Thursday, April 30, 2020

May Eve

Blessings Darlings!

Serious wind all night - serious rain (with flood warnings) for today.  I'm glad that I got all that garden work done yesterday, even tho' I'm achy today.

I'm assuming that that the leaves on the local hawthorn trees are the size of squirrel ears now, and thus that Bealtaine starts tonight.  I'm rather too old to schtupp in the fields or greenwood, so I'll have to do some other ritual actions.  For those wondering - just like Samhain is the name for an entire month, so is Bealtaine. 

Spent time today working on how I want to set up oil 'lamps' in the glass containers from used memorial candles.  Wicks will be thin strips of material from pieces of khaki material saved salvaged from pants of decades gone by (strips from material from cotton t-shirts didn't work as well, and I've no string mops).  Wicks will float on the oil  held in slices of cork wrapped in aluminum foil so the cork won't burn.  The oil can sit on top of a tea infused with herbs for the working.  The oil ... welp, while house cleaning I found a misplaced 1/2 gallon of olive oil, now WAY out of date.  It doesn't smell rancid, but I'm not about to cook with it.  So lamp oil it shall be.  

Getting the above all tested and gathering info on ideas for below the oil took up a bunch of my time today. 

later the same day ...

So the Bealtaine candle and flowers are going by the front door.  Now that it's dark, I'll do daily offerings soon.   

In Coronavirus news, tho' the numbers keep rising, states are opening.  Against all medical advice.  And if your state opens, and you don't feel safe rushing back to your job - in MOST states (mine included) you have to rush back to work or lose your unemployment.  This is why they are in such a rush to open.  To kill off more of the hostages.  

Frondly ... no, actually angrily, Fern


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Pop corn apocalypse. Popcalypse?

Blessings Darlings!

Like most folks, my husband and I are trying to live as normally as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.  For him, normal includes having popcorn twice a week.

My husband and I are getting up there in age, and like horses - you can tell that in our teeth.   If you read this blog for a while, you know I finally had 4 teeth broken teeth pulled last year.  My husband, a decade older than I am, lives in fear of his teeth breaking.  As a result, he's very picky about what popcorn he eats.  He cares about both flavor and 'fluffy pop' ratio - he is afraid he'll grab a handful of popcorn, start chewing it, and break a tooth on a hard half-popper or totally unpopped kernel.  So the only popcorn he'll eat in the house is Orville Reddenbacher's regular (not microwave) yellow popcorn.  Even OR's white popcorn is veboten. 

Alas, I've not been able to find any for well over a month.  Not in the 2 stores that I usually buy it at, and not online.  Our jar of it is running low.  Sure, he can replace the salty crunchy carbs with chips.  But those are even pricier than the OR Popcorn, as well as fattier.  We had a 'come to Dagda' talk about it yesterday, and if it comes to it, he'll be frying his own tortilla chips out of fresh soft corn tortillas (they are totally available in the stores still, and we can make those at home as well.)  And he only needs them twice a week.

Meanwhile, governments (Federal Executive and many Republican state govs, including, of course WV) and trying to 'open the states'.  The folks who say that they are 'prolife' are so fucking happy to sacrific1e the born to the economy ... when it won't even actually help the economy. 

Did the grocery pick up thing at Walmart today.  Worked in the garden a lot, too, putting more root crop sprouts in the ground, adding straw to the potato hills, and transplanted some basil (tho' it really is a bit too early for that.) 

A container that has some pepper seeds in it, but lost it's identifying stick, is sprouting.  I have no idea what to do with them.  At least it means that some of the seeds are alive.  Alive I tell you, ALIVE!!!!

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Most seeds don't make it to harvest.

Blessings Darlings!

Today's news - meat packing is more important than protecting health care workers to our government.  

Let's turn our pagan/witch attention to something mundane that I mentioned the other day - that I have to be ready to start at least 9 seeds for every plant that I eventually want in my garden.   And even then I might have to buy the plants I want.

We all set goals for ourselves, needs and wants that we are trying to meet.  We do it at the Sabbats, we do it at the New Moons, we do it at our birthdays.  Maybe it's our culture, maybe it's how we're wired.  We . do . it .

But it doesn't always work out. 

The same is true of the rest of nature.  How many babies in a litter of bunnies, just so one might make it to the age where IT reproduces?  How many seeds does one plant put out, hoping that at least one of its offspring plants reproduces in turn? 

Not all seeds make it to adulthood.  Just like not all of our goals do.  You have to build that into your life plans.  Make back up plans, contingency plans.  Buy insurance.  COVER YOUR ASS.

Because sometimes you'll find out that you didn't actually prepare the ground right, and nothing will sprout or mature.  Or a freeze will unexpectedly hit.  Or a flood.  Or you'll have to leave one goal by the wayside because another more pressing issue came up.

Shit happens.  And it happens with extreme regularity.

If you accept that you might have to try three times as hard, invest three times the effort and time and attention than you think a goal will take - you'll rarely be disappointed.  And if reaching the goal takes that minimal amount of time and effort you originally thought, great - nothing was lost by being prepared for more time and effort.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Unexpected Garden Time!

Blessings, Darlings!

News?  WaPo has a GREAT article on 'excess deaths' since the Corona Virus started.  A base line on the REAL death toll.  Tho' it is probably still somewhat light, since accidental deaths (car accidents, etc) are going to be down with less folks on the road and such.

I'm feeling sluggish again today.  I mean, I got up and washed all the pots and pans, and I've got laundry going, but I'm having a really hard time facing washing the kitchen floor.  And a hard time remembering what day of the week it is.  Monday?

Well, kitchen floor is done.  And I'm contemplating possible plot twists in the Dresden Files books coming out.  As one does while washing floors.  Especially when what one SHOULD be doing is contemplating what to make for dinner.  Ooops.

Now I SHOULD vacuum.  Don't think I'm going to do that this afternoon.  Maybe this evening.  First I should work on dinner plans.  Okay - fried chicken, rice, and salad. 

I'm still not vacuuming this afternoon.  The weather cleared up, it's sunny and no rain falling, the temperature is 56 and the wind has dropped.  I transplanted turnips, lettuce, radishes, beets, rutabagas, and turnips instead of vacuuming.  While out I noticed that the red onions I let over winter are now sending up snapes.  Yummy!  In a few days I'll harvest them, marinade them, and roast them. 

Vacuuming has been accomplished.  That's it for the day.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April Ran Away.

Blessings Darlings!

Holy cow - April has run away with out me.  Here it is, practically the end of the month, and I'm WAY behind in getting things planted.  To be fair - I'm always behind in planting.  Every single year.  But I thought that this year would be different, being, ya know, jobless.  I DID get the garden beds more prepared than usual, but I'm totally behind on my seedlings.

This is only PARTLY because the damn pepper seeds didn't sprout.  I always have enough seeds that I can start three times as many seeds as I want plants, and do that three times over.  Today I did the 3rd planting.  With new store bought soil (tho' not soil for seeds).  We'll see how that goes.  I hope it does well.  Otherwise, I'll be buying a dozen pepper plants, some sweet, some hot.  And since I'm TRYING to sprout Anaheim Chillis, I don't know if stores will carry seedlings of them, so if they fail I might end up with jalapenos.  I started both Homestead and Rutgers tomatoes, tho' I'd really rather grow  Brandywines.  But I had seeds for these two types.

I'm only after 4 plants of each of them.  So I've started 12 seeds of each, hoping that 1/3 give me healthy sprouts.  Is that too much to ask?

Maybe.  We'll see.

I haven't even filled the buckets I had the Chubby Hubby drill drainage holes in with manure and straw, much less put the sweet potato slips in them.

News? Corona virus continues.  POTUS has issued orders that doctors don't have to treat gays or transsexual people if the doctors are assholes.  The feds keep stealing PPE from states/cities, and apparently giving them to third parties to sell. And Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, is dead. tho' for a while it seemed like he was Schrödinger's Kim. 

Oh, and there was the 'put disinfectant in people to cure COVID 19 episode. 

Meanwhile, I made a mix of the dry spices that go into Golden  Milk, and I'm adding them and some vanilla and sugar to my morning coffee.  I feel I should be ingesting that anyway, and more so with the circulatory system aspects of Covid 19.  I don't hate it, but I don't love it, either.  If I had hot cocoa before bed I might like it better in that, but I do that very very rarely. 

When I made up the mix, I realized I can't find my big container of cinnamon.  So I'll need that sometime soon.  I did find a back up small container, so I'm covered for this week.

Bread is rising here, and I made baked sweet potato 'fries'.  It looks as if the rest of the month is going to be rainy, which will further delay gardening.  Sigh.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, April 24, 2020

Deep Food Storage

Blessings, Darlings!

So, as I was saying yesterday, I have 'pantry' storage of various foods.  Enough for a few weeks of eating, if we ate only that.  But that's the little bitty tip of my food storage iceberg.  In fact, it's aimed to only supplement the deeper food storage.

Yes, I aim to have a lot of cans of four types of meat - 13 cans each of ham, beef (or beef stew), and chicken, and a fish (tuna, salmon, mackeral) assortment weighing in at about the same amount.  Note the number 13?  I'm not using that figure to be witchy or pagan - that's 4 types of meat, 13 'servings' for our family of each type.  That would be one serving of meat per week for a year.

Yes.  I aim to have enough food stored for a year.  It's not that hard, or that expensive, if you ... well, #1 if you don't have food allergies/issues or diabetes or such.  Let's get those facts out there early.

Anyway - it's not that expensive if you focus on calories, basic boring vegetable proteins, a good multivitamin, and limiting yourself to just one tablespoon of fat a day.  These are the basics.

Most of y'all already know the basic complete protein formula for humans - one part bean to 3 or 4 parts grain, preferably whole grain.  So that's what I try to bulk buy. 

Not JUST in bulk, but at feed stores.  Cuz you and me, baby, ain't nothing but mammals.  And feed stores sell wheat for feed (and without added minerals or anything) cheap.  Like at $13 for 50 pounds.  That's 25 cents a pound.  Whole grain.  Stores for ever if stored well.  And, as you know from making spaghetti - cooked wheat expands into these HUGE SERVINGS.   Yes, you might want to make noises like you're feeding it to some domestic animal, if you want to cover for the fact that you're eating it yourself.  That's your call.  One pound a day will give you basic calories to avoid starvation, so get 400 pounds for  a year.  The 'extra' 35 pounds you can sprout.  That's just over $100 for a years supply of wheat for one person.

Yes, you'll probably want to 'clean' the wheat berries.  I'm sure that General Mills uses blowers to blow out the chaff.  Boomers - do you remember cleaning the seeds from our cheap marijuana in the 70's?  Yeah, you already have this skill down.  Only now you keep the seeds and get rid of the leafy stuff.

This wheat will come with some amount of bug eggs.  The wheat ground into the flour you buy would have them, too.  I just put the content of each bag of wheat into containers and freeze them for 3 days to kill the eggs, then put it all in buckets with good lids to store.  Alternatively, you can dump then contents into buckets then add some dry ice to suffocate the eggs.  It's all good.

It's pretty easy to get beans in bulk at coops.  Big bags of lentils and whatever for not too much money.  And they aren't outrageously expensive at Aldi's.  I'd be buying cracked soy beans at a feed store, but I don't like the taste of soy beans except as tofu.  I might add one 50 pound bag of that to my stores, but that would be it.  You want at least 100 pounds of beans for every 400 pounds of wheat.  That's going to be at least another $100, depending on what mix of beans you get, and where.  It could easily be $200.

Storing beans is just like storing wheat ... except beans don't store forever.  After a few years, to cook them thoroughly (which you need to do) you will need either a pressure cooker or to grind them to flour first.

We can talk about grinders some other day.

Instead, let's talk essential fatty acids.  They, like minimum wage workers right at this second working at those restaurants doing carry out, are essential and not respected.  Like minimum wage workers, they have high turnover (they can go rancid).  Unlike minimum wage workers, they are expensive.  You NEED about a table spoon of fat a day in your diet.  More than that is useful if you ever want to fry food - like to fry felafel from stored chickpeas.

Your basic cooking oils - corn, soy, canola - keep about 1 year. Six half gallon bottles per person would be a year supply.  This would cost $13 or so at Aldi.  Olive oil costs way more, but lasts two years.  So does coconut oil, at an even higher price.

Now, throw in a big bottle of good vitamins - your basic survival needs are covered.

Can you use corn instead of wheat?  Yes, it's cheaper, but far lower in protein.  You might need to store more of it.  But, oh MY - corn bread made from just-ground corn meal is AMAZING.

Can you use rice instead of wheat?  Not exactly.  White rice stores well, but, again, not good for protein.  Brown rice goes rancid due to relatively high fat content pretty, after about 6 months. 

Yes, you'll need seasonings, and salt, etc.  These foods can be seriously boring.  Salt stores forever.  Alas, herbs and spices don't.  You'll need to rotate them well.

That's the basics of survival food storage.  About $400 a person, more when you count storage containers (if you ask, I can go into that) and grinders and such.

Frondly, Fern

An Expert, who blessedly admits we don't know enough.

Blessings, Darlings!

Before I do that post on stocking up, I'm posting this -

A really good article, where the expert explains how little we know about CoronaVirus. He doesn't explain EVERYTHING we don't know, but at this point ... that would take a full book.
I'd LOVE to hear from others who can cite reasons to dispute what he says we don't know, or can't do (like the reagent problem).

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, April 23, 2020

How's your pantry doing?

Blessings Darlings!

Food is no longer FLYING off the shelves in the grocery stores.  Most things are now stocked when you try to shop.  Not flour, or the mixed veggies I want, not always toilet paper or paper towels, but fresh foods are now easier to find. 

If you have the finances, it would be a good time to re-stock your pantry. 

Yes, I'm one of those folks who are worried about our food supply.  And our economy.  And ... let's face it, it's fair to say that I'm 'a worrier.'  The fact is that my family has had some hard financial times, and it shows.  And with farmers right now dumping milk and letting veggies rot, because our food distribution system isn't easily switching from getting the food that used to go to restaurants to grocery stores, I see this as a problem that isn't going to go away soon.

And, yes, I think that quarantining the population is the ONLY reliable tool we have against the Covid 19 pandemic.  So I support that being in place, while pushing congresscritters to support the 'essential' workers ... with protective gear and better pay and dismissing the student loans of all medical personnel. 

And yes, I'm unemployed due to Covid 19.  So just maybe I feel the financial issues sharply right now.  But I'm restocking as best I can anyway. 

The 'pantry' is just the regular grocery stuff.  I want at least a couple of months of reserves there, at all times.  Pasta.  Pasta sauce.  Flour. Sugar. Coffee. Canned veggies. Dry Chinese mushrooms.  Soy sauce.  Taco Seasoning.  Rice.  Beans.  Canned tomatoes.  You know - the stuff you can make meals out of and survive well enough on. 

But the 'pantry' is just one part of our food reserves.

I'll post about our 'deep reserves' tomorrow.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


Blessings darlings,

I had a post all typed about how I don't want to do anything, but that I am.  And then it disappeared.

So this is all you're getting today, because now I'm PISSED.

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Take Our Oil. Please.

Blessings Darlings!

Today I did laundry, and more laundry, and more laundry.  I drove to our bank, some 30 miles away.  I shopped at Costco, near the bank - my first time at Costco in about 4 months.  While there I remembered to buy the Hubby's meds that I forgot to buy yesterday.  I filled the Spawn's car.  I did dishes.  I moved the seedlings outside into the sun for the day, and am about to move them inside before tonight's freeze.  The Chubby Hubby drilled drainage holes in some buckets that I'm going to fill with aged manure then plant sweet potatoes in.

It's another very windy day. 

I'm having a somewhat anxious 'I must buy all the things to get ready for whatever shit comes next' day, but didn't do that type of shopping.  Didn't even buy rice, since I only wanted a 25 pound bag while Costco only have 50 pound bags.  Mind you, I'm still adding things to my Walmart pick up list for Thursday, but nothing major there, either.  Some greens, some cream cheese.

Oh, yeah - West Texas Crude Oil prices turned negative yesterday. So did Brent Crude.  That's never happened before.  Wild times. 

Tomorrow I hope to fill the buckets and plant the sweet potatoes and clean the kitchen, as always.  Right now I'll go unload the dishwasher.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, April 20, 2020

Money in, Job out.

Blessings, Darlings!

Got my meds and hit the grocery store I get them at, and the Aldi's.  Got home to find my first unemployment check AND a letter from work saying that we are no longer 'no on the schedule due to lack of business' but are now 'separated' from our jobs.  Due to things closed down due to Covid 19, we don't currently have to look for work to keep getting the unemployment comp.  The unemployment check included the $600 federal unemployment stimulus. Yay?

And look at this shit that Covid 19 does to the body.  You thought drowning in your own fluids was all?   Read this: .

Spent a chunk of time sitting in the yard, listening to the birds, just enjoying a spring day.  The oak trees is about to go Big Green.  The Cherry tree is already there.  The sycamore is barely budding.  

Tomorrow will be 'drive to the Big City to go deposit checks in the bank, and maybe go to Costco."   

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Family Day!

Blessings Darlings!

Today we just did family stuff (well, after I did laundry and got it on the clothes line.)

We all took a long long walk on country roads (this being West Virginia and all.)  Then pumped up a flat tire on my car enough - by hand - to drive it to the gas station to put the proper amount of air in the tire.  Followed by watching some Julia Child on TV, and discussing the scanning and rhyme patterns in Neil Diamond songs. 

Putting air in the tire is the first time my husband has been at any type of store in 6 or 8 weeks. 

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Fundamentally, a Good Day

Blessings Darlings!

Woke up to rain, but it's ending and moving out.  Had a glimpse of sunshine for a moment or two.  Therefore, I've got laundry in the washer and will hang it on the line.  Still can't transplant anything into the garden - freeze last night and another one due tonight.  Odd that we're getting freezes when it's so windy, and holy shit has this April been windy!

I think that today I'll drill holes in some buckets, fill 'em with aged manure, and transplant at least one sweet potato vine into each of them.  Dust the bedroom, deep clean the family room.  And read more of course.  And wash some of the eternally renewing pile of dirty dishes.

Well, got most of the stuff done from my to-do list.  And read a lot.  Fundamentally a Good Day.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, April 17, 2020

Big Day For Death

Blessings Darlings!

I've FINALLY got the bread dough into a bread pan for it's final rise.  I also FINALLY was able to place an order to pick up groceries at Walmart - for Thursday, April 23.  At 2:45 last night they only had two time slots still available, and they opened the time slots for orders at midnight. 

4591 deaths in the US in 24 hours from Covid 19.  And yet people want to 'open up the economy'.  Do they own stock in funeral homes?  Casket makers?

Dinner was excellent tonight.  Chicken in mushroom sherry sauce with mushrooms over a white and wild rice mix.  Okay - it was comfort food, not at all spicy.  But we like it.

That's it.  Boring day, aside from all the corona virus deaths.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Cooking day!

Blessings, Darlings!

Today's going to be all about cooking here.  Forming and frying more eggrolls for dinner.  Baking bread, and feeding the starter.  Making a new batch of Kahlua. Making rice krispie treats.

There's going to be a hard freeze tonight (or so the weather reports,) so I'm neither seeding the spinach nor transplanting anything into the garden today.  Or probably for the next few days, I'll give it some time for the soil to re-warm. 

CH and I got our stimulus checks.  I got a robocall saying that my unemployment was approved.  Those are good things. 

Bread is rising very very slowly.  Won't get baked until tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Woeful Wednesday.

Blessings Darlings!

This isn't being one of my productive days. It's 1 pm and I've not done a single useful thing so far.

Well, I did dishes.  I napped.  I read. 

That's it. 

Frondly, Fern

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tuesday, Sunny and Cool.

Blessings Darlings!

We haven't quite gotten this 'shop only once a week' thing down yet.  Between the store pick up/delivery stuff being dicey and ... well, me being unable to estimate how much half and half we use in a week right now, we're at shopping every 6 days rather than every 7 or more days.  The Spawn is out shopping today, with a long list and vowing to hit several stores.  I'd sort of rather that he'd hit just one and get what he can there, but he's a grown man and able to make his own decisions. 

Even if he disagrees with me.

The storms of yesterday have moved out, it's sunny but WAY cooler today.  I need to get the hills for the potatoes set up and then plant the potatoes in them.  I started more seeds yesterday - more basil since what I planted before didn't sprout, and I've little hope in these seeds either, new seeds/new packets of sweet bell peppers and cayenne peppers.

Today I finished making hills for my potatoes, and planted the seed potatoes in them.  For once - I had the exact amount of seed potatoes that I needed.  It's a miracle!   I'd like to make the hills taller and wider, but at least they are started.  These are white potatoes.  It's a month too early to plant the sweet potato slips, unless I do them in pots and take them in on cold night.  And the next week or so is going to have COLD nights, so ... nope.

Next in the garden I'll probably direct seed spinach, and transplant the radishes.

Spawn shopped - Aldi's had everything on the list except flour.  And I don't have a DESPERATE need for that yet.  So we're good for another 5 or 6 days, depending on when we run out of milk.

Yesterday I spend 5 minutes on my exercise bike.  Knees weren't happy, so I stopped.  Knees weren't thrilled all last night.  Knees are downright pissy today.  Well, I got a data point, didn't I?   

w00t!  First fight with my husband during quarantine!  Will the good times NEVER end?

Frondly, Fern

Monday, April 13, 2020


Blessings Darlings!

We are getting some kick-ass thunderstorms here today.  Wind, too.  My seedlings have been safe, tho.  But I am facing a whole lot of voles in the garden, and am going to have to do something about them.

I moved the soy flour and the corn meal into sturdy plastic containers today, instead of the thin plastic and paper that they were respectively in.  I feel better about this storage. 

Neither Aldi nor Walmart have pick up/delivery dates available at all at this time - they are booked up for the next 5 day or so each, and haven't options for dates farther than those.  Haven't checked out Martins yet, but that's on my list of things to do.  I've made a detailed shopping list, and am running low on one item - half and half.  Fortunately, I bought powdered creamer in case this happened during All This Stuff.

Have beans soaking to use to make taco filling (half bean and half ground beef) for dinner tonight.

Checked out Martins.  Next available pick up is 10 days from now.  Got thru' most of the process of making an order and account ... then the site had issues.  #FAIL.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, April 12, 2020

1st Sunday after the full moon after the spring equinox.

Blessings Darlings!

Spent the day doing laundry, cleaning stuff, etc.  Nothing earth shattering, or even interesting.  Cloudy windy day.  Chubby hubby baked cookies.  I napped.

Still about 2K people dying each day from Covid 19 in the US.

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, posted on Sunday Morning. Ooops.

Blessings Darlings!

Finished putting down enough cardboard to smother grass to increase my garden enough to meet my 'this year minimum increase'.  Running out of cardboard, tho, so not going to do much more this spring. Or maybe spring and summer.  Or maybe sprin druing the winter and early spring, summer, fall, and I don't do this in winter usually just because it's cold and windy. 

Raked the manure in the potato area into rows to plant the taters in, but need to add more manure to the rows before planting.  That work will be another day, as my back says that it's had enough of that for one day.  Time to shift to indoor work ... especially making Rice Krispy Treats!  And, yeah, neither the cereal, the butter, the marshmallows, nor the vanilla grow locally. 

Then I'll work on cleaning the kitchen.  And maybe starting some spinach and basil from different packs of seeds - the ones I started earlier are clearly failures.

We won't be doing our 'usual' Easter dinner tomorrow.  In fact, we haven't done it in about 7 years, since I started working in restaurant kitchens, and restaurants have traditionally been really busy on Easter.  Until this year.  And this year I didn't think of buying anything for Easter, because I'm a Pagan of Jewish origins.  My husband could have reminded me, had he wanted to take some responsibility for an Easter dinner, but he didn't. 

At any rate, back in the day we'd have a leg of lamb, asparagus, etc.  This year it will be "What do we have in the freezer?", but let's be honest, we have lots of stuff still in the big freezer.  We might have fried chicken.  We might have pork chops.  I'll make some nice dessert.  Maybe a chocolate silk pie.  Maybe a chocolate meringue pie.  Maybe just home made chocolate pudding.  I got options.  Cherry cobbler?  Who knows!

Frondly, Fern

Friday, April 10, 2020

Eggroll day.

Blessings Darlings!

Today is Let's Make Mass Quantities of Egg rolls Day here at Chez Fern.  I've posted the recipe before - tho' I can't find when I posted it here.  It involved pork, shrimp, a whole lot of shredding veggies, lots of 5 spice powder, etc.  I did the dicing earlier today, and once I beat back some dishes I'll blanch then marinate the veggies and stir fry the veggies.  Later I'll form the eggrolls, and even later I'll fry them.  It's a Big Deal, but SO well worth it!

I think that the first of the parsley seeds is sprouting.  I'd like it if at least 3 of them sprouted, but ... we'll see.

Freeze warning here tonight.  I guess I'm glad I haven't had the energy/will/whatever to transplant things into the garden yet.  I'll bring their pots in for the night.  And maybe tomorrow night - I have no idea what the forecast for then is.

That's it for today.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Same crisis, different day

Blessings Darlings!

Boris Johnson is out of intensive care, and not by way of the morgue.

I worked in the garden, in the wind.  I also chased down the buckets I use in the garden, which had blown all around the yard.  The spinach still refused to sprout, as does the basil.  I've lost hope for them, but not for the parsley (which DOES take forever to sprout, the lavender, and the hot peppers.  Maybe they just want warmer weather, tho' I bring them in at night.

I don't really want to blog today.  Life during coronavirus isn't that different than life before it.  Life goes on.  You eat, you poop.  You have periods of utter panic if you're still working.  If you're not working, most folks worry about paying the bills.  But mostly, you do dishes.  You cook meals.  You clean house.  Most folks watch TV (I'm not much of a TV watcher, myself.)  I don't have more, or less, time than before, since this is the busy time of garden season, trying to prep the garden and get first plants in.  The only difference is that I don't have a day job to compete with the added work I have to do.  Or added work that I want to do, however you choose to phrase that.

I mean - I have a lot of cooking to do later today.  I'm going to prepare the filling for egg rolls, but not wrap them today.  Instead of doing it all in one day, I'll spread it over two days and get garden time in.   And Bob wants me to make Rick Krispie treats today.  With lots of vanilla.

I still haven't found a new daily schedule.  In fact, I slept in, with dreams featuring Passover, and my mother being passive aggressive, and a quiz sheet of 'battles in ancient Germanic/Norse lore' - which was a problem, since I can't seem to read things well in dreams.  There might be some personal message in the 'first' question on the list, where I could make out parts of two names, two people who were fighting each other.  And ... they might have been the same person, actually, depending on if it was a bad translation or not, so it could be one person fighting him/her self. 

Which makes sense - most of our fiercest battles are with our own self, and that's even more clear during isolation.

Ever inward!  Ever outward!

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Grocery day.

Blessings Darlings!

Grocery pickup at Walmart went very well, aside from their useless phone app.  They made one substitution, but told me about it last night so I could tell them if it was not acceptable.

Apparently the lawn service is now cutting our lawn on Wednesdays (this is Wednesday, isn't it?) rather than Mondays this year.  I shall have to adjust.  OTOH, they do it late enough in the day that clothes put on the clothesline early should dry before they get here.

This was a no-energy day.  At least my back didn't hurt from yesterdays garden work, but did little useful stuff other than grocery pick up and weeding the garlic patch. 

Frondly, but uselessly, Fern

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

It was for me only, not for all y'all.

Blessings Darlings!

I have set up a grocery pick up with Walmart, which I usually call The Evil Empire.  I still worry a lot about their employees, but it's certainly better for them that folks do pick up than shop.

Apparently I'm not working hard enough for The Morrigan.  A bit ago, I was PMing a friend (Hi Keri!) and a crow came by and told me to get back to work. So out to the garden I went, back to shoveling cow shit.  Paused to talk to the farmer as she was driving away, having cared for the cows (3 new calves!), and after a couple of minutes of that, the crow came back to tell me off again.

An Morrigu is NOT the one sending those memes around saying "it's okay be not get stuff done because you're traumatized."  Her message to ME (and yours may well vary) is "get shit done or you'll get more traumatized later."  Not by HER necessarily, but by other issues/situations that come up. 

Okay - apparently that message from The Morrigan was ... local.  That I needed to work in the garden and get the laundry off the clothes line BEFORE IT STARTED RAINING.  At any rate, I did as much as I could in the garden before my back and legs insisted that I stop.  And then it immediately started sprinkling.

See what happened there?  I made a mistake, and took the leap that a totally personal (and possibly just applicable for a few hours)  message from the Gods was for everyone, everywhere, for all time.  I declared it to be UNIVERSAL.  And I was wrong.  I . fucked . that . up.

At least I won't need to water the seedings today.

Anyway - did laundry, hung it on line, moved it to dryer when rain started.  Worked a lot in the garden.  Offering make to The Morrigan.  Made bread.   Went to the grocer to get things that Walmart said they didn't have.  Will probably find out more things that they didn't have after I do the pick up tomorrow.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, April 6, 2020

Is this Monday?

Blessings Darlings!

Having a bit less 'active' a day today than yesterday.  Laundry on line. Bill paying.  Trying to do an online order of groceries, for either delivery or pickup, but all time slots filled.  Trying that every few hours to see when they add more time slots.  [Later] oh - it looks like they only open slots 'in the morning'.  I'll have to check after midnight. 

PM of England, Boris Johnson, now in ICU due to Covid 19.  One of the asses who delayed his country's defense against it. 

The farmer gave me two front-end loader buckets full of manure/hay mix, dumped it over the fence into the garden.  That will make the next few days of work WAY easier!  She's a lovely woman.

Useless day.  Oh well.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, April 5, 2020

From Garden to Oven.

Blessings Darlings!

I have a lot of 'weeds' in my garden right now.  It's too early for most things to be planted, let alone producing ... unless you count the weeds.  As it happens, I DO count the weeds.

So I went out earlier today and harvested a colander full of 'wild greens', mostly chickweed, but some purple dead nettle was in the bunch.  Brought 'em in, cleaned 'em, chopped 'em, threw the lot of 'em in a big saute pan.  With a metal handle.  Then I went back outside, to the onions that had over wintered.  They have huge amounts of green onion action, but that's not what I harvested.  I harvested the onion snapes - the long stemmed onion flower buds.  Saving the thin tops and actual flower buds, I chopped the thick lower stems and threw them in the pan.  Added salt, pepper, and the NOT extra virgin olive oil I use for sauteing.  Once they were soft, I added diced canned tomatoes, some gorgonzola crumbles, and 8 well beaten eggs.  The frittata is now in the oven.

I'm probably the only one in the household that will eat this.  The Spawn doesn't like onions, the Chubby Hubby isn't enamored with gorgonzola, and both are suspicious of me and my wild greens.  But I expect wonders from it.  [later that morning - I was right.  About me loving it, CH not liking the gorgonzola, and the Spawn not being thrilled with the onions.  But the Spawn also thought there were too many greens in it.]

Plague deaths in the US have topped 1000 each of the last two days.  We're still at least 10 days from peak cases, and  longer than that from peak deaths - and those estimates are for WITH total social distancing compliance.  The asshole PM of England has Covid 19 so bad that he's hospitalized - after he fucking BRAGGED about going around shaking people's hands.  OTOH, Queen Elizabeth II gave quite an inspiring speech about getting thru' it.

We spent quality family time today working in the garden, until the backs of us two old farts told us to stop.  It only took one hour to get to that point.  Still, we got a lot accomplished.  The onions are mostly planted, and I should be able to FINALLY start the potatoes ... tomorrow or whenever I get permission from my back to do it. 

After the potatoes are in, I get to work more on topping the garden with the manure/straw mix, and start transplanting the  started seeds.  I'll begin with the radishes and go from there.  And I have a lot more seeds that I need to start. 

My back is NOT going to be amused. 

Let's see - also did laundry and line dried it.  Did two batches of dishes.  Baked bread. 

Let's finish with a song, suggested by Byron Ballard

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Salt free Saturday.

Blessings Darlings!

Not for ONE MINUTE did I think that table salt would be an issue for us during 'stay at home.' But - here we are, and here it is. OTOH, I have 'enough' in the salt shakers for a week, and kosher salt, popcorn salt, canning salt, and pretzel salt to choose amongst for cooking.

I'm going with the kosher salt.
I'm being rather useless again today.  Making bread.  dropping the yeast starter all over the floor.  Cleaning the floor.  Doing dishes.  Napping. Reading.

Frondly, Fern

Friday, April 3, 2020

It's a foodie Friday.

Blessings Darlings!

It looks like the beets are sprouting today. 

I'm bopping in and out of the house every 15 minutes for the next two hours, putting more soaked hickory chips on top of the charcoal in the smoker.  Today is "Smoke a pork shoulder roast" at Chez Fern.  It will be pulled pork tonight, egg rolls another night, and lots of other things.  It's been in the freezer for a couple of months.  I used part of it before freezing it, for a stir fry.  We'll have it with fried potato wedges and cole slaw - I bought an extra head of cabbage on the cusp of the stay at home orders, as well as a small (for us) 5 pound bag of potatoes.  I go thru' a lot of potatoes - the guys prefer rice.  Whatever.  Since the Spawn forgot to buy egg roll wrappers, I'll have to make those from scratch. 

Will I have enough time?  Welp ... yup.

Doing this IS going to 'not help' the knee tendonitis, due to the steps up and down from the door to the smoker.  Life is far from perfection, and 'not helping' is a fact of life. 

Bill Withers has died.  I'm sad, and listening to his music.

The Chubby Hubby has agreed to garden work this weekend.  The Spawn ... hasn't agreed, but I expect that he is just going to do it. 

3 pm:  pork shoulder has been smoked, is now in the over to actually cook.  The concept of making cole slaw is overwhelming me, for no actual reason.  Other than my back hurting, again, for no actual reason. 

Well, gotta finish the food and my day.

Frondly, Fern

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Achin' Bacon.

Blessings, Darlings!

Now the turnips are sprouting!

Dear Gods, my back went crazy after the garden work yesterday.  Along with putting cardboard down, I'd forked up and removed some grass from the already-established garden.  My back took serious offense at that.  But my knees didn't!  I really have to get the hubby and spawn doing more of this. 

I wasn't this out of shape last year at this time.  Last year I was working on regularly, losing weight, all those good things.  Then ... I stopped going to the gym to save $ because it was clear that at the very least my hours at work would be cut back.  And then they were.  And three months after that, business at work dropped again, due to the virus.

It's a good thing I put bricks on the cardboard yesterday, rather than relying on 'thoughts and prayers' - today is extremely windy, and everything is staying in place.

The Spawn shopped today - a day earlier than I expected that he would.  So the list he shopped with was, at best, 'incomplete'.  He spent $16 on what he thought were necessities.  But no lunch stuff, no salt (we're out of table salt to refill things, but have superfine and kosher), no provolone, etc.  We'll just have to wait a week for those. Oh, and no egg roll wrappers - we'll have to make our own.  Excuse me, *I* will have to make our own.  I'd better start the bean sprouts for the egg rolls, too.  We're smoking some pork shoulder tomorrow, and while we'll use most of it for bbq sandwiches, 9 oz of it will go into a big batch of egg rolls. 

Wintercress/creasy greens FTW! Using them as a Bi Bim Bap veggie today. Using it for 'spinach' crepes sometime this weekend.  Getting all the veggies ready for the BBB is a bowl-intensive thing.  Prepping them, and then washing everything afterwards, is a work intensive thing.  But it came out amazing.

I'm taking my achin' bacon to bed now.  Sleep tight.

Frondly, Fern

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Garden Day

Blessings, Darlings!

Gardening time. Even tho' my knee is still extremely fucked up with tendonitis (It will need another 4 to 11 weeks before I expect it to be 'mostly better') I worked in the garden today. Not being an idiot, I focused on stuff I could do with minimal knee involvement. I focused on covering the newly mown grass (holy fuck, American Facebook doesn't think that 'mown' is a real word) with flattened cardboard boxes and weighing them down so they won't blow away in the mighty spring winds. This will help smother most of the grass, making it easier to turn it into garden without having to put lots of knee effort into it.

I didn't get a huge amount done, maybe only about 30 square feet covered. But it I do some every week, that's serious progress. The cardboard boxes are empties I took home from work over the past few months. I knew SOMETHING was coming, and was clear about shit being shut down, but didn't know about the virus. So I prepared to increase the garden as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
They are weighed down with bricks that I really want to use for a different purpose, and if I can get my knee or my family to agree to haul manure to put on the cardboard to hold it down, I'll replace the bricks with that. 
Now that I'm not working, I will run out of cardboard pretty darn quickly, I'm afraid.  I'll have to look for new sources at that point.  Probably the grocery store.  
Meanwhile, I have been starting seeds for the past week and today my radishes are up! Yay! 
In the more daily daily - washed dishes, have started bread.