Helen is now living in the Maetreum full-time. It’s so good to have someone there again! Cailean stayed for a week, and brainstormed with Cathy and Helen on some new ideas for winterizing the place. One of those includes putting in a winter kitchen.
Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with old houses, let me bring you up to snuff. 19th century (and earlier) houses often had two kitchens, one that was used in the winter, and one in the summer. The winter one was inside of the house proper, just like the kind of kitchens we are familiar with, where the rising heat could help heat the house. The summer kitchen was built as its own wing or as an outbuilding. The idea there was that the heat would go out through the roof when it rose, and not make the house any hotter. A necessity back in the days when there was no air-conditioning – or even fans!
Central House was built strictly as a summer place, and not had any significant updates in its history, save for the installation of electricity and the bathrooms during the early years of the 20th century. It has no furnace and no central heating. It blew me away just how tiny the basement is for a building that big. And there’s nothing in it, not even an old coal hopper! Its only kitchen is a summer kitchen, and therefore we lose an awful lot of heat and energy during the winter, thereby contributing to the high cost of heating an 18-bedroom, 4500 square foot house. It’s going to be interesting to see how it works out….
We’ve been prepping the house for Harvest Meadows and other events. Helen did a great job of cleaning up the front porch and the coffee house area looks great! Helen has cleaned and organized it and Cathy has put up curtains.
I have been working at putting up stencils in the coffee house as well. We’ve been going for a “country kitchen” feel, and I am putting up bumble-bees and butterflies. This is a motif that I am hoping other Cybellines will adopt. In ancient days, the non-gallae women priestesses were called “mellissae”, meaning “little bees”. This goes along with a bee motif that pervaded the ancient faith of the Magna Mater. Her temples were often shaped like beehives and the goddess in the Minoan civilization is seen with a beehive on her head. (The original beehive hairdo? Just kidding! ;) So, bees represent the natural-born women priestesses. Now, the ancient gallae never used the butterfly as their symbol (that we know of), but modern transsexual women do. Both of these beautiful insects together makes, to my mind, a wonderful symbol of sisterhood.
We still have some spaces open for participants in Harvest Meadows. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org