A Camping We Will Go!

With less than two weeks to go until that first work weekend on the Land, I wanted to share with you some information from a book called Roughing It EasyTent-camping. The book was originally published back in 1975 and was authored by Dian Thomas. At the time, the Washington Post called it, “A camper’s bible!” Maybe that’s because it was written by an outdoor woman from Utah. All I know is it was and still is a valuable book to have around if you’ve never been camping or haven’t been in quite a while.

One of the valuable pieces of information she shares is how to make a bed roll, in case you don’t have a sleeping bag, have no one to borrow one from, and/or can’t afford to buy one. It goes like this:
*Tape a tarp on the ground and spread one blanket over it.
*Lay the outside edge of a second blanket down the center of the first so that it is halfway off the first.
*Lay a third blanket over the first and a fourth blanket over the second.
(If you desire more blankets, continue in the same manner.)
*If you desire a sheet, lay it down as the last blanket.
*To close the bedroll, take the outside edge of the top blanket and bring it to its other edge. Continue overlapping blankets until the bedroll is completely folded. To close the bottom, fold it under 3” and pin it in several places. (See figure below.)

Bedroll0001My only addition to this is that, since a ground cloth is essential to keeping yourself and your bedding free of ground moisture, you should wrap the bedroll in that tarp. It will keep it clean and dry while you transport it. Sleeping on the ground is tough so you may want to bring an air mattress, cot, or at least a foam pad to put underneath you to make things a little more comfortable. Don’t forget your pillow!

To go along with this she recommends a warm pair of pajamas (or sweats) rather than sleeping in the clothes you have worn all day. Remember to wear something warm on your feet while you sleep as well.

The author has offered different lists for a camper, whether first time or seasoned, to consider – most are pretty practical, but things that could be forgotten. For example, under “Personal Equipment List”, she lists clothing, sleeping equipment, but also personal items like a comb, a mirror, towel, washcloth, toothbrush and paste. She also has a “miscellaneous” list that includes camera, chapstick, first-aid kit, flashlight (so important down on the Land), any meds you may take, pocket knife, sun glasses and a musical instrument (you never know what may happen around a bon-fire!)

She then moves on to her “General Camping Equipment” list. She makes two suggestions here: 1) take as little as possible; 2) take equipment that can be used in different ways and later discarded such as cans and foil. For basic equipment, she suggests:
*A hatchet or axe
*A blade saw or a string saw
*Tarps and/or ground cloths
For fire equipment:
*A shovel and water bucket (in case of fire)
*Leather, heavy cotton or asbestos gloves (for handling hot objects such as logs, pans, or foil-wrapped food placed in the fire for cooking)

Basic cooking equipment:
*A good skillet or Dutch oven
*A grill or grating (to place over the fire to cook)
*Can opener (don’t know how often this is forgotten!)
*Toasting forks
Other suggestions include:
*A dish pan
*Dish soap
*Trash bags
* Paper towels
* Paper plates, cups, and utensils (especially if you don’t like dishwashing)
*Aluminum foil

The lists go on, but you get the idea and I’ve listed some very bare necessities that are often forgotten. She goes on in the book to tell you how to make an equipment box, which I actually had for a number of years. It was quite handy for keeping camping things all in one place and ready for transport. There’s also some really ingenious methods of cooking shown and a large number of recipes at the end of the book. One recipe that I used to always enjoy that was easy with no clean-up was the “Foil Dinner.”
Method: Aluminum foil
Time: 12 minutes per side
Yield: 1 dinner per recipe
*Place 1 ½ feet of heavy duty aluminum foil on a table.
*Peel and slice 1 carrot, ½ to 1 potato and ¼ -½ small onion
*Form a patty from ¼ to 1/3 lb. hamburger
*Arrange food in the following order: carrots, potatoes, onions, meat, potatoes, carrots.
*Close foil securely using a technique called “drugstore wrap” (YouTube video on this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRWyz675OUI )
This is a quick, easy meal to make ahead of time and then just place in the fire after a hard day of work and/or play.

We ask that anything you pack in, you pack out when you leave. Keep watch on all fires you build – make sure they do not flame so high as to burn the trees and make sure they are out when you leave. We very much appreciate your time, efforts and cooperation in restoring Raven-Wolf!

When you come to the Land, be sure to stop at the registration area – just inside the gate on the left-hand side, to sign in. There will be a “Guest book” for you to sign your name and when you arrived. The gates will be closed and locked at night to keep curiosity-seekers out, usually around 8 p.m.

For those who have never been to the Land before, you may request directions by sending a SASE to: Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, P.O. Box 61, New Straitsville, OH 43766.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to RavenWolfNature@aol.com We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Anticipation builds….I can’t wait to see you there!

Blessed Be,

Elder Maya

Pagans, and Witches and….mosquitoes, Oh My!!!!

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent Ingredients:

  • 1 32 ounce bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP each of dried Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Mint
  • At least quart size glass jar with airtight lid

How to Make the Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent:

  1. Put the vinegar and dried herbs into large glass jar.
  2. Seal tightly and store on counter or place you will see it daily. Shake well each day for 2-3 weeks.
  3. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out and store in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in fridge.
  4. To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed.
  5. Use whenever you need serious bug control!

[Note: This mixture is very strong and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a tincture for any illness. For adults, dose is 1 TBSP in water several times a day,for kids over 2, dose is 1 tsp in water several times a day.


Yes, Virginia, there are mosquitoes at Raven-Wolf. They have their place in Nature, but they are irritating, nasty little buggers. For those of you who do not want to use Deet, the above recipe works quite well. It is really nice to wait till you need to use it, then add cold water (step 4). Very refreshing!

Speaking of water, until the well is tested, we will need to bring in our own water. Bottled water for drinking is always easiest but remember “carry it in, carry it out.” Take home any trash. There is no trash man that collects our leftovers. That includes no burning of plastic, Styrofoam plates or cups, diapers, or any non-biodegradable product.

Having a cleaning station already set up makes life a little simpler. We will be getting dirty! Here is a simple solution…

two laundry soap containers that have a spout and a spigot.
a roll of paper towels

Fill both containers with water, and put the soap of your choice in one of them (Dawn works well and can be used for dishes or hands). Fill the second container with clean water for rinsing. Set them up side by side on a table, a log, or the back of your pickup. Insert the paper towels in one of the handles. Voila! You can use another of these for drinking liquid. Just be sure to rinse it out very well (and label them) before filling it with anything you are going to ingest.

One more little tidbit. If any of you are like me, coffee in the morning is a must!! There is this wonderful little gadget called a Melitta. All you need is your favorite coffee blend or tea bag, and boiling water. Very simple, quite cheap, and almost as good as a Bunn!

Being prepared when primitive camping really makes life easier. Next week I’ll be posting more tips for work weekends at Raven-Wolf!

See you there!

Lady CrowW



How It Began…

RW Winter0002When the Land was first purchased, it had just been logged out so there was devastation everywhere left behind from the logging company. There were times when you could actually feel the pain the Land had endured from being pillaged and plundered by those who only cared about the dollars that could be made from the standing timber. Sad, hardly describes the sight and feeling as we began the work to prepare for the first Goddess Gathering to be held here.

It began just after Vernal Equinox, 1990. At first, it was just me and my High Priest/husband, the late Chuck Pugh. We both worked so, after we got off second shift, we’d pack the truck and make the 3 ½ to 4 hour journey across the state. As I’ve said before, there wasn’t even a driveway onto the property, so we had to park on the road, tote everything in and then set up camp so we could get a couple hours sleep before our day began. I look back now and wonder how we did that. In March, there was still snow so we slept on chaise lounges in sleeping bags and snowmobile suits to keep warm inside a 10’ x 10’ screen tent with the flaps down.

RW Misc0001What really became interesting was April when the rains came and came and came. I think it was the Goddess’s way of cleansing the Land from all that had been done to it. We got used to working in rain ponchos and slogging around in mud, as the work continued. Most of that work was done by hand with hand tools since there was little money after the investment in the Land and no electricity for anything beyond hand or gas-powered equipment.

scan0003It was sometime in April we did manage to get a driveway cut into the property by hand and enough gravel to make it up the driveway’s incline to the flatter land. By then, we were also getting some help from many, many dear friends and fellow Pagans and Witches. By the end of April, we had actually managed to get a small camper onto the Land so that we could at least rest comfortably. (That’s a whole story on its own!)

As the Earth began to turn green, we were hopeful that we could make this work – some how, some way. We needed at least two outhouses, but had no real money for materials. There was all that downed wood, so they started building with what the Goddess and God had given us. Very primitive, but it worked!

scan0022Did I mention it rained? And it kept raining. We kept working. By the time Summer Solstice came we were as ready as we were going to be. We continually told people what to expect – primitive. The weekend of Gathering…guess what? It rained! As I told you previously, it was miserable in some respects but a real blessing in that it brought us together as a community, even if just for that one event.

This is what this Land was meant to do – bring people together. It was meant to be a sacred space where we truly can connect with Mother Earth and ALL Her children…including each other. Gathering once a year is never enough when you meet like-minded people whose company you enjoy, in surroundings that you love. The rain doesn’t matter. The cold, the heat, none of it matters. What matters is the sacredness of tending to the needs of the Land and sharing the company of those who hold similar views and beliefs.

scan0002So now we begin again. The first work weekend approaches. Will it rain or will the sun shine? Will it be warm or will it be cold? I don’t know. What I do know is that an opportunity is being presented to any who care to be part of the rebirth and resurrection of some truly beautiful sacred space. Who knows what we could build this time? The new friendships alone could be worth the time invested in coming.

Come join us, rain or shine, won’t you? Oh, just in case, bring a rain poncho!

Once again, for those who have never been to the Land before, you may request directions by sending a SASE to: Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, P.O. Box 61, New Straitsville, OH 43766.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to RavenWolfNature@aol.com We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Blessed Be,

Elder Maya

Festivals – Past and Future

Have you ever been to a Pagan festival? Or have you yet to experience one? If you have been to one, is there any one thing that was your favorite experience? If you haven’t been to one, what do you look forward to experiencing?

GG to RW Photos0001Our history began at the primitive group camp area in Hocking Hills State Park as “Goddess Gathering” in June, 1983. It was an awesome experience just in the fact that we attracted 65 people to join us. Then there was the rituals, the workshops, the vendors, and the wonderful experience of meeting and getting to know new like-minded people.

Much like now, there were only a few of us to put on this event so some us did double and triple duty. Oh, but it was so worth it! We greeted everyone who came and asked if they needed any help getting set up. Then Opening Ritual was held the first day. This was followed on Saturday night with the Main Ritual followed by a potluck feast. In between, there were workshops, campfires and drumming. It truly was an event that left a continuous smile on your face. We all hated to see it end.

GG to RW Photos0003The next year was at another state park and that was followed by five years at a local ski resort where our attendance grew to around 250 people. The experience of the ski resort sort of spoiled us. There were showers and flush toilets along with a lodge that had a fully functioning kitchen where breakfasts could be made and served. It was here we held the “Pagan Olympics” with unique events that brought laughter and fun to the event. We even bought used trophies from places like Goodwill to give to the winners. It was a great time!

GG to RW Photos0004Then, due to the owner wanting to sell his property, we had to seek another site. This lead us to the Land we call Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary. Just before Hallowmas/Samhain, 1989, we signed the contract to buy our 16 acres.

Many of the people who had so enjoyed the conveniences of our former site didn’t return – after all, we had become very primitive. Still, we persevered and began to attract a whole new crowd of people who didn’t seem to mind our primitive nature that much and were willing to help in our efforts to improve the site.

scan0021The first Goddess Gathering was held here in June, 1990 and the Goddess blessed and purified the Land that year with lots and lots of rain. That rain, as miserable as it was at times, brought us together. It provided situations that allowed us to help each other – whether that was making a food & ice run or helping push someone’s car up or down the hill in the mud. It was heartwarming to see these “strangers” come together, making the best of a not-so-nice situation.

GG to RW Photos0006In the years that followed, we continued the tradition of an Opening, Main and Closing ritual. The Main Ritual Feast, that follows the Main Ritual, continued to be potluck and was enjoyed by most everyone. Later, there was the bonfire! Dancing, drumming, and just enjoying the company of each other and the Land itself…magickal! Of course, there were still workshops and we had a few vendors as well.

Now we are beginning again. This year, there will be no formal gatherings as we try to bring the Land back into shape so that we may once again come together to teach, learn, drum, dance, eat, drink, laugh, cry, and worship together.

GG to RW Photos0008During this year, we want to get to know you and you get to know us. We want to hear your ideas and what you would like to experience when, once again, the festivals begin. We would also like to hear any ideas that you have concerning the repair and improvement of the Land and that includes fund-raising ideas.

This is sacred space that is here for the use and enjoyment of all who come to it. We want it to be an experience to remember and a reason to return!

Once again, for those who have never been to the Land before, you may request directions by sending a SASE to: Raven-Wolf Nature Sanctuary, P.O. Box 61, New Straitsville, OH 43766.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to RavenWolfNature@aol.com We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We’re looking forward to meeting you!!!

GG to RW Photos0009





Blessed Be,

Elder Maya