Tag Archives: Asclepias

Feasting all over.

We are celebrating one of our parish feast days, and I was blessed to be at Vigil tonight. The hymns and readings for the feast are the same every year, but the arrangements and singers and various aspects change, so that every service is both comforting in its familiar traditions and beautifully unique.

At a festal vigil the Five Loaves are blessed and broken for us to eat, to sustain us during what can be a long service; and we receive anointing with holy oil as another way to participate bodily. The Vigil service includes parts of the Vespers and Matins services and is the first part of the feast, which concludes in the morning.

The caterpillars on my milkweed plants are partaking of a different sort of food.  They have been traveling among all the different species of Asclepias, including the new plants just set out. Though there are fewer of them now, it’s good to see their survival instincts operating.

The day that I set off for Pippin’s place last week, I received a quantity of quinces by way of a friend of a friend, which anonymous friend drove several miles from another town to drop them off at church, so that I could pick them up on my way north. They sat in the back of my car for those several days, and this week I processed them. They turned out to be very wormy, but they were so big and numerous that after quite a lot of trimming and slicing, I ended up with a few quarts. I poached them with lemon, sugar and a cinnamon stick. I froze most of them but have been enjoying one quart right away.


In the past I have mostly baked them, and that was much easier. I love quince and am sad that so few people have trees anymore. I have put out queries some years to search out whether anyone knows of unwanted quinces I could take; this batch came to me completely out of the blue, unasked for.

Divine Liturgy for the feast will be in the morning, the celebration of the Eucharist. That will make it feel like Sunday, but it’s Saturday…. and besides feasting, I’ll be gardening — and resting, because I’ve been running around a lot!

I leave you with one of the readings from this evening’s service, which refers to a hearty feast of wisdom:

PROVERBS 9:1-11

Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn out her seven pillars,
she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine,
she has also furnished her table.
She has sent out her maidens,
she cries out from the highest places of the city,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
“Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Forsake foolishness and live,
and go in the way of understanding.
He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
give instruction to a wise man,
and he will be still wiser;
teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years of life will be added to you.”

Raindrops on Aesclepias.

Hours of rain. LOTS of raindrops. Glory to God! All the plants and humans around here are happy.

A couple of days before the rain came, I received in the mail three new plants, three species of milkweed that I haven’t had before: Asclepias glaucescens, Asclepias linaria, and Asclepias physocarpa “Family Jewels.” I set them out on the patio to get watered quite naturally. If they bloom next summer I’ll show you pictures.

Also not long before the watering, I got around to dividing the irises. The poor things had sat on the driveway during the heat wave, while I was in the mountains. But they were in such thick clumps with lots of dirt surrounding, they didn’t seem to have suffered much. And I ended up with dozens of extra rhizomes that I have been giving away.

Unfortunately I forgot that I had two colors in those three clumps, and I mixed them all up while I was sorting, but the people who are getting them don’t seem to mind. At least they are both purple; these pictures are from past years. And I am thrilled to think of how all these other friends’ gardens will be further beautified with my “children.”

This last picture is of the bedding material I’ve mixed up special for the worms I am getting tomorrow, to start my vermiculture project. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, and step by step I managed all the parts of the preparation, after watching a couple dozen videos on YouTube and reading in the classic book on the topic, Worms Eat my Garbage. A friend who is a long time worm farmer is giving me my starter worms.

What could be better on a rainy Sunday afternoon than taking a nap? Well, on this particular one, for me at least nothing was better, especially because this week is extra busy from the start. Normally I try to reserve Mondays for catching up and re-ordering my mind and living space, but that’s not an option this week. So — I need to work on all that before I go to bed again.

This week Autumn officially arrives!
But in honor of worms, I give you a somewhat Spring-y poem:

THE WORM

When the earth is turned in spring
The worms are fat as anything.

And birds come flying all around
To eat the worms right off the ground.

They like the worms just as much as I
Like bread and milk and apple pie.

And once, when I was very young,
I put a worm right on my tongue.

I didn’t like the taste a bit,
And so I didn’t swallow it.

But oh, it makes my Mother squirm
Because she thinks I ate that worm!

-Ralph Bergengren