Archive | December, 2013

Early December Ritual Of The Douglas Fir (In Photos)

December 18, 2013


Choosing the perfect locally grown Douglas Fir, carrying it home with love and decorating the Christmas Tree. Douglas Fir:JZT

Photos taken on December 07, 2013, in Toronto by John Zeus

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The Winter Solstice – Handsome Essential Darkness

December 17, 2013

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“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet


In all it’s handsome darkness the Winter Solstice teaches you about the need for withdrawal as an essential part of renewal. The season requires you to honour it’s courage and respect it’s wisdom. As each night before the solstice grows longer and the air circling around you gets colder, the earth withdraws, sleeps and renews itself.

Some of you abominate winter. You struggle through the season’s bleakness. You tire of the endless dark and dreary skies and wish you can fast-forward to spring. Some of you rejoice in winter’s beauty. In the essential darkness you celebrate the Winter Solstice because it signals the return of light and warmth to the hemisphere, more and more each day.

The Winter Solstice begins the turn to greater daylight and the slow return of the sun. Our planet prepares to come forth from this time of darkness and withdrawal, into a season filled with light, hope and the coming of spring.


December Solstice

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.

Known as the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight. In the southern hemisphere the December solstice is known as the Summer Solstice and marks the longest day of the year.

Winter Solstice - Image 2

Winter Solstice Dates 2013 & 2014

Northern Hemisphere: (North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, northern Africa) – Winter Solstice Dates: December 21, 2013, at 17:11 UTC / December 21, 2014, at 23:03 UTC
Southern Hemisphere: (Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southern Africa) – Winter Solstice Dates: June 21, 2013, at 05:04 UTC / June 21, 2013, at 10:51 UTC


A Blessed Yule

Yule began as an indigenous winter solstice festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples of ancient times. It was later absorbed into celebrations surrounding Christmas with Christianization.

The observance of Yule, the Winter Solstice was significant to our ancestors. It was a holy day when the sun god’s return meant spring was on its way, and with it, the birth of new animals and the planting of new crops.  Much of the folklore surrounding winter solstice rituals has to do with very basic symbols of agriculture and animal husbandry.

This song (video) wonderfully sums up the spirit and energy of the Winter Solstice: Damh The Bard – Noon Of The Solstice. Enjoy.

Winter Solstice - Image 3

Written & Adapted by John Zeus | Primary Source:, Video: YouTube, Images 1, 2 & 3: Google Images, Winter Tree photo by John Zeus

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Noon Of The Solstice – Damh The Bard (Song)

December 17, 2013


Music by ~ Damh The Bard – Noon Of The Solstice

Related Story: The Winter Solstice – Handsome Essential Darkness


In times long past
Lived a Man of green,
And his footsteps brought life wherever he’d been.
In the deepest wildwood
Was the place he was seen,
And the people did love
And protect him.
And they saw his face change,
With the turn of the Wheel
Of the Seasons,
They heard his voice sing.

I’m the Horned God,
I’m the face in the trees,
I’m the breath of the wind that rustles the leaves,
I’m the Green Man
In the wildwood I roam,
Cernunnos, I’m Pan and I’m Herne.

I shall be as the Dark Holly King,
Darkness and cold
In my cloak I will bring,
And on Winter’s nights
To me you will sing,
Till the air around me starts changing,
And on the noon of the solstice
I’ll give up my crown,
To the Light
And the Mighty Oak King.

All Summer long
I shall rule just and fair,
Bring your crops to fruit
With the light that I share,
With fire and water,
From earth into air,
But the Wheel it keeps
Steadily turning.
And on the noon of the Solstice
I’ll give up my crown,
To the cold and the Dark Holly King.

T’is now modern times
And the Summer is here,
The Winter has gone
And the air it is clear,
On a fine day I walked
Through a woods I live near,
When a battle I spied
Through a clearing,
Two giants of leaves,
One light and one dark,
Even now the Wheel it is turning!

Source: YouTube

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Tires By The Green Shed (Photo)

December 12, 2013


Tires by the green shed

I love this photo and just thought I’d share it with you. Taken at Murray’s Farm on a cold snowy morning. Tractor tires covered in snow, walnut trees lining the driveway and the green shed, a warm shelter for ducks and hens.

“Tires By The Green Shed” | Shot by John Zeus | Just north of Cambridge, Ontario

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Mom At The Parthenon Of Athens, Greece (1963 Photo)

December 10, 2013


Mom at parthenon:1963

My mom as a young lady in high school. This photo was taken in 1963 during her graduating class trip to the Parthenon of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

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Christmas Sugar Cookies – Easy Holiday Baking For A Non-Baker

December 5, 2013


Whether you’re attending your office potluck, serving your work mates, friends or family or getting together to watch the hockey game, these Christmas Sugar Cookies are easy to make and are sure to please.

The Ingredients


(Makes about 16 large cookies)

Flavour Tip: The taste is all in the eggs. Instead of factory farm white eggs I used fresh pasture free run heritage chicken eggs from my friend’s organic farm. You can also try duck eggs.

The Work

  • In a large bowl, sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. (Mix them all together using your clean hands)
  • In a bowl use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. (If you don’t have an electric mixer you can buy a hand powered mixer from a dollar store or kitchen store.)
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla
  • Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  • Divide dough in 2 and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • Have ready several baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Remove dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature to temper slightly. (Note: This prevents dough from cracking.) (You can also use disposable baking sheets sold in supermarkets.)
  • Place parchment on a clean surface; dust generously with flour. Be careful, as too much added flour can toughen the cookie.
  • Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thickness, stopping often to release the dough by running an offset spatula under it.
  • Dust with flour as necessary to prevent dough from sticking. Transfer parchment and dough to freezer until very firm about 15 minutes.
  • Remove dough from freezer; working quickly, cut into desired shapes. If your dough begins to soften, return to freezer for a few minutes. Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets; freeze or refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  • Bake 15-18 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown, rotating halfway through. Cool on wire racks; decorate.

(Note: Chill scraps, and re-roll dough only once or your cookies could toughen.)

The Fixin’s

Drizzle or pipe icing or melted dark or white chocolate on to the cookies and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes. (Google “cookie icing” for more ideas.)


Adapted by: / Ingredients graphic by: John Zeus
Recipe sourced from Executive Chef John Robertson at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market Cookie images from The Big Carrot

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My American Friends – Thought Of The Day

December 4, 2013

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You Americans are unique amongst the world’s nations and cultures. With a can-do spirit you hit slumps and slowdowns, rise again and soar for the moon, stars and beyond. Indeed your great nation and it’s people are blessed, you have been for generations the beacon of hope and freedom for untold millions around the globe.

You live in the most exceptional country in the world, you have a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes I wish my father had sailed to New York rather than Halifax when he left Europe in the 60’s, then I too would have been born American.

During my college years I studied American History and American Politics. While in high school I worked weekends as a busboy and saved money to further my education. I remember a specific day in grade ten when I played hookie from school and with great joy purchased a bus ticket to Buffalo to visit the offices and possibly volunteer in the Reagan 1984 election campaign. I got in trouble for it later, suspended from my school’s Rugby team, grounded by my parents but had no regrets. It was what I wanted to do, and a great learning experience in US politics.

Today America faces the greatest of threats, the loss of your individual independence and the very freedoms endowed by the Creator. For too long you have allowed your rights to be eroded gradually and subtly. You have for the most part failed in your duty to watch and safeguard the very liberties you take for granted. And now because you have allowed your governments, radicals and terrorists to manipulate and denigrate those very same freedoms, you may be in danger of losing them.

The world is a better place with a free and strong America. My hope is that the greater majority of Americans do all and give all to maintain their individual rights and freedoms for the greater good of your nation and for the rest of the world.  ^


Thought of the day by John Zeus, Toronto, Canada

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Toronto Skylines – Condos & CN Tower (Photo)

December 2, 2013


Toronto Condo/CN Tower

November 24, 2013 | Photo: CN Tower & Condos, Toronto, Ontario – Looking east from the waterfront | Taken by John Zeus on a Samsung Galaxy S3

Photo Thoughts: Condos & Migrating Birds

Toronto is a booming city with a new emphasis on urban intensification. It seems like a new glass condo tower goes up every other week.

The city lies in the confluence of two major bird migratory paths so there is a higher than average concentration of migrating birds. New condo developments present a wall of glass-clad high-rises in the middle of the birds’ routes. When these glass condos reflect the surrounding environment, the birds take it for natural landscape and fly right into the glass.

Millions of birds die this way in the city every year. I hope the condo developers, city hall and Torontonians find a permanent solution to this problem. The birds are depending on us.

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