....because it's hard to stay away. Over half a year has gone by since I last posted. We did manage to get a lot done this past summer, but alongside work it left us with little time to do as much as we would have liked. We raised chickens and turkeys this past year. The chickens went to a friend's house while we're here in Colorado for the Winter, the turkeys became food (and a lot of food it was, three turkeys at 26-30 lbs), and the house guardian, Púca the Bunny, is staying at my sister's. The garden didn't do so well, aside from the herbs (basil, oregano, thyme), thanks to the turkeys, who thoroughly enjoyed the rest. Fair enough, I suppose, as it all came back to us in the end.
I did receive my bodhrán in the mail early last summer and have been practicing, though progressing slowly with the limited free learning material online. I am considering paying for a course from the Online Academy of Irish Music, though I tend to shy away from online courses since I only spend so much time online on something other than my phone. It may be worth a try, however, until I have access to in-person lessons.
I've only used the bodhrán a couple times in prayer, I have to get a better range of rhythms down before I'll be confident in utilizing it for ceremonial reasons. For now it's mostly just fun to practice. Most of my spiritually-focused studies this past summer was centered around practicing reciting poetry in Irish, as well as learning some new songs. I also wrote a basic devotional rite for Brighid and am currently working on one for Manannán Mac Lir. They're mostly a starting point and I expect I'll have a dozen drafts before I'm fully satisfied with what I'm doing, but it's progress. I had begun research on an article I was going to write with my partner about regional varieties of juniper, but we seemed to have bit off more than we could chew at the time with both professional and house work to complete, always, and so we've just been taking notes on varieties that we find travelling around. The varieties we've noted so far being in Minnesota, Colorado, and New Mexico. I plan to keep an eye out on our trip back home, or wherever we decide to go after this Winter, for different varieties and take some samples to compare. My partner will help me with the identification, plants are his thing.
I hope everyone is keeping warm and healthy this Winter, we've made it through the longest nights, though the coldest are yet to come.