In fact, they hate smoke. If they think you have done them wrong, they will start tearing the place up, throwing stuff. They might help you set up protection spells for your house, but don't count on too much help. These guys are totally untrustworthy. Smoke 'em out, if you want to be rid of 'em.

This next bunch, man, these are bad:

Spriggans: If you are walking along, in the mountains say, be watchful of sharp rocks. Spriggins can look like rocks when they are on the ground. They can control  wind and can puff themselves up into huge shapes. They are always in a bad mood, always looking for ways to make life miserable for humans. Maybe you don't want to deal with spriggans.

Here's another batch of baddies to watch out for:

Goblins and Hobgoblins: Malicious! Oh what a delicious word. You might want to steer clear of these guys, and definitely do not invite them to your house or yard. Some stories say that goblins didn't used to be so mean, but they hung around with bad human types and learned their evil ways from these undesirables. Some goblins are kinda runty, but some others learned to shapeshift to bigger sizes. They are ugly suckers, just plain evil-looking. They like to live in dead trees, messed up, run-down buildings, any place dark and musty and dank, you know, my kind of place. Watch out at night, because that is when they like to be the most nuisance.

Listen, I gotta go. All this talk of mischief and mayhem has put me in the mood for some bad tricks of my own. I will be back soon. That's a threat, not just a promise!!  Remember! Nix on letting the Wiccan know that I have been tapping at the keyboard again.  Catch ya, later!!!

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Sources: A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk by Edain McCoy; and WICCA The Complete Craft by D.J. Conway

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween Treats

Yesterday a box arrived. All the way from that foreign country New Mexico. Yes, that far! Totally unexpected, I opened the box to find a real treat. And it smelled wonderful. Like rosemary.

Inside the box was Halloween goodness. From the gifted Linda of
A Happy Samhain box, just because! What a sweetie. And it couldn't have come at a better time. Not having a great day yesterday, I lit up like a jack-o-lantern when I looked at everything wrapped up in the colors of the season.

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I adore the the black cat, fashioned out of pipe cleaners. The heart is bordered with ribbon and beads, and watch out for that deadly spider!  Big hugs to my B.B. Linda. She's a keeper.

Things got even better in the evening when I drove to Oswego to visit The Fey Dragon
Mary has organized all kinds of activities at her metaphysical shop, including classes, drumming circle, author visits, reiki, tarot readings. Last night I attended a Pagan Social Gathering.  A time for pagans to come together to chat, share, enjoy conversation with like-minded people. It's a good chance to meet people who share the pagan path and talk openly about all kinds of stuff. There was even cobbler! A wonderful evening and I am looking forward to next month's gathering. I really am excited to have these kinds of opportunities now.

We had our first light frost overnight! Now it definitely feels like the Halloween season.  Be sure to click on the button at the top of my sidebar to see what all the bloggers are doing at The Whimsical Cottage's Countdown to Halloween.  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Old Hag?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Signs of the Season

How strange! When I sat down at my computer I found that the keyboard was all sticky, kind of slimy really. And there is a rather odd smell, sort of musty, a bit of a stinky reek actually. Geez, I don't know what could have happened. Very odd.

Anyway, it's a gloomy day here in the Syracuse area. Gray skies, threatening rain and coolish. Typical autumn weather. Makes the orange of the pumpkins really glow.  Those signs of the season are popping up everywhere. Don't you just love it?

Another sign of the season: Time for me to watch my favorite Halloween movie, "Hocus Pocus". I love this movie and only watch it in October. I have to wait and pick the perfect time to watch it, with my special snacks and of course wearing a favorite witchy sweatshirt. It is a ritual for me really, lol!!

There is still a lot to do though before I can sit down with my movie. Cleaning, baking and decorating. I am a little behind in my work since I am still going to physical therapy for my knee (which is getting better, day by day, thanks for all your sweet comments about that). I look forward to sharing a couple of things with you as the month continues. October is such a great month, isn't it? (I know, Christer, not so much in Sweden). I hope everyone is enjoying the activities and festivities. Don't forget to click on the button at the top of my sidebar to visit other blogs that are celebrating the Countdown to Halloween at the Whimsical Cottage. There are a lot of creative people out there. I have met some new witchy friends, too. It's magical!

Happy October 4th everyone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pssst! Secret Blog Post--Don't Tell the Wiccan

Grievings, Blog People! This is Rotten Darkspur. I'm a, uh, a "friend" of the Wiccan. I'm hijacking this blog today because I want to introduce myself to you and I have important things to say. Don't know where Miss Sweetness and Light is. Probably out hugging trees and making nice with the chickadees. Man, that can get so annoying.

Anyway, before the Wiccan gets back, I want to let you know that I am going to try and jump on here whenever She isn't around, at least during the ghoulish and ghastly month of October.  This is really the only time I, er, get out--you know, thinning veil and all that. Sometimes at the Dark of the Moon. And when Mercury is in retrograde. Cripes, I have a lot of fun then, boy, do I ever! 

I like to look at the darker side of life...and afterlife. It's my thing. I am cool that way, you will love some of the stuff I have to tell you about.

But that's gonna have to wait till next time. I hear the Wiccan now. Oh, crap, She's singing and going on and on about how....oh, gag me, how pretty that effing garden is with all the colors and happy stuff like that. How can you stand it!

Remember, don't let on I was here. Really. It's not nice to tattle tell. Seriously.

Catch ya later.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

A True Ghost Story

October, with its Halloween theme, brings to mind spooky stories of hauntings, ghostly encounters, dark and stormy nights, haunted houses and all those things that go bump in the night. Last October, I posted my own true ghost story. Today I am re-posting that story as I have a lot of followers who were not with me last year. I would love to know if you have had encounters with the "unexplained".

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Originally posted October 28, 2010

I have hesitated writing about this, but if not now, when? It's Halloween time, and I have read some good ghost stories on the blogs. It just makes me a little anxious to recall a time that was frightening and worrisome.

In 1987 my husband and I were living in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. He was in the Navy and we were very near the end of his tour at Pearl Harbor.  I was working as a word processor for Public Works at Pearl Harbor in Building One. I worked the shift from 4:00pm til 12:30 am with a staff of 6 others. We sat for 8 hours typing, plugged into our walkmans, listening to Sally Jesse Raphael, or music. It was always quiet in the building, daytime staff of over 200 people gone for the day. Most of the two-story building was dark, just our section lighted.

I think most of were experiencing small trivial things at first. Not really paying attention to odd little noises, or the occasional shadow, non-specific little events. It is a very old building, there are bound to be noises, settling, office machines making their little electronic hums and beeps.

I was on a break with one of the girls, Liz, sitting outside having a smoke and a coffee, chatting. There was suddenly behind us a loud sound, as if someone was dragging something heavy, possibly metallic. We looked and saw nothing. The noise stopped. We immediately returned to our office, feeling slightly odd, but not too concerned. We did not mention this to anyone.

The next night, two other of the girls had gone out to the same place for a break. They returned very quickly saying they had heard a very strange sound, and were nervous to stay out there. Liz and I looked at each other and mentioned we had heard something the night before. We then, all shrugged, and decided not to take breaks in that area anymore. Who knows what it was....just keep working and forget about it.

In an office area down the hall, cubicle type office, all the lights are always off. There was a fan mounted on the wall. Occasionally it would be left on by a day worker, and I would just go and turn it off. One night after I had turned it off, I noticed an hour or so later it was back on. Well, maybe the switch didn't fully connect when I turned it off. So, turned it back off, went back to my work. It was back on within 15 minutes. So this time I unplugged it.  It was back on by the time I returned to my work station.  We all started talking and wondering aloud what the heck that was about. And then the others started mentioning other things that had been going on. Bathroom lights going off and on, loud footsteps. Nervewracking when we all began to compare notes.

Things began to escalate in just a few nights. It was late, near the end of our shift, and one of the girls suddenly hollered: "Whoever is throwing paperclips at me, would you stop?" The rest of us looked at her blankly, and she asked again, which one of us was doing it. No one responded. We had all been steadfastly working. Suddenly as we were talking, a pencil fell from the ceiling, into the middle of the floor. Startled, we stared and looked around, finding no one else. Liz called Security. Two burly armed guards showed up a few minutes later, searched the building, said all was secure, no one to be seen, and pretty much acted as if we were a bunch of nervous women, calling the cops about a stupid pencil.

For the next two or three nights, we were plagued by pencils dropping, paper clips falling, erasers showing up on our keyboards, loud noises, and voices at the far end of the hall. We left early on two nights, and on the third night barely made it an hour into the shift. Lots of voices in the office areas down the hall. Lights going off and on. A general feeling of unease, unrest, an abnormal sense of darkness and fear. We all were scared and unwilling to continue to work there.   The next morning Liz called our supervisor, Ed, who works days in downtown Honolulu, and explained the situation. He was dubious, but wanted to give us the benefit of the doubt, and arranged to meet us all that during that night's shift.

Ed arrived around 6:00 pm, with pizza and soda, and a briefcase of work. We ate, gave him all the details of our experiences. He explained to us, that the building we worked in was used as a temporary morgue during the attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. There were also rumors, not verified, that there had been a murder-suicide in the building, maybe 20 years before.That certainly unsettled us.

So, here we are,  Ed and the six of us, stuffed with pizza and working away.  Suddenly, there is a loud noise and the metal trashcan by Ed's desk is knocked over, and rolls across the floor. We all jump up, and Ed picks up a large alligator clip that had hit the trashcan. It came from the direction of the hall, not a soul around to throw it. Ed gathers up his papers and brief case, tells all of us to go home, and he went flying out of the building before we could barely turn off our word processors.

The next day, Liz called me at home to explain that Ed had arranged for a Hawaiian menehune, a priest, to come and do a cleansing and blessing of the building. They wanted all the workers to be there, except me, as I was just a couple of months pregnant at the time. The menehune did not want a pregnant woman present when he was trying to rid the place of negative entities for fear of them inhabiting the fetus. Needless to say, I never went back to work there, and we left the Island a couple of months later, relocating to a new assignment in California.

Liz said the blessing seemed to work for a while, but she also left Hawaii a while after that. We never were in contact with anyone else. So who knows if the ghosts of Building One are still walking the halls and teasing the workers.  I cannot express though, how frightening many of those nights were. So eerie, with such a strange atmosphere of tension, fear and darkness. It always disturbs me to talk about it as it calls up memories of an odd and unsettling time in my life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October First

The Wheel of the Year

Can you hear the Wheel slowly turning towards the end of the Witch's Year? Shortly, we will be observing Samhain (pronounced sow-wen, "sow" rhymes with "cow"). Symbolic of death, dying, endings. We acknowledge that death is as important as life; we honor our ancestors, we give thanks for the gift of food from fertile fields and gardens that are now at the end of their usefulness for this time. Reflections on the year just passed and the year that will soon begin.

But right now it is just the first day of October. The leaves are turning colors. Pumpkins need plucking from the field, apples are perfect and the air smells fantastic. A wonderful time for festivals and autumn celebrations.

And let's not forget that the kiddies are choosing their costumes for the Halloween parties and Trick or Treating and all the fun to be found at this time of year. When a true Witch can be out and about and no one will give it a second thought.

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(Well, Sisters and Brothers, you may want to watch when and where you fly!)

So welcome to October and a month long celebration of all things autumn, Samhain, Halloween, Witchy, Ghostie, Ghastly and Ghoulish.

Click on the Countdown to Halloween 2011 at the top of my sidebar to find plenty of fun during the whole month of October.