Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have You Ever Felt Lost?

I do.  And I have for awhile.  I feel like I am losing myself and then I feel guilty for even thinking about such things when I have a husband to be a wife to and a son still at home to raise and older children who are out of the house but do still need a bit of parenting now and again.  And the days pass...and the weeks...the months...the years.  And I look at a life that is only being half lived.  I watch as dreams I once held move away beyond my grasp as I pass yet again another age mile stone.  And I yearn inside.  Longing for something I don't even know how to put a name to.  Is this just something everyone my age (40 years old) goes through? 

I really don't mean to be a downer...especially so close to Yule/Christmas.  Everyone else is posting these heartfelt messages on their blogs full of Yuletide cheer and here I am with one banger of a depressing post.  Sorry.  This is just where I'm at at the moment.  And everywhere else I have to pretend that everything is just fine and I plaster a smile on my face and pretty much fool everybody.  But here.  Here I have to let it out a little bit or I just might explode...or implode...or something else not very pretty.

I have written on here in the past about the issues that sometimes make my marriage difficult.  I even wrote a couple of years ago about the real possibility of my leaving this marriage and moving to be nearer to my family.  As you might have guessed I didn't go.  For lots of reasons.  The most important one being my son.  And because I really do love my husband.  I can honestly say that we are best friends and causing him pain causes me pain.

That is what makes this all so very hard.  If he was an a**hole it would have been easy to pack up myself and my son and hit the road.  He's not anything of the sort.  He is a really good man.  He works hard for his family every single day.  He wants me to be happy.  He just doesn't want the same things that I want.  He doesn't want to live where I want to live.  Or do the things that I want to do.  So the years pass.  And I give in once again and go along with his program.  I stay here in this town because he wants to be here.  I run his business office because he needs me to--which leaves very little time for any of the personal pursuits that used to bring me pleasure.  I watch my family--my mother and my grandmother getting older each year--wanting to be closer to them and not being able to.  He loves the home we live in but my heart belongs in the more rural areas with room for animals and gardens.  And even though we talk sometimes about moving to a home with more land I know that this will never happen because he really doesn't want to.

I really, really do not know what to do.  My son even wants to move to be nearer to his grandmother and other family members.  But, I know that my husband will not go.  And if I do, I will be tearing apart this family for the unknown.  So there is fear involved too.  See?  I told you from the beginning.  I am really and truly lost. 

Sorry again for being such a downer.  But, this is me.  This is honest.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cleaning Up Cast Iron

I was browsing my local Goodwill Store the other day (I love Goodwill, by the way.  How could I not?  It's like a perpetual garage sale that goes on every day from 10am to 6 pm with new things added daily.  What could be better?) and stumbled upon this old cast iron Griswold skillet.  My other cast iron is made by Wagner so this would be my first Griswold.  I knew for $5 it was going home with me.  This is what it looked like when I brought it home:

For the first time in a long time we didn't have anything going on today and so I decided that it would be a good time to clean this skillet up and start the seasoning process.

I went to Orchard Supply Hardware ( I wanted to go to our locally owned hardware store, Hewitt's Hardware (another place I love) but they are closed on Sundays) and picked up several pumice stones--this is the brand I like:
It may be just my own preference but this brand seems to be a softer type of pumice and I just like how it's shape will change as you are using it so that you can really fit it in to tight spots.

So, I had my supplies:

And I got to work.  Now, I am not going to tell you that you won't have to use some major elbow grease even with using the pumice stone, but I can guarantee that it will be easier than without the pumice. 

I started using the pumice by accident.  I had been trying to clean up a huge 12" cast iron skillet that I had seasoned improperly by using too much oil and I had been scrubbing with a low grade steel wool  for what seemed like hours.  In frustration I finally headed to Hewitts to pick up a higher grade steel wool hoping that that would start breaking down the gunk.  I got the highest grade steel wool but then I happened to see the pumice stone and decided to give it a try.  Major improvement!!  It is now my tool of choice when trying to break down a gunky seasoning.

This is the skillet at about the halfway point:

  I like to use a heavier fat the first time I season a pan--like bacon grease.  It just seems to give the pan a better and stronger non stick surface.  After the first seasoning I will use any oil I have on hand...olive oil or vegetable oil for subsequent seasonings. 

And this is at the point where my new old pan  is all cleaned up and oiled down (very lightly) and ready to go in the oven for it's first seasoning:

I think it turned out pretty good.  I'll season it a few more times before I start using it but it is well on it's way to joining my other pans in my continuing culinary experiments. 

Hope you all are having a great Sunday and resting up for Thanksgiving this week.  By the way if you have any tips about cleaning and seasoning cast iron I would love to hear them. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flu, Fear and Finance

The title of this blog post is the same title of an article that I just read in one of our local community papers.  Most of the things that I read in this article I pretty much always suspected but to have it put in front of me in black and white really kind of flipped me out and made me realize that we really cannot depend on our government to protect us or in any way do what is in our best interests.  Big brother should be listed in our dictionaries under the words CORRUPT and INCORRIGIBLE.

This particular article focuses on the marketing of vaccines--especially the "flu vaccines" that are being pushed so hard at this time of the year.  Everywhere you turn, the media is telling us that we must get ourselves and our children vaccinated against any and every disease that might or might not be lurking out there just waiting to jump on us and attack.  I can't tell you the number of commercials on television and on the radio that I've heard over the last few months telling us where to go and what to get. 

I don't like unnecessary vaccines.  I am even leery of the normal childhood vaccines that most of us received when we were growing up and that I did choose to inflict upon my own children--only after many weeks of sleepless nights trying to come to a decision that would ultimately affect the rest of my dear one's lives.  I came to believe that the whole idea of whether or not to vaccinate is a real double edged sword.  On the one hand I would not want to go back in time to the days when so many of the horrible childhood diseases were still prevalent.  Back in my great grandmothers youth, it was not an uncommon thing for one or more of your children not to live to see adulthood whether because they had succumbed to Scarlet Fever or Polio or any other of  the horrible diseases that were still so common back then.  I honestly do believe that vaccines have played a major role in bringing those diseases under control and in many cases eradicating them.

However, I also believe that there is absolutely a connection between some vaccines and the fact that 1 out of every 150 of our children is now being diagnosed with some form of Autism.  So, like I said, a very sharp double edged sword that cuts both ways.

Anyway, I getting away from the main point of this post and it is already getting long...sorry.

To get back on track....here are the main points from this article:

  • According to the Center for Disease Control, during the 2006-07 flu season 60 percent of health care professionals declined to get a flu shot....
  • In 1999, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform launched an investigation into federal vaccine policy that's main focus was to look at possible conflicts of interest on the part of federal policy-makers ( you know, the ones who are telling us which vaccines are okay for what and when) in the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP).  The VRBPAC advises the FDA on the licensing of new vaccines, and the ACIP advises the CDC on guidelines to be issued to doctors and the states for the appropriate use of vaccines.
  • Members of these committees are required to disclose any financial conflicts of interest and to not participate in decisions in which they have an interest but what the investigation determined is that the conflict of interest rules of both of these committees have been lax at best and that "advisory committee members with substantial ties to pharmaceutical companies have been given waivers to participate in committee proceedings".  What the hell?!?!
  • The CDC grants waivers  from conflict of interest rules to every member of the advisory committee on a routine basis
  • The chairman of the CDC's advisory committee owned 600 shares of stock in Merck (anybody heard of Merck? Ya, that would be a pharmaceutical company--a pharmaceutical company that manufactures vaccines.)
  • Four out of the eight CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June of '98 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were manufacturing it and three out of the five committee members who voted to approve the vaccine itself in December of '97 had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies who were manufacturing it.
  • "Researchers and consultants often go back and forth between working for the pharmaceutical industry and the CDC and FDA"
  • In 2003 Chiron (a pharmaceutical company) made "$332.4 million in sales on flu vaccine alone and had a 53% gross profit"
  • According to the Cochrane Collaboration, published in the British Medical Journal in 2006, "there is little scientific  proof that the influenza vaccine is safe or effective for children and adults".
I could go on but I think you get the gist of the article.  It makes me crazy.  But, one thing I can tell you.  Me and mine will not now or in the future be getting the flu vaccine.  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Award!

I wanted to give a shout out to Moonshine over at The Diary of a Witch, who surprised me today with a very cool award!  The Clucking Great Blog Award!! Thank you so much, Moonshine! 

Now I am to pass it along to 10 blogs that I enjoy reading.  There are so many wonderful blogs that I follow that it was really hard to choose just 10.  I love my time visiting with each and every one of you.  

  1. Chickens in the Road
  2. Cold Antler Farm
  3. Kitchen Witch
  4. The Medicine's Woman's Roots
  5. Wild Moon Cottage
  6. Divining Women
  7. Heart of a Cowgirl
  8. I Hope They Have Pudding
  9. This New Place
  10. The Crunchy Chicken
Thanks again, Moonshine!  Muah!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Magickal Sky Shots at the Lake

We took off for a weekend camping trip to the lake a few days ago.  I think my husband and I were very much in need of some down time.  A good time was had by all and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!  It was warm but not hot and the sky was just the most magickal color.  The cloud patterns were amazing.  Check out these pics:

These were all taken Saturday evening as we were grilling tri-tip for dinner.  As we watched the clouds moved in and it began to rain.  Luckily we all had our Easy Ups up for shelter and it stayed warm.  It was just beautiful!  To the south lightning was lighting up the sky.  The majority of the storm was too far away so we never heard any thunder but it was still amazing!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Story of Hegatty Pegatty

Hegatty Pegatty lives alone. Her house crouches low against the barren hill like a withered mushroom and the smoke from her fire twists and curls in solitude up through the vast and lonely sky, Hegatty Pegatty looks out from her small window and sees the empty valley. Hegatty Pegatty passes at dark along her track and hers are the only footfalls that echo the night.

Hegatty Pegatty is happy to live alone. The stillness dreamily caresses her thoughts. The silence stoutly feeds her soul. Hegatty Pegatty's world is infinite and minute. Hegatty Pegatty travels far and deep and high, and she moves not a step from her hearthside. Hegatty Pegatty walks a rich and ragged road.


Hegatty Pegatty is that kind of old woman about whom stories abound. She can scarcely spit over her gate or fart into the wind but the flames of eager rumour are being fanned into the furnace of bizarre and grisly folk tale. Village gossip, fiction and fable tenaciously cling like ivy across the surface of her life. Such are the children of nervous minds. There are none so afraid as those who fear that a difference should walk among them..and Hegatty Pegatty is an old woman who likes to live alone.

The nervous minds say: you are uncomforming and therefore very untidy in the scheme of things. The nervous minds say: you are not understood and therefore most uncomfortable to behold.

Hegatty Pegatty hears the stories and spits across her gate. Hegatty Pegatty listens to the tales and farts into the wind


Hegatty Pegatty is a witch. Of course she is. Does she not harvest strange greens from her tiny garden and ferment unlikely purple brews on her autumn sill? (Hegatty Pegatty is a firm believer in fresh salad and tonic wine as the route to certain health.) Does she not chant in unearthly tongues and sing to the waxing moon? (Hegatty Pegatty has a fine ear for melody.) Does she not jump naked into the winter stream? Does she not consume fat black slugs for supper and play poker with the devil? (Of such fancies have many old women been accused.) Does she not cast and curse and bind and break and hex and howl? She does indeed, and is a little inclined to harness a naturally robust and expressive spirit. It is said she wears live crows around her hat, she has been seen to ride a fox across the hills. Ah yes.

In the village, the children know her for the witch she must most surely be. They crowd her like bogflies, irritate her passage through the lanes. Hegatty Pegatty plays this game. She has played it before and she knows how it goes. She is, in fact, very good at it. So she madly snarls and blackly scowls across the village green, trailed by the teasing children. Hegatty Pegatty is a witch, isn't she?...


Hegatty Pegatty answers to no-one. As she chooses she takes a cup of tea, grows hairs on her chin and sleeps through the afternoon. As she chooses she talks to herself, observes the unseen and does the unexpected. As she chooses she lives the impossible dream, reinvents reality and tangos with time. Hegatty Pegatty cannot be tamed or tied or trapped. Her spirit is swift footed and canny and her walls are built of impenetrable courage. Roof of resolve, door of determination. No- one can touch she who is a castle unto herself.

And yet it is true that a hundred, thousand, million times her body was cracked and grilled, cracked and grilled, assaulted by the assembled forces of outrageous fear and vicious stupidity. Yes, there were many nights when Hegatty Pegatty sat chilled and grey in her chair, rocking to the cold rhythms of distant sufferings. But a pot keeps warm on a single ember and Hegatty Pegatty's stove is hotly singing once again. It is said that to declare your belief in witches you have only to put the kettle on.


Hegatty Pegatty walks to the village. The bog flies gather. They are chanting the tight lipped words of their nervous parents: mad Hegatty, bad Pegatty, eater of children and spoiler of milk, hairy Hegatty, stinky Pegatty, where are you going, alone..

Hegatty Peggaty walks inside a coat. It is made up of other people's eyes and what they see. Inside the coat she is walking strong and straight and clear, light of heart and bright of mind. Outside the coat Hegatty Pegatty does her bit: mutter, spit, mutter, mumble, ugly grimace, twisted scowl, creep and stumble, shake a fist, suck a slug, leer and grumble, mutter spit, mutter, mumble..The children are delighted


Hagatty Pegatty stops on the outskirts of the village. She turns to face the bog fly children who push and fidget, bump and huddle a little way behind. The children watch. Slowly carefully Hegatty Pegatty peeps around the edges of her coat. The children stare. She grins, she winks, she pauses, she lets them see her long enough to wonder if she's really bad and mad or just a bit surprising...then she is off, wrapped again in her coat of other people eyes.

Hegatty Pegatty lives on the moor, chant the children softly as she disappears along her track, Hegatty Pegatty OPEN YOUR DOOR!

Source Unknown

**Found this delightful story in my files.  This was shared in an online group I used to belong to called A Solitary Witch back in September of 2006.  I thought some of you might enjoy reading about Hegatty...I know I did.  Blessings...

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Place of My Own

For the first time since I first took up the mantle of Witch, I finally have a space all my own where I can make my magick.  It is incredible!  Being able to have all of my things out where I can see them--connect with them--is just so powerful!  My altar is now set up in what was my daughter's room.  She moved to Oakhurst a few months ago to find new and better opportunities and although I am very happy for her and know it was definitely the right move for her, it doesn't make having her so far away any easier.  That is one of the reasons, I think, that I had not touched or changed her room since she left.  However, just before Mabon, I was trying to figure out where I would be able to hold my ritual and the thought suddenly came to me that there was a wonderful garden-like window facing the East in my daughter's room--with a wonderful built in wooden bench in front of it.  As the idea took shape and I went in to look at the window, I knew that it would be the perfect spot to set up my altar. So, after I called my daughter and asked her if she would have a problem with it and she assured me that she would not, I got to work.

I began by cleaning the space and smudging the room as I think that Mabon is one of the perfect times of the year to really clean out the past energies in your home to be replaced by new energies and new beginnings.  And then I started unpacking all of my special "things" and setting up my altar.  This is a picture of my new space...

My Mabon ritual was really awesome...the big beautiful moon rose right in front of these windows and shined her light through the glass to bathe me in her rays.  I hope everyone else had a magickal Mabon as well.  Blessings to you and yours!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Learning Tarot

I have had a passing interest in learning more about Tarot card reading for a long time.  I had always heard stories about my great-great-great grandmother and her tea leaf reading fame in the small town where she lived and maybe my wanting to read Tarot cards is in some small way an effort on my part to connect to her.  Until recently, though, learning Tarot was always put on a back burner for a time in my life when I had more time--until I joined an online group of women known as Spirit Sisters on Facebook, that is.  I am a procrastinator.  I am.  There is no way around it.  But, somehow, connecting with these women has really struck a cord in me and has made me want to delve deeper into my magickal studies.  I am very grateful for their energy, friendship, and wisdom...and I count myself very lucky to be one of their number.

Yesterday, I ordered my very first deck of Tarot cards.  After spending most of the morning looking at different decks and trying to find one that resonated with me...I finally chose the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot deck:
  I love the colors and imagery of this deck and can't wait to it arrives.  Until then I am going to study all I can so that I will at least know how to begin using them.  There are some wonderful Tarot discussions at the Spirit Sisters group and I will definitely be looking deeper into those.  I am really glad that I have some very knowledgeable and wise women to turn to for help in these studies.  Thank you Spirit Sisters!

A few weeks ago I was in a neat store we have in town called Earthtones.  They sell all manner of witchy and magickal items.  This store is owned by a really wonderful gal named Mary who also is the lady who first invited me to the monthly drumming circles I have been going to.  While looking at all of the cool things they have to offer one day before circle I came across a deck of oracle cards--The Wisdom of the Hidden Realms deck--a 44 card oracle deck by Colette Baron-Reid.

  Now, I know that these are not true Tarot cards but when I saw the imagery of the cards I just fell in love with them and had to get them.  These are some of the cards:

 Aren't they beautiful?  I have been spending a lot of time with the cards...getting to know them and letting them get to know me :-)  . 

For the first time last night I chose one card and it turned out to be card #38 The Keeper of the Scales...Fairness, Balance as Ally (or upright position).  This is from the book that comes with the deck:  "The Law of Harmony is enacted when the Keeper of the Scales comes to you as an ally.  Align with her as the law states, making conscious choices that create balance in your life.  When you do, you also magically align with the abundance of the universe and the powerful forces of synchronicity.  This creates conditions and possibilities  that lead to the fulfillment of your highest intentions.

Harmony begins with the self and then resonates out towards others.  You are in harmony with yourself when you nurture yourself with love, respect and acceptance, always fully taking responsibility for your actions.  Only then can you be in harmony with others.

Another message is restoration and the positive, fair resolution in all disputes, including those involving the legal system or other important exchanges.  The Keeper of the Scales is a just and kind ally, always making sure balance is activated on your path."

What does this mean to me personally?  I know that Balance is definitely something I need to work on.  Many of the things I have been focusing on are not about balance.  I need to take a hard look at this and begin the hard process of letting those things go. 

Interestingly, before I even chose the The Keeper of the Scales card I noticed that another card had separated itself from the deck and was just sitting there in a spot I do not remember placing it in.  This card was #16 The Shadow Queen...Acquiring Knowledge, Insecurity, Manipulation. 

This is what the book said about this card:  "The Shadow Queen tells you that too many of the details hidden behind your circumstances prevent your from moving forward quickly at this time.  She has come with a lantern to help shed light on what is concealed within you or your situation.  This is the time to wait for more to be revealed.

Perhaps you lack clarity and the knowledge of how to proceed with the subject of your inquiry.  It's time to educate yourself a little more about your intention and then put that information to work for you.  The Shadow Queen asks that you dig deep to gain strength and that you have the courage to ask someone "in the know" to shed some light on your circumstances.  She promises to send that person to you.  Beware of moving too quickly in the dark, as you will probably trip and fall and have to start again."

What does this mean to me?  "BINGO!!!"

I hope you will continue on with me through this learning adventure.  I am really looking forward to learning a little more about myself and I think Tarot can be a powerful tool to do just that.  So mote it be!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lions and Birthdays and Ghosts...Oh My!

I commented a little bit about this last weekend on Facebook but had to share the goings on here in more detail.  I apologize for lack of portraiture as my "darling" hubby (read that as %@$!%!^!, LOL) hid my camera from me.  Well, okay, he didn't actually HIDE it from ME.  He somehow lost it in the car after I handed it to him to hold as I was driving.  So, no pictures of Tino's 10th birthday party...arggghhhh.

Anyway...I digress...and I need to back up a little bit so you can get the full impact of how exhausting this weekend truly was--exhausting but very fun, too.

It was to be the Big Birthday Weekend Extraordinaire--have I mentioned yet that we were celebrating a total of 4 birthdays on Saturday?  No?  Well, I shall now.  Yes, Tino actually turned 10 (September 9th) on Thursday but we waited to have his party until Saturday when all the family could be in attendance.  Roger's (hubs) birthday was Saturday (September 11th)...and my twin stepson's 20th birthdays are actually today (September 13th)...so we did what any certifiably crazy people would choose to do and decided to make it one big crazy day of birthdays. 

I was just finishing cleaning up my house when my daughter and her boyfriend arrived Friday afternoon for the festivities.  A couple of hours later my Mother-in-law drove in from Ojai and we barely had time to kiss her hello before dashing out to the grocery store for provisions (did I just say "dashing"?).  Thankfully Tino stayed with Grandma Rufee so Rog and I were able to get in and get out of the store in record time--arriving home around 9:30pm.  Then it was time to bake Tino's chocolate birthday cake.  I think I stumbled off to bed around 11:30 or so.  Not sure, really.  I was a bit delirious by this time.

This was the simplified version of our Saturday agenda:

9:15am  Tino's Soccer Pictures
10:40am Farmer's Market to pick up fruit, grassfed friggin awesome ground beef, and scrumptious sweet corn on the cob to go with the tri-tip BBQ going on later
11:40am Get the coach (Rog) to the soccer field late (oye) and back hatch of Mother-in-law's new car won't open...problem cuz thats where the balls are...
11:45am Hatch of car finally opens
11:50am Arrive on soccer field...it's getting hot...it's been really nice and cool for several days but Saturday it decides to get hot....look around and decide that it is going to be too hot for the older folks who are coming to see the game to sit out in the sun for the whole game...decide to go back home and pick up the umbrella stand
11:55am Leave and go pick up umbrella stand at home
12:00 Noon Arrive back at soccer field, game starts, family members start arriving and everyone is glad of the umbrella
1:15pm Soccer game ends...The Blue Torpedoes are  victorious for their first game...family and friends have all lost their voices from screaming and yelling.
1:30pm Everyone back at our house.  Time to visit and have a Fuzzy Navel before heading to Paso Bowl for Tino's birthday party
3-5pm Tino's party at Paso Bowl...7 boys, 1 niece, and a lot of family had a fun time bowling...eating pizza and chocolate cake
5:20pm  Everybody arrives back at our house for BBQ and the continuing birthday celebrations for Rog and Brett & Ryan

Oh, and around about nightfall, some of us got a crazy idea to go and check out a supposedly haunted house out on Santa Rita Road...and a hanging tree--you know just for good measure.  Santa Rita Road is quite a spooky, windy road that takes you way out into nowhere.  I mean, during the day it is a really pretty drive but at night...you feel like you are about to hear the banjo start playing right out of Deliverance--as soon as I find my camera I will have to take some pictures to show you. 

And yes, the girls got scared and we pretty much stayed in the car while the guys went and checked out the house.  But we did check out the hanging tree and you can see where the ropes left marks in one of the tree limbs high over head.

Anyway...Supposedly...the story goes...that a family with twin teenage girls lived in the house back in like 1950 or 1960 and one of the girls was messing around with her father's loaded rifle and ended up accidentally shooting her twin and killing her and then she turned the gun on herself afterward.  They say that you can still see the buckshot in the ceiling with bits of old blood and hair...and that workers had been working on the house years ago and something had scared them so bad that they left the house and left all of their tools and equipment behind and never returned.  Now, we are hearing all these tales from my daughter's boyfriend who also says that he had gone into the house a few years ago one night with friends and that he was the last one inside and that he believes that he was touched by something on his shoulder.  Now, I am not privvy to any knowledge of whether or not said boyfriend had been smoking some type of mind altering substances that night or not--he swears no, though. 

My brother-in-law, my sister and I did go back to check out the house the next day...yes, in the daylight, LOL...and managed to get in through a small window over the basement stairs.  The house is filled with old building materials but I did not see much in the way of tools--except for an old band saw on the front porch--BUT...there is a spot in the ceiling where there is either birdshot or buckshot (not sure what the difference is) embedded in it and the area looks spattered with a dark brown substance...old dried blood?...and something that looked a bit like hair?  Okay, it was dark...and it was hard to see cuz all the windows and door are boarded up...but....ya, we didn't stick around too long after that.  I did not get any bad vibes off the house--and I usually will in situations like these--and my brother-in-law who is Miwok Indian and very sensitive to vibes didn't feel anything much either.  Who knows...

And the rest of Sunday, after all the family went home, was pretty much about rest and recovery.  I miss them like crazy already, though.

And how was your weekend?  Any ghost hunting of your own?  Hope it was a great weekend for you no matter what you did.  Blessings...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Um, Where the Hell Have I Been?

Wow!! My last post was in March???  How did that happen?  I don't know...I can't say.  I can't even say that I was working on some big project that took up all my time.  Well, unless I can just say "life".  That is my only excuse.  But, the ol' Homestead has been calling to me.  I am back.  I am sorry for leaving anybody hanging.  And to those who stuck around and believed that I would one day find my way home again...thanks.  I look forward to getting to know all of you again.  To visiting your blogs again and reading your words.  I have missed you all.  Blessings....

Friday, March 19, 2010

She's Spreading A Little Sunshine Once Again

I feel a little sheepish getting two awards in the same week and from the same gal to boot.  But, shoot.  The way I see it is that life is short--and it can pretty much suck sometimes--but when a little bit of good comes your way you better grab a hold with both hands and hang on tight.  So that's what I am gonna do. 

So, thank you very much, Miss Willow, for this lovely award.  Once again you have brightened up my day.  Blessings to you, love!

Here are the rules:

1) Place the award on your blog or within your post.
2) Pass the award on to twelve Sunny Bloggers -- those whose positivity and creativity inspire others!
3) Link to the nominees in your post.
4) Tell the nominees they've received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5) Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

And here are those blogs and their people who bring a little bit of sunshine into my life:

1)Deep Inside My Broom Closet
2)Hibiscus Moon
3)Life in a Cordwood Cabin
4)Little House in the Suburbs
5)Living the Frugal Life
8)On the Way to Critter Farm
9)Plant Journeys
10)Ship Full Of Pirates
11)Small Farm Girl
12)Sunny Side Up

So enjoy ya'll.  And remember, I know some bloggers don't do the tags and award thingys--and that is totally cool--I still love ya anyway.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Waterfall Cub Scout Hike

Last Saturday, my friend, Mary, came along with Tino and I on a Cub Scout hike in an area near where we live.  The weather was perfect and the scenery was just gorgeous but in some places the trail was very muddy and we had to keep a close eye out for poison oak because it was EVERYWHERE!
My friend, Mary, in the foreground in the blue coat and Tino in the center of the picture in the dark sweatshirt

If you look in the above photo the little guy standing to the left of my son is only 3 years old and he was such a trooper.  He walked the whole way with nary a complaint the whole time.

There was a beautiful stream flowing alongside much of the trail. 

Mary and Tino

The Cub Scouts

The gentleman is the right of the photo above is such a nice man.  He is a wealth of information concerning the names of plants and what they can be used for and he has the patience of Job when he is talking to the kids.

Another shot of the hikers and the stream

This is a waterfall that is actually at the beginning of the hiking area (we did not share the waterfall with the Cubs until after the hike as we knew we would never be able to pull them away from it to do the actual hike, LOL)  It is so pretty.  I know it is hard to see but that dark area to the right of the waterfall is actually a cave.  The very nice gentleman I was talking about earlier led the Cubs in and showed them around with his flashlight.  Tino loved it!

Tino standing at the mouth of the cave with someone else behind him a little bit inside of it.

And this is Tino standing up above the waterfall.  I looked away for a moment and almost had a heart attack when I looked up to where he was.  Of course, I had to snap a picture before I hollered to him to get the heck down from there.

Miss Rocky

Miss Rocky is still with us.  She is still mighty sore but she seems to be doing pretty well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Do any of you know about this shit?  Pass this YouTube video around.  They aren't using any Vaseline folks but we are definitely getting f*cked.  Excuse my language but I am livid.  I know people who have lost their homes or who don't know if they will be able to keep them from one month to the next.  And to know that these people are so callous just makes my blood boil.  Our tax dollars bailed these banks and business out so that they would not go under.  Did they then turn around and offer help to the homeowners?  Not hardly.  How can these people live with themselves? 

A Sweet Surprise

What a surprise I had this morning when I logged into blogland and discovered that Miss Willow over at A College Witch's experiences had included my little blog in an award she was passing along.  
The Beautiful Blogger Award!

How cool is that?  And little did Miss Willow know that I really...I mean REALLY needed this right about now.  So thank you m'Dear, from the bottom of my little ol' heart.

Now, there are rules that go along with this award and here they are:
  • Thank the person who gave you this award
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass the award on to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fastastic
  • Contact the bloggers you have picked and let them know that they have received the award
  So, first things first. 
7 Things About Me
  1. I dream about one day owning my own small farm--complete with animals, livestock and crops
  2. I have always wanted to write a novel 
  3. I suffer from panic attacks but I can usually talk myself down from them when I feel one coming on
  4. When I was very young I had a recurring dream about living through a very large catastrophe of some sort--I could never remember the whole dream upon waking up but my mother told me that when I would have one of these dreams it would literally take her sometimes a half hour to get me to wake up.  She would be telling me that "it was alright" and I would wake up screaming "what about the other people?"  The dreams eventually stopped and I still cannot remember what exactly happened in them.  Past life, maybe?
  5. I am a hopeless romantic.
  6. I am terrified of spiders and snakes
  7. I do not make friends easily and I do not have a ton of friends...but the ones I do have I have had for many, many years
The Bloggers I Am Passing This Award Along To
(and I do understand that some bloggers do not do awards--and I totally respect that--so if you do not choose to participate please know that I still think your blog totally rocks!)
  1. Chickens in the Road
  2.  Lizzy Lane Farm
  3. Apron Strings
  4. Chronicles of a Country Girl
  5. Divining Women
  6. Dog Trot Farm
  7. Food Renegade
  8. From the Country Farm
  9. Heart of a Cowgirl
  10. Homegrown Evolution
  11. Iris Awakened
  12. It Blows Here
  13. Knock off Wood
  14. Pumpkins and Toadstools
  15.  Shade & Sweetwater
Now I just have to let all these lovely peoples know.  I promise to fulfill the rules of the award and get this last part done asap.  So, again, thank you Miss Willow.  I appreciates it.

    It's Been A Bit Rough...

    This week has been a difficult one.  On Saturday I discovered that one of my beloved hens had a horrible injury to the back of her neck.  You wouldn't even have been able to notice when she was just walking around but when she walked over towards me and lowered her head to try to eat and her neck feathers fell forward, there was a big old gaping hole all the way to her spinal column.  I couldn't believe she was still on her feet walking around!  I quickly picked her up to examine the wound more carefully and I was just horrified.  It was AWFUL!  I was sure that I was going to lose her.

    I boiled up some salt water and when it had cooled, used it to thoroughly wash the wound.  I was sure Rocky would fight me on this but she just sat very still--probably a bit in shock.  I then dressed the wound with some triple antibiotic and ended with a good slathering of honey.  The poor gal is still with us and is drinking and eating--although not as much as usual.  I have her separated and quiet and will keep her that way for a while yet.

    Now, after I had doctored her up I began to try to figure out who the culprit was.  My hens have a gated area that I close up at night but during the day they have full run of our whole side yard area.  I thought I had made a good enough barrier to keep the dogs out but it turns out that it was not good enough.  I really trusted my dogs as I have a little hen that has a twisted beak that I bring up to the main yard all the time so that she can eat without being pushed out of the way by the other hens.  The dogs have NEVER bothered her and she is a really easy target.

    Well, on Sunday we had to leave the house to run some errands and when we returned I happened to spy my Kelpie dog come skulking through the barrier to the chicken yard.  I hollered at her and then hurried to investigate.  It was awful.  She had killed my other Barred Plymouth Rock hen.  I found her poor lifeless, headless body hidden away in one of the flowerbeds.

    If Juno (the Kelpie) was not my son's best friend I may just have sent the mutt up the river but because of his love for her I instead just threatened her with the loss of her life if she ever even looks at one of my chickens again and I installed a completely new gate and have made sure that she cannot get back there again. 

    I continue to nurse the other Plymouth Rock and I really hope she pulls through.

     I have also been sick and not getting much sleep because I seem to need to cough my lungs out every night for most of the night.  Not fun.  So I am walking around in kind of a fog right now.  I just feel a bit numb. 

    We are also dealing with my husbands dipshit older brother who is a very manipulative alcoholic/addict who has really put the family through the ringer for the last 5 years.  There is a huge rift between my husband and his younger brother and Dipshit and my mother-in-law who just keeps bailing Dipshits ass out of the fire.

    And my little sister and her fiancee just split up and my mother and my stepdad have been at eachother's throats as well.

    What the hell is going on? 

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010


    This movie is getting a lot of buzz around a lot of the blogs that I frequent and it looks like something I am going to have to see.  Check it out...

    If you cannot view the embedded video, this link should take you to YouTube where you can watch the trailer directly:  Especially for you Kyddryn ;-)

    Fresh Trailer

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Organic or Bust...Your Budget That Is

    I want to be able to provide honestly good and healthy meals for my family.  It is a quest I am on.  I know a lot more than I used to.  For better...or for worse, I am a LOT more educated than I used to be about what is actually good for us and what "they" want us to believe is good for us.  But, the problem with having this new knowledge is that now you can't continue to do things the way you were doing them before.  That "box of stuff" that used to be a major staple in your pantry--that you used to plop down in front of your family without any trepidation whatsoever--you now know is not fit to be fed to the poor dog.

    So, if your are like me, you start to learn how to cook more meals from scratch.  You learn how to make your own bread.  You buy more fruits and vegetables...and you learn new ways of baiting your child into eating some of them.  You start to feel good about yourself.  Confident even.  It's kind of a primal thing to be able to feed your family from the work of your own hands.  I am WOMAN.  Hear ME roar...kind of feeling.

    And then...

    Isn't there always an "and then"? 

    You keep reading, keep educating yourself and one day you find out that all those fruits and veggies in the supermarket might not be as healthy as you thought they were.  All those pesticides and poisons--not to mention that the blimey soil the stuff was grown in probably had no nutrients to pass along in the first place due to being so depleted of life by our wonderful corporate farming techniques.  You find out that the flour and sugar you have been baking with has been bleached and processed beyond recognition and the vegetable oil in the cupboard is actually some sort of  evil homogenated substance that no one should be consuming--let alone the people you love.

    Then you learn the word "Organic" and you are instantly transfixed and enthralled.  You find your way to a new or at least new to you store that sells only organic or naturally grown food.  You feel like a kid in a candy store.  And then...

    There it is again.

    And then, you turn that bag of organically and locally grown spelt flour over and spy the price tag.  The needle scrapes the record, the music stops, you feel a trickle of cold sweat drip down your back.  Holy SHIT!!  Two pounds of flour is gonna cost you $15 bucks!!!????  Two pounds is not a whole hell of a lot of flour folks.  Just in case you were wondering.

    That budget you have been trying to stay within just popped like an over-inflated balloon and flew out the window.  If you were having trouble feeding your family before "this health kick" (as some people might call it) how the hell are you going to make ends meet now? 

    Now, I do want to say that I really do believe that locally grown, organic food is more precious than gold.  It is worth every penny that is asked for it (well, unless you are shopping at some yuppie gimmicky store that takes pride in gouging it's customers--I choose not to shop at these types of establishments, thank you very much!)  I know that these small family farmers work hard to produce food of the highest quality and I also know that it is extremely expensive in order to be certified "organic".  I am not saying that their food and products are not worth the price--I am only lamenting the fact that I am not independently wealthy enough to be able to afford to buy all of them.

    It can be rough.  I ain't gonna lie.  You definitely have to set priorities.  Do I buy all organic and locally grown food these days?  Honestly, no.  I do what I can.  I try to support the local organic store as much as I am able.  My son loves bacon so I have made organic bacon one of my priorities.  I cook more organic brown rice instead of white flour pastas.  I buy organic whole wheat flour--but not necessarily the local grown stuff.  I make daily decisions a little bit at a time to change the way my family eats.  It's not an all in thing.  But, it gets closer and closer.  Is it frustrating sometimes?  Oh ya.  As Calamity Jane says over at her wonderful blog, Apron Strings, buying organic ice cream is not really what it's all about.

    Any thoughts...please share.

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Feeling Kind of Like...Well, Crap

    A Picture of Mourning Dove Chicks

    Yesterday, G and I were heading out to a movie and dinner (our belated Valentine's Day) and G stopped in the middle of the driveway and pointed down to the ground.  "It's a chick," he said.  And it was.  It was a Mourning Dove day old chick just lying there all by itself and it was alive.  I didn't know it was a Mourning Dove chick at the time.  I thought it was some kind of mutant alien chick, actually.  Uuuugggllllyyy!  Something definitely only a Mother would love.  But, I scooped him up and ran in the house to find a box and something to keep him warm.  We were already late so we skidaddled.

    The little guy lived through the night on a heating pad. 

    Well, this morning I got up early and began some research on the computer. 

    The original nest had been in a tree next to the house so I went out to investigate what might have happened.  Turns out the whole nest had pretty much disintegrated from the rain.

    In my research, I discovered that I could remake a nest and place it in the same area and the parents would probably return to use it.  So, that is what I did.  I had some wire fencing that I molded into a nest holder and filled it up with hay and straw.  I put it up in the tree and secured it hoping for the best.  The parents were around watching everything.  I had high hopes that I would be able to place the chick in the nest and have the parents come back and tend to it.

    And, then I biffed up big time.  I came in and did some more research and read that I could use a heat lamp to keep the chick warm.  So I set the little guy up with a heating lamp (the one I used for the chickens when they first arrived).  I must have placed the lamp too close because when I came back into the room he had crawled into a corner and was panting.  I immediately lifted the lamp much higher and placed him back into the center.  I thought I had caught him on time but I think the damage had been done.

    I then ran to the store to pick up some Gerber baby cereal to feed the little guy.  I mixed it all up and got the little syringe filled up and came downstairs to try to feed him.

    I knew it as soon as I touched him.  He was gone.  I feel soooo bad.  If I would have left him on the heating pad in the blankets he probably would have been just fine. 

    Not feeling real magickal right at the moment.  Dang it.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Monsanto Is At It Again

    I received an urgent alert today from the Organic Consumers Association and I think it is one I definitely need to pass along to you.  We have got to make our voices heard, my friends.  We cannot let this happen.  Please keep reading to see the alert:

    Urgent Alert from the Organic Consumers Association:

    OCA's worst fears, about what would happen if the man who was Biotech Governor of the Year, Obama's USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, was put in charge of new genetically modified crops, are coming true.

    Vilsack is trying to lift a court-ordered ban on Monsanto's genetically modified "Roundup Ready" alfalfa.

    This would endanger consumers who eat alfalfa sprouts -- or milk and meat from animals fed alfalfa -- that are genetically engineered or contaminated with GMOs.

    Click on this URL to take action now

    If your email program does not recognize the URL as a link,
    copy the entire URL and paste it into your Web browser.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Make Your Own Wood Furniture

     I guess the theme today is sending you off to other websites and blogs--but I'm fine with that when those other websites and blogs are durned awesome that they just must be shared, LOL.  About a month ago I stumbled upon a blog called Knock Off Wood and I was completely enthralled after about 5 minutes of reading through it.  If you have ever had any interest in building your own furniture--heck even if you haven't--you have got to check out Ana's blog.  She has building plans on her site--for free--to help you build the kind of furniture you would find in the more upscale stores but probably couldn't afford (Okay, I am talking about myself here, but whatev.) 

    I have never even attempted to build anything other than a chicken coop in my entire life.  In other words--I ain't got NO skill--but this blog makes the creative juices begin to flow and really makes me think that one of these days, I too, could build something that I would feel okay about putting in my house...you know, instead of out in the chicken yard.  Have fun!  

    Anima's New Nature Awareness Coarse

    I was just over at the Anima Lifeways & Herbal School's website and read about their new Nature awareness coarse being offered.  It is an intensive 8-week correspondence coarse offered by Jesse Wolf Hardin that promises to aid the student in developing a deeper and more personal  awareness of the natural world they themselves are a part of or to empower them to find out if someplace else might be a better fit for their particular gifts and life purpose.  Check it out:

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    An Afternoon At The River

    We had such lovely weather this last weekend that we decided to take Tino and the dogs down to the river for a lazy afternoon.  

    The temps were in the mid-seventies and it was just perfect down by the water's edge.
    The dogs took to the water right away.  And, yes, that is a rock in CoCo's mouth.  If no balls are to be had, she will retrieve rocks.  She sticks her whole head under the water to get to them--it is pretty funny.

    It wasn't too long before the humans were in the water, too.

    It was just such a great day.  It was wonderful being out in the warm sunshine and fresh air.  I know that some of you are still buried deep in snow so I hope these last random pictures will at least fill your heart with a little warmth.  

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too.