Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Is the Sound of One Hand Typing?

I'm experiencing a bout of tendonitis in my left forearm. Since I've been trying to ignore it for the past couple of weeks and awkwardly favoring that tendon ... the result has been that it has not improved but I HAVE developed tendonitis in my wrist and shoulder from using them oddly.

Clearly, this is not acceptable. Now the arm is in a sling and I'm taking regular doses of anti-inflamatories. In a few weeks I should be fine.

This gives me a new way to rehearse my preparedness skills! Clearly, being able to simply grab a sling out of the first age backpack was a good thing. But I also get to practice general Life Skills one handed.

It has made it clear that there are some things I can do one handed, and some I can't. Wash dishes? Yeah, awkward tho' it is. Lift cast iron dutch oven full of food into and out of the oven? Nope. Not one handed. Hanging laundry isn't going really well, either - I've temporarily given up on clothes pins. Ironing has become very slow. I've punted getting ice cubes out of ice cube trays. And I'm not driving a standard shift car.

But, what would, say, a broken arm do to me in a survival situation? How would I cut or split wood? Use a wheelbarrow to move manure to the garden? Work the manure into the garden? How would I quickly reload any gun, or use a shotgun or rifle?

Hmmm. No answers here. Just questions ... typed slowly.

frondly, Fern

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Going-ons and On-Goings

Blessings, Fronds!

Sorry about the lack of posts - I may have to accept that over the summer I'll just be posting particularly sporatically. But let me tell you why ...


The spawn sort of hoed and weeded the older beds. I got the sweet peppers in (late) and started the first planting of beans (on time). The beans have not sprouted. At all. The exceptionally cute baby bunnies, who have worked hard at eating my parsley and salvia to the ground insist that they are NOT to blame for this (they say that they prefer them with the first tender real leaves before they eat them). So I should be planting more beans today. This planting was planned as the second bed. Oh well. The onions there are thriving, as are 4 of the 5 sweet peppers. I think my son mowed the 5th pepper, but I've not pressed him on that point.

The flowers by the front door are still not totally planted. Mostly because it has been too wet to plant them. We have had incredible rain this month! Oh - I have a new rain barrel, but haven't set it up with the downspouts yet.

Out in the back yard's new veggie bed I finally staked the tomatoes. They are coming along very nicely, especially the Roma's. The parsley is SLOWLY coming back - I have staked the 'body' of a milk jug around each of them to deter baby bunnies. I worry that I'm not harvesting the basil fast enough to stop it from bolting. Onions are lagging there.

I've harvested lambsquarters two times to serve as dinner veggies. The husband finds it a bit bitter, but LOVED it when I steamed it and added a cream sauce. Even if the 'cream sauce' was just a can of cream of mushroom soup!


Huband still working on getting new web site up. Main customer still down, no replacement. Should e-mail distributor today to see how month's product sales are going. Will eventually put a link to the NEW web site up here, but our current web site is so miserable I don't want to link it. I'm sure all of you want to buy USB HID and TCP programming products, but you'll just have to wait. Okay, if you insist on buying them, let me know. Or if you need Windows programming, or USB HID peripheral programming.


I've been training to become a Mastermind group leader (Dr. Ben Mack's Carnegie Mastermind group construct). The first group starts tomorrow night, one hour weekly, by phone or computer. I'm looking to start groups on a whole variety of topics, including but probably not limited to: survival gardening, food storage, food storage cooking, divination/scrying, Wizard Tag, Intimacy with the Divine, Thaumaturgical magic, creating sacred space, and Business Skills for Pagans. All of this will be explained in more detail here and on .....


Far be it from me to let my husband have all the new web site fun. Yes, I'm finally building a full web site. I just installed Joomla on Sunday, and have been working on adding one article a day. I need to figure out buttons today, as well as adding a new article and getting a clue on how to do squeeze/registration pages.


On top of all that, clothes still need to be washed, meals cooked and cleaned up after, the house needs cleaning, and the Solstice was this last weekend. Not that I made it to the ritual - the car died AGAIN, after $1K work of work on it. I spent the afternoon in a parking lot about 5 miles from the park we were meeting at, waiting for my husband's help.

So, that's what's up here. I'm not commenting on Iran, or the train crash here in DC yesterday, or any deep philosophical stuff at this point. But maybe someday I'll explain that in terms of Celtic Reconstructionism - in an odd way it makes sense.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, June 15, 2009

Frenzied Fern

Blessings, Fronds!

I'm way behind in my blogging, because there's so much to do in the 'real' world off-line. I've been planting more veggies, I discovered a bee hive in my compost heap while trying to get compost for said garden, husband's and my home business has has issues including but not limited to the main development computer's hard drive going bad, I'm working on a line of Mastermind groups I want to give, and I need to get a real web site up (which means husband and I spend quality time debating the relative merits of WordPress vs Joomla.)

Meanwhile, I still have the Mastermind training classes I'm in, the regular business training classes, meals have to be put on the table, clothes have to be washed, spawn has to be nagged to do lawn and clean bathrooms and I've lost his shopping slavery because he's working with husband to re-install all the software on the new hard drive while husband works on content for the main home business web site.

On top of all that, and the expected drop in income, and the extra expenses for computer and car repairs - at our current main client, another very small company, the head engineer is out with a life threatening heart problem. Which is messing up HIS life, his family's life, their business's income, and thus OUR income even more than it was before.

While I should be using this blog to plug the Mastermind groups starting now, instead mostly there's going to be silence and short posts. Because I'm busy hanging laundry, baking break, learning Wordpress, creating web sites and web site content, and finding new and different weeds - er - wild plants to eat.

Tomorrow night is Dolmades for Dinner - greek stuffed grapes leaves. I ain't paying for the grape leaves, and the filling is mostly rice (storage food) and mint (herb garden supplied). Tonight's dinner is lamb stew (3rd meal from leg of lamb, lots of potatoes that were on GREAT sale last week) in home-made bread bowls. All leftover lamb is going to go into soup for lunches this week.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


My "Suffering Is Optional" post got favorable mention at Flea' "Blog Carnival"!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Suffering Is Optional.

Blessings, Fronds!

As I reported earlier, we are having 'cash flow issues'. No fear of eviction or other dire consequences, but we are having to watch every penny.

However, we're not suffering. Not even whining a whole lot.

Many factors go into that. First, of course, is attitude.

Attitude towards money
We are not afraid of having little money. We are not appalled by having little money. We are not defined by how much money we have.

Money is a form of energy, just like coal, food, and knowledge are forms of energy. We all can use them. Some folks get used by them.

Attitude towards the future
Certainly our attitude that this 'tight' time will pass helps. But optimism that what we are doing now is building a better future only one aspect of our attitude towards the future.

More important is my attitude that shit storms happen, so be ready for them. Be ready to handle those hard times, from whatever causes, when they occur. I have a one year supply of food on hand, amassed (some bought, some grown and preserved) while money was less tight and the foods were on sale. I know we will not starve, pretty much no matter what. We have savings which we are using to pay bills (which is why we aren't facing eviction or anything).

Our attitude means that if we were facing a natural disaster or such now and stores were closed or trucks couldn't get thru' (as in ice storms, floods, hurricanes, whatever) we'd be fine on our own.

It didn't take some huge amount of money to become prepared, either. "Seconds" from the farmers market make fine canned or dried fruits and veggies. Rice, quinoa, etc are less expensive when bought in 50 pound sacks than one or two pound bags. My flour is homeground - the wheat and corn are from feed stores.

Green attitude
Being 'green' has helped us prepare, as well as helping us live less expensively in general. We have the clothes we need for home and business ... most bought used. I don't bleach things often (just whites on very rare occassions) so all our clothes last longer.

Self-reliant attitude
Somewhat related to the 'shit storms happen' attitude is our feeling that we need to be able to rely on ourselves for all things we possibly can. Oh, I admit I will never be able to do heart surgery. But I can do my own cooking, grow some of my own food even now in a rented house in a suburb that doesn't allow livestock (except bunnies), I can repair my own clothes, etc. I can keep myself healthy so I don't need to visit doctors or need antibiotics or heart surgery.

After attitude come other factors.....

We've been thru' hard financial times before. When my husband was in graduate school and I was an undergrad (we both had worked for years before returning to school) we were eating on $16 a week. Shopping sales for everything is habit. Making soup from scratch not cans is habit. Line drying clothes is habit.

Practice leads to having skills. I'm over 50 - I've learned to cook. Actually, I did that WAY back when, but I do keep improving.

Enjoying Life
There is no need or advantage to being miserable when money is tight. I'd say that the opposite is true. Making yourself miserable is miserable.

So, since my tax dollars are paying for them anyway, I take advantage of free concerts given in my area (my city sponsors some - using my tax dollars; many of the bands are Military - using my tax dollars). We hang out in public parks picnicing. We hike on public lands. When we had time, we camped in municipal/state/national parks.


My poor person's breakfast today was a one egg omlette filled with the spicy greens (from the wild lambsquarters, as you recall) left over from last night's dinner, and a home made english muffin.

Our poor person's lunch will be the WONDERFUL soup I made from the last of the frozen tomatoes and yellow squash from last year's garden, some leftover green beans, and some of that bulk quinoa (which is a complete protein), and some stock I made from bones saved from cheap beef and whole chickens.

Is that suffering? Nope. I refuse to suffer.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Summer Kitchen

Hi Fronds!

It's pretty much summer here. Temperature got up to a toasty 89 degrees today, and the humidity is currently at 83%.

I do not find this comfortable. I never DID find heat and humidity comfortable, so I can't blame it on me being a woman of a certain age. Therefore, one of my main goals is keeping the house cool.

But how to do this when I cook darn near everything from scratch? Like the soup and the corn bread I made today?

This is where having a summer kitchen comes in - cooking away from the main house, so you don't add heat to where you don't want it.


Having a summer kitchen goes way back. It was standard for mansions back when the USA started. A trip to Mt. Vernon (which is a great place to visit for SO many reasons!) includes a tour of the detached kitchen there. That kitchen features a covered walkway to the house. Mine is not that fancy.

My kitchen appears under the maple tree out back. The shade is good there, even if the breeze is sometimes blocked by a neighbor's fence.

The standard parts of the kitchen are one aluminum folding table, one comfortable chair, the rocket stove, the BBQ grill/smoker, the hay box cooker, an extension cord, and any electric appliance I may need. Maybe the toaster oven. Maybe a one burner electric hotplate. I may have the day's ingredients out there in a cooler, too.

And, of course, a cold drink is part of the set up. Maybe an entire pitcher of cold drinks.

Benefits Of Summer Kitchen Cooking

The official benefit, of course, is having cooked food and not heating the house. But being outside is a benefit in general. (I'm thinking of going an entire week of outdoor living sometime soon, coming in only to hit the washroom, but that pagan and survivalist experiment will wait until later - I can still work out there on the laptop, at least.)

And the back yard comes with it's own floor show! Well, floor might not be the best word - birds are all around, the world's fattest squirrel thinks s/he owns the yard, the chipmunks are alway fun, and once we had a huge possum come sniffing around.

Our previous house also had the chickens a neighbor family kept for a few years, and their occassionally escaping bunny, several visiting cats, and a much smaller possum.

If the mosquitos get bad this year, I'm considing adding a screen house that I picked up at a garage sale to the kitchen set up. I certainly will use that if I spend a week outside camping.

Come away with me, darlings, to the Great Suburban Outdoors!

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Do the Gods Have Your Back?

Blessings, Darlings!

Late last night I decided I had been WAY WAY too PC in talking about intimacy with the God/dess/es. "Oh, I want to manifest them" "Oh, I want to hear their voices".

Let me be more honest about what those vague statements really mean.


I want the God/dess/es to have my back - I want them in my corner - I want to be able to kick ass when it needs to be kicked, to know when it is time to kick ass, to know how best to kick any individual ass. That includes kicking my own ass (so I guess flexibility/gymnastic ability should be added to that list).

And in my never humble opinion, those are things you only get from the God/dess/es when you are intimate with Them. You and They have to be intimate enough for y'all to recognize each other's backs to order to cover each other's backs. You need to be intimate with the power, knowledge, etc, of any individual God or Goddess to know when you're getting that God/dess/'s power, knowledge, whatever.

Not to mention (but, clearly, I'm going to mention) if you need help from any Divine One in a hurry, you don't want to have to go thru' layers of bureaucracy. You want the direct cell phone number of the Divine One. They don't give that out to just anyone. Like all busy executives They have Their secretaries/staff handle all low level stuff. You don't get the Real Deal unless you have beein in contact for rather a while.

Ivo Dominguez, Jr., has an analogy for this - well, he really used it for aspecting, but I'm going to use it here. Say that the Dali Llama was in town. You drop him a note inviting him to dinner. Is he going to show up? Well, it depends on your relationship with him. If it's just you or me, no. If we have had a little bit of contact with him in the past we might get a note of thanks for the offer back from a secretary. More contact, and the note might be from him. If we or our office has had some level of relationship with him established, maybe one of his representatives will meet with us. Only if we have a pretty darn tight relationship would he be coming over for dinner.

So, too, with the God/dess/es. If you want the Power and Understanding (I'm in the midst of more Kabala stuff), you have to put in the time and effort and build the relationship to intimacy. Then, when you need to do emergency first aid or EMT care and you need the wisdom and skills of Asclepios you will get it fast and sure.

I admit I want the power/knowledge/etc. Sure, my ego is involved. I don't think that what I'm after is bad, I don't think that ego is bad. In fact, I'm pretty sure that powerlessness, lack of understanding, etc, are pretty bad.

And THAT is what I really mean when I said "I want to manifest the God/dess/es more clearly in my life".

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Blessings, Darlings!

I'm on fairly good terms with several Goddesses and Gods. I occassionally hear Their voices, sense Their energies, and They usually send a bit of Their power to some of my rituals and magical workings I don't have this with many of the Goddesses and Gods, just a select few - and I didn't sellect all of those few, some - maybe all - selected me.

But I am not as intimate with any of Them as I would like to be. I'd like to hear Their voices more, learn more from Them, manifest Their purposes in my life more.

Familiarity is a large part of it - sort of the 'putting the name to the face' part of intimacy. Looking at the definition of intimacy I see "a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationshipo with another; a close associatoin with or detailed knowledge of a subject; an epression serving as a token of familiarity, affection or the like; etc." I'd say it's close to the 'knowing' aspect of the Kabalistic sphere of Binah.

Why would you want intimacy with the Divine Ones? That, of course, will depend a lot on your spiritual views, or why you are working with magick or the occult. For me, I feel that I'm here to help manifest the Divine - I'm kin to the Gods, I am Their hands on this plane. The hands really ought to know what they are supposed to be doing!

Okay, that's the egotistical but altruistic reason. I also just crave to be that close to the Divine Ones. I want to hear their voices more often and more distinctly, to feel them more powerfully in my own life.

Clearly we are not in a position to fully 'get' the Goddesses and Gods. We aren't that spiritually developed - maybe only another God or Goddess can fully get another God or Goddess. We just aren't that big, and they ARE that big. I just have the conviction that I'm not as intimate with any of them as I can be.

To quote someone or other, Yes we can. All spiritual disciplines, everywhere, are ways to become more intimate with the Gods and Goddesses or the more amorphous 'Divine'. Whether it is the Kabalist washing himself following the path of the lightning bolt, the Christian in prayer, the neopagan in ritual, whatever - there's an app for that. Actually, in every spiritual discipline, there are a whole raft of apps for that!

The fact that others have blazed this trail before us is important and helpful. Their work has left its mark on the spiritual landscape. The can'dles they've lit light the path before us, and our work allows us to see that while lighting the way for others after us.

I'm setting off to build more intimacy with my Patron. How about you? Coming along?

Frondly, Fern