Sunday, April 28, 2013

Patience, Seeds, and Herbs, OH MY!

Umm, ya know that *bug* that so many people get this time of year? The one where we all go crazy over seed catalogs, then when those seed packets arrive we make ourselves even crazier getting the first of the seeds planted. Like the diligent parents we are we watch them, hoping and praying for the buggers to sprout. Have you heard the squeals of excitement when finally after much love, watering, and talking to those babies, we wake up one morning to see not only have they sprouted overnight, but they've also managed to grow large enough for the transplant into their new forever home? Well forever for this season, anyway.

How many of you are aware that I am not a patient person? It's OK... raise your hand, I won't get upset. Yeah, that's what I thought...EVERY single one of you know patience is not one of my better virtues. So, instead of me pouring over the seed catalogs, waiting for the seed packets to arrive, carefully poking that little bugger into the seed tray and then praying with everything I've got for them to hurry up and sprout so I can transplant them, I cheat.

I spent a good amount of time a couple weeks ago with Jimmy, Tanya & Ravyn at our local nursery. This place has everything you could imagine and then some things you may be surprised to find on any given day. I went with the goal of finding 3 or 4 herbs that I use on a regular basis, and that is what I came home with... AFTER walking around the entire place looking at all the different flowering plants and thinking to myself *I'd love to have some of those, or those or even those*. (If only we weren't looking for a different place to live so I can get out of this black mold)... *sigh.

The last time I tried herb gardening, I planted too many together in one planter and the mint took over. EVERYTHING. This time I only bought the herbs I use more frequently and plan to add to my garden after we move. This is what my initial attempt at herb gardening looked like: There are 8 plants in this coconut grass planter. Back row: Sage, Lemon Balm, Mint, Rosemary, Sweet Basil. Front row: Thyme, Lavender and Lemon Thyme. And while it was pretty when I first planted it, it quickly got way out of control. 

I honestly wasn't going to plant anything this year. I am SO frustrated with the inability to be as active as I was even last summer. And even more frustrated with the landlord's unwillingness to accept there are problems with this house and fix the issues. If he would fix the problems I'd love to stay here (well, not so much now. The nosy neighbors have 4 yapping chihuahuas they turn lose in their yard and refuse to control. And a young pitbull that has very easily jumped over their fence *it's abut 3 ft tall between my yard and theirs* into my yard. I panic each time I take Chaos and Calliope outside, scared that dog is gonna jump the fence and hurt one of them).

Anyway...back to the planting. First up is a healthy Rosemary plant. I LOVE Rosemary and you can usually find it in most everything I cook. The first time I can remember tasting Rosemary was our first Thanksgiving in MD. The turkey was baked with fresh Rosemary sprigs. To me the fragrance is energizing, and I've been known to burn the leaves in my cauldron much like I do my white sage. I love the feeling of comfort I get from the fragrance of Rosemary.

Then I chose a sweet basil. Again, I use basil in just about everything. And I don't particularly agree with the idea of it being a more Italian herb. I've been known to add basil to omelets, stews, pot roasts. I honestly add an assortment of herbs and spices to just about everything I cook. One of the perks of being a Kitchen Witch and creating magick with everything coming out of my kitchen.

I also decided on a cilantro plant, or coriander as many people know it. After living most of my life in Arizona and learning to cook authentic Mexican food, I cannot live without Cilantro. This is MY go to herb/seasoning and I am hoping that by having my own plant I can now stop rushing out to the grocery when I've found I used the last of it in what ever I cooked last night.

My last choice was a mint plant. During the summer months I enjoy making Mojito's. My favorite one is a knock off of the Mexican Mojito you can find at On the Border. Instead of using the traditional rum and liquid sugar found in most Mojito's, On the Border uses 1800 Silver Tequila and agave nectar. It gets a bit expensive to go to the grocery for mint. Viva la Mexican Mojito's!

That's all... just four plants this year. And I've already trimmed the mint and some of it is drying for storage. I've used quite a bit of the cilantro, and basil (oh! I forgot to mention I make a mean Bruscetta, LOL!). And I've clipped enough rosemary to add to the chicken breasts I marinated the other night AND have enough to *smudge* my Craft room. I DO have grand plans, but not for where we are living at this time. I'm feeling the need to *settle* and stop moving every 3 or 4 years. We have plans, just haven't been able to set the wheels on motion to have them manifest as of yet. Soon, Vickie.... soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Have A Little Rant...Nothing Big, Just Something I Been Thinking 'Bout

Yesterday I was pretty upset over seeing a Facebook status update from one of the better known and well respected Pagan authors I follow on how upset they were about having to show documentation proving who they are in order to get their driver's license renewed. Since this all came as a shock to them, I'm guessing they hadn't needed to renew their license since the HUGE security measures were put into place nation wide in ALL Government buildings/offices after 9/11.

In 2003, after Jim & I moved from Arizona to Maryland, I wanted to change my license. So off I go to the closest DMV, take my number, wait my turn, all to be told when I finally get to the window that I need not only my current license from Arizona, but I also need my birth certificate and divorce decree. I was pretty upset about getting this information. I didn't have a certified copy of either document so I went home disappointed. Fortunately for me my Arizona license doesn't expire until 2016, so I have plenty of time to get things together. (This is how I found out about the requirements for additional documents).

In the status update, this person went on to blame the illegal immigrants for the reasoning behind the need for added documentation in order to have their license renewed. This rant on my timeline went on for hours, with about 2 dozen people chiming in and agreeing the *illegals* are the reason we have so much trouble now days. "Why can't they just do the thing my grandparent did when they wanted to come to the US? Do things legally and there will be no problems".

Evidently these people, including the author who began the whole thing, must live under a rock. Obtaining legal immigration status is not simply filing a few papers and being granted a green card. It can cost thousands of dollars, take more time than is necessary simply because some *smart* immigration lawyer has figured out how to make a dishonest buck off the more unfortunate. I'm not saying this happens in every case, just enough to cause the *illegals* to continue to do what they do best... run the border and arrive in the U.S. as an illegal immigrant, looking for a better life.

No, I don't have my head buried in the sand. I fully realize there are some of these illegal immigrants who end up in more trouble than we could imagine. They are deeply into drug smuggling and many other criminal activities. However, there are those who honestly want to get a job, work, pay taxes, have a home and raise their families in a safe and healthy environment. But because of the preconceived notion that ALL illegals are criminals, the decent ones never get a chance... sounds a bit like racial profiling to me. Just because one is bad doesn't make the entire basket bad as well.

And in case you haven't figured it, the added security measures that were put into place after 9/11 have absolutely nothing to do with those of Hispanic descent who are here in America illegally. When this tidbit was pointed out to the originator of the status update, they promptly responded with I wasn't going to bomb the DMV. Yeah, maybe they were just having a bad day or maybe they need to take a step back and realize things have changed here in the United States. Some of these changes require a LOT more proof of who we are. Instead of bitching about how pissed they are about having to show additional documentation, maybe they should find a way to be proactive to help immigration reform. I would tend to believe this person has the contacts and the clout... after all they have written and had published quite a few books, been proactive for other causes, and had been active within the Pagan community for more years than I can count.

Oh, and that Arizona license? I still have it, even though I am now in possession of my Birth Certificate and Divorce Decree.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Little Catch Up...

To say it's been CRAZY in my corner of the world would be more than an understatement. And to be honest I can't give you a rundown of why it's been so wacky. I just know from the time I get up in the morning until I crawl back in the blankets at night I feel like I'm going non stop.

It has been cold and raining here in the Sand Hills for the most part, until Saturday when the sun came out and it began to warm up. That's a good thing because we had our family Easter dinner on Saturday and then the kids had a blast hunting for the eggs Papa had hidden around the yard. I'm hoping the sunny days and warmer temps are here to stay. I love being able to have my windows and doors open and get all that musty, stale, winter residual out of the house.

Classes at Ashford are going well, my final grade in History was an A-. Now I'm in week 2 of a Philosophy class which seems to be an almost exact repeat of the previous Philosophy class I had last year. The text book is the same, and the topics for our final paper are the same. Unfortunately I can't use the same paper I previously wrote, so that means I will have to chose a different topic that I am *passionate* about.

I still think my house is making me sick. I haven't gotten any better, my nose still runs like crazy, dripping all the damn time, and I'm still coughing and wheezing. I'm also seeing some of the other symptoms of Black Mold toxicity in I'm now having muscle cramps and my skin has become extremely dry. When I sneeze it feels like someone has set my nasal passages, throat and upper chest ares on fire. When I am out of the house I have none of the respiratory symptoms, no sneezing, sniffling, runny nose, coughing... NONE of it. But let me be back in the house for even 15 short minutes and everything starts all over again. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find a different place to live yet, so I'm still taking things slow. Hopefully by the end of this month we will be able to have something different lined up.

One of the MOST important things that has happened is I have been chosen to receive the Inspiring Pagan Award from Kallan over at The Secret Life of the American Working Witch. This was more than unexpected and I am humbled to be thought of so highly by a person who I look up to myself. I am me... what you see or read in this blog is exactly who I am. I honestly do not think I am anything special, so it always amazes me when someone comes to me for advice, or asks my opinion or gives me an award like this one. Kallan really makes me sound pretty good, so if you want to see what she wrote, you can find that here.
Well, there you have it. Short and sweet and to the point. That's all the excitement in my world... LOL!!