Monday, January 26, 2015

Think Globally - Do Magic Locally

Blessings Darlings!

The other day I commented on a post on Facebook, recommending igneous rocks for a working.  Thinking further about that, tho', I realized that was a holdover from growing up in the Midwest, and not what I'd do myself, now that I live in the Appalachians.

The bulk of Illinois land is sand loam - six or more feet deep of it.  There are occassional streaks of sand or clay, and occassional stones (usually granite, scraped up by the glaciers when they dug out the Great Lakes in the last Ice Age. As a result of growing up there, and starting my practice there, my 'mother tongue' of land magic is based on that.

But I'm no longer in Illinois.  I'm not even in the stoney silt/clay mix of the piedmont of Maryland anymore.  I'm in the Appalachians, with a Duffield Clay variety of soil.  I've posted before on how my local soil, when worked by hand for gardens, rewards hard workers with nice chunks of quartz.

The local clay also, I've discovered, can make fine talismans, amulets, other magical objects, if dug up and purified.  And THAT is what I'd now use in place of chunks of igneous rocks in the same workings.

What's your land base like?

Frondly, Fern


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Crows Spoke Again.




Blessings Darlings!

I don't know if crows act as messengers from the Goddess who has me collared, but there are these times when ... well, they can certainly be omens.  So far, always omens about crap going down at work.  It happened again yesterday.

I was just driving in to the job.  The Chubby Hubby and Spawn, who had been out in the car earlier, had left me an almost empty gas tank, so I went to fill it before work rather than after.  Snow was predicted, after all. 

All along the drive there were crows, in abnormal numbers, in abnormal places.  I figured it was just due to the oncoming snow - just crows being crows, and confirming the weather report.  In fact I felt a bit smug, as I reviewed that I was filling the gas tank, had pretty new tires, my radiator was finally fixed, I'd replaced a burnt out turn signal bulb myself, etc.

Well.

Thirty minutes after I got to work, or no reason, the damn 'fire suppressant system' goes off.  Green chemical pours down on the grills and my stove (where I had a large batch of vegetable soup started), mist from it goes EVERYWHERE. 

The rest of my time there was spent cleaning up toxic chemicals.  Oh joy, oh rapture.

Maybe I should have warned the managers when I got in. 

Frondly, Fern

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Obligatory Mercury Retrograde Post

Blessings Darlings!

About 3 times a year, the planet Mercury is said to go 'retrograde' - that is, from the viewpoint of someone watching it from Earth, it goes 'backwards' from it's usual course.  This regularly-scheduled event leads to a crapload of posts full of strum und drung among the neoPagan community.  "Don't sign any legal agreement!" "Expect all your electronics to break!" Etc.

Well.

Mercury Retrogrades, like Saturn Returns,  CAN be plenty uncomfortable.  But they are, as I mentioned above, a regularly-scheduled part of life.  They are part of the necessary 'clearing out so you can build anew'.  You know, the cycles of nature that most Pagans like to claim that they are in sync with. 

So, get with the program. 

Build up that financial reserve/emergency fund.  You are going to need it - if not this retro, maybe this year.  If not this year, maybe next year.  Cars break down.  Bikes need replacing.  Teeth go bad.  Having that reserve fund will help you handle that.

Get the car's oil changed, and have other preventive maintenance done.  If you can, get your teeth cleaned/checked.  Eat well.  Get some exercise.  Say what you mean, clearly, so you will be understood.  After  meeting, repeat all that you/they have agreed to in an e-mail to keep a paper trail. 

Don't count on privilege - of any sort - to have your back.  You might have to own everything that you do/don't do.

Which is, of course, how we really should be living every day.  But most of us don't. 

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Spirits Laughed.

Blessings Darlings!

Today is just a typical day at Chez Fern, with the Big Cooking Project making bone broth (don't worry, it wasn't anyone you knew).  So I add the baked bones to the water, throw in a little vinegar, and add some peppercorns, and I notice that the pepper mill is kind of low on peppercorns.

No problem.  I trot upstairs to the pantry to grab the big bottle of peppercorns.  Ooops - knocked the basil plant, that I had clipped at the soil line and hung up to dry, off of it's support.  Many, many dried basil leaves on the floor.

"Oh, gosh", says I, "What can I store those up?"

Every freaking spirit in the house laughs.  Because that pantry is where about half of my canning jars are.  Apparently the spirits found the rhetorical question amusing.

Insolent Spirits!

Frondly, Fern

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tis The Season - 2

Blessings Darlings!

Hunger is every less visible than most issues.  One in 6 Americans can't afford basic healthy food, especially fruits and vegetables.  (http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/hunger-and-poverty/hunger-and-poverty-fact-sheet.html).  Even when folks are on food stamps, virtually none get the 'full amount' (roughly $140 a month for an adult).  Many who are in need have no access to stores that sell food at a discount, due to not having cars, due to living in food deserts, due to long expensive bus trips to get to such stores, due to living in rural areas, etc.

Would you know if your neighbors are hungry?

Most of the cheap foods are very high in carbohydrates, even the 'healthy' ones such as rice and beans.  Which is a huge problem since the rates of diabetes among the needy are astronomical - and related (http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/articles/diabetes-news/10126-poverty-a-leading-cause-of-type-2-diabetes-studies-say). 

Food banks, of course, are just as inaccessible, for the same reasons, as discount grocery stores are. And the food available at them is usually the same high-carbohydrate cheap foods noted earlier.  Fresh and frozen foods are usually not available at all.  Pasta, beans, rice - sure. Often canned tuna. Very rarely canned ham.  Oh, did I mention the rates of high blood pressure and kidney disease among those in need? (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/07/30/2381471/four-ways-poverty-impacts-americans-health/). 

Combine those facts with the lack of utilities (or total homelessness) noted in my previous blog. Cooking a pot of dried beans, when you have no electricity/gas, is ... an issue.  Cooking a pot roast, even if you could grab a reduced price one, is a huge issue.  So, sure, people are going to use their food stamps/scant cash to buy foods that don't need to be cooked or refrigerated.  Lunch meat to be eaten that day.  A quart of milk to have on cold cereal, rather than the far less expensive gallon of milk.  Fast food.  Etc.

Multi-levels problems.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tis the Season

Blessings Darlings!

Tis the Season ... to discuss hunger, homelessness, and related issues.

I live kinda rural, so homelessness is relatively hidden in my area.  You don't walk by folks sleeping on grates here, unlike when I hung out in DC.  Which is NOT NOT NOT to say that homelessness is not a problem here.  Many an overgrown, vine covered 'abandoned' house is being lived in here, it's just hard to know.  A roughly put together shelter of scrounged plywood, out in the woods, is going to be pretty invisible.

And certainly even when folks do have homes, many have no utilities.  You might never realized that your neighbor has had their electricity cut off a year or more ago. 

Even among my coworkers, being without running water isn't unusual.  Whether they live in a house that just never has had running water, or their well has gone dry, or the well has been contaminated (welcome to West Virginia, where mining waste is EVERYWHERE), or it has been cut off, it's reality.  Perhaps this is the most 'visible' thing in the area ... if you look for it.  The old people in line in front of you at the dollar store, getting all those paper plates and cups? They don't have water, they can't wash 'regular' stuff (they don't have garbage pick up, either, and will burn these after use).  The folks you see carrying jugs of water from the tap outside the Post Office?  Yes, them, too.

Keep your eyes open.

Frondly, Fern


Friday, June 27, 2014

It Happened Again

Blessings Darlings!

As y'all already know, I make a lot of things from scratch, or almost-scratch.  Like - my husband LOVES having Kahlua in his coffee in the evening.  He does this three or so times a week.  Kahlua is a pricy bitch, so I make my own.

And when we moved I lost my usual recipe.

No problem, go online and find another (the original was pulled from being online, because it was shared from a book without the author's permission, and the author or publisher said "Oh, HELL no!")

Since I've made stuff several times, it wasn't hard finding a recipe that I could tell had about the right proportions of coffee to sugar.  But in looking over the recipe, I could tell that the person who POSTED it (to Wikihow, which my protection software identified as a 'malicious' site) clearly had never made it. 

The first clue was that s/he said it would make about a quart of Kahlua-substitute.  Well, yes, the recipe called for 4 cups of liquid.  But the 4 1/2 cups of solids added, which dissolved into the liquids, DO TAKE UP SPACE.  Not one cup of space per cup of sugar/instant coffee, but enough space that the recipe made 6 cups, not 'about a quart'.

The second clue was that, since the mix was 50% higher in volume that was presented, the proof (alcohol content) of the finished product was going to be WAY too low given the relative volume of alcohol the recipe called form. 

To get around these problems, I used nice high-proof Everclear instead of most of the rum that was called for, and used brown sugar instead of white sugar to replace some of the flavor the rum would have brought to the recipe.  I could wing it, because I have experience and mad math skillz.

This isn't only a problem in online recipes, BTW.

And, for you Pagans/witches/wiccans out there - it's not only a problem in cooking.

But more on THAT in a future post!

Frondly, Fern