The Red Well with Warnings of Ghosts and Witches

Somewhere in Scotland. What an interesting little place. Likely the tales of ghosts and witches were based on suspicion/ fear and just trying to keep people from getting hurt in there. Now it’s locked. What a sad, and yet sensible, ending.

There must have been (or still are) other places like this. Is it even a well? Seems an odd structure to use for water, wouldn’t it get stagnant without some sunlight and air flow?

Below is the Red Well, said to date from Roman times, also said to be haunted by an old lady ghost and to be aligned for sunrise sunbeams on the summer solstice. I lived in Whitehills for a short time as a child and remember the beehive shaped building being called ‘the witch’s hoosie’ and kids shutting each other in there for ‘fun’. It’s now locked.

Source: going coastal – Ailish Sinclair

Sign Aesthetics

I lost track of the source for this one.

  • Aries: Swimming pools, cold drinks in the summer. Hazy orange-yellow sunsets, passionate kisses. Hair touching, long car rides with friends, watching the sunrise. Long naps, yelling along to music.
  • Taurus: Secluded forests, slight breezes that sway tall grass. Long, meaningful text messages, chipped nail polish, the smell of the ocean. Having the music at full volume and drowning out the rest of the world.
  • Gemini: Long car rides alone, windows down, loud music. Poetry, typewriter clicks. Laughing so hard your stomach hurts. The color black and navy blue, the smell after the rain. Existentialism, looking at stars.
  • Cancer: Long, warm hugs. Hand holding, kept secrets and light-hearted jokes. The color blue, dogs, wild flowers that grow in your backyard. The smell of new books, and the sound of an old piano.
  • Leo: Clean sheets, sleeping in late. Sunlight pouring into your room. Stretching, the smell of chocolate chip pancakes. CD’s and clothes everywhere, intimacy. Bonfires, exotic beaches, and slightly out-of-tune guitars.
  • Virgo: Freckles, musical theatre, live performances. Harmonic singing, late night phone calls. Raspy morning voices, vanilla, and running until you’re out of breath. Art museums, dancing, dark circles under your eyes. Foreign countries and languages, dogs.
  • Libra: Smiling between kisses, art galleries, paint-stained clothing. The sound of the harp. Graphite, the smell of coffee. Kept promises, swimming, and colliding hugs. Intertwined fingers, cats, crying, and the smell of burning wood in the wintertime.
  • Scorpio: Comfortable silence, nature, relaxation, being home. Thinking, being with family, the color green. Intelligence, old books, and the calming hum of a car engine. Camping, imperturbability.
  • Sagittarius: Colorful hair, falling snow. Hidden rivers, small towns. Art stores, book shops, the smell of baked cookies. Long, meaningful hugs, hand-written letters. The calm before a storm, candids, canoeing. Friendship, drives at dusk.
  • Capricorn: The piano, antique shops. The smell of freshly baked bread. Herbal tea, late night sketches, seeing someone you love for the first time. Knowledge, the color purple, wit, slow songs, and sarcasm. Long, hot showers, the sound of the rain.
  • Aquarius: Travelling, foreign food. The gentle breeze of a fan in the summer, the smell of watermelon. Peaches, musicals, vinyl’s, black and white movies. Sleeping until noon, iced coffee, tanning. Perfume, the taste of champagne, blogging.
  • Pisces: Hanging plants, baby blue eyes. Trying to suppress laughter at 4 am with your best friend, horror movies, conspiracies. The smell of popcorn, swift kisses, constant eye contact. The Beatles, strawberries, and the color yellow.

Save the Bees!


Ontario Bee Rescue (and Facebook page)

Ontario Bee Rescue was established in the summer of 2014. The objective is to maintain a list of beekeepers in Ontario that are willing and able to assist in the rescue of honey bee swarms. To maintain professionalism, only registered beekeepers are eligible. If you are a registered beekeeper and wish to be on our swarm capture list, please notify us through facebook or our website. We are working closely with OBA to ensure that honeybees are saved from being destroyed by exterminators and pest control companies. Spread the word – Save the Bees

Historically Interesting Casinos in Canada

Canada does not have a long history of actual buildings being made as casinos. We do have gambling far back in our history. John Cabot (circa 1497) noticed the native Canadians used sticks and pebbles to play games of chance.

The Canadian Criminal Code banned every form of gambling in 1892.

However, during  the days of the Klondike Gold Rush (1897 – 1899) Faro was a popular game of chance. By 1900 charities were holding bingo games and raffles. Next came horse racing and by 1925 agricultural fairs and exhibitions were permitted to hold gambling events.

Lotteries began in Canada in 1969. The government amended the Criminal Code to allow themselves to fund special projects from money made through lotteries. In 1974 the Olympics in Montreal were funded with lottery money.

In modern days most provinces have casinos.

Some are still government run, it depends on the province. Canadian casinos can be partially owned by private enterprise, government and the native Canadians who have special rights set out by the government. If you look for casinos in Canada you may find more online casinos than brick and mortar or land-based casinos. Like working from home you don’t actually have to get dressed up (or dressed at all) to play when your casino is online:

history of gambling in Canada

I grew up in the Toronto area where my family and I would attend the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) each summer at least once. My sister’s favourite part of the CNE were the games. Although the midway games had to gear down for children to play, there was a casino for the adults too. I never saw the inside of it. Each year it would be packed up again and disappear until the next summer.

Now I live near the Barrie casino, the Georgian Downs. I see the horse and buggy races now and then. In season you can drive right by on the main highway through Barrie and pass close enough to Georgian Downs to see the horses racing, warming up or exercising.

My plan was to write about historical casinos in Canada but once I started looking for them I found there aren’t any which are very old.

The first commercial casino opened in 1993, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The second to open and credited as the largest casino is in Montreal. It’s called The Montreal Casino and is located in Montreal, Quebec.  Open 24 hours a day, to those who are 18 years of age or older,  since October, 1993.

Where the Wild Things Are: The Whole Circle

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 1, 2004.

The magic circle, sounds so mystical… But it’s like many things in Witchcraft, it’s adaptable to your own style, your whims and personal needs of the moment.

Witch/ Wiccan rituals take place in a circle. Not always, it’s not written in stone with blood or anything really dramatic. But, it does make things tidy in it’s own way. You draw in power and you keep it to yourself, out of the way of others. Then, when you’re done you release it. It goes back to nature and the powerful parts of yourself.

We draw the circle and then we close it. Some people cast the circle and banish it at the end of the ritual. I tend to think of it as drawing and closing the circle. When you draw your circle take a moment to bless each of the elements at each of the 4 directions. Yes, you might need a map to know where north, south, west and east are in relation to your location. If you choose, bless the goddess and god too. Then bless the Earth and life, those are most important to me. When you close your circle just do the steps in reverse order. Gather your pebbles, erase your chalk, whatever you used as you go around in the 4 directions again. Sounds too simple? Why shouldn’t it be simple. You’re welcome to make a bigger production out of it. I like it simple.

You can use chalk, hemp rope, embroidery thread, pebbles, sand, dust bunnies, anything really. Consider a circle of jack o lanterns for Samhain, wouldn’t that be fun! It depends on how fancy you want to be or how close to natural elements. My personal choice are pebbles. I love them. I collected them from a beach here in Ontario. Took my time to find stones I especially liked for their shape, colour or some markings on them.

The circle represents wholeness, the cycles of life and the seasons, the wheel of life to make it simple. In theory it is without beginning or ending and perfect in it’s completeness.

To draw the circle is to make a place set apart and sacred. Where ever you are- living room, backyard, beach, clearing in the woods – the circle becomes a place where we focus on magick in ourselves and the Earth around us. The circle is a pure place where we can think, make notes in our Book of Shadows, create and practice rituals, anything. It doesn’t have to be dramatic and you don’t have to feel you must do something special. It’s your circle, your dime.

This summer when I have a road trip out to the beach I want to cast a circle on the beach. Using a piece of driftwood to draw my circle and some stones to point to the directions. I don’t even know what ritual I might do. I just want to sit in a circle of my own creation and enjoy the world, life and being alive.

“In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” -Charles Lindbergh

I take thee, herb, to cure my ills
or perhaps while dancing pon the hill.
I’ll dip you in the cauldron fine
Then asperge a circle in the pines.
I’ll make you into teas and brews
when picked from ‘neath the morning dews,
or hide you in a pillow seam
to guard me close, come night and dreams.

– Marian Loresinger

The Delicious Miss Dahl’s Borscht

We make borscht a couple of times each summer usually. I love the beets with the sour cream swirled on top. We don’t put it all through the blender or serve it cold. Will be nice to try a new recipe this summer and see how it comes out as a cold soup. This recipe comes from The Delicious Miss Dahl, a cooking show from the UK with Sophie Dahl. I just happened to catch the show today on the Food Network. Too bad they didn’t make more than one season. It was kind of elegant and glamorous in a simple way.

Sophie’s Borscht
This hot pink borscht looks best served in a glass punch bowl with party fare all around.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4


6 medium sized beetroots – washed but not peeled
5 spring onions, white part only
olive oil
1 1/2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
Shot of vodka
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons creme fraiche, plus extra to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Handful of chopped fresh dill
Chopped hardboiled free range egg to serve – optional


Wash and trim the stalky bits of the beetroot.

Sweat the spring onions in a pan with some olive oil on a low heat until they are translucent.

Then add the stock to the spring onions and leave on a low heat to warm.

In another pan, cover the beetroot with water; bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the beetroot is tender.

Drain, and when cool enough to handle peel off the skins and cut the beetroot into rough chunks.

Put the beetroot into a blender with the spring onion, stock and puree until smooth.

Add the shot of vodka, lemon juice, crème fraiche, season and give the mixture another whizz in the blender.

The soup can be served hot or cold. Either way serve with the chopped dill on top, a swirl of more crème fraiche and some chopped hardboiled egg if you feel like it.

Sparkling Rhinestone Sunflower

I know it’s not summer. You don’t have to remind me. I can see the snow outside my window and hear the wind blowing against the house. Here I am though, thinking of other seasons when I admired nature from the other side of my windows.  This sunflower brooch is from Lilien Czech. I think the colours give it an antique look, a patina. Pretty classy for a sunflower.