Saturday, September 29, 2012

Calling Out Plagiarism

Blessings Darlings!

I respect authors, artists, etc - as a result, I take a hard line on plagiarism, as I've mentioned before. And I don't keep silent when I see folks do it FaceBook.  Oddly enough, that doesn't endear me to some people.  Specifically, it doesn't endear me to plagiarists.  Which, actually, cheers me quite a bit - if I am to be known by what groups hate me, being hated by plagiarists is a fine thing in my never humble opinion.

Well, I ran into some plagiarism in an open FaceBook group earlier this month.  It was posted on the 14th, I saw it and snarked on the 26th, and they (the plagiarist and her friends) found it today.  Instead of saying something like "ooops, you're right, I should have linked back to my source, Llewellyn Publishing's blog at <this address>", the plagiarist called ME negative.  Because pointing out plagiarism is negative, but plagiarism itself is white light and unicorn farts? 

Here is the complete text of the conversation, as of this moment.  I had to get someone else to grab the text for me (given the results, seems to rock!) because the plagiarist blocked me during the conversation.  If you'd like to check, the link to the group is .

I expect that the group owner didn't think s/he would need a plagiarism policy, that no one would do it.  But plagiarism puts the OWNER at risk, so some policy would be a good idea.

Anyway, for your reading pleasure:

Frondly - and HONORABLY - Fern

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Bad Influence

Blessings Darlings!

H. Byron Ballard, a delicate flower of Appalachian womanhood and the author of "Staubs and Ditchwater", is A Very Bad Influence.  She sent me a copy of her book, which I am enjoying immensely and will write a review of when I am done reading it.  But I'm reading it slowly, because I am savoring every word of it.

What, you ask, makes a woman I just raved about a Very Bad Influence?  It's because she makes me even more shameless about what I do that draws strange looks.  Let's look at today.....

I needed the car, and the Spawn needed to work AND to get to the county health department before it closed at 4:30 to renew his food handler's certification.  Of course, instead of getting off work early as he had been promised, there was a rush at the restaurant and two of the three managers were in conference and the third was interviewing a potential new hire.  So I was in the car, reading and waiting.  Nothing new about that.  And, no, it wasn't that I did a little something something to free my son to get to where he had to get to on time.

No, I tried to head out to the wilderness across the street from the restaurant to see what wild herbs/weeds I could gather.  Discovering that I hadn't paid the cell phone, so the spawn could not call me back once he got off, I gave up that idea and paid the phone and then read some more.  Okay, an attempt at some root work prep that failed.

Spawn got off work, with a full 22 minutes to get his recertification done.  Got to the health dept. with plenty of time.  I grab the plastic bags, and see what there is to collect around THERE.  Pine cones, from some spruce - Great!  Oh, LOOK - HUGE gobs of sap have fallen off the trees!  Gather that .... a few nice feathers, one from a duck most of the rest probably from pigeons, sure.  Oh, my - BLACK WALNUTS!  gather gather gather gather ....

You have no idea just how thrilled I am at the black walnuts and the pine sap.  And, knowing me, I'd have collected all that even if I was NOT reading her book.  But reading her book certainly helped me feel absolutely NO shame in doing it.

Wish I had found some fallen black walnut branches....

Frondly, Fern

Friday, September 21, 2012

Demeter Devotional

Blessings Darlings!

There is a call for submissions to a Demeter devotional being put together.  Read all about it, and submit your stuff!

Just thought you should know.

Frondly, Fern

Dammit - this works better if I actually include the link, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Life You Save

Blessings Darlings!

First aid/CPR/EMT training is an area you need training AND MIND TRAINING to be able to use in a crisis.  I know - I've seen someone fail at this, someone who was fully trained.  Let me tell you that story....
October 28, 1999, I believe the date was, a typical fall day.  I'd taken part of the morning off work to go to the opthamologist since I needed new glasses, but gotten back to work at the credit-counseling place by 11 am. The office had been noisy the day before, with folks cutting down the ornamental cherry trees outside our windows, but it was quiet this day. My supervisor, M, and I were going over some payments from my clients to more effectively pay off their debts.  She'd been off work the week before, in the hospital due to heart problems.

Suddenly M put her head down on the desk, then fell off her chair to the floor unconscious.  I called out to the office, "Folks, we have a problem" (shades of Apollo 13!) and dialed 911. By the time I explained the situation to 911, everyone had rushed to my office.

"Everyone" included T, who was a volunteer with one of the local Fire Departments.  She regularly bragged about her skills, her training, her ability to scrape victims off the streets, etc.  So we all rather looked to her to take charge.  Instead, she freaked out.  She TORE the chair that M's legs were still entangled with out from M's legs.  She left M in the position she had fallen in.  She varied between encouraging the gasping M to keep breathing and running to other offices in the building to ask if anyone knew CPR, not staying long enough to get an answer.  She (and others in the office) kept calling 911 because the response time was achingly slow (WE could have driven to the fire station in 8 minutes, and it took them 18 minutes to show up, bells and whistles going.)  911 started putting all calls from our office on hold.

M stopped breathing.  At this point "A", a woman from the office next to ours, came by to ask WHY we were looking for someone who could do CPR.  Like me, she'd been trained in CPR several decades earlier.  She and I were the ones who did the CPR on M until the paramedics finally arrived, used their defibrillator,  got M's heart started again, and took her to the hospital.

T's meltdown could have killed M.  No brain is good for going something like 13 minutes without oxygen circulating thru' it.  Luckily, M ended up with 'only' a concussion from hitting the concrete floor, a knee problem from the yanking of the chair, and some memory loss.  I'm thinking that this incident was what finally got her doctor to give her a pacemaker/defibrillator.  I'm also thinking that had she been a white woman, not a Black woman, her doctor would have already have given her the pacemaker/defibrillator, because even with insurance there's a clear difference in medical interventions done in the US, but that's a story for a different day.

T had far more up to date skills than A and I had, but A and I stayed functional enough to actually do something useful with the skills we had.  THAT was was mattered.

Ironically, or perhaps logically, the rest of the day almost everyone else in my office were basket cases.  Me, I did tear up a few times, for sure.  But I also burned energy loading the trunk of my car with that recently cut cherry wood.  And I was the only staffer who counseled any more clients that day.

Being functional breeds CONTINUING to be functional, possibly because you don't have guilt or self-recrimination going.

Go forth and be functional.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday Morning

Blessings Darlings!

Mondays aren't a 'thing' with me.  I work at home, so it's not like this morning is somehow different than other mornings are. 

So it was a real surprise when this morning (and I realize that all y'all will likely be seeing this on Tuesday) turned into a stereotypical Monday.

I was up, had meditated, had nagged the Spawn about dirty dishes in his room, etc, and was sewing a patch on my husband's jeans.  The Spawn headed out to work ... then ran back into the house.  "I can't get the freezer door to close!" 

We have a 1978 Sears 14.7 cubic foot upright freezer in the garage.  It is NOT frost-free.  It already needed to be defrosted after the long humid summer.  But apparently last night, after the spawn got home from work and took out a frozen hash brown ... unit? .... Patty?... to bake, he hadn't closed the door well/totally.  As a result, a bit more frost built up and now the door physically could not be closed.

Having told me, the Spawn left out for work.  Leaving me with, well, work to do.

Now, I've gotten pretty efficient at defrosting this freezer since we bought it in January of 1979.  But I was having trouble this time.  No matter what I did, that bottom shelf WOULD NOT THAW.  It only got worse.  Being clearly brain-dead, it took me 90 minutes of work to figure out the problem - in my rush to get things out of the freezer, get water boiling, etc, I'd forgotten to turn the darn freezer off. 

It's amazing how quickly that shelf thawed after I'd turned the freezer off. 

At least that's done.  Even if it's a rainy/humid fall I shouldn't have to defrost again until after Thanksgiving.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, September 17, 2012

150 Pieces of Chocolate on the Wall

Blessings Darlings!

We've been out of eating chocolate for a couple of weeks now.  It didn't bother me much, since I can be happy making a cup of hot cocoa; or mix cocoa powder, vanilla, and some sugar into yogurt; or make chocolate pudding. 

The Chubby Hubby, OTOH, wants some chocolate on hand that he can just unwrap and put in his mouth.  The problem with Ready To Eat Chocolate is ... I eat it.  Shamelessly.  Which is one of the reasons we were out of eating chocolate to begin with.  Sure, I had bought that chocolate after Easter when it was half price and I didn't get THAT much of it, but long story short - it's gone and I ate more of it than the CH did.

Well, today I had to go into the Big City to hit the bank for business, and hit Costco on the way home.  After all, I needed gas for the car anyway, right?  And wouldn't you know it, whether it's because Halloween is coming or school has started, they had the big bags of 150 pieces of good-enough chocolate (Kit-Kats, Reese's, Almond Joys, bags of M&M's, etc) for under $15. 

We now have 148 pieces of chocolate in the house, and the CH has stored the bag of the survivors on a High Shelf.

But I know where the step-stool is.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, September 14, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

I've been making my own laundry soap since about the beginning of the year.  It's a pretty simple recipe - grate a bar of soap, add a cup each of Washing Soda and Borax, mix well, use 2 tablespoons per load.  It's easy to make, with grating the soap taking the longest time.

So today I opened a new package of Ivory Soap to make a new batch.  It was ... dampish. I couldn't grate it.  How can I dry it?  I looked up 'nuking Ivory Soap' online, and found it was a COOL thing to do.  The stuff .... blooms.  It would have been a GREAT part of a lesson on foams while we homeschooled.

My family and I had a GREAT time playing with the blooming bar of soap.  And much to my delight, the expanded foam, once cooled, was a breeze to crush into tiny soap flakes, better than anything I'd grated for laundry soap making. I am exceedingly pleased with the results.  Well, the poofy flakes go rather more airborne and made me sneeze, but that's not a big deal. 

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is Pagan Reconstructionism Plagiarism?

Blessings Darlings!

I got asked this after last Friday's blog post on plagiarism in the Pagan blogosphere/FB universe.  The question make me giggle.

Nope, if there is ANYTHING you can count on among Reconstructionists is that they cite their sources.  And demand to know the sources of others.  They will delight in telling you which Homeric Hymn they are reciting, where in the Táin Bó Cúalnge a reference comes from, what Snorri wrote down about this, that, or the other.

It's not to say that they eschew all UPG, but that they consider scholarship a virtue that should shine forth in their lives and practice. 

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pioneer Wars

Blessings Darlings!

There is some great writing out there on the Interwebs.  Today's link is to great writing on a site that uses the Pioneer Woman site as its inspiration.  Go read the link, then come back and finish reading THIS post: Pioneer Woman, Donuts - Wrong again!

Done reading?

First, a note: microwaving a day-old donut for 7 seconds makes them warm and seem fresh, and doesn't have bad side effects.

Second, a memory:  Back in the day, when the Spawn was in early grade school, there was a field trip to the Krispy Kreme Factory in Arlington, VA.  I went along to help.  I might have been Room Mother than year, too, I don't recall.  We had a GREAT time looking at the machines making the donuts and the packaged goods - they were making strudels or something that day.  Lots of whirring and belts carrying foods up and over our heads.

Then, after the tour, and still before lunch, they gave the kids a snack.  All the donuts they could eat and soda.  And then they sent us on our merry way, with the kids sugared to the gills.  Yeah, we went to park next.  The kids were to eat their sack lunches there.  Right.  At least they got to run around, before we got on the bus for the hour ride back to the school.  Focus?  Nah.  None of the rest of the day.

It was quite the experience.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lenten Traditions

Blessings Darlings!

Yes, I know we're closer to Advent than Lent if you look at the Christian liturgical calendar.

As you may have already picked up, I'm a moderate Doomer.  I think that our society is facing problems (mostly End of Oil and Climate Change) that we are not at all facing, and that are making our shaky economy fail.  Because of this I see 'getting by' as getting harder and harder in the future.  I'm not saying that civilization itself is going to fail.  But it will change. And there will be very Hungry Times.  The human population will be reduced to what the earth can really support without the help of fossil and nuclear fuels.

It won't be pretty.

I'm learning skills to help me thru' the change.  And .... looking at the past for lessons for today.

So, this afternoon I was planting onion sets, to provide a bit of fresh green onions for winter.  Which got me to thinking about winters without fresh veggies, and the impact on the body.  Especially the impact of folic acid deficiency and birth defects, when it hit me.  Lent!

Traditionally during Lent meat was off the menu - it was likely to have run out by then anyway.  And the grain might have been running out.  And your body was low on folic acid from the winter as it was.  Getting pregnant at that time would have led to lots of birth defects in the spina bifida range.

So what did European tradition call for? Lent. Forty days or so of not just no meat, but no sex.  Which was the best way to prevent pregnancy at the time.  Not eating meat, and it being the hungry time of year, the menu would have relied on any early greens you could find.  Yes, Hunger Games lovers, that includes dandelions.  But also lovely early peas (and pea shoots), mustard greens, collards might be coming up again, spinach, lettuce - all those early crops.  What do all those early crops have in common?  High levels of folic acid. And great levels of beta carotene/vitamin A as well, another important thing in early pregnancy.

So by the time sex was allowed again after Easter, women's bodies were up to healthy levels of important vitamins.  The risk of conceiving a child with birth defects was lower.

Pregnancy isn't an issue for me anymore, but vitamin deficiency could well be during the Hungry Times.  Sprouts will help this type of thing.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, September 10, 2012

Battle Cry!

Blessings Darlings!

I was just clued into a neat blog by woman who works with the Morrighu.  It's a WONDERFUL read. Skitter your butts over there.

Frondly, Fern

Fern's Cole Slaw Recipe

Blessings Darlings!

When your lunches tend to be soup and a salad, as our lunches often are (well, we also have popcorn a lot), having a lot of salad options is a good thing.  Add that to the fact that cabbage is very healthy and usually cheaper than lettuce is, pound for pound .... cabbage based salads are something we eat a lot. 

Cole Slaw is one of the most common cabbage based salads around.  My standard recipe, the one I'm sharing here, isn't fancy or 'special'.  It's just basic Good Eats.  I've been making it once a week and we've been having it with lunch or dinner almost daily.  I DO admit I use reduced fat mayo rather than regular mayo OR making my own.  I might do it next with home-made, but let's face it - store bought mayo may not taste as good but it sure lasts longer in the fridge than home-made mayo does!


4 Cups or so shredded green cabbage
1/3 or so cups of shredded red cabbage, if I happen to have any around
1 big or two small or so carrots, scraped and shredded.
juice of 1/4 lemon, or a splash from a bottle of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Put the shredded veggies in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice, and enough mayo so it looks dressed.  My husband likes more, I like less.  I make it to my taste.  YMMV.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix. Eat.

There are sweet cole slaws, there are vinegar based cole slaws, etc - this is what the Chubby Hubby likes.  Find a few you like.  Make then often.  Play.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, September 7, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

Plagiarism (from Wikipedia): defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work.

I've been running into an astonishing amount of plagiarism on Pagan sites and pages online lately.  It's hard to find an original thought.  Instead, you get a picture of an athame with text that comes from Wikipedia.  You look, and the person posted it after taking it (with permission) from another site which may or may not be the one that original plagiarized the text.  Okay, in this case, the text was originally plagiarized by Ravensgrove Coven  on Facebook. 

But that one group isn't the only one doing it.  Lots of groups on Facebook, lots of blogs, lots of websites, have scraped all their content from others, usually without attribution.  And in the cases where the stuff is copyrighted, without getting permission from the writer/artist.

Honor? The 3-fold law? The Wiccan Rede? Karma? Common decency? "The Christians stole all our stuff"? Some Pagans have no ethics, no morals, no honor, and lie about their belief in the Gods, the Rede, the 3-fold law, etc.

Like what someone else has written, and want to share it?  Great!  Write a summary mentioning who wrote it and provide a link to the original source.  That way you share it AND the creator gets the traffic/attention.  I've done that with many folks blogs posts that I like.  You will NOT read their entire blog post on MY blog.  I will link you to THEIR blogs.

Want to incorporate someone else's words that inspired your work, and don't have their permission?  Look at what I posted on Thursday, Sept 6, 2012 (with luck, I'll remember to put the link in!).  Instead of quoting the words, which I didn't have permission for and ... uh ... was pretty sure that the writer wouldn't want to give me permission for, I did a bullet point summary.  The source being from a closed group I could not link back to it in general, and since I also wanted to protect the privacy of the 'bad example', I also did not want to post her name/identifying into, like an avatar.

Today was one of those days when I called out plagiarism when I saw it.  And I discovered that some of the people ... well, I'll leave out what the Lala called them ... before she was bounced from one group ... don't seem to understand the difference between plagiarism and copyright violations.

Let me explain the difference between plagiarism and copyright violations: plagiarism, as noted above, is ANYTIME you pass off the words of another as your own (not giving credit) even if the words are public domain (that is, wikipedia); copyright violations muck up an author's 'exclusive right' to their words.

Honestly, plagiarism is explained to US kids thoroughly in high school, when they are taught to do research papers.  It's not rocket science, it's not a PhD level concept, it's not a 3rd degree mystery. 

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Face Palm

Blessings Darlings!

Today I saw a question in a FB group.  Here's a summary of the question, with more defining details added:

* long time witch (>10 years)
* not Wiccan, but practices in the 'Wiccan way'
* Totally no idea what to study next
* And she's studied everything in every book
* there was no internet OR books when writer started
* writer is 39 and has Wiccan husband

So, I gave her a list of ideas - Has she invoked all the Goetic spirits? How adept are you at astral projection? At OOBEs? At various types of possession/mediumship? Curing cancer or AIDS? Can you identify and use every plant in an empty lot near you, or a forested area near you? Is your area crime free because of your efforts?

Further, I asked: Have you spoken to your God/dess/es about what to study next? Used guided meditations to find out? Divination? What answers did you get from these type of searches?

Oh, I also pointed out when Cunningham alone started being published, and that I've been on the internet since she was 20.  

Why is she saying I'm not being helpful? I'm confused!

Look, if you've been a Witch for over 10 years, shouldn't you have ways to see what you should study next without asking strangers in FB rooms? Shouldn't you be mature enough to not get upset when people ask questions like mine?  And ..... really? You can't find a book with anything you aren't an expert in already?  I can find tons of books I can learn from, and I've been around this block rather more times than you have.


Frondly, Fern 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Today's Haul

Blessings Darlings!

Just in from the garden and tabulating today's frugal harvest:

2 cucs, 9 oz total
1 zuc, 12 oz
green beans, 12 oz

Tomatoes are still totally green. Vines from the purple sweet potatoes still trying to take over the garden, but I have no clue if the sweet potatoes are growing under the earth.  No sprouts yet from the lettuce and spinach.

We ARE falling behind in eating the beans and cucs, so Suz is going to get some as gifts.  If we can work out our schedules!

Frondly, Fern

Holiday Weekend

Blessings Darlings!

Everyone in the dang house was sick for the Labor Day weekend.  The Spawn was the healthiest, and he was still sick all Saturday - and then worked Labor Day itself, the poor dear.

But I DID manage to do a bit in the garden.  Beans and cucs kept needing to be harvested.  And the poor baby cabbage plants I planted last month were attacked by caterpillars, so I had to do some hunting (I don't think I'll get any cabbages from those plants, tho').  And I planted some fall greens that I do SO hope will come up quickly, grow well, and provide a nice crop, tho' I planted them late.  I planted some lettuce and some spinach so far.  I hope to get some turnips and beets, and maybe radishes, in as well. Even if I only get baby green from them all, they will be a nice addition to our menus!

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Freezer Eatin'

Blessings Darlings!

The funniest part of Eating While Broke - and there really are LOTS of funny things to it - is the 'creating meals out of the stuff buried in the freezer' part.  We're spending almost no money at the store any more - only milk, cat food, and a few odds and ends this week (small yogurt, can of water chestnuts, egg roll wrappers, etc) - but the Chubby Hubby thinks this week's menus are totally outstanding.

Sunday - Home made pizza, salad, fruit.
Monday - Stir Fry using Reduced price Mystery Raw Meat, home grown cabbage, home sprouted       bean sprouts, and rice.
Tuesday - Shish Ka Bob, using reduced priced beef, home grown zucchini, and onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, served in home-made pita. May need yogurt for sauce.
Wednesday - Korean Seafood Pancakes and ... probably seasoned bean sprouts.
Thursday - Kalbi (Korean BBQ Ribs) using reduced price thin flanken, rice, green beans, salad
Friday - Fried Chicken - from reduced price chicken, potatoes, broccoli, salad
Saturday - Pulled Pork - last of those 50 cent a pound pork shoulders, cole slaw, rolls, fried leftover potatoes
Sunday - Egg Rolls from scratch, using the pulled pork and some salad shrimp.  Will probably buy rather than make wrappers.
Monday - Rumaki - we now have a bag full of frozen livers from whole chickens we've bought. Will need to buy a can of sliced water chestnuts, spicy green beans, rice, salad

And when I type reduced price I mean the meat was already on sale but hadn't moved, so the store knocked the price down lower.  Cabbage, bean sprouts, and green beans from the garden are the main vegetables used this week.  Zucchini will start taking over next week.  Garden cucumbers and more cabbage are in salads.

The fried chicken and the rumaki are the only things that use 'intact' pieces of meat ... and in the rumaki's case the pieces are accumulated livers from whole birds made extraordinary.  The rest all use meat cut small and mixed with other stuff.

I've got sweet corn, but no idea where to fit it in.  I may freeze it.  Also have 6 granny smith apples, which I'll probably bake for desserts.  As a result of that ... we may need to buy some whipped cream.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bon Bon Chicken Salad

Blessings Darlings!

I now have 7 cucumbers harvested from the garden, patiently waiting in my kitchen to be used.  While green salads are a great place for cucs, as are watercress sandwiches, for using LOTS of 'em we need a main course dish.

Bon Bon Chicken is my go-to main dish for cucumber season. My husband brought this recipe into our marriage with him.  He got the original recipe from the Chinese cooking classes he took with Pansy and Chu-Yen Luke before we even met.  We've modified it for our tastes.  It does take some ingredients that many folks don't keep around their kitchen .... but since I DO keep them around it's not a problem for me.  If gluten-free matters to you, it's easy to make this gluten free, you'll just have to make sure that your light soy sauce is gluten free.


4 oz. bean thread
1 lb boneless chicken
1 lb. small cucumbers (think kirby, not 'salad' cucs)
1 Tbs salt

4 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, well chopped
4 Tbs Tahini
3 Tbs light soy sauce
3 Tbs Chinese black vinegar
4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 Tbs chili oil .... or more to taste, but this is powerful.

If you're like me, and boning cheap leg quarters for the chicken, you'll get a pound from 2 meaty leg quarters.  But the Chubby Hubby says that the Luke's adapted their REAL Chinese recipes by adding more meat, for American tastes, so reducing the meat may well be more authentic.

Soak the bean thread in water to cover for half an hour.  While that soaks, bring a couple of cups of water to a boil, add the raw chicken, and simmer 'till it's cooked thru'.  Take out the chicken and let it cool to room temperature, then cut it into thin and short strips.  Salad size, you might say!

Cut the cucs the long way, then slice those halves the short way into thin slices.  Remove water from them by sprinkling them with the salt and letting them sit while do make the salad dressing.  You make the salad dressing by combining the rest of the ingredients.  Squeeze the water from the cuc slices.  If you are avoiding salt you might want to rinse them, too, I do.

Cut the hydrated bean thread 3 inches long. Drop them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain.

Now everything goes into a big serving dish and gets tossed, plated, and eaten.

Serves 4.