Greetings from St. Francis and Mildrith

It’s morning, birdsong, and St. Francis blesses the bake.

Early mornings in front of Mildrith, as I sweep out the ashes and load the hearth with bread, I feel the presence of St. Francis, the saint statue resting on the wall of the oven shelter.

It’s little more than a block of concrete cast into the likeness of St.… Continue reading

Living in Place: An Appreciation of Pender Island

Just over 10 years ago, Jennifer and I moved to Pender Island from Vancouver.

It was a cold, windy November day. The power went off for a few hours. A neighbour came down the driveway while we waited for the moving truck to arrive. “Welcome to Pender Island,” he said. “You better get used to this weather!”… Continue reading

The Burned Seed Feast: An Offering and a Blessing

A sublime Seed Feast loaf, an offering to and a blessing from Fornax, Roman Goddess of the Ovens.

Last week’s bake was all but finished when I realized I’d forgotten to make my offering to the goddess of the ovens, Fornax!

Last Thursday, Feb. 17, was the final day of the Festival of Fornacalia, a day when Roman bakers made an offering of spelt grain (they tossed some into their hot ovens) and asked for Fornax’s blessing for the coming year.… Continue reading

The Festival of Fornacalia: Bring Out the Flowers and the Spelt!

The baker and Mildrith, the oven
This week, the baker will give thanks to Fornax for keeping Mildrith warm this past year, and her continued presence in the year to come!

Unless you’re a baker, it’s not something you’d typically mark in your calendar. Behold the Festival of Fornacalia, the “festival of the ovens.”

The Roman celebration was for the female deity, Fornax, goddess of the ovens.… Continue reading

A Year on Bread Island

I’m hanging up my baker’s peel for a brief respite. Looking forward to some idle time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.

It’s gratitude I feel when I think over the past year: gratitude for the friendships, kindnesses, support and laughter I’ve shared with members of the Happy Monk community. The customers, the partners, and generous with words of support and substantial assistance.… Continue reading