Lessons in Flow

Cardinal Climber Morning Glory from the back gardens
Cardinal Climber Morning Glory from the back gardens

Well, after about 5 hours with both me and my hubby digging in the garden trying to remove a layer of gravel 18 inches deep, we give up. My parents were over for the holiday dinner tonight (side missive: Even after having been married and on my own for nearly 12 years now, it really feels like a milestone to have my parents over for dinner without a big to do or any major cleaning.), and we showed off our garden accomplishments with great pride. We talked about all of the problems and challenges we had overcome so far, and the many more we had to go.

My mother is really my first experience of the concept of fertility in my life. Not only did she bear me and my brother (obviously), but her garden over burgeons continually. She gardens like fish swim, as if she were born to it. When spending time in her gardens I can feel her love and attention oozing back out of the plants and the earth. As a child I fondly remember thinking of the new flowers in the garden as springing up beneath where she had set to sketch and weed the evening before. Her abundance in this respect has always inspired me and driven me to pursue a fertile abundance in my own life, and to nurture and rear new life and growth around me. And for many years I have always had a black thumb. And so I turned my efforts to the harvest part of the cycle, something I do excel at naturally. I am excellent once the plants are grown, and at wild crafting (ethically and sustainably of course), and in making the preparations and storing and preserving the harvest both in edibles, medicinals, and now magical plants and their parts. But never before could I grow anything myself. I killed any number of very hardy houseplants, including cacti and air ferns. And in the garden at our last house I managed no plants, and to kill off all of the honeysuckle, mints and poison ivy that was taking over when we moved in. So, to say the least, to share in the pride of my garden with my mother is quite a heart swelling moment. She even commented this evening that she never thought I would be working in the garden unless I was helping someone with a harvest.

Anyways, back to the garden of gravel. My mom suggested that we simply plant what we have in the ground and fold in some compost and just go from there. When she saw how much work it was going to be to try and take the gravel out she said it was just too much and we should just try to work with it. And you know, I had forgotten her wisdom of going with the flow and working with the land itself. I am so glad I can still hear her when I need it most.

A simple piece of practical advice about my garden may not seem like much, but the joy of hearing the wisdom of my mother, from my mother is a very big thing to me, and something that really drives the joy wheels of my life.

Putting in a Garden

My Celosia
My Celosia

I have managed to completely clear out and rearrange the front office in the last week, and I am now slowly unpacking and moving back in.Well, I guess I must now officially add gardening to my long list of hobbies. We have been spending the last couple of weekends putting in a veggie garden, and lots of house plants. So for outside we have 9 tomato plants (1 is already giving us tiny tomatoes, and 4 of them I just planted this morning), 1 artichoke, 1 summer squash, 4 butter lettuce, and 6 asparagus plants. In the seed beds I have planted carrots, zucchini, leaf lettuce, onions, garlic, wax beans, radishes and cucumbers.

Out in my front beds I’ve got four rose bushes that were here when we bought the house, and have added some digitalis from seeds, some spider worts, spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, and some pretty purple wild flowers I found by the river.

Inside I have starts for another 33 tomato plants, cantaloupes, watermelons, dill, basil, more mint, honeysuckle and pumpkins. And in planters we have some sage, rosemary, parsley, 2 airplane plants, several pothos, scented geranium and some petunias.

I spent about two hours this morning working on the next beds. The problem is we have encountered the section that was driveway in the backyard. And it is filled with gravel. I dug and dug, and picked, and scooped and dug some more in a little area about 4 by 3 feet. I had to dig down about 18 inches to get all the gravel. And now I am out of buckets! I need to make a sifting screen and find a wheel barrow or some other containers to catch the soil and store the gravel. I guess I can pile the gravel on a tarp, but I need a container up off the ground to sift through and get the gravel separated from the soil. I gotta go raid the garage and see what I can build.

At the moment it is the heat of the day, so we are all inside doing our afternoon interior chores. Me and the kidletswill go back out this evening since Superman has to work late and rebuild two file servers that crashed early this morning! Oz and MoTo have a friend over for the afternoon and they are a rolling batch of loud noise! But they are great fun. It is the first day out of school for them and they are all having a blast.

The kids spent the garden time digging up the paversfrom a buried patio we found the in backyard and moving them into the garden to build the paths. And of course some rain forest jungle dancing (better known as playing in the sprinkler), stalking the jungle animals (chasing birds and squirrels in the back yard), and bush whacking through the dense forest in search of buried Mayan temples (swatting at the tall grass with sticks).

In Blows the Storm

Well, a foul mood has struck, the storm clouds are rolling and tumbling in the sky and the greyness is creating a thin cataract cast over my eyes as I desperately try to cling to my last dribble of sanity.

What could it be that causes this tumultuous tempest to have descended upon my happy form? As with all large explosions, it is often a well timed series of small but not less unfortunate events. It began last night when I realized with quite some dismay that the shawl I have been knitting for my mother had a dropped stitch. I did not despair much at this, as I figured, surely, I could fix this. Then as I began to lay out the 36 hours of knitting work on a nice clean sheet on the floor so I could begin surgery, I realized it wasn’t one stitch that was dropped, but about 30 that had slipped off one row at a time as I worked on the shawl this weekend in the tight confines of a truck cab with four other people on our road trip (fabulous trip by the way, but that was then, this is now).

I spent a couple of hours trying various ways to un-ladder the work. I searched knitting sites in vain, and had a variety of crochet hooks and cable needles prepared for the delicate procedures. In the end, I discovered that I had two choices, pretend it was supposed to look like that, or rip back about 40 rows and start from there. It was then, the innocence of youth wandered into the room and blithely pointed out another error. Somehow, I had thought I was casting on about 30-ish inches for the edge. At this point, even laying at rest it measure more like 70. And so, with less than two weeks to go, I carefully measured my second gauge swatch that was now about 70 inches by about 3 yards, and spent the rest of the evening patiently rolling it into a ball.

And so, I hang this story with yet another thumbtack on my wall of experiences. These experiences I treasure, even though each is bitter tasting, because they teach me things. You can’t become a mastermind without falling on your face a few times. Okay a whole lot.

To add to the wonderful foundation of knitting sorrow, today I was faced with two children who, in no uncertain terms, have decided that chores are not worth allowance and electronics privileges. While this in and of itself does not upset me, it bugs me a bit to have to pick up the slack a few days before we go camping, while I am re-knitting in such a short time frame.

A little chocolate drizzle over this icing was that my dog not just unplugged, but totally ripped out the co-ax cable to the cable in my bedroom. So, for about two weeks, no knitting watching tv or movies in bed.

And for whipped cream we have a camping trip I need to pack for this weekend, and alas, I do not know what my dear husband wants me to pack! For sprinkles, the fridge fan busted today, the pool filter got stuck, then clogged with hair, and it still is not clean after four hours off and on of attention, the incense I purchased out of town this weekend got wet, two pieces of mail arrived postage due thanks to the rate hike between when they were mailed and now, and my oldest stepped on a bee this afternoon. I know, first world problems. Just breathe.

The rest of the irksome day’s happenings aren’t enough to register on my makes-me-twitch-o-meter. But they still add up.

House Friends, Progress, and Ramblings

This little guy is one of my house friends. I love summer when they all come out and start to move around the house in the light. This little guy is about the diameter of a dime, and this picture is of him on the ceiling. I have only seen about 15 out and about recently, but I imagine the population in the house is somewhere around 50-70.

They are of the genus phidippus, and are jumping spiders. I find them just cute as a button, and I like the fact that they eat other bugs and spiders! About every three years I buy a batch of eggs from our garden center and plant them in the couch to ensure a robust population in the house.

Since we have a lot of bugs here, living by the river, it does help. Although, I am definitely not winning the war.

Here are some updates on my progress with the crocheted basket. I have just finished the flat bottom and the very next round I am going to begin the gentle curve up to form the walls of the basket.

Things are going well so far, and I have only had to rip it back three or four times. I consider that pretty well considering that I am making it up as I go, and only have a very general plan in mind.

I worked on this on Sunday. My sweet husband and kids let me relax and watch movies while I crocheted. This biggest problem I encountered was how tangled my three yarns became as I continually switched colors. Anyone out there have any tips for this problem with tapestry crochet? Or perhaps I am picking up the yarns wrong when I switch? Having to stop every 15 minutes and untangle the yarn between the hook and the holders is a bit frustrating.

Mostly I watched ‘An Ideal Husband‘ that I had recorded with the DVR a while back. I am not a huge Cate Blanchett fan, but she was quite charming in this. Although Julianne Moore was by far my favorite, but I tend to love the villains. It was a charming and very funny yarn. I wasn’t terribly into the romantic side of things, but I love turn of the century stories and Old English. The rest of the time I caught up on episodes of The Riches. I am a huge Minnie Driver fan, and who doesn’t adore Eddie Izzard? I am still a month or so behind on the episodes, but I will catch up eventually.

I am pleased to feel ahead on my writing for a change. While I have been focusing on this new aspect of my craft, the housework has fallen behind, but I am still pleased with myself. I will spend today catching up on the necessaries, as I listen to past episodes of Cast On. While knitting is not my primary fiber pursuit, I still enjoy the podcast immensely. Stop by and give Brenda a listen if you haven’t already.

In the mean time, I am trying to keep track of column ideas and articles seeds. I think the next one will focus on books. Not only recommended reading lists and book reviews, but how to find out of print books, how to care for old and damaged books, and how to use bibliographies. I think this information would be of use to the greater occult community, both new and old. I may even delve into the depths of book creation and repair.

I also spent a portion of yesterday refreshing my memory of wood kilns, for pottery. For many years I have built and fired my pottery in wood kilns. Living near the river, I have access to natural clay deposits, and enjoy harvesting in the summer, when the organisms have had a chance to deposit a good layer. It then takes time to clean it, and form it. Then I have to build a kiln and chop the wood and fire it. But as a work of Craft and a trans formative process it is a great teacher. A friend and I are exploring taking a group of young Warriors out to a local site for the same process. I think we will build a small tunnel kiln in the ground, and perhaps mix some low fire clay with the local clay we harvest. Time constraints will probably limit us to only 3 hours of firing time or so, since we will have to remain on site for the cooling also. Or perhaps, we may explore building the kiln here in someones backyard. More things to explore and ideas to pursue that call me away from folding laundry and doing dishes. But alas, the family deserves my care, and so I part for another day.

Zoos and Goats

Yesterday was pretty much a wash as far as getting much done in my crafting or Crafting. I did however enjoy the day taking my oldest son Oz to the zoo with his class. We had quite a day there. We had a very big scavenger hunt to complete, along with a lot of questions about the animals we saw.

But the kids had a good time. I made sure to bring quarters for the petting zoo, since the kids weren’t allowed to bring any money. I enjoyed petting the animals just as much as the kids did! The Australian exhibit was open again. It has been closed for remodeling for some time now. We saw the anteaters, which all of the children thought were very, very strange.

We saw this guy, an Andean Bear. He was surprisingly playful and
active. While we were watching he sat down on his haunches and
picked up on of the balls he had in his cage.

Before lunch, we had a chance to stop and feed the goldfish. They were quite frenzied. This photo was maybe a sixth of them that were swarmed around where we were tossing the food.

After lunch we went to the petting zoos. This peacock decided to chase me around with his tail spread. It was a bit frightening, but I did feel quite flattered, that I was worth his display. The other male peacock near by was going after a female peacock with his tail. Ah, spring is definitely in the air here.

Speaking of spring, here are some photos from a trip to the zoo with just family in late March. I was of course entranced by the goats, and the baby goats, and sheep that were just heart-melting cute.

These little babies were curious about us, but wore out easily. They would run around for about 2 minutes, then lay down and let the kids pet them for about 15.

I just love these little cuties. Something about combining sheep or goats and babies just puts me over the edge.

And then, I managed to come upon the vampire bats while they were eating. These little guys are so neat. I love how they walk on their hands, and the wings curve around them as they do it. I am fascinated by bats.

Which brings to me to something related to occultism, the subject of animals and anthropomorphic forms, especially that of the goat. Thinking of the bats, it reminds me of the Winged Serpent, and why that is such an important function in Meso America. While extremely fascinating, and educational, that is not the culture that pulls in my blood. The Northern European cultures that revered goats are what calls to me. Goats are something special, they eat most everything, they are single minded, and they have a distinctive personality. They are also very useful animals for harvesting and services when domesticated. They provide milk, meat, fur, recycling, and protection to a certain degree.

The worship of the Goat footed God extends across many lands, and the power of tragomorphic ritual is well known to many writers of the older grammayers.