[I walked among the graves today.. accompanied by many an ancestor I am sure.. some of them maybe wondering what the hell i was doing]
I woke very early this morning - [4am to be exact] to Moonlight as brilliant as the sun but not as harsh.. a softness and I sat and gazed out the window remembering how Daisy loved to do the same.. the ancestors had arrived for Samhain... dozing off to sleep for awhile... this time, I woke to bird call.. so got myself out of bed, wandered out to under the pine tree & did my morning greeting of the day and as I did.. a blackbird flew right past my face.. and sat in the tree - just looking at me.. as I spoke to her, she cocked her head this way and that..yes, the ancestors were with me today to help me walk my path [the blackbird has not been seen in my garden for at least 2 weeks... the blackbird is Daisy telling me she is here with me.. she may not have been blood related in this life.. but she is certainly one of my ancestors as she was part of my tribe].
[a home crafted celtic cross and an old rusted arch on one of the old graves in Springwood cemetery]
I decorated my altar with the gathered leaves from yesterdays walk, a few walnuts & a black candle.. and of course some photos of the wise women in my family.. plus an old purse & china tea cup to represent my Nan.. and a piece of jet. I burned my last stick of Samhain incense that Daisy had sent me before she died.. [she bought it from an online shop the Goddess & the Greenman.. a beautiful scent]. You know, I am not even sure why I do this kind of thing .. I don't understand the symbolism of it all nor do I know the history of it all or the lore of it all - but when I gather bits to put on my altar, it makes me feel connected to something alot older than I am. & it resonates with my soul.
then I went for the walk around the cemetery in Springwood. I gathered sticks, sometimes looking at the headstones.. noticing the various decorations that people do for their loved ones, wondering if it was really appropriate to be taking photos in the cemetery.. but maybe people would think I was tracing my family history & I wasn't doing any harm.. just following the wheel of the year..... & I spied this across the way:
a cross, marking an otherwise insignificant grave... it took my breath away.. [what a strong sign from Daisy that she is with me..]
the soft, cool, autumn early morning sun, shining on the colouring chinese pistachio tree, chicken with port & raisins for our Samhain dinner, my altar decorated for Samhain, the celebration of the ancestors, walking in Springwood cemetery collecting sticks for kindling for the coming cold weather.. meditating holding a honey calcite crystal.. this was my day.
[old man Banksia.. growing among the graves.. a native tree of Australia ~ even he is going into autumn time]
Chicken with Port and Raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup port wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 breasts of chicken
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup heavy cream, or evaporated milk
1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs for garnish
Soak the raisins in the port wine at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a saute pan, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil. When hot, saute the chicken breasts on one side until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, in the saute pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the leeks and sweat them for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and reduce until almost dry.
Stir in the raisins and their soaking liquid. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the cream or evaporated milk, nutmeg, and cornstarch mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes, but do not bring to a boil.
Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce onto serving plates, set a chicken breast on top, and garnish with fresh herbs.
I served ours with mashed sweet potato, steamed carrots and brown rice