Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Anecdotal Evidence

One of the inevitable aspects of living, our bodies change. When we are young we cannot imagine not being "six feet tall and bulletproof" and when we get more than a few years on us, we likely long for even half of what we once had as we adjust the ways in which we work and struggle to accept the "can't do that anymore" moments that are bound to happen. If you have read my blog much, you will likely know that I am (A) a crone and (B) struggling with knees that, while they have never been quite right, are decided less friendly to me than they used to be. Over the past week or so, I have been noticing more pain and stiffness and an uncomfortable feeling over all in the lower legs and feet. And, as is often the case with chronic pain and discomfort, even at a low level, the constant whining of the body takes its toll on one's attitude and on the rest of the body. Mind you, I don't quit and try not to slow down, but I have to admit that "bitch mode" has been quite close at hand of late. I had also noticed that I had not been sleeping terribly well recently. I often don't take a long enough sleep, so when the down time that I do take doesn't work right, it's noticeable. I've had dreams (not necessarily "disturbing" ones by anyone else's standards.) But to an extent any and all dreams that intrude into my consciousness enough to be remembered upon awakening, especially if there were dreams noted multiple times through the night, as I partially awakened to turn or get up to use the toilet, are disturbing -- or more accurately, disruptive -- to me. I deliberately squashed my ability to remember dreams over 30 years ago, when expecting my first child. A dream that intruded on my consciousness at that time was SO disturbing that I declared "no more" and made it stick for years. I have, since that time, opened myself up to remembering dreams. And noting that there was one on a night is normally not a bad thing. But multiple nights of disrupted sleep, dreams, and bodily discomfort add up. Last night, after my moon ritual as I prepared for bed, my partner suggested that I take a quarter dose (certainly well below what would be considered "therapeutic" dose) of a prescription pain pill that I have left over from my bout with shingles last year. I have used a slightly higher, but less than the prescribed, dose at bedtime before, when I had more severe pain. This morning, I awoke to what feels like a whole new body! Now, this leaves me to wonder... is this an effect of the ritual I did, the extra medication allowing me to get a good and restful night's sleep, or a change in the weather or some other factor. I'm making this post as a way to make note for possible future correlation. And sharing it because someone out there might benefit as well.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Moon, Full Moon

This moon is well named, at least here. We seem to have a good portion of our snow during February, while often waiting and hoping for a white Yule. I love the late winter and early spring snows, those that get names, such as "sugar snow" (not to be confused with the recently proposed convention of naming major winter storms in the same manner of summer tropical storms) and those that do not. This year, February has brought us a short period of extreme cold, but mostly several good and major snows, including one serious nor'easter. Most often, though, the temperatures are more moderate, for winter, and the snows accumulate a few inches (usually not enough to require plowing for the Subaru)and do a serious melt that clears the roads, drives and walk ways with a day or so of sun, before the next round. I know most of my friends are anxiously calling for spring... and those who live in moderate climates are taking joy in beginning to till and plant. But I have not, yet, had enough winter. I did move to Maine "for the climate," remember? I was not feeling very "up" this morning, not much in tune with the moon but wanting and needing to re-sync with the cycle. The calendar had shown a full moon drumming and pot luck, one that I attended a few months ago, but earlier in the weekend I had canceled that plan. This weekend had two previous "away missions:" an all day spin-in and an evening pot luck supper with friends and while both were enjoyable I felt that I had enough of "away" and wanted to be here after work. An easy at work is always a good thing, and today I was thankful for one, so as not to add that stress to whatever was ailing me. Finding checks from several clients in the mail is also a good thing, and easing the cash flow issues seemed to ease my mind more as well. The end of the month is mortgage payment time, and while there is never a good time for cash flow issues, at month end they seem to magnify themselves. We ran a few needed errands -- getting more fuel for the kerosene heater, feed for fowl and bunnies -- and were home by mid-day. As I sat down at the computer to check emails and such, it occurred to me that I might want to try to set aside full and new moon days in a way; to refrain from unnecessary technical work and to focus on creative and natural endeavors such as hex design and painting, garden, fowl, bunnies, spinning and so on... and so I shall commit to try that for a time. So now I shall be off to paint, groom bunnies, and spin, perhaps. These things can occupy my hands while my mind runs around the edges of Full moon/Snow moon times of transition and thankfulness for what has grown and continues to grow and increase and blossom. Perhaps I'll see if a bit of forsythia is ready to come inside to bloom, perhaps I'll bake a cobbler and surely I will thank the Gods for clients who pay on time and folks who order hex signs.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Busy "Weekend"

Normally, after my week of commutes to town for my part time job, I am anxious to stay home and catch up on farm and home projects. This "weekend" (in quotes because I am considering three days, including Monday and not counting my first day off, tomorrow) I have not one, not 2 but THREE events that will take me off the farm and I am actually looking forward to them!

Louet S17 spinning wheel kit, assembled and
painted, by moi, with a hex in honor of Frigga
Saturday is a "spin-in" at at school in a nearby community. This was rescheduled from earlier in the month, due to a serious blizzard/nor'easter that dumped a good foot of snow on the area, with winds that produced 2' drifts in our driveway and deeper ones elsewhere on the farm. Good reason for a "snow date" I'd say, and that comes up tomorrow. I will be taking my spinning wheel, left, and raw wool ("in the grease" that is, unwashed with the lanolin still on it. I love the feel when I work it!), my cards and likely a bit of pluckings from one or more of my "fluff bunnies" as I have yet to figure out how to spin their offerings.
Honey Bunny

Sunday I have an unusual short day at work, which will make it  much more fun to prepare for and attend a potluck gathering in another nearby community with homesteader friends. We had been talking about Sweet and Sour Pork as they have pigs and I make a great sweet and sour, so I'll pick up ingredients for my sauce Saturday after the spin-in and have time to put it together after work.

Monday night I will be attending another pot luck (I'll likely make apple-celery salad for this one, though the mayo may still be less than acceptable; many of the participants, I suspect, are vegan.) along with a full moon drumming and then a seed swap. This event is held at a communal residence associated with the U of ME in Orono, said community being devoted to the study of permaculture. They are a bunch of academics and eager young folk, as one would expect in such a setting, and all seem very interesting from my brief encounter at a previous event.

I'll honor the moon here, as well, in my way.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hexeri International

The most recent hex designs include two custom signs currently on their way to Australia and one that I have painted for myself, but which will shortly be available to order. 
The sign, above, is called Blessed Year and it includes an old Norse chant inscribed around the border. "Fé, Vit, Friðr, Grið, Heill," means Wealth, Wisdom, Harmony, Security and Health. The words have been given extra emphasis with the use of microscopic glass beads on the paint for reflectivity. I painted this prototype on an 18" disk that was cut from a left over plywood that had been used for other signs. Waste not, want not; all of my wood is reused somehow, either for odd size prototypes such as this, or for imaginative critters like the Hungry Kitty . Eventually, the odd bits that cannot be used elsewhere will be fodder for the wood stove.

This sign for protection with the sign for love and happy home in the center, will soon hang on one of two doors of an Australian home.

Its companion, below, centers the design typically seen on a welcome sign within the "protection from the evil eye" sign.

These are both 12" diameter exterior signs. I really enjoy the change of pace between painting large works, the 3' and 4' signs that dwarf my painting table, and these smaller ones. Gives the brushes a chance to rest from time to time, as well!  LOL

Currently I have a Natural Balance sign on the painting table and work on it is being juggled with the beginning of the garden season. Yes, you heard me right... 2' of snow on the ground and I am planting! Inside, of course... leeks and onion seeds in flats today; celery in soil blocks tomorrow. I need to replace several shop light fixtures for the growing rack but for now there is enough light for the beginning starts.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Turning Moon Blizzard

We had a bona fide blizzard yesterday, with the dark moon. This moon, or the constant wind and cold in the drafty farm house, left me less than motivated to do anything. But the energies still pull in the directions of the time and though I did not do any formal working, I spent much time in the morning talking over with my partner some things that I need to let go of, some of the directions that this year is taking and where I hope they may wander.

I have come to the conclusion that it is my time to withdraw a bit more from the mundane, workaday ratrace. In one sense it makes me feel old to say that I don't want to expend the energy necessary to keep up -- to more than keep up, actually, but to surf the crest of the changing times. I remember my mom complaining that things... society... was changing way too fast, much faster than in her youth and middle adulthood. And I don't think anyone could easily argue when I say that it is not only changing faster now, but the RATE of change is increasing.

I have been working in a field where it is largely necessary to be at the crest of that wave and to surf it with confidence. Rather than allow a major wipe out, I'm going let my board drift off the crest, get down and paddle a bit elsewhere. Not getting out of the field, or the metaphorical ocean, but I much more enjoy working on small projects here in the relative backwater of Maine, and not having the stress of major big projects with big headaches. I'll get one last copy of the softwares I use, the latest and greatest at the moment, which I am sure is slated to be replaced with another big buck "new and improved" version by the end of the year. But I won't be staying current and I can see a time when I will likely choose to have only myself and my art as a client.

And the blizzard continued to wail with the winds, at times, shaking the house.
Mostly spent the day painting and spinning. I am almost done with the new hex design, the blessed year with the heathen chant blessing around the border and have an order for a 3' sign, which I cut and painted.

As the moon turned, my energies once again prompted me to work towards moving forward towards the re-doing of the
floor... and other things... in the back room. It had been too cold there during the blizzard. I have no idea why someone would put a hollow steel door on an entrance to a place in this climate, but this is what greeted me at the back door when I went to tend the bunnies to thaw their water and to let the pups out yesterday! Yes. that is snow that had blown in through a gap between door and jamb and yes, indeed, that is frost and ice on the door itself. It WILL be replaced!

Another section of the room, though, was cleared of stuff, which got stashed in the closet and bedroom for the time being and when I cleaned the bunny cages, I was able to move them around to the north wall, leaving a bit more of the west end of the room clear. A wee bit more work, and I will be able to begin removing carpet, putting down insulation and an additional piece of plywood and commercial tile flooring.

I started at shovel out the drive, as the tractor gave up the ghost in an attempt to start it just before the blizzard began. Thankfully Tractor Guy says it is only the solenoid, which has been ordered, and not a permanent demise. However, the snow at the near end of the drive was a good 2 feet deep, though it was closer to only a foot near the road. Miracle of miracles, a plow guy actually stopped and asked for the job before I had gotten too far and for the $25 he charged, I gave it to him. In all the times I have shoveled, this is the first time anyone has stopped to ask, though I have even tried to flag them down.

 Now, we are back to our regular winter routine. Chores, yesterday, included digging the hens out from under the porch where they took refuge. Little Buff, our banty Silkie, came in for a bit as there was ice and snow frozen to her underside and tail. She sat in the sunshine on the linoleum and after a bit began to preen as she thawed. The larger
birds were fine.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bring it On!

We are ready for the storm; always have a pantry full of food, my collection of kerosene lamps (started in those long ago off grid days) is full with clean chimneys and trimmed wicks and I'll top off the water storage when I do the breakfast dishes. The worst part of potential power outages is the lack of juice to the well pump. Need to get that replaced with solar panels and a 12v pump!

Personally, I doubt if this nor'easter will be as big an issue here in the Bangor area as the "weather worriers" fear... not to say that it may not dump a significant snow along the path and seriously mommick some city folk in some places on its route, mind you. But it is my considered opinion that in their well intentioned warnings, the broadcasters over-hype any potential storm.

K has an appointment to get a tire on Boo, the Subaru, repaired at the mechanic shop just down the road early this morning but other than that, all our errands are done. Due bills have been paid online, our regularly scheduled kero can fill was done last night, as well as other errands that I might have put off until today... but easily might not have as well, as I prefer to stay on the farm on days not at the store.

I have a hex order to begin work on, a mattress for the heirloom cradle that is going west for a grandbaby to work on, and tons of other things... many not requiring electricity... on the list for this weekend.

I was notified that the "spin in" scheduled for Saturday has been rescheduled for 2 weeks down the road, therefore I need not fret over not making it out to that event.

If we loose power, I'll catch you all on the flip side!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I was interviewed recently for the publication of the Alternative Religions Educational Network (AREN), called ACTION. My interview was just published in the Imbolc 2013 issue. Find a link to read it here; http://aren.org/newsletter/read2011.html 

It was an interesting process, as the questions were submitted in writing and I responded in kind. I much prefer this type of interview, even though it is time consuming, as it allows me time to think. My only wish was that the publication was set up to include photos and illustrations, which it is not.

I am planning, in the near future, to include some of this material, and more from my research, as I rework the Dutch Hex Sign web site.

For now, anyone who reads the article and has questions can ask them here through the blog, via email from the web site or on Facebook