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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fern's Failure - Drill Press Edition

Blessings Darlings!

Today in being frugal, I figured I'd make a sprinkling can out of a used one-gallon milk jug.  Should be easy, right?  Just drill a bunch of small holes in the screw-on top to the jug.

So, I washed out the jug and headed down to the lab with the lid.  Couldn't find the chuck for the drill press, but chucks are pretty much universal so the chuck for the hand drill tightened the drill bit in place.   Find an extension cord, plug it in, and ... just an electrical hum.  No movement.

Opened the drill press up and found that the belt, sometime in the rather long while since we last used it, had ... disintegrated.  There was goo that used to be plastic, and there were some strands of whatever they had used to reinforce the plastic. 

Instead of being creative, I just got the metal wires or whatever out of the goo, and will use goo-gne or such on it, outside, sometime when the weather is nicer.  And we'll have to find the manual, find out what brand it is, and order a new belt.

So, I'll wait.  It's 33 degrees out, anyway, so I don't need a sprinkling can for outside plants immediately, anyway.

OTOH, I had HOPED to use this inside, to rinse hand-washed dishes using less water.  THAT I could have used starting right now.


Frondly, Fern

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