Lately in my mind I've been thinking of the summer solstice as Midsummer instead of Litha. Not sure what brought about that particular change, but figure it's worth making a note of.
I spent yesterday cleaning out the fire pit in my grandparents' backyard. Some of the bricks had fallen over, and the whole pit and area around it had become a bit overgrown. Before any fires I'd made were small and off in a little sandy area to the side of the house, but the backyard is nicer so I've been working on cleaning that space up.
So since today is Midsummer I thought it would be a good time to have a fire and bless the fire pit. I know the area is going to need some more work. A bench would be nice, or maybe I'll just have to bring a folding chair out. I'm also considering making a small shrine on top of, or nearby the fire pit, or making one of the sides a bit wider for a bit of altar space. Not sure yet.
Today I also began making a large stang. I've written about this a few times in the past, this as been an ongoing search for... two years now? Something like that. I've just been waiting to find the right branch to start with. I had passed by the branch I ended up choosing many, many times. First, it wasn't the type of tree I was hoping to make a stang from, and two it was actually a whole small tree rather than a branch from a tree.
I was trying to avoid cutting a whole tree down, but this particular tree was in an area that was due to have some clearing anyway. Actually, this is how I lost the original branch I was looking at the year before last. It was a nice branch from a young white oak, but the week before I was going to cut it the whole area was cleared out and the wood hauled off somewhere.
Anyway like I said, this has been a long process, and I've been coming back to this particular tree for at least a year now. It just seemed like the right one to work with. So I left an offering at the base of the tree, and carefully cut it down. The trunk forked off into two branches, which I've trimmed off and kept for later use. I blessed the stang over the Midsummer fire, which had dried mugwort burning in it. Now it's going to be set aside for a while to dry out a bit before being worked further.