Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Home Invasion, Casa Style


Greetings from Casa de Crazy!

Things have been, well, crazy around here.

We've had some friends pass through the veil (it hurt, we're mourning, and I'll get into it some other time when their losses - unrelated to each other - are not quite so raw).  I've been getting ready for my annual journeys into the wild north of southern Illinois and then later to Ohio.  I've been wrestling with my psyche.  I've been wrestling with my partnership with Someone.

And now?  I'm wrestling (figuratively, thank goodness) with the local wildlife.

Last evening I was talking with Someone down in the Quiet Room (serving as his quarters for the moment, and that's something else to be discussed another time) when I heard...a noise.  A sort of scritching, scratching, scrabbling noise.  It was in the wall behind the door.  Oh, no, I thought, the ants are in the wall!  Carpenter ants, they come around every now and then, and I have to have them dealt with because they will eat my house frame right out from under me.

I wandered upstairs to the back door and popped out to see if I could see them on the outer wall.  Nope, no ants.  I did see some of these:


"Howdy, neighbor!"
They were tiny, not even the length of my rather short pinky fingernail, and they didn't seem to give a fig about the fact that I hadn't invited them to nest in my siding.  I asked them politely to leave.





"What do you mean, you're evicting me?  But...but..."
They ignored me.  Rude.  I asked them again, with a touch more firmness, and they kept ignoring me.  A third attempt at a stern talking to led to the same result - yellow jackets ignored me and kept on with nesting in my siding.

Sigh.

I warned them that I was calling a bee remover and came back inside.  I found a bee person...well, a general wildlife person...who is local and asked him if he could come by, and he said he could make it in the morning.  I was hoping he could just remove the little darlings, but it turns out that yellow jackets aren't pollinators, get rather sting-y when someone tries to move then, and would require some serious removal or walls for that kind of thing.  If they were honeybees, I'd go the extra mile, but yellow jackets are just pissed off, aggressive stingers with wings.  Wildlife guy (Jason) suggested simply offing them, and after a silent request for forgiveness from the tiny-death-fliers-of-doom, I agreed.  They and their nest in the wall are now no more,


"I shall have my revenge!"

Meanwhile, Jason noticed something else near the Casa.  Very near.  Another house guest I hadn't invited to the party.  He saw this:


And this:





And on the other side of the house, this:



 I told him I'd been seeing that and thought it was from Rodents of Unusual Size scampering about but thinking better of coming in whet the garage cats tried to make their acquaintance.

He told me that the dropping are, in fact, from attic dwelling bats

 (aka Brown Bats).


"Yo, 'ssup?"

I believe I replied with something pithy like "Er..."

Seems the wee darlings have found their way into our attic space and have been happily living rent free up there for quite a while.  Years.  They're beneficial creatures to have around, but not so much actually INSIDE the house.  They're fastidious abut personal cleanliness but not so notorious for keeping their floor clean, and the urine and feces they leave lying about can be a health hazard.  As the Evil Genius has asthma, and I do, too...and as my attic space isn't a toilet...and as I don't care to contract any of the other diseases that bats can carry and share with their host families...I must have them removed.  Not killed, just...evicted.  And then the entire attic may need to be gutted and recombobulated.  Because of course.

I don't even want to talk about the carpenter ants...especially because, despite their name, they never build me any furniture or a new garden shed or anything like that!

Y'all, I love nature.  I strive to live with her, not in opposition to her.  I strive to be a warden to the land I occupy and to help the living things that share it with me.  But...enough is enough.  I don't bother them in their nests or burrows or whatever, and I'd appreciate the same consideration.  I don't want to have to declare war on the local critters, creepies, and crawlies, but I feel pushed to defend my home with vigor and feelings of guilt.

I'm all for "live and let live" whenever possible, but right now it's just not possible.

Look out, home invaders, it's on, now!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day




Photo found here and copied entirely without permission but not without respect.
For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen.  Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.
~~~~~
In Flanders Fields by John McCrea

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from flailing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thoughtfetti

I have a friend with cancer.  He was just diagnosed.  I have hope that he will battle and win.  I have fear that he will battle and lose.  May hope triumph over fear.
~~~~~
Sometimes things escalate so quickly that I get thoroughly lost and wonder how the hell that happened, what I did wrong.  I've tried to stop shouldering blame for it, but it still bewilders me.
~~~~~
I keep getting headaches.  They radiate from the crown of my head down the muscles and into the basal skull area, and sometimes they make my shoulders ache.
~~~~~
I love my children, but once in a great while I kinda wish I was on my own, no one depending on me, no one to clean up after.  I suspect many mothers experience this.  I don't feel guilty for it, and I would never tell my kids I feel that way, but I will occasionally daydream about how different life could be before getting back to folding laundry or doing dishes.
~~~~~
I'm so tired all the time, I think I could sleep for a week and still have bags and dark circles under my eyes.  I wonder what people think, when they see me.  My mind tells me they don't think nice things.  My mind isn't kind
~~~~~
The kittens are walking...well...wobbling, anyway, and lort, they are precious!  I can't help but smile at them - kitten therapy cures many ills.
~~~~~
How're you doing?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Thoughtfetti (with photos!)

The kids and I were at an event in Florida in March.  While there, we became acquainted with a tree that the chidren dubbed 'The Coolest Tree in the World!" TM, Patent pending.

It's an oak that was knocked over some years ago in a hurricane.  Despite having been laid low, it continues to grow.

I like this tree.



~~~~~

 I'd like to dye my hair again.  Last year, K2 bought a box of this and we did my hair without bleaching it, and I liked the results.  I'm thinking of doing it again.  Heck, there are still faint traces of last year's blueing in my hair!  Maybe in June.
~~~~~
Proof that I do, indeed, like dogs:
 

This is Sonny Brown.  He's an agility champion.  He has the magic ability to know there's a biscuit within begging range, and he has sense enough to know who the warmest person in the room is and come sit with her when it's chilly outside.  I'm not usually fond of small dogs, but Sonny is one of the exceptions.  He likes me even though I rarely have a biscuit to share.
~~~~~
Our one remaining female feral cat, Twoer, had kittens.  She had four but one didn't make it past the third day, poor wee thing.  The other three sausages are thriving.


There are few ills that can't be at least mitigated by a kitten cuddle puddle.


 The Evil Genius claimed the right to name this one, and he named it Hamster.
 Lort, the cute!  Sprout has named the black one (which also has white on its not-visible-in-the-photo tummy) Sausage.  The tabby has a name in the works - I offered Someone the option to name and he's mulling.
~~~~~
I have long enjoyed an Asian cucumber salad that K2 makes.  Seriously, for years.  I only just asked her for the recipe so I could make it at home.  Slow, me, but I get there eventually.  Lort, but I like these cukes!

~~~~~
Despite feeling a little chilly here at Casa de Crazy at the moment, things are growing, blooming, and ripening.  The blueberries are teasing me - they take on a slightly blue hue and then...sit there.  They know I'm waiting.  I know they're torturing me.  Every year, it's our thing.  Soon, delicious berries...soon...


~~~~~
How're you doing?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beltane




Happy Beltane, for those who celebrate.


If you'd like to know a bit about the holiday, go here. Or here. Or here. Or Google search Beltane and duck before your computer spits out a load of links. When you're done reading, come back and giggle because I said "load of links". I won't tell.



Meanwhile, I'm going down to my sewing room and getting my hind quarters in gear - I have some serious catching up to do if I'm to be ready for upcoming events and (hopefully) a selling spree.  If you're celebrating Beltane today, leap the fire once for me and be careful in your greenwooding - poison ivy in certain parts of the anatomy can be...awkward...

Blessed be!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rook


Last weekend, the kids and I went down to an event in Florida.  My band had a gig, and I thought it'd be a nice camp-out for us as well. We had a lovely time at a beautiful site.

We headed home on Sunday.

As I was breaking camp and packing, Someone texted me and asked me to call him.  I needed a break, so I paused tear-down and dialed him up.

With a broken voice and a broken heart, he informed me that he'd found one of our beloved furbabies dead that morning.  She'd been acting a bit off since before we left, but not worryingly so, and then on Saturday she'd seemed content to sit in the sun room on the fluffy pink heart pillow and collect pets and love whenever he passed through.  That night, she took her accustomed place at the foot of the big, comfy bed, went to sleep, and slipped away sometime in the dark hours.

I told the Evil Genius and we cried a bit together.  I opted to wait and tell Sprout once we were on the road - she was having a fine old time catching caterpillars and chasing chickens with a few new friends, I didn't want to spoil it for her.  We all had a cry as I drove, and talked about what we loved and would miss about our Rookers.

She was a damn fine cat.  She was a marvelous mouser.  We will miss her lashing tail, which usually indicated she required more petting, now, if you please.  She had an odd "meow", likely the result of the enormous wolf worm I removed from her neck when she was a kitten (the reason she was brought into Casa de Crazy in the first place) and she was hilarious when we played and got her riled up enough to spit.  She had fierce eyes and a huge backside - I would call her a footstool kitteh - and acted like she owned the place, as any cat would.

She usually slept at the foot of the bed, guardian of my feet, but sometimes would lie beside me and consent to let me sleep with my hand on her.

She only just started purring sometime in the last year.

She was eight, not so very old for a cat but old enough for her, I guess.  We won't know what caused her death; I opted not to have a necropsy because it won't change anything.

On Monday, the kids and I took her up to Mom's to bury under the Evil Genius's tree, next to the circle.  Someone had to start his new job and couldn't come with us, but I made sure that a laser pointer went in with her - she loved the damned thing and would perk up and come running as soon as he clicked the button - and Mizz A was with us, too.  She takes care of the kittehs and the kids when we're working or away, and is family to us.  We all helped dig the hole, placed her in, said a few words, returned her to The Mother, and had a little cry.

I miss her in fits and starts, looking for her when I put down the leftover milk from my cereal or sit on the lounge.  Today I stripped the big, comfy bed and wondered where my furry helper was - she liked to jump up on the bed when I took the sheets off and put fresh ones on, especially when I tossed the sheet over her and she was a cave kitteh.

May her journey over the rainbow bridge be swift and easy.  May she leave behind all memory of sorrow and pain, and carry with her all of her memories of happiness and love.  May she be met by those who went before her with fellowship and joy.  May there be catnip, mice to chase, lots of loving petting, a soft cushion in the warm sun, and wet food to nom, and if she returns to the circle, may those of us who loved her recognize her once again.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Whatsis Day!

Eighth time I'm posting this, but why mess with perfection, eh? Yeah, yeah, I'm a lazy blogger.  You still love me, right?  Right???  Why do I hear crickets...?
~~~~~
With apologies to my friend Mizz D.D. who has a far better grasp of Irish history and much stronger Google Foo than I.

I'm cooking corned beef and cabbage tonight, much to my delight - there will be plenty for dinner and enough left over for hash tomorrow. Our friend Mizz A will be joining us, and Someone is finally home to celebrate with us as well.  The man is not patient when it comes to our corned beef dinner - he'll be poking his nose into the pot and tapping his toe...and the rest of him, too...impatient for one of his favorite meals to be ready.  Bird opts out of the feast entirely, causing me to question whether he's really mine. I get not liking cabbage, but potatoes? Something's not right with the child. Someone will happily scarf the lot and go back for seconds and maybe thirds, because he's a good Irish lad.  Sprout may try a taste, or she may not.  She's trying to be more adventurous about food, but she can still be put off if it looks odd.

I'm planning on making soda bread, too, because we like it and any leftovers can be used to make a nice doorstop or stone-like axe.

Seeing as I'm Pagan, you wouldn't think I'd celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Better than most, I am supposed know what St. Patrick did to get famous and earn his sainthood. However, I'm also part Irish, and I happen to love corned beef and cabbage. Also, I consider it a reclaiming of the day for Pagans, or some junk.

A bit of slightly bent history (that has, I'll grant you, been mangled in my head over the years and is rather truncated because I'm not writing a book, here)(I'm writing a book somewhere else). When I was a child, we were told that St. Patrick's day was to celebrate his chasing all the snakes out of Ireland. It is an historically serpent-free bit of earth, and the church attributed this to Paddy and his efforts...kind of overlooking that there weren't any of the slithery things on the island to begin with, if you ask me. Which they didn't, because I was a kid and most grown-ups weren't prepared for my staggering logic and keen grasp of history but rather appalling lack of respect for theology.

Many years later, people were saying St. Patrick's Day was a celebration of all things Irish, like green beer (wait, isn't beer German??) and green clothes, and green hair, and green mashed potatoes (which I won't eat on a dare because, really...green potatoes???), and rivers dyed green (I'm sure the fish are all so very thankful to be included...like Fridays and Lent weren't enough for them!)(that might only be funny if you're Catholic)(or not) and exclusionary parades, and funny little men waving their shillelaghs about (look it up you pervs!!) and that sort of thing.

 In none of the many different explanations for this seemingly random holiday did anyone mention pagans. A most curious oversight of you know what St. Patrick, who was just Patrick at the time (not really, I have no idea what his real name was. For all I know, it was Fred), was actually doing on the Emerald Isle.

He was born and lived sometime between 490 and 461 AD, give or take. Around age sixteen, he was either sent or stolen and taken to Ireland where he spent some time hanging out with sheep and being lonely. He talked to God a lot. You may notice that lots of shepherds do that. You would too if all you had for company all day was a bunch of mutton-heads. I'm sure the Pope understands...

Christianity was rolling along like a snowball in those days, spreading out all over the dang place. Good grief, it was getting so that a simple Pagan/Heathen (there's a difference between the two, not that the church cared much) couldn't get any peace any more. Everywhere they turned, there was a church being built where a sacred grove used to be, from the trees that used to be the sacred grove, or a church going up on a sacred hill, or someone bathing their dirty feet in a sacred stream. To be fair, there was a lot of real estate lumped under that "sacred" heading in the pagan world. We're like that - we just love our planet so. Plus, you know, all those gods needed housing, and they don't do the roommate thing very well. So the pagans were running out of places to have sex on the ground, in the woods, up a tree - they were big on the sex, those little devils - and to read entrails in their spare time.

I digressed. Sorry.

So there was this lonely kid, Patrick Whatsisname, hanging out with sheep and pondering life, the Universe, and everything. He got the idea, somewhere along the way, that maybe other folks should share his God. He got out of his contract (OK, probably slavery) and went around telling folks how terrific his God was, and how he reckoned they should convert. It seems that polite conversation wasn't doing it for the pagans, who tended to stare at him, or point and laugh. Rude beggars, huh? Now young Patrick (or middle aged Patrick, or old Patrick, I have no idea) decided he needed to be a bit more...persuasive. He had noticed something common among the pagan big-wigs. The guys at the top of the food-chain, magic/spirituality wise speaking tended to have a symbol on them somewhere...often around their wrist. On the wrist that indicated their "hand of power", or the hand which they believed their "magic" flowed from. If it wasn't a tattoo, it was a torque. Guess what the tattoo/torque was? A critter called the oroborus. For them as what doesn't ken what that critter is, it's a snake eating its tail, and often represents eternity.
Pat realized that if he took away this "power", he took away their mystique and leadership ability. So he removed the snakes - often with something edged and unpleasant. Yes, he whacked off their hands. Or branded their skin. Or took their trinkets. Converting Heathens is such messy work!! It was for their own good, of course.

Some pagans today go on "snake crawls", a sort of pub crawl where they wear snakes and proclaim their paganism. I'm not quite that...er...proactive. I also don't necessarily think old Pat went around mauling everyone he met in an effort to build church membership and win a nifty prize. But it's the bloody aspect of what he supposedly did that earned his name in Christendom and for which his holiday is celebrated.

So again, why would I celebrate the day? Well, I'm all for a day when families get together and discuss history, theology, spirituality, and the like. Traditions are important - they give us a foundation on which to build our lives. People should discuss their history so they don't repeat it - whatever side of the issue they're on. Also, as I mentioned, I am part Irish. I can celebrate that heritage even as I acknowledge its imperfection. And I am Pagan - and I am celebrating the fact that I can be pagan today without (much) fear of having my (largely not visible when I'm clothed) tattoos painfully removed and other unpleasantness (except for the odd zealot who thinks I'm fair game, but I'm used to that. I live in the Bible belt, after all). Precisely because we didn't get wiped out, I celebrate. And have you ever had a really nice corned beef and cabbage dinner? I mean, yum! Oh, but I won't be wearing green. I wear blue. Don't even think about pinching me.