Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Disorderly Conduct

 Blessings Darlings!

As I've mentioned before - I am where organization goes to die.  For example - today my NEW journal disappeared.   Can't find the damn thing anywhere.  It's amazing how fast this happened.

So when I tell you that the goal I set for this month (which I set late, on the 16th or so and is detailed in my journal), is to deep clean the kitchen and dining room - just think of all the disorder in those rooms that I'm trying to tame.  And I'm doing this in the midst of harvest season, when I'm using the dining room for dehydrating (because the big dehydrator is on that table, and I can hang bundles of herbs on the chandelier.)  

But I AM making progress.  In the past week or so I've gotten a bunch done and the areas aren't intimidating me as much.  Am I getting any help?  No, of course not.  Well, for once the cat hasn't barfed on any newly cleaned area, so maybe the counts.

How's your life going?

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Is there an echo in here?

 Blessings, Darlings!

I don't usually invest my blogging time on religions other than my own, but I DO often invest it in rants, so I guess what follows is going to still be on-brand.  

This is inspired by a Facebook post by an ex coworker and now Facebook ex-friend.  He  posted that humans are not animals.  As one would expect, I took issue with this idea.  Since he's one of those people who didn't take well to me disagreeing with other things he posted on his timeline, I disagreed with it on MY timeline, and tagged him in the discussion.  

I posted the OED (Oxford English Dictionary, my main religious text!) definition of 'animal' into the discussion, "a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli", and didn't include other details like embryology, oxygen breathing, etc.  This left room for him to bring up and defend the concept that 'humans are more than 'just' animals' - which is a different concept than the one I was objecting to, but would be interesting to discuss.

I asked him for his definition of animals and to state what he meant when he said that humans are not animals.  He repeatedly refused to define animals, but said that humans aren't animals because we can't breed with any other primates, and that 'all other animals can interbreed with others in their family'.  While that seems to be true about humans (I am assuming that some scientists got funding to see if human sperm and eggs could fertilize/be fertilized by all other primates), that even among primates only like 30% can interbreed to begin with.  And in the Canine family alone (don't ask why I have this factoid in my brain) foxes can't breed with any other species, and most coyotes can't breed with most wolves.  

Interestingly enough, while he didn't bring this up in the discussion OFF of his timeline, ON his timeline he brought up the idea that 'all other animals just go by instinct' and humans don't.  Since I was choosing to nor harsh him mellow on HIS time line I didn't point out that this idea was blown away by the fact that animals can be trained, they can LEARN to do things that increase their survival chances.  My cats, even the barn cats, know what noises I make to tell them I'm giving them food right now for example.  This is different than a cat's instinctive knowledge of 'cat sounds'.  I've never known a cat that had to be taught how to hiss, or what it means - THAT is instinct.  

At this point, he said that MY timeline is an echo chamber, because I had previously posted a meme saying "Not everybody has to like me.  I can't force you to have good taste."  I disagree with lots of my friends on a LOT of different topics, and they are all welcome to air these differences on my timeline.  In fact, I celebrate some of my friends exactly FOR calling me out when we disagree and pushing me for more information and my logic behind my opinions.  As it happens one of them, Tony Brown, was reading the thread and spoke up pointing this out.  He is probably the #1 person I invest time disagreeing with - because disagreeing with people and citing sources and logic IS A GOOD THING for me.  Wrestling vigorously with topics of all sorts is valuable in my life, for many reasons, the biggest of which is that you learn when you are hiding from looking deeply into your reasoning.  You recognize your 'hiding' behaviors and emotional reactions.  Now, those hiding behaviors and emotional reactions might be instinctive reactions.

Now, it turns out that he has a big investment in this 'interbreeding' issue.  I saw him post elsewhere that 'what people mistake for evolution is animals interbreeding and spreading genes to new species within a family'.  It's really a shame we didn't get to that - I could have gone on about Covid.  And, of course, I'm going to go on about it HERE, because, well, it's my blog.  

SARS-CoV-2 has been mutating since damn near day 1.  It doesn't matter if you think it escaped from a lab, or was released from a lab, or come directly from animals.  From the original strain, mutations have occurred - mutations, not 'they merged genes with other microbes' - to form new variants.  Different symptoms, different proteins in the spike, etc.  Not enough to be SARS-CoV-3 yet, but constant mutations never the less.  But he feels that 'all mutations are deadly'.  None can make something better at what it does.  And yet - here we are, with constant mutations  going on and we are finding out that some of them make the virus 'better' at spreading.  Are most of the mutations leading to variations that can't reproduce at all, or can't infect humans at all?  Probably.  But that is exactly the way Nature works.  Nature over produces and lets the variations fight it out.  Winner keeps reproducing.

For that matter, there are the 
Suffolk Pink and Winter Wonder apples.  Both are 'sports' - apples that came from mutations on existing trees of different varieties of apples.  Chance mutations that turned out to be darn fine apples, even if the Winter Wonder will never be available here in the US.

To get back to the original disagreement:  Are humans animals, or did he really mean that 'humans are more than 'just' animals?  For us pantheists/panentheists - animals (and plants and rocks and planets and etc.) are all infused with God-stuff, so even animals are 'more than just animals'.  I'm guessing that my ex-FB friend would say that either animals don't have souls or spirits OR that the souls/spirits they have aren't eternal, and only humans have eternal souls or spirits.  I also suspect that he thinks that there are no other sentient tool using species like humans anywhere in the universe, because that would be problematic for him - maybe Jesus would have to visit every planet and repeatedly die (and yes, I just got an image of Jesus as the Highlander)?  But since he didn't just unfriend me - he blocked me - I can't continue the conversation with him.

Yes.  They guy who I had said weeks ago was only interested in an echo chamber, and then accused me of only being interested in an echo chamber . . . blocked me for disagreeing with him and asking him for definitions and to cite his sources.  Welp, you KNOW I feel that proves my point.  

Frondly, Fern

Cats and Disorganization and Life, Oh My!

Blesssings Darlings!

My goodness, it's been over a week since I last blogged.  Time sure flies in harvest season.  And I'm havin a really hard time keeping up with all the tomatoes and Swiss Chard.  Which are the only things my garden is giving me tons of right now.  The avalanche of cucumbers is over (I'm still getting occasional ones), and the green beans are in nice steady production.  

We have just trapped the mothers of the 7 kittens we are fostering, and they will be spayed next week.  Which will slow the production of kittens - there is one more breeder out there, but she has very young kittens (like 2 weeks old) and they are hidden.  So while she keeps going into the traps to eat, we keep releasing her.  In another couple of months we'll work on trapping her and her latest kittens.

In my constant attempts to organize my life (ADHD?  Probably) I'm . . . well, I'm trying an approach that failed me before, but I'm SURE that it's going to be different this time.  The difference is that I'm powering it with spite this time.  That's also powering my latest diet - well, that and all the damn Swiss Chard from the garden.  

This new start stuff has been brought on by two different things.  One the purchase of my latest planner.  I buy one every year, of course, and lose track of it.  This year it just came out and the brand has a journal with it, too.  Maybe that will change things!  For those of you who don't know WHICH daily planner I get each year - it's the "Carpe Fucking Diem" one.  

Also - last night was the first cool night in rather a while.  Down in the mid 50's, with low humidity.  AUTUMN IS COMING!!!!!  I'm not a heat and humidity lover.  So I slept really well, and I have lots of cool weather energy today.  And maybe I've got a touch of blessed hypomania, which is always a good thing in my life.

Alas, the 90's will be back tomorrow.  I don't know what the humidity will be like.

That's that for now.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

A little this and that.

 Blessings Darlings!

We got heavy rain yesterday!  I fear that most of it ran off the lawn, but I will go out soon and start digging the hole for the elderberry.  At least the ground shouldn't be rock hard, right? 

I'm still being buried in tomatoes and Swiss Chard.  Drying the tomatoes is well underway.  Zucchini should start over producing soon.  Peppers are about perfect right now.

No homes yet for the 7 kittens we are currently fostering.  And the damn barn cat just had more kittens two days ago.  MY spawn has finally heard back and has plans for getting the fuzzy assholes spayed at reasonable cost. 

Music for the start of the day:  Flogging Molly, as backdrop for Sinead O'Connor's funeral.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Still too dry. Soon to be hot.

 Blessings Darlings!

We're heading into a little heat wave here - 4 days in the 90's, at least one currently forecast to be 98. And the rain forecast for today didn't arrive, of course.  The somewhat underwatered basil really really wants to go to seed.  I really, really want it to keep going so I can make lots of pesto.  OTOH, the Chubby Hubby HATES pesto.  OTOOH, the Spawn LOVES it.

I've watered the potted plants on the patio, but not the ones in the actual veggie garden and certainly not the herb garden. That's hose work, and the hoses are already tucked away because the mowers the management hired come tomorrow morning. So I'll water after they mow, I guess, tho' the day will already be getting hot by then.  

If I was in charge of mowing the lawn - I'd certainly not be mowing this dry grass that hasn't grown at all since we're in the middle of a drought.  But I'm not.

I've made more progress in my lazy way to expand the garden (I cover the grass with cardboard, the flattened boxes we use to carry our groceries home from Aldi's). I've covered about another 100 square feet - like a 4 foot by 25 foot swath. I don't know if I'll expand plants into it this fall or wait until spring.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Weed whacking.

 Blessings Darlings!

Holy Moly, it's amazing what I can get done around here when I actually have time!  The feral garden has been weeded and mulched, except for the area by the big Swiss Chard patch.  And THOSE darlings are feral and able to fight back/block the sun from any weeds that dare try to invade.

Today I started work on enlarging the garden area.  Being lazy . . . err, efficient I went down into the basement, started taking all the damn empty cardboard boxes that the Chubby Hubby has down there and never gotten rid of, flattened them, and am using them to smother lawn.  They are currently being held down by bricks I have that I'd INTENDED to use to make a really great Rocket Stove out of. 

See, witches?  INTENT isn't really worth as much as actually TAKING F'ING ACTION does.  Let this be a lesson to us all.  

Later today I'll be running a hose (well, two or three hoses in series) to the faucet by the barn shed and watering everything well.  Then I'll move the hose away from the gate by the faucet, and away from the gate by the garden, and leave it in place by the fence where it won't get mowed or driven over for all future use. 

Tomorrow . . . sigh . . . the Chubby Hubby wants me to start looking for work, because HE couldn't find work easily.  Mind you, HE was looking for a job in his little high-tech niche.  Once he decided to just get a 'job', it took him little time.   

Oh, yeah - I forgot to mention this.  Over the past week we've taken in 7 feral kittens, from two of the three barn cats.  The barn cats that are nieces of our cat.  They aren't feral any more - it's amazing how much they like getting fed and are willing to cuddle and purr in exchange.  They are of course inbred - I'm sure that their daddy was their moms' brother (he was killed by a car since then.)  

Summer feral fertility, going strong.  

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Cheap Pagan Bitching

Blessings Darlings!

So far with this unemployment I've been doing the usual stuff.  Looking at the finances to see how long before we have to start taking money from the emergency fund, moving money from the places I've already been taking surveys for cash, finally being able to weed the garden and get a big planting of green beans in.  

Today I move into 'Cheap Pagan Bitch' phase, and see how to live on less cash.  Obviously this is going to require plenty of garden work to get us fed.  And I suppose we might qualify for about $20 a month of food stamps until my social security retirement actually starts arriving.  (I didn't realize that their info 'you can apply up to 3 months before you want to start it' meant 'it takes at least 3 months to get you into the system.  Apply REALLY EARLY".)  

 So no one's getting more clothes for a while.  No paid entertainment - free concerts at the Amp, bringing picnic dinner is still a go. No buying more music, it's free radio apps.  And I quit smoking, which will save us about $30 a month.

Used books are allowed.  New books . . . so tempting!  So many of my friends are authors and I'm already behind on buying ALL THE BOOKS.  But I'll live without them.  OTOH, I'm NOT stopping the money for Patreon's I'm in.  

And, clearly, I won't be harassing Byron Ballard and Amy Blackthorn and all the others at Free Spirit Gathering. 

I can't change what we pay for rent (which is pretty low for the space we have) or health insurance.  We need the medications we're on (well, I might be able to reduce blood pressure meds soon, but we'll see.) 

 We have to eat, and we will reduce our spending on that with the help of the garden and cooking from scratch - but we were already spending relatively little on that.  I certainly will be making more food from scratch - all the loaf bread, egg roll and dumpling wrappers, all egg rolls and dumplings, maybe even all corn and wheat tortillas.  But not the English Muffins and biscuits - only the Chubby Hubby eats those and there aren't small recipes for biscuits.  I'm going to continue to buy those because I don't want to stand over a hot pan cooking English Muffins at this time of year (and I don't think we have the round things to pour the batter in.  I've done this enough to know that the thinner poured batter ones are better than the bread/muffin like cut-and-cook ones.)  Bread will be baked outside in bread maker.  Much baking will be done outside in toaster oven.  Air frying will be done outside in . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . air fryer. 

My husband will pitch a fit if I switch from good Chinese thin and thick soy sauces and go to big bottles of Kikkoman JAPANESE soy sauce.  He might just have to live with that.  You know how some folks have lots of different types of vinegars?  He's like that with soy sauce.  And a little bit with vinegar, too, really.  But I digress . . .

Cars - I could take my car off the road, rather than get new tags and pay personal property tax on it.  I probably won't, and just get 1 year tags instead of two year.  

Electric bill - Might go up a bit, with more home cooking.  AC is set at 80 days, 77 nights.  If the heat dome hits here the bill will go up.

Hell if I know what I'm going to do about propane for winter heating.  The tank is at 20% now, fine for the water heater.  The 'poor tax' for partial fills (the delivery charges, same if you get 100 gallons or 500 gallons or 50 gallons) is at least $35 per delivery.  I don't know if the cost per gallon is going to go up or down from where it is now.  And the company hides the cost it is per gallon now until you put in an order.  Snort.

We'll get by well enough.  I have assets I could sell.  I have a little money left in my IRA.  I'd rather not tap them at age 66, of course.   And I'll probably start very actively (vs the low-key stuff I've got going on now) look for a job in a few weeks, after I decompress.  Anywhere in Maryland (and I'm 2 miles from the border) pays more an hour than I've been making, which should offset increased gas cost in driving there.

Frondly, Fern