Sunday, June 21, 2015

Anti-Racism Magic

Blessings Darlings!

I assume that everyone reading has heard of the attack earlier this week on the people - black people - at the Emmanuel AME church in South Carolina.  I'm going to provide a simple magic aimed at reducing racism.

BUT - before I get to that - I'm going to write about what racism is and what to do in the mundane about it. 

First I'm going to point out that the dictionary definition of racism is totally inadequate.  The dictionary (written by ... whom? think on that) defines racism as the same as 'prejudice'.  As an individual issue.  That's not correct, in my never humble view. In my view, racism is a societal power issue - you can be prejudiced against folks you don't have power over, but racism has IMPACT on daily lives of others. Racism requires power over the 'others'.  That can only happen when privilege is a basic part of society.  BTW - you might want to research why/how the AME church was created.

It can be hard to see privilege if you have it.  I guess that's kind of like not seeing air if you're a land animal, or not seeing water if you're a fish.  If you're not sure what privilege looks like, you can google things like 'how to recognize white privilege'. 

Actually ending racism is going to end white privilege. That's going to be a side effect. If you do the magic right, and it starts working at least in your local area ... if you're white, you may see changes in your life that you might not like. Police and courts might treat you the same way they treat blacks.  Because privilege is built into the legal and enforcement systems.  And the system is going to fight ending privilege.

In the Mundane - move out of your comfort level. 

To work on ending racism in every day life, you're going to have to speak up when you see/hear racism and prejudice.  Speak up when folks make 'jokes' putting down other races.  The terrorist in Charleston made lots of them.  His friends laughed.  

Have those discussions about race, prejudice, racism that might be scary for you to have.  If you're white, you fear of words is nothing compared to the fear of being attacked for your race by the agents of the state.

And, FFS (BTW, on MY blog, FFS means "For Fern's Sake"), listen to people of color when they describe their experiences.  Don't try to rush them to 'forgiveness' when the perps haven't asked for it, and when the attacks are ongoing. 

The Magic

This is real simple magic.  Go weed your garden. Charge the weeds with being 'racism', and root those weeds up. Let them dry to nothing in the light of the sun.  

That's it.  Really. Most magic is simple.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, June 8, 2015

Defrosting The Freezer

Blessings Darlings!

Being the busy little home maker I am, I'm defrosting the freezer as I type this.  We have an OLD upright freezer, 14.7 cubic feet, not at all frost-free.  We got it in January 1979, so it predates our 1980 marriage and LONG predates our 1987 Spawn. 

Every now and then (really, more NOW), it needs to be defrosted.  It's one of the easiest household tasks, if you manage things right.  And the one thing that is most critical, to me, in 'managing things right' is to use big cardboard boxes - the type to hold hanging files in - in your freezer to  hold things as a matter of course. 

Our freezer has 4 of those in use.  Two for meats, one for bones for broth and prepared broth, and one for fruits.  I also use the cardboard 'bases' from cases of catfood in two places.

The boxes do two things.  First, they prevent ice buildup on the TOP of the shelves.  This the cardboard bases to, too.  But on top of that, to empty the freezer before defrosting, and to re-fill after defrosting, all I have to do is move the box out or in.  No trying to find things to store that food in.  Easy peasy. 

Once everything is out of the freezer, I just put big pots of boiling water in, close the door, and wait. Thermodynamics FTW! Of course, I have layers of towels on the floor, but since the freezer is in the garage, mostly I just sweep the puddles out after I'm done.

Once defrosted, the old darling runs like a top. 

And while it defrosts, I get to multitask online.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Blessings, Darlings!

This last Sunday, May 17, at 3 pm, Corporate locked the doors at the restaurant Spawn and I worked at, closing the store.  No official advance warning, just a notice of a mandatory meeting about 'food safety issues'.  Oh, okay - for those who Googled the company, there was this announcement last month that they would be closing a bunch of restaurants. 

So Spawn is out of his only job, and I'm out of my #2 job.  He will qualify for unemployment.  I won't.  We will be able to see the severance package this weekend. Word is that we'll be offered two weeks pay (I worked there 19 months, he worked there 3 1/2 years), but what we'll have to sign away to get that isn't clear.  We MAY be offered jobs at other restaurants in the chain, but that's not guaranteed - nor if the Spawn gets hired is it at ALL guaranteed that he'll get his current pay.  He's gotten a LOT of raises while he was there, because he's that good.

Now, an $850 hit in our monthly budget is, of course, PAINFUL (that's what I was paid plus what the Spawn pays in rent). But we're applying for new jobs, and y'all KNOW that I can do the Cheap Bitch thing really well. Yes, veggies are going into the space I had meant to put a flower bed in. Yes, I spend this morning washing out 'lightly used' zip-lock bags for re-use.  Yes, I have bones and skin from chickens past browning in the oven now, for chicken stock later today.

You and I know the drill.  We've been around this block before. 

It's a real shame, tho', for many of our coworkers, who relied on this as their only job.  They really need good thoughts from all y'all for getting new jobs.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Eating on the Wild Side

Blessings, Darlings!

So, as some of y'all already know that my husband neglected to read some of his e-mail ... so didn't send in something that our health insurance needed ... so auto payment of health insurance emptied our checking account of not just our expected $245 payment but an additional almost $2000. The $2000 for rent, utilities, food, etc.

We scrambled to cover the bills this weekend, and we will EVENTUALLY get the $ back, but it will take 2 to 4 months. So we are in financial pain just when we thought things would be calmer.

So ... let's talk about eating weeds again. It's something that *I* can do, but my husband can't. Wild greens have more flavor, or as my husband puts it "are too bitter". My husband is a super taster.

Now, he's right that most of the current round of wild greens available ARE bitter. The weather is getting hot, which contributes. The younger wild mustards and shepherd purses were tame. Early (pre-blooming) dandelions weren't TOO bad. But wild green things now are flavored to repel leaf munching insects, and apparently the plants see humans as bigger insects.

Therefore, in keeping score so far this week - Narrow Leaf Plantain: bitter, but added to soup and hot sauce added was fine. Miner's Lettuce: bitterness lessened by soaking in a few changes of water, was fine added to a tomato based spaghetti sauce to top pasta.

Today's adventure will be bind weed. Which apparently I'll have to mix with some other greens because "too much can have a laxative effect'.

Tomorrow I'll be finding out if thistle leaves, lightly steamed, really do taste like asparagus.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Go Read this! Now!

Blessings Darlings!

I'm glad you're here.   Now, go read the article I'm linking to. It's about talking with others and privilege. History matters.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ham R Us.

Blessings Darlings!

We're not a particularly ham loving family.  I grew up Jewish and wasn't raised on it. My husband likes it on occassion.  My son doesn't like it.

That said ...

I walked into Aldi's to pick up a few groceries yesterday.  They had a few hams, all at $5 each, since today is the 'sell by' date.  I picked up the largest one that was left.  And extra eggs, and a package of English muffins, and a package of sliced American cheese.  I now have 6 'egg McMuffins' in the freezer, Navy bean soup is on the stove, split pea soup is going to be made, as will a ham and scalloped potato casserole.  AND I'll still have ham left over that I'll freeze to cook with later.

I'm glad I had a few extra dollars available! 

Frondly, Fern

Friday, January 30, 2015

Planting them seeds at Imbolc.

Blessings Darlings!

The interwebs are full of Imbolc rituals full of seed plantings.  Regardless of local conditions, regardless of local climate zones.  Regardless of the fact that, in most of Europe/North America, the only seeds you'd plant now are onions (and that's not necessarily the occult correspondence most folks are after just now, ya know.)  Regardless of what's actually going on in their local land base. Yeah, the seeds represent changes in your life - but working outside of nature isn't all that Pagan/Witchy.

Doesn't work for me, but okay, if that floats their boat (that was said in my best Bawltimore accent, not a Boston accent, hon), let's go into what has to be kept in mind when doing seed work.

Planting seeds, and having them come up soon, can be a great psychological boost.  So, while parsley is a seed that can be started now - don't use it.  It takes forever to sprout, even if soaked before planting.  One of the parsley seeds I planted outside last spring ... didn't sprout until fall.

How are you with houseplants?  If you tend to kill them all - this type of ritual isn't the type for you.  What you plant isn't likely to grow any better, and if you are relying on a magical bond between the plants you are starting and your outcome - you may well have a problem.

Does what your planting actually grow in your area, and if not, does it grow well indoors?  Will the plant last as long as it takes you to make a real change?

Nothing grows well unless you've prepared the soil beforehand.  Ideally, you'd have been doing that since Yule.  Gathering materials, clearing away known obstacles, clearing room, carefully identifying goals and steps along the way, etc.  

Have you taken care of this step?

Planting - the official starting - of the process is great.  But there's a long time and a lot of work between planting and harvesting.  What are you plans for dealing with early frosts?  With weeds? With insects and disease?  Spiritual goals have these things, too.  And just doing the planting isn't really enough to get past the vice of Malkut (inertia).

How long can you go without getting the harvest you expect?  We all know the meme "Oh, Lord, grant me patience, and give it to me NOW".  

Are the seeds in tune with your spiritual goal?  Lavender sprouts well, but may not be the best to plant if you're after physical fitness, or business success.

Will you need help with harvest?  Okay, most of you aren't planting acres of wheat, but still ...

This isn't an exhaustive list, obviously. Just stuff to keep in mind.

Frondly, Fern