Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trading Stocks

Blessings Darlings!

I love puns.  In this case, I'm trading talking about soup stocks for talking about trading stocks.  Or at least options on stocks.  I considered using 'stocks and bonds' as a title, but more than a few of you would have thought I'd be posting on some BDSM stuff.  Alas, this post isn't THAT interesting.


I've started back trading stock options.  But only in a small way - I've spent most of the investment money to pay for frivolous things like rent and food over the past couple of years.  So I'm only buying/selling one contract at a time and being very conservative ... even while doing investments where I can easily lose the entire investment if I don't do things right.

I didn't structure my last trade very well, but still made 5% in 4 trading days.  Not a fortune - that was $55 in profit.  But once I get more up to speed, I'm hoping that I'll double the return per trade while keeping my ASSets covered.

I like options because they take little up-front money (compared to buying stocks), don't risk more than you invest up front (unlike currencies), and can make money on either an up or down market.  Right now I'd say that the market, using the S&P500 as a marker, is going sideways, and I can handle that, too.

My biggest problem is that I tend to cut my wins off too soon.  I'm still working on that, among other skills.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pantry Stuff

Blessings, Darlings!

My son just finished making a sheet cake, and I've just started a sponge for a loaf of bread.  All this yummy use of on-hand ingredients leads to a question - do you know how much of what you use in a typical month?  At least of staples like flour, sugar, coffee?

I've been thinking about that, and compiling next-month's shopping list.  So I'm going to bore treat you to some of my figures.  Most are a bit more than I use in a typical month, but buying this month allows a LITTLE natural accumulation of supplies.

Minimum purchases from Aldi's (staples, no name brands, store profit goes to Germany, but GREAT prices):

Flour -           5 5-pound bags
Sugar -          2 5-pound bags
lunchmeat       3 pounds
croutons         1 bag ( really should make them myself)
soup - cream of  mushroom      5 cans
peas             2 cans
canned mushrooms 9 cans
canned tuna    5 cans
canned ham     1 can
onions              6 pounds
potatoes          10 pounds
canned tomatoes     6 cans (pints)
cooking spray        1 can
oil                  2 bottles 48 oz
napkins            2 packages
hash browns        1 package, frzn
frozen veggies       9 bags
Milk                10 gallons
eggs                 9 dozen
half & half          4 quarts
OJ                   4 half gallons
cereal                4 boxes
mac & cheese mix       3
scalloped 'tater mix      1
canned nuts        2 cans
bar cheese          1 1/2 pounds
sliced cheese        2 pounds
butter                  4 pounds
Coffee                4 pounds
salt                    1 round
Brown sugar        2 lb
saltine crackers     1 lb
apples                   15 lb
oranges                 8 lb
bananas                 11 lb
hamburger buns       2 packages
hoagie rolls              1 or 2 packages
yogurt                1 qt
lettuce                 5 heads
carrots                 8 lb
cabbage                2 of 'em
celery                   1
green peppers       1 package
garlic                    lots
paper towels         2 rolls

And those are just the 'normal' purchases I make each month.  The meat, meds, cat stuff, etc are all at other stores (and on sales if possible). I didn't even include chocolate of ANY type!

What are you 'every month' purchases?  How much money do you need to allot to those, before you can even think of buying other stuff? 

Frondly, Fern

Canning Pumpkin

Blessings, Darlings! 

It's that time of year again - the hard squashes are in!  I'll be stocking up this week, while they are on sale at the grocer, but on Nov 1 your can probably get 'Halloween Pumpkins" for free at pumpkin patches.  Not the best tasting flesh, but great for seeds (especially the tiny ones).

I usually just keep them fresh, if you buy good quality ones they don't go bad quickly.  But I have canned them if I have a bunch and several go bad at once.

Always can cubes -  home canning puree doesn't work, you risk botulism.  You do NOT want to risk that.

Clean 'em of strings and seeds, wash 'em, cut 'em into 1 inch cubes, remove rind.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Fill jars with the cubes and the water you boiled them in, leaving 1 inch at top of jar.  Add tops/rings. 

Pressure can at 10 pounds (15 if over 1000 feet) pints for 55 minutes, quarts for 90 minutes.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, September 12, 2011

Infinity and Beyond!

Blessings, Darlings!

It's a quiet morning here in the mountains.  Well, not totally - the Spawn was awoken by an emergency call from work, asking him to cover another shift ... on top of the short shift he's working tonight.  Being woken up by the phone is jarring.

Still, it's the first sunny morning in days.  I can sit out on the deck sipping a cuppa without getting wet.  Instead I'm going over my e-mail, facing where Infinity lurks.

Infinity - something boundless and endless. I'm not talking about the Internet, actually I'm not referring to the computer/online at all.  I'm facing a part of myself, evoked by e-mail.

The evocation came from a Woot ad.  I LOVE reading Woot ads - they have the best damn copy writing on the planet, and I read the ads daily for inspiration (I stole styles for business letters and ads more than once).  However, this ad was different.

I want the product.

That doesn't happen all that often.  I'm not that into what they actually offer most of the time.  In the years I've been reading the ads I've bought two items - both for the business not for 'me' per se.

And in wanting the item, I allowed myself to wonder how I'd fit the purchase into our budget.  Which meant having to think of all the other things I wanted to spend money on.

That, my dears, is where I came face to face with the Infinite. My own needs, wants, and desires.

From the actual necessities (basic food/clothing/shelter, paying off what I've already got, and maintenance of what we already have), to my wants (different home cooked food, tailoring of clothes, etc) to my desires (everything else in the universe that I want!!!! and want NOW!!!) - there was infinity. 

It was scary.  And humbling - I don't usually think of myself as being as materialistic as I am.  Denial works, but only for a while.

But I'm sure I can achieve denial again.  So I'm writing a blog post distract myself from the reality of the experience, and with the distance of a few minutes of time I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get back into comfortable denial.

And then I'll get back to work on my basic needs, by planting some turnips and spinach in the fall veggie garden.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fire Protection

Blessings, Darlings!

Have you noticed that the Land, Sea, and Sky seem rather upset lately? In the US alone this year, we have had unusual winter cold in west Texas and New Mexico, spring floods, spring tornado sprees, summer droughts, unusual earth quakes in Louisiana and Colorado and Virginia/DC, unusually severe heat waves in lots of the country, fires in Texas, and now a couple of hurricanes causing severe flooding.

Most of the things line up well with global warming, and the fires include humans preventing smaller fires and letting available fuel for fires build up. The Earth quakes in Louisiana for sure, and maybe the one in Virginia, was directly related to fracking for petroleum/gas. In other words - most of this has roots in human actions and hubris.  


Typically I'm down with pride and arrogance. I am a magic user, I hang with Mages. But I admit that I've screwed up magic and other things at times and so do the other magic users in my life. Well, most of them. But even the most arrogant are up front about magic being a hand grenade which can take out the user with shrapnel along with the intended target. Because magic is powerful. Still, none of the magic users I hang with think that the Elements are their bitches.

Apparently not all share these views. Over on FaceBook there's a group that's going to do weather magic for Texas. The two main forces in that group have written that they intend to make Tropical Storm Nate into a hurricane and move it into the affected parts of Texas, and that flooding and such are 'lesser evils' than drought and fire. I asked them about what the nature spirits, land spirits, and divination on this indicated. I pointed out that floods are more damaging to everything than fires, both in deaths, nature affected, economic destruction, toxins left everywhere.

Oh, look at the thread http://tinyurl.com/3qcoxfr , plus the link for flood and toxins and such http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44449393/ns/weather/ . 

They want to make a hurricane their bitch, and the heck with how many people it kills, how much property it destroys (hint - it would end more human lives and destroy more property than fires will). 

What magic would *I* use in a case like this?  I'd start with the protection of fire insurance that covers wildfires.  I'd add the insurance of evacuation.  And then I'd do the magic of PROTECTION for people/pets/property.   I'd work on becoming intimate with the local land there and the watershed before doing any work - for their spirits might not want the same thing that we humans want to impose on it. 

The protection magic in this case would be among the easiest, when working with the local land spirits and elemental fire.  Wild fires are already big on being arbitrary, burning one house and not touching the one next to it.  That's a feature that magic can influence.

Existing feature.  Magic can influence.  Not making fire my bitch.  But protection plus work with local land and the elementals earth, wind, water, and fire..  Not a working guaranteed to spread toxins across the land and into the watershed.

I'd not use the same hubris based approach that caused the problem in the first place.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, September 5, 2011

Zucchini Experiment Redux

Blessings, Darlings! I'm declaring this batch of pickled zucs a failure. They ended up bitter. I'm guessing that it was because I fell way behind harvesting and they got too big and got bitter. I will try again, this year or next. I will try with smaller zucs, and I will try with some more 'mature' ones that I will salt, let sit for an hour or two, then rinse. Just like how I prepare eggplant, which can also be bitter, for cooking. Frondly, Fern

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Zucchini Experimentation

Blessings, Darlings! Since my garden is producing an over abundance of zucchini/marrows/courgettes this summer, and my kirby cucumbers died, last night I tried making spicy half sour pickles out of the zucchini. For a NORMAL batch, you put the sliced cucumbers in the brine, leave them out 2 days, and they are done. This being a Laboratory Experiment .... I refrigerated them immediately instead of leaving them out. And I just tested them, about 13 hours after the pickling started. They are done. Really really done. So done that I've just replaced half of the brine with water. For some reason they are a bit bitter, but the texture is great as is the level of sourness. Perhaps the zucchinis I used were a bit too old for this? BTW, the stink bug collection experiment continues, but we've been having lots of overnight rain and I think that inhibits their travels. Or this technique is just good for indoors/attics. Or the technique fails. As the damn bugs move inside I'll try it in the basement and see what happens, but I'll keep trying it as a garden pest treatment until the garden is done. Frondly, Fern

Friday, September 2, 2011

The More Things Change...

Blessings, Darlings!

So, the Spawn is working, after 9 months of job searching.  He's the host at a family restaurant.  On weekdays, which are slow, he makes more than the servers, since his salary is not dependent on tips.

Last night he got a call from another job he applied for recently, to see if he could come in for an interview.  Too late, guys. 

Two jobs calling in two weeks would seem to be an improvement in the economy.  Except....

Yesterday at his job, a whole flock of folks from the big expensive supermarket across the street came in for job applications.  So either that place is lousy to work for, or they are going to be laying folks off or closing.  About 6 weeks ago that store had claimed they were hiring - Spawn applied, even took the 'psychological evaluation test' there, and never got called back. 

Maybe the Spawn slipped into jobs that opened because people quit as the school year began. This is the same time he got a job last year, after several months of looking.  But the group coming in for job applications seems to show that there are still WAY more folks looking for jobs out there.  Even entry-level jobs.

Yes, new applications for unemployment benefits are slowly dropping.  But today's job figures from the Fed were abysmal, even tho' they claim that the unemployment rate is unchanged.  New jobs being created aren't equaling those destroyed, let alone new people coming into the job market from population growth.  IF the unemployment rate actually IS unchanged, it's only because they consider those working part time (even if they need/want full time work) are 'employed' and because so many workers are 'discouraged' that they've given up on finding work.

Frondly, Fern

Kids Online

Blessings Darlings!

I was reading my friend Daniel's blog this morning http://sayencrowolf.net/2011/09/rules-of-the-road/ .  He really DOES post darn near anything.  He CAN be edgy at times, typically because he addresses important issues.

Reading that got me to thinking about how so many people work so hard to control what kids can see online.  And from there, on how my reading habits helped make me what I am today.

I was, shall we say, not the most popular kid growing up.  Socially awkward.  First to get boobs. I escaped into reading.  Library books at first ... not just the kids section, too, I edged into the Grown Up Books.  Then I got older, and started buying magazines at the drug store and grocery store check out.  Yes, "Young Miss" was one of them, but I also read my parent's subscription to Time, and bought those little 25 cent booklets on astrology, psychic skills, etc. 

High school, and I was more mobile, biking and taking public transportation where ever I wanted to go.  I discovered a HUGE used bookstore in Evanston.  More books on psychic stuff, into to Theosophy, etc.  And I subscribed to Ms. and The Village Voice.  TVV was perhaps on odd choice, since I lived in Chicago, but whatever.  I totally would have lived reading stuff on the internet if I could have back in the day.

I'm sure that my reading choices we not ones that made my mother happy.  She totally freaked at an article on masturbation in Ms.  But she never tried to control what I read.

I took that same approach with my Spawn, who had the advantage of the the Internet.  Okay, ONCE I didn't let him look up something online.  He was in grade school, and was to write about an animal.  He was assigned the beaver.  I kind of figured that Google would give him a whole lot of results that would be about twats, not the animal.  I had him use an encyclopedia.

In middle school, some of his friends got in trouble with their parents for trying to access porn online.  If he was doing it at that age, I'm unaware of it - which means he was good at keeping it private.  His computer access was in our home business office, sitting 10 feet from his father.  I THINK that if we had found him looking at porn I'd have done a quick evaluation and let it alone.  He didn't have a credit card, after all, and that was over a decade ago.  He'd have seen boobs, maybe full frontal nudity, and that was all. 

At any rate - one the whole, I let the Spawn travel the internet at will, reading everything he wanted to, from a very young age.  I figure it encouraged reading skills, search skills, and exposed him to more ideas than he'd get from being overly supervised. 

I think that's a good thing.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Frakkin' Stinkbugs

Blessings, Darlings!

The garden is going great guns right now.  I've lots of green beans in the fridge to get thru' the next week or 10 days 'till my next bean patch starts producing.  I've lots of zucchini.  The tomatoes are still behind, and I noticed a very wasp-larva-encrusted tomato horn worm on them.  I have no clue if the sweet potatoes are doing anything but producing incredible amounts of vines.  Tasty-leaved vines, to be sure.  

But I've had to remove two of the 3 zucchini hills due to wilt.  Or maybe because of stink bugs sucking the life out of them and killing them.  I really don't know which. 

So I'm putting out a stink bug trap that I saw online.  I do NOT know if it will work effectively, but it has the advantage of being cheap.  I took an empty 2 liter soda bottle.  I cut the funnel top off.  I turned on a small battery powered LED light and put it inside.  I inverted the funnel top back on.  I put it in the garden at dusk.

Tomorrow morning I'll see if it worked.  Or if we'll get rain and if that will kill the light (and maybe take a few bugs with it?)

Stay tuned ....

Frondly, Fern the killer