Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Indoor Garb - Winter

Blessings Darlings!

I'm sitting here in front of my computer, all cozy.  It's about 57 here in the basement, if I believe the thermometer on top if the CD stands. 

The thermostat - one floor above me - is set at 60 most of the day.  It's set warmer for 3 hours in the morning (showering/dressing time) and for 4 hours in the evening (dinner and family social time).  Yet, for the most part, we're comfortable.  How do we do this?

We dress appropriately for the weather.

You expected some more elaborate secret? Some spellcraft? Some magic potion?  Okay, we do drink some hot coffee and tea during the day, and have hot soup as part of lunch.

But mostly we just have layers of well-chosen clothes.

Chubby Hubby - undershorts and short-sleeved t-shirt.  Black crew socks, sometimes with wool socks over them, shoes.  Dockers or jeans most days, jeans lines with flannel in really cold weather.  Long sleeved button-down shirt, topped with sweater vest, topped with a light jacket. Colder weather and he can wear a thicker light jacket. The final touch - fingerless gloves.

Me - panties, bra, t-shirt.  Wool mix socks, shoes.  Jeans. Sweat shirt over the t-shirt, big Shaker-shawl cardigan over the sweat shirt.  Wish I had fingerless gloves that fit, but hoping to get those for Yule.

If we didn't have our offices in the basement, I'd have the heat set cooler.  Probably at 55.  One year, when we lived in the house with the adequate wood stove, we only ran the heat at all at night, at 55. 

Of course we're all middle age to young adults here.  No infants. No elderly.  My mother and my mother in law keep their places blazing hot - upper 70's to 80 degrees.  I bring shorts and nice t-shirts to wear in their houses summer and winter. 

Frondly, Fern

Monday, November 19, 2012

Long Term Food Storage

Blessings Darlings!

A few months back I wrote a post that was kind of  'intro to Fern's approach to long term food storage'.  Here's the link. As I said, it's an intro - my approach to long-term food storage is calorie based, that is, first I stored the minimum basic calories we'd need, and from there I round it out.

How I round it out is what this post is about.

Again, first I made sure we had a pound of grain per person per day for one year (plus a bit extra for sprouting) rounding THAT up to 400 pounds of grain per person per year.  But corn/wheat/rice aren't complete proteins, so relying on those ONLY would cause severe malnutrition.  That's what causes the distended bellies in the pictures of starving children.  And, obviously, they don't have all the other macro and micro nutrients that a person needs in their diet. 

So from that based I added things.  First, olive oil, to cover essential fatty acids.  Metal cans, stored in the cool basement.  It's also nice to fry some food with, adds lots of flavor.  Second, a basic supply of a daily vitamin/mineral supplement.  Third, covering the proteins.

Actually, I rotate the purchases of all of those.   Yes, I buy them in that order, but I don't get ALL of the first before moving on to buying the second or third item. 

I have a varied approach to the proteins.  As I noted in many other blog posts, I grab fresh meat when it's on sale and usually have a lot in my freezer. That, used sparingly, would kick up the protein in the diet very well, and the fats in it as well as the protein add to the calorie count.  After that, I have canned meats, and some freeze-dried meals that have reasonable protein levels.  But I don't count on them for the TRULY long-term. For that I have stored dried beans/peas and canned dry milk.  About 140 pounds, for the 3 of us, for a 6 month period. 

If you look at my approach, it's like a set of concentric circles - like a bull's eye pattern.  First circle is basic calories. Second circle are macro & micro nutrients, which I've just outlined.  After that there are other circles, like #3 - 'things that help me cook' with tea/coffee, sweeteners, herbs/spices, dried fruits, etc.  And #4 - bulk to fill plates/stomachs like dried veggies, etc. 

Clearly, no one in my household has either celiac disease or are diabetics.  My circles are what works for THIS family.  Your family may have different things in each circle. 

I've read of some people whose approach is to have oil, vitamins, and protein supplements as their first circle, saying that will prevent starvation, then go to all grains/fruits/vegetables in outer circles.  It's not my approach, but they looked at THEIR needs and made their best decisions.

So, that's how we do it at Chez Fern.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, November 12, 2012

Home Made Bacon

Blessings Darlings!

Finances here are still miserable. We, however, are NOT miserable.

Yes, we're feeding 3 adults and two picky cats on what the three humans would get on food stamps.  Which we are of course not on, because our money problems are all around paying of debt from starting the business, not lack of income per year (not that the income in evenly spread out, but that's a different issue).

We keep getting showered with blessings.

Today, for instance.  I'm typing on Sunday afternoon.  Sunday mornings we have a family tradition of eggs with bacon or sausage for breakfast.  But we haven't bought any of that stuff in ages - since the price on both went up when our finances went down (back to that 'unevenly spread income' thing).  BUT - friend Suz gave me some pork bellies, after she and one of her other friends split an organic pastured hog some time back (I expect it was a heritage breed, too, but I am not sure).  Suz didn't know what to do with them, and she knows that I'm .... willing to experiment.  So when I last smoked a pork shoulder for pulled pork, I smoked the two slabs of side meat.  I didn't think to brine them, so I  just did one plain and one with rub.  Today we tried the plain one.

OMG Yummy!  I needed to salt the slices we cut before frying them - brining would have covered that - but this rich taste, so incredibly meaty, very smoky, was amazing.

I'll be bringing some of the sliced bacon over to Suz, who now has some soup bones from the last steer she split with others on hold for me.

Life is lovely.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pagan Nut Cases

Blessings Darlings!

Due to ... well. Due to the actions of a clearly mentally ill person on Facebook, who currently is claiming to be called by the Morrighu, I got to wondering just how the Morrighu WOULD deal with someone who is severely mentally ill.  The best I can figure is that if the mentally ill person causes risk to the lives of others, She'd make sure they got shot down like a mad dog would be.  If they do not put lives at risk, She'd leave it to those whose job it is to handle them.  Maybe not Bridget for healing so much as to those around them to keep them locked in the attic or basement so they don't disrupt the community.

For those less severely mentally ill I expect that the Morrighu would do what She does with everyone else She handles - She makes them face what they would prefer to ignore about themselves, and then expects them to CHANGE IT. 

Thus, if the nutcase-with-100-names-and-1000-FB-groups is actually going to be called by the Morrighu, the nutter is going to be continually and repeatedly confronted by people and situations pointing out that she's a nutter, etc, and that won't end until the nutter gets into a treatment situation that works.  The pressure from the Morrighu will not end until real solutions are in place and being actively worked on.  Then the Morrighu will loosen the leash a bit, to see how a bit of freedom is handled. 

The Morrighu doesn't play. She doesn't fight your battles for you.  She doesn't 'give' you strength, She makes sure you are given situations in which you build your strength, and tells you to pull up your big girl panties and handle the situation.  Your sweat and your blood and your exhaustion are the offerings She seems to prefer. 

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holy Dark Chocolate, Batman!

Blessings Darlings!

I .... was just clued into this recipe from The Kitchen Whisperer via The Online Pastry Chef.  It's for Dark Chocolate Oatmeal.  I have not tried it yet - I mean I JUST found it.  But try it I must!


I'm going off to drool now (and chop dark baking chocolate, since I don't have dark chocolate chips right now).

Frondly, Fern

Monday, November 5, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

I'm sitting here eating a very healthy breakfast as I type.  Freshly made hummus and freshly sliced veggies that I'm dipping into it.  This is a change.

I've been eating very badly lately.  Like - yesterday, for example.  No fruit or whole grains with breakfast, just eggs/ham/white bread, a huge sugary coffee for lunch, and two slices of greasy pizza for dinner. So I'm trying to crawl back to eating ... better. More veggies. More whole grains. 

I'm less concerned with what I should NOT eat as much of.  If I make it a point to eat good tasting good stuff, I'm hoping that will crowd out the good tasting bad stuff. 

I sure wish that cucumbers weren't a dollar each right now.  Oh well.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Obligatory Sandy Post

Blessings Darlings!

Hurricane Sandy has just about finished having her way with my area now.  Howling winds, torrential rains, 5 leaks in the house, etc.  We didn't lose power, in fact very few in our county have lost power - probably because the derecho took down most of the at-risk trees at the end of June! 

Being a prepper, I didn't have to hit the store for supplies.  I did hit the stores before the storm because the Spawn wanted to make lasagna so he gave me $ and a shopping list.  Most of the other carts had one or two cases of bottled water and other supplies each. Which was a surprise .... Spawn had mentioned that when he hit Walmart for catfood the place was sold out of water.  I guess the supermarket had a new supply come in.  Cases of water being easy to spot in carts I notice them, but didn't feel the need to examine carts closely to see what else folks were getting at the last minute.  There was no run on ricotta, crushed tomatoes, mozarella, etc. 

Just because I didn't 'shop for the storm' doesn't mean that I didn't do some preparing over the weekend.  I did all the laundry - even changing linens a day early.  I filled two 2-gallon buckets with water for dishwashing if power went out.  I worked on the back log of ironing.  I made sure all the carpets were vacuumed.  All cell phones and computers were charged.  I made sure that the camping stove and some fuel were in the house, not the detached garage.  I moved all loose stuff from around the house into the garages.  I made and bagged ice and filled the freezer. The usual stuff before storms.

The leaks were surprises, even tho' all were on the windward side.  Not that I'm saying that McMansions are well built - I'm TOTALLY not saying that.  First the frame around the front door - from bad construction of the tiny ... 'not porch' over the front door. Then a leak in the garage - bad intersection of the side of house with the 'bump' on the first floor to make it a two car garage.  Then the leak by the window frame facing the wind.  Then a second leak in the garage.  THEN the leak in the foundation, soaking part of the carpeting in the finished basement, causing wet spots in the drywall, putting two book shelves full of books and software at risk ... because there wasn't proper drainage around the house - the hill drains towards the house and construction hadn't included a ditch to divert the water.

Those extra empty frosting buckets from Walmart were put to use, and I preventing more serious damage in the basement by using the carpet shampooer to suck up the water from the carpeting ... every one hour at first, then every two hours, then every 3 as the storm passed.  If we had lost power I'd have used every dang towel in the house, and possibly have pulled up the carpeting and padding to protect it.

Now that things are calmer, I'm going to haul bones out of the freezer and start some more stock.  It's gotten cold out and I want to make soup.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

The other day, in "The Life You Save", I pointed out how a volunteer firefighter was useless in the face of an emergency.  She's no longer my problem now that I don't work with her.  My problem is that the Chubby Hubby is useless in most emergencies!

Take that one Christmas.  At 5:30 that cold morning we were awakened to the sight of a car on fire across the street.  Turned out that an arsonist had lit 4 cars in our city and the close by village, and one was across the street from us.  My husband stood at the window in his tighty whities staring at the fire.  I called 911, and got dressed.  He did eventually dress and join me and the neighbors outside as we did what we could with fire extinguishers (useless) and moved nearby cars.

Or take the day the Spawn was stung by a bee at school.  I was working outside the home at the time, so it must have been towards the end of grammar school, say 5th grade.  Sting was by eye, it was near the end of the day - they removed stinger and had CH pick Spawn up.  CH called me in a panic about what to do.  Okay, CH, here's what you do:  give him a dose of Benadryl, give him some ice in a washcloth for the eye, if he starts swelling up and/or has trouble breathing go to the ER, and if you're still nervous call the pediatrician for more info.  And I told my boss I needed to leave for a family emergency - because my husband was melting down over the Spawn's bee sting.  For the record, Spawn had been stung before, and has no known allergy to bee stings.  I got home in time to get the return phone call from the Dr's office.  The nurse agreed with all I'd told the CH. 

There was the recent incident when he got lightheaded the day after his abcessed tooth was removed and he was on HEAPS of antibiotics ... but you get the picture.

The time *I* am the one ill or injured I'm going to be in a heap of trouble, because he won't be useful.  When I had a year of stomach trouble, he kept pushing me to have milk 'to settle my stomach'.  It turned out I was lactose intolerant, FFS.


Frondly, Fern

Monday, October 22, 2012

Who Controls You?

Blessings Darlings!

So you say that you are a Witch, or Wiccan, or some other form of Magic User.  You Create Change in Conformity to Will (a phrase that goes back to, gasp, Aleister Crowley).  Or so you say .....

If you and your Will are so tight, then why can perfect strangers push your buttons and get reactions from you that cause the clerk in the store you're in to have to try to calm you down?  If you can't control yourself, and be in charge of your anger/reactions so you can choose how you act, how do you expect to control the Universe, or even do a working to help you in some smaller way?

Get it together.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, October 19, 2012

Man Down!

Blessings Darlings!

I have a VERY good first aid kit.  Full boxes of face masks and bandages and other supplies, full bottles of alcohol and such, lots of pressure wraps, 1st aid book, arm slings, eye patches, etc.

Yesterday it came into use.

I was outside hanging laundry. The Chubby Hubby decided he wanted breakfast, came up to the kitchen to pour a bowl of cereal/etc.  Discovering he was too low on cereal for a full bowl, he headed down to my office to grab a fresh box of cereal. Box in hand, he hurried back upstairs ...

and tripped on the stairs.  Landing hard and at an awkward position on his right leg - momentum making that awkward knee/leg alignment taking even more of an impact than his already too-substantial weight.  Pain ensued.

I came back in at this point, finding him gasping in pain.  Quick evaluation - whatever it is, we don't have a car to get it X-rayed right now. He didn't hear a pop (he wouldn't have, even if there WAS on, his hearing rather sucks), nor did he feel a pop (better evidence than his hearing).  RICE is clearly called for - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  He agreed to only some of that.  He can't work in the lab with Elevation, but I can be his servant for getting things (rest), I grabbed compression wraps from the 1st aid kit and snugly wrapped the knee (compression), and I filled a bag with crushed ice and tied it on to his knee.  And he grabbed some NSAIDs.

The compression made an IMMEDIATE difference in how the knee felt when moved.  And the knee didn't hurt when NOT being moved or when NOT bent.  He also didn't feel anything inside 'rubbing oddly' or 'rolling around' when moving.

Today the knee is not as painful when bent.  He's still avoiding bending it, it's been re-wrapped for compression after his shower, etc.  There is no 'unsteadiness' in walking on it when unwrapped.  So he PROBABLY didn't tear anything.

It seems to me that being able to immediately compression wrap the knee made a huge difference.   It didn't swell, complicating anything.  It made the CH feel better - always a good thing.  I didn't have the stress of knowing what to do but NOT having the supplies on hand, nor a car to get the supplies.  Biking or walking to the store could have been done, but being cash-strapped just now buying the supplies would have been another stress.

Also, I just got off of chat with NARIC, the National Rehabilitation Information Center.  They are a not-very-well-known font of information and referrals.  I only know about them because some of folks there are friends of mine. If you need info on ANY sort of rehab issues, they are the folks to ask. 

Clearly this 'event' is not yet over.  But at least it seems to be moving in the right direction.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Omen or not?

Blessings Darlings!

Neatly bucketed black walnuts, now scattered over the deck.
Very cute garter snake sunning itself on the back step.
Dreams for a week all about the same area of Chicago.
Barking foxes every night at 11. 

Are any of them omens?  How would you know?

None of them are actually 'magically significant' for my life, as it turns out. Black walnuts scattered? Squirrel! Garter snake sunning? It's fall, but that was before the first frost - they are sunning themselves EVERYWHERE, lots of them run over on the roads. Barking foxes? they have a den in the larger copse by the house, and there's another under the big altar in the wooded area on the East of the house. Dreams about Chicago? That's my guilty conscience telling me to call my Mother more often.

Know what's normal for your area, and what's not.  Only the unusual should be looked at as an omen at all.  Certainly that the daughter of a Jewish mother is feeling guilty is NOT unusual. 

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

For discussion purposes I 'divide' magic into two broad categories, thaumaturgy and theurgy, the thaumaturgy being measurable 'miracle working/money drawing/physical healing/etc' and theurgy being "spiritual development work".

I've posted some about those things before, like here, and here, and here, and here.

Now, probably everyone agrees that the theurgical magic you do is tied to you.  Cuz who else would it be tied to?  I'm also assuming that you probably use your magical tools to do this magic when use of them is appropriate.

It has come to my attention that some folks don't think that 'everyday' magic you do is also tied to you.  As in "Blood anoited [sic] tools binds magic to you and your bloodline. Not wise if you plan on to use the tool for basic everyday spells."  This was a response I got on the Witchcraft, Paganism, and Wiccan page on FaceBook.  I'd link you, but, due to people posting complaints about the regular plagiarism there, posting by all but the admins is now closed so getting at MY post is impossible. 

Darlings, your tools are ' yours' because you and then are bonded together.  that's a fundamental part of your being able to use them fully.  If you are REALLY bonded to, say, Wand, then you can use your finger and not a pretty anointed with ANYthing stick. And, guess what - your flesh, blood, and bone makes up that finger.

ALL MAGIC YOU DO IS TIED BACK TO YOU. That's how we trace back hexes to who they came from.  That's how the "Law of Return" works, to those who believe in that.  That's how the 'three fold law' works for those who believe in that.  That's how your senses work, for that matter - that tree I'm looking at is sending things that ENTER MY EYE so I can see it.

If you think you can duck being tied to your magic by NOT being 'blood tied' to your tools, you are fooling yourself.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Blessings Darlings!

Starting last year, the fall hype about Pumpkin Spice Lattes got my attention.  The hype is greater this year, and that 'rumor of unknown origin' that Starbucks 'is running out of' the stuff made my inner marketer smirk.  Ah, ADDED urgency - not just the limited time it's available, but now limited amounts!  Everyone to Starbucks, NOW!

Now, pumpkin spice lattes DO taste good.  But why would I buy one?  That has GOT to be one of the easiest things to make at home.  So today I brewed a pot of it.  On top of my usual dark grounds I added the spices.  While it brewed I figured the costs, because I'm like that.

The 24 ounces of coffee, with another 4 oz of half and half added, would equal a 28 oz cuppa. Let's say that would be around $5 at FiveBucks.  Cost to me to make it - 60 Cents.  That includes coffee, half and half, and spices.  I did not figure in coffee filter, water, electricity, or washing the pot costs. Five cents would be a SWAG estimate for those things.  So - 65 cents vs $5.  Maybe add a few more cents if I added whipped cream, but I didn't.

Not only does it cost less at home, but I can have this anytime, and without having to put on clothes or drive and use gasoline or incur any other car expenses. 

Now, I did NOT measure what I put in, so I'm going to give you estimates here. For one 4 cup pot of coffee, add -

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp FRESHLY GROUND nutmeg - pre-ground nutmeg has zero flavor
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground ginger - I may have used a bit more of this, to be honest. I like ginger a lot.

As always, adjust to your tastes.  You are not me. I am not you.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Poke Berries and Mullein.

Blessings Darlings!

I've been blessed with the poke berries and the mullein that I was looking for.  Poke berries are drying for future use even as I type, I'll dry the mullein after they are done and I've washed everything clean of the toxins.

I'm still putting out to the Universe that I'm looking for a few good hawthorn trees, one or more for the haws and one (best by a well or stream or river) as a clootie tree.

Oh, I got a bonus today - wild hickory nuts, when I thought I was going to be getting more black walnuts!  I'm not sure these will be my favorites, tho.  While it is FAR easier to get the outer husk off the hickory nuts, the meat itself come in smaller/narrower twists and turns in the shell, which makes the meat harder to get out once you've freed and cracked the nut.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, October 8, 2012

Imperfect Practice

Blessings Darlings!

I spent much of the last waxing moon making my first batch ever of magical chalk.  Today I tried out the finished product.  Clearly my skills in this still need some work.  The chalk is too hard - I can use it on concrete, and probably asphalt, but it fails on wood, plastic, and cardboard.

I will try new proportions of ingredients, vary the ingredients some (corn starch should work the same in magic as white flour, shouldn't it?), etc. 

A witch's work is never done.  Just like tweaking recipes for food, recipes for magic take practice and I don't know if I'll ever call them 'perfect'.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Visiting My Ancestors

Blessings Darlings!

I just read Byron's lovely article "Food For Thought ... and Spirits", to credit the inspiration for this post.

Byron has a great advantage over me on this one.  The bulk of my ancestors are buried almost 900 miles from me, in two Jewish cemeteries in Chicago, while she lives close to hers.  And she has a different heritage of working with them.  Jews DO visit their cemeteries, and DO work with each ancestor on the anniversary of her/his death, but decorating graves or eating/drinking at the cemetary is right out.  It was a VAST break in Jewish tradition when we planted flowers along with burying my uncle Maury - but everyone at the cemetery service knew Maury and knew that he LIVED in his garden, so knew why we chose to break tradition in this way. 

So where do I go now to honor my Ancestors? 

Celts had several options.  Tir Na Gog is 'in the West', and the Ancestors are often seen as part of the Sea/waters.  Or they are said to be in the North.  When I lived close to, but west of, the Chesapeake Bay, that West association didn't work well.  I winged it.  But now the Potomac is north of me.  I'll do my major working on that river.  Part of that will be a boat of food pushed out on the water, as part of my Samhain celebration.

But, as you know, I start the preparation work for Samhain well in advance.  As part of that, I'll be sharing food and drink much of the month with my Ancestors.  I find that efforts put in to renew the ties well before Samhain, when I will be out communing with them officially, pays off.

And, I'm assuming that all y'all already have ancestor altars you work with regularly, right?

Frondly, Fern

Mugwort, and sumac, and grapes, oh my!

Blessings Darlings!

Wednesday I FINALLY made my monthly trip to the DC suburbs.  I have business to do there early in the month, and I try to combine a lot of things in the trip.  However, it's VERY hard to drive there without a car ... so the trip had to be delayed from Monday when I intended to go until Wednesday, when my car cooperated.  Car needed an offering of a new starter before it was going ANY where.  Or, as we say around here, "O Entropy!  Dread sister of Death".

Yes, we are Shakespeare sluts.

Drive thru' the heavy fog to drop the Spawn off of work.  He reminds me he works 'till 4, not 5, that day.  Crap.  Okay. I start the long drive - I'm not just hitting the DC 'burbs today, I'm on a mission.  Therefore I'm going all the way to ... Annapolis! 

The drive and getting the business-related part of the day done took less time than usual.  Head east to Annapolis.  I was searching for dried or (even better) fresh elderberries to use for a tincture to treat colds and flu.  None were to be found in either my area's store nor in Frederick (a mere 30 miles away), so I was driving 110 miles to search for them.  Finally found them in a little place in Annapolis, after checking 3 other places.  VICTORY WAS MINE!

Back into the car, heading west.  Hungry. Raided grocery store between Annapolis and DC, and ate in the parking lot of a minor league baseball team for peace and quiet.  Well, what did I spy with my little eye? Wild grapes!  So after I ate I grabbed a plastic bag and harvested.

First the grapes.
Then both the fuzzy and less fuzzy seed bunches of staghorn sumac.
Then ... holy cow, that's MUGWORT!  Squee!

I didn't harvests the acorns, nor the vines from the grapes, nor the poke berries.  Instead, I headed back to Frederick to hit the Costco, then out home to pick up the Spawn. 

Elderberry tincture is kind of started.  I ran out of vodka, so can't make a full batch.  And I might want to make some with ginger added.  I'm not sure if I will use brandy and make a mugwort tincture or dry it, for that matter.  Probably dry it, so it can be used any way I want to later.

All in all, a busy but productive day, making for a happy Fern who is still singing show tunes.  It was HARD to not buy the 6 CD set of Rodgers and Hammerstein movies at Costco....

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

All apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein, who wrote the original words and music to the song "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning", and to Dr. Who for the second verse, but I feel some filk coming on.

There's a dull sodden grey in the meadow.
There's a dull sodden grey in the meadow.
The fog is as high as an elephants eye
And it looks like it's rising up high in the sky!

Oh! What a gothic fall morning.
Oh! What a gothic fall day.
I'm putting on some black lipstick
And heading outside to play.

All the statues are weeping ... and watching
All the statues are weeping ... and watching.
They don't turn their heads as they see me walk by
But I still don't trust them
Cuz I don't want to die.

Oh! What a gothic fall morning.
Oh! What a gothic fall day.
I'm putting on some black lipstick
And heading outside to play.

All the sounds of the earth are like music.
All the sounds of the earth are like music.
The caw of the ravens, the bark of the fox,
The sound the cat's making
As a hairball she hocks.

Oh! What a gothic fall morning.
Oh! What a gothic fall day.
I'm putting on some black lipstick
And heading outside to play.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

Fall is an insanely busy time around here.  The Chubby Hubby has caught up on work after the summer conference he teaches at and is involved in new projects, for one thing.  For another, the weather has finally cooled off so I'm doing more things.  Meanwhile, the garden hasn't really slowed down yet. 

The first thing I did with the cooler weather was do the sewing I'd put off all summer.  In late spring I'd taken all the clothes that needed patches and other repairs and gotten them ready to be worked on.  Mostly that meant that I'd ironed or fabric-glued patches in place, intending to sew the the patches on more securely.  Since the clothes were all long-sleeved shirts and long pants, they didn't need to be done immediately.  But I discovered that during the 100 degree days of summer I was .... disinclined .... to sit with material covering me, doing the sewing in my lap (knee and elbow patches have to be sewn by hand here, I don't have a sewing machine with an long narrow plate to slip them over). So suddenly it was 'patch or die!'  or at least "patch or everyone will have to wear their GOOD STUFF around the house, leading to them wearing out into no longer being the good stuff".

It took a few weeks, but the winter stuff is now caught up on.  Which means I'm identifying summer stuff that needs work.  Why do the underarms get holes in them?  I understand the holes in the front of the shirts - we have cats. Cats have claws. Cats poke holes in things.  Those holes I'm going to do some embroidery over.  I'm thinking of doing protective runes.

I've also started the fall round of carpet shampooing, and all the rest of the fall cleaning.  It's a constant battle against cobwebs here! 

And I'm working on harvesting every wild herb that I can.  I'm sure that this is embarrassing the Spawn, who is often with me when I suddenly stop and grab, say, a nice mullein plant, or cut some grape vines, or dig up some chickory roots.    And then I have to clean them, dry them, store them. 

And, as I type this, tomorrow in October 1.  Which means Samhain is coming.  With my 9-day personal prep for that (see this post), and coven ritual, and maybe Audience with the Ancestors with the larger tradition .... busy.

What's on your plate for Autumn? Are you preparing for the Cold Times, for Samhain? Clearing the way for introspection or study?

Frondly, Fern

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, easycapture.com seems to rock!) because the plagiarist blocked me during the conversation.  If you'd like to check, the link to the group is https://www.facebook.com/groups/219529221497038/?bookmark_t=group .

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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Scarcity

Blessings Darlings!

The Chubby Hubby is home from his business trip and visiting his mother (at this time she's NOT going into a nursing home).  My barely-there garden is peaking, at 2 pounds of beans and 4 cucumbers a week.  The weather has cooled down to merely summer from the incredible heat and humidity of this last July.

As is always the case after CH's summer trip, we're broke. We'll have to take money out of his IRA to pay bills, and the Spawn will probably be buying all our groceries.  Luckily, they are understaffed at work so he's getting more hours than usual.  Unfortunately, since he was at work for 15 hours last Friday, he's been hit by a summer cold and been out sick today and half of yesterday.  I have the cold, too.  My sinuses are like Dr. Who's Tardis - they may SEEM normal, but I assure you that they are far far bigger and more swollen than you can see from looking at them from the outside.  They have swolled to house size on the inside.

Did you know that there is a Chinese dish that uses cucumbers as the vegetable?  Well, there are probably several, but I'm referring to Bon Bon Chicken Salad.  I'm making that for dinner Friday night.  Because that's the veggie I have the most of.  Tomorrow will be .... probably a pork or tofu stir fry with bean sprouts and cabbage and a carrot for color.  I sprouted the bean sprouts myself, of course, and grew the cabbage.  I did not grow the carrot.

I'm trying to figure out a way to afford high-quality 'facial tissue' to get us thru' the cold.  I just don't think it's ethical to head to the store that has it on sale, use the coupon that requires we buy two packages of 3 packs each, and then return one of the 3 packs.  That way we'd end up with only the one 3 pack we need, and use the entire coupon on it.

If I don't spend any of the house money on food, or pay the credit cards, then I can afford car insurance.  I'm very glad the garden is peaking now!

Sorry about all the whining.  I'll be more uplifting and discuss puff pastry based treats sometime soon.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

No offense to either all y'all or to Eban Pagan - but I'm multitasking here, and writing this blog while in one of his Webinars.  This one is on how to create an information product, specifically how to find a profitable niche, create the product, and into to how to reach your audience.  Given that his first, and so far most profitable info product was "Double Your Dating", using the pen name David de Angelo.

Combine his first title with my planned post on buying corn, and that equals the title of this post.  It might not make sense to you, but it clicked for me!

So, that done, let's talk corn. I headed over to the feed store this week, in order to try to fix some holes in my food storage.  Since none of the local farm and feed stores carry wheat, I grabbed a bag of corn.  BTW, the corn was already amazingly expensive.  Yes we all know that there is a drought and this years' corn crop is trashed, but I figured I'd be getting a bag of LAST years corn, so the price wouldn't have gone up much yet.

I was wrong.

Not only was the price for the 50 pound sack of feed corn (which I'm planning to use to feed me and my family) already $12.80 instead of the $8.00 I paid last year .... but as I prepared it for storage (in food grade plastic tubes with great lids, adding carbon dioxide gas to displace oxygen, instead of easily permeable but thick paper bags) I LOOKED at the corn.  And the quality is BAD BAD BAD.  At least 15% of the kernels are brown or black and NASTY.  Not stuff I'm going to choose to eat.  I've never run into this before in feed corn.  Before it's always been really high quality.  I'd take a cup of the kernels, pick a FEW nasty ones out, give 'em a quick wash, let 'em dry, grind them, and I'd be baking corn bread.  This stuff is going to be more like ... well ... uh .... Like cleaning lids of cheap marijuana from the 1970's.  The seedy cheap low quality stuff.  Stuff you'd lose 1/2 of by the time you got the stems and seeds out. 

I may make a video showing the corn and cleaning it.  In my copious free time, eh?

Yeah, I'd feed all this stuff to livestock.  I admit I'm pickier about what I feed my family and myself.  I'm quite sure that you are, too.

Just a word to the wise.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, August 13, 2012

Superficial Conversions

Blessings Darlings!

The Wild Hunt recently featured a story about a woman who had been a Pagan artist, who has now gone back to Christianity and is calling her Pagan time as being demon possessed.  Which brings up the whole topic of folks who, having converted, then go back to their original religion.

Do you ever get that gut-feeling, when interacting with a 'convert' of one or another type, that they are going to end up going back to their original religion/philosophy/system?  I've run into that rather a few times.

Like, WAY back in the day when I was running the Off Brands Religions  Icons and Iconoclasts BB on Prodigy.  One woman there had a screen name of "X-Mormon".  She posted a lot (as in, as much as I did) and most of her posts were about how she was, yes, an EX-Mormon.  Not that much about what she was now, so much as 'debunking' her old Mormonism, which by this time she had left 5 or more years before.  But, as you might have guessed, well before Prodigy.com became Prodigy.net, let alone before MSN bought it, she was back in the fold of Mormonism. It wasn't a surprise to me, since so much of her time was still being spent with her in relationship, negative tho' it may have been, to Mormonism.

Now, I'm not saying that when a person converts that they lose their ethnic heritage.  Only the original High Priestess of the coven I'm now in didn't pick up on me having been raised Jewish - and that's likely because she was so focused on my more-recent 10 years in Ar nDraiocht Fein Druidism. OTOH, I'm neither at war with Judaism nor trying to make over my Paganism into the same form as the Judaism I grew up in.

But sometimes you get to know folks, and you just have a gut feeling that they are going to go back to their milk-religion eventually. I can't even put my finger on the reasons I feel some folks I know are going to do it. Often it involves having to analyze everything from that original worldview in some way, but not always.

I'm going to have to puzzle this one some more, I think.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, August 10, 2012

Survival Calories

Blessings Darlings!

You already know that I encourage all y'all have a survival store of food (and water) in your house so you're covered for emergencies like the recent power outages, or snowstorms, or whatever.  So I saw a link to an article on "A Year of Food Storage for $300 for a family of FOUR !! " and had to check it out.  Here's the link: http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/2012/08/a-year-of-food-storage-for-300-for-a-family-of-four.html#comment-27897

And ..... if you relied on that for a year of food for 4 people, you'd starve.  Never mind the lack of vitamin A, C, Calcium, etc - I sat down with a calculator and the USDA nutritional database and worked out the calories.  If you made the soup out of it that she recommends, and carefully rationed it so each batch fed 4 people over 2 days .... each person would get 415 calories a day.  Okay, she says to add a table spoon of oil (not included in her 'to buy' list, or priced in), that would raise the amount of calories per person per day by 13. 

Anything under 900 calories a day is considered a starvation diet .... for a sedentary person.  In a survival situation while you MAY be hiding in a bunker .... if you're going to be making this long-simmered soup you're going to need fuel for a fire and water.  Cutting wood and hauling water, while very Zen, take a heck of a lot of calories. 

In response to some of my objections, one woman said she lived for 40 days on only V8 and vitamins.  Sure, it can be done - it would cause some real harm to a growing child. And a friend of mine says he lived for 3 months on just mushrooms and cocaine.  You can be pretty sure he wasn't felling trees during that time. 

Short term you can get away with that, if you aren't doing much physical labor.  A sedentary adult woman burns 10 calories a day per pound of body weight, a sedentary man about 12, just to cover basic body functioning.  If you sit on your butt all day AND have a good layer of fat, you can fast a good while. But in a real crisis situation, you're going to be working HARDER, since you won't have electricity and all our electric-based slaves.  Find and haul water. Find, chop, and haul wood. Have enough wood to cook the soup for an hour or two (chickpeas take rather a while to cook).  Eat. Clean up - more water and fire!  Care for your garden, by hand. Fence your garden, by hand.  Expand your garden, by hand. Forage for wild foods.  Wash clothes by hand.  Wring clothes by hand.  Dig latrines.  Knit. Repair clothes. Preserve food if you have a surplus - going to build a solar dehydrator? Etc. Will you be building or rebuilding houses, or roads, or digging out collapsed buildings to find either survivors or supplies? Could be.

More calories will be needed, not less.  Back in the day - looking at serfs in England - each adult male would eat two pounds of bread a day plus anything else they could get.  Two pounds of wheat alone would be 3700 calories. 

Frondly, Fern

Monday, August 6, 2012

Food Freedom!

Blessings Darlings!

With the Chubby Hubby at the Microchip MASTERs conference, the Spawn and I are enjoying eating all the foods CH isn't fond of but we ARE fond of.

We're starting, at my son's request, with the lentil/vegetable soup.   I'm glad that the weather is a bit cooler, it would be hard to face hot soup if it was near 100 degrees still!  We're going to have cold potato lentil salads, too.  We'll cook a big batch of quinoa, and have that lots of ways, too - cold, mixed with roasted veggies, hot topped with grilled veggies and leftovers, etc.  Pizza!  Not that the CH doesn't like pizza, of course.  CH just insists on MEAT on his pizza.  We're happy with just a good sauce, a bit of cheese, and lots of fresh basil.  CH HATES basil.  We'll probably do vegetarian lasagna, too.

Oh, if anyone's thinking of robbing us while the CH is out - remember, the Spawn is in his 20's.  And I'm not all that helpless.  Consider that your warning shot ... all other shots will be directly at you.  Just sayin'.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Staff of Life

Blessings Darlings!

It's Lughnasadh!  Let's talk wheat!

SOME Examiner.com writers are fucking morons.  One posted her article on a Prepper list I'm on.  She went on about how the drought trashed the winter wheat crop.  Except ... it hasn't.  The crop has been harvested a bit early due to the drought (no rain slow downs), but even Kansas, HARD hit by the drought, had a great winter wheat crop.  Winter wheat in the US finished being harvested in the middle of July.

I think that the author can't tell winter wheat, which was planted late last fall, from spring wheat which was planted this spring.  Spring wheat IS likely to be affected, but it's a far smaller crop than the winter wheat is.  Spring wheat is just beginning to be harvested now.  I've never lived in an area that grows any.  Here the rotation is corn one year, beans the next followed by a fall planting of winter wheat the second year, then harvest the winter wheat and plant beans year 3. 

Corn and soy beans ARE going to be affected, of course, as will all the things with those crops in them, from vegetable oils to meat to soda.  Prices of 'veggies' might rise 5% due to increased cost of irrigation, but amounts of them shouldn't be affected much. Local veggies and soft fruits are going to be more price-competitive with supermarket ones.

Still, in the US we spend a WAY smaller percentage of our income on food, so we're going to be hit far less than most other countries.  Without imported grains, there will be famine.  People will die.  Rulers will be overthrown.

Buckle up.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What just happened?

Wait.  How did this happen?

I left my desk, business cordless phone in hand, to go up to the 3rd floor and exercise in the bedroom where the exercise bike is, you know the whole 'new month/new goals' thing.  Yet now I'm down in the basement at my desk again, phone elsewhere, no exercising done.

Let's see.  I entered the bedroom.  I sighed, remembering that I have to get the Chubby Hubby packed for the business trip he leaves for WAY too early on Sunday morning.  I moved a TV table over where I exercise, put the phone, timer, and TV remote on it.  Then ... hmmm.

Then I went into the closet and got out the suitcase I'll pack for him.  I stood it upright by the window, since if I lay it down the cats will sleep on it and cover the dark-green material with grey and white cat hair.  I started stacking his underwear on top of it.  He doesn't have enough clean undies right now to pack for the trip.  I took the full laundry hamper out of the closet.  I wondered what shape his company-name embossed collared shirts were in.  I discovered that 3 of the 4 have stains that may not come out but I felt I should TRY to get the stains out.  I took the laundry hamper and shirts to the laundry room on the 'middle' floor.  I pre-treated the stains. I started the washer, filling it partially by buckets since the cold water hose needs replacing.

I came back down to the basement, and asked the CH what color Microchip shirts he needs for this year (he needs to wear THEIR shirts when he teaches classes).  Apparently this year is a Blue Shirt year, which seems FAR safer than the red shirt years.  And I THINK he has two blue shirts.

I walked from his office to mine. I sat down. I saw that my phone isn't here.  Where is it?  Oh, yeah, upstairs .... because I set off to exercise .....

Frondly, Fern

PS - I was most of the way done with the tags on this (last step before posting) when I had leave my desk to fill the washer again for the rinse cycle.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Goat Cheese Seduction

Blessings Darlings!

I am a woman on a mission.  The mission is to convert my husband from 'goat cheese hater' to 'goat cheese eater'.  Not necessarily a goat cheese lover, mind you, but a person who will eat it willingly and enjoy it. However by nature he loathes goat cheese, disliking the distinctive goaty acids in them.

As you may have already guessed, I am a goat cheese lover.  I want it around me at all times.  I want it cooked into various dishes, anointing other dishes, spread on crackers, etc.  It enriches my life.

So I have started a process of seduction, luring him to the Goat Side step by step.  The first step was tasting goat cheese samples at the Farmers Market.  There we found a producer who does NOT use African goats for milk but uses European goats.  European goats produce less milk per unit feed, but they have less of the fats the Chubby Hubby hates.  He does not dislike some of the cheese this producer offers .... mind you they are cheeses mixed with other flavors.  Like ... Italian Chevre. Summer Chevre which is mixed with mango and pineapple.

So this week I bought the Summer Chevre - AND bribed him with buying him baby new potatoes from another vendor.  He's going to get some of that spread on good bread or crackers daily until it's gone.  Which won't take long.  Next weekend he'll taste more goat cheese at the Farmers Market, and I'll bring home another type.  Maybe a plain one, and I'll mix it with blueberries and a bit of blueberry syrup.  Or a savory flavor, that I can spread on crackers OR add to veggies.

A little a day.  Step by step.  Maybe next year he'll be ready for an aged one.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kenaz Rocks!

Blessings Darlings!

Kenaz Filan blogs good, read this on self, authority, society, etc.


Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Reading

Blessings Darlings!

Read this, out loud, as a family/group today: 

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Freezers without power

Blessings Darlings!

Lots of folks still without power here on the East Coast.  Word is that in Charles Town WV the Burger King, KFC, FOOD LION, etc have had to throw out all their frozen and refrigerated foods.  That's a heck of a lot of food!

I have full freezers here - both the freezer part of the refrigerator and the free-standing upright 14.7 cubic foot freezer.  What, you ask, would *I* do in an extended power outage during the summer?

FIRST - I'd see if I could get any dry ice.  I know that AirGas in Martinsburg sells it, but don't know their hours and have not tried to see if they are open during this since, well, I don't need the stuff.  Yes, I have emergency cash on hand to pay for that.

SECOND - I'd wrap the freezer in blankets.  I sure don't need them now!  And the freezers being so full they'd last 3 days or more with added insulation.

THIRD - I'd can the freezer contents, using a propane-powered camping stove and a case of propane I keep around JUST in case that.  Frozen fruits would have sugar and spices added and be canned as pie filling in quart jars (I'd add corn starch when making pies later).  Veggies would go in pint or quart jars - and I suppose I might not 'can' them and might make pickles of them instead.  The pickles could be water bath canned if power continues out once they are 'done'.  Boneless meats go in pint jars, bone-in go in quart jars and get pressure canned.  The pork jowl would finally get smoked! The pork shoulder would be smoked, pulled, then canned (maybe in BBQ sauce). 

The chicken livers I don't know WHAT I'd do with.  Probably make rumaki and eat them rather than try to preserve them further.

Obviously, if we had any ice cream we'd have eaten that early on.

And, of course, we DO have a generator, but in an emergency I might use that only to pump water rather than run the freezer.

Look, it's not like I've got a freezer full of microwaveable dinners or other majorly prepared foods.  It's full of 'ingredients' rather than food, as Sharon Astyk might put it.  That means that I can MAKE the raw ingredients INTO food and preserve the food. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stormy Weather

Blessings Darlings!

Wow, we had that 600+  mile storm blow thru' here last night - it started in Chicago and moved at like 70 MPH eastward.  Oodles of lightning, heavy rain, hail, incredible winds.  Trees down in neighbor's yards, streets have clearly had tree problems but locally all seem open.  Most here have power.

Not so in the DC area we moved out of.  Some 2 million people (well over a million electric 'accounts') are without power.  BGE isn't even pretending to be working on restoring power to homes, they are working on getting power restored to hospitals and water pumping stations.  Mandatory water restrictions are in place because of water pumping problems. 

Meanwhile, no power and the heat's still supposed to be near 100 degrees and the humidity is even higher today than yesterday. It's a mess. 

If I was still there, I'd be at the ice cream distributor in Hyattsville buying dry ice - BGE USED to give it out during outages but doesn't any more.  Mind you, I'd be in line there with a jar of quarters, because this caught me with almost no cash in the house - even the 'emergency cash' was down to $20.  The Spawn has some, I had some, but the dry ice (plus a bag of cubed regular ice) would take all we had between us.

The storm also had a big impact on the Farmers Market this morning.  Many vendors missing, maybe due to storm problems at their places or closed back roads between them and the market.  We DID get green beans, zucchini, and some grass-fed beef from a vendor Suz and I had discussed trying for a big purchase.  And if things go well I might try to organize a big purchase from 'em even if Ms Suz doesn't join in.

Frondly, Fern