Imbolc, or When Gardeners Go Crazy

Halfway between Christmas and the first day of Spring, we have Imbolc. People start noticing that days have gotten longer. The days have been getting longer for six weeks already, but now it is obvious. You walk out of work and it is not dark. You see the sun rise on the way to school.

Christians call this Candlemas, time to bless votive candles before Lent. The Christ child and His mother Mary had passed the period of rest and isolation that traditionally followed childbirth. Time to change modes.

Pagans anticipate the world awakening. We see snowdrops and maybe crocus, and delicate looking greens like chickweed peek out of frosted ground. Maybe some burrowing critters peek out, too. Yes, Groundhog Day. Not really about the weather, it is about anticipation. Spring is coming and people like me – dirty, optimistic gardeners – lose our minds.

At this time, no candy or card company has figured out how to sell Groundhog related wares. Florists ramp up for Valentine’s day, Cadbury is already pushing eggs. But my mailbox is stuffed with seed catalogs, and optimism peaks.

THIS is the year I will finish my landscaping. THIS year I will plan my garden and follow the plan religiously. THIS year I will conquer weeds. THIS year I will try all those adorable backyard decor ideas I have saved on Pinterest. Maybe I will build that greenhouse I have always wanted. There are no grubs, no aphids, no hornworms, no mites, no squash bugs, no moles because it is still winter.

Sacred fires celebrate the lengthening days and anticipation of Spring inspires poetry. Cabin fevered Irish told long tales, staring into Saint Bridget’s flames.

My air registers inspire few poems, but I have colour-coded sketches of plantings and notes on companion plants. Brightly illustrated seed packets peek out of grubby file folders and tattered bags, and daffodil shoots make me manic.

From now until April, every cold front will break my heart. Warm spells will delude me into early planting and I will lose innumerable seedlings before final frost.

Happy Imbolc, and may Bridget inspire you.


Solar Tarrifs

Hello Senator Corker,

Yesterday the news reported that an extra tariff will be placed on imports of solar energy panel. I assume this is being done to boost sales of domestic solar panels and power cells, batteries. Would it be possible to give our domestic producers of solar panels and batteries, et cetera, extra boosts with tax breaks and grants to boost their production and availability?

I am enthusiastic about domestic energy from renewable sources, especially solar. I hope to see battery and solar cell manufacturing come to Tennessee as well.

Thank you!

Fussing in the Bathroom at Christmas

My mother used to have a wonderful shower. Moveable shower hose with adjustable flow, double curtains, soft water and unlimited heat.

It developed problems and my handy nephew fixed it. “Fixed it.” He replaced the faucet, which now does not turn all the way to hot and only has one flow setting: Fire Hose.

Some people enjoy a good hard spray. They find it invigorating. I am not one of these people and now my skin hurts, damn it.

She also used to keep the most luxuriant body lotion in here. One shot of it would coat both my legs and keep them soft for days. Now all I find is hair dye, a bottle of ‘Windsong’ body spray that has been here nearly 30 years and a quart of Skin So Soft. Yes, I know SSS is a bath oil but in my mind I now smell like bug spray on Christmas.

This is her bathroom and I am just a guest. My level of expectations verge on “Spoiled Princess”. I am sure the Buddha is chuckling and my Dad has an ethereal eyebrow raised. I’ll survive a cool shower on Christmas Day but my expectations will not. And I might see what Windsong smells like. I suspect it smells like 1995.

Ooo! Mom has a curling iron and I just washed my hair…

I Do Not Like Cold Weather

Autumn used to be my favorite season. I love the colors and the sounds of crunching leaves. Too many respiratory and ear infections, tho. I began to loathe the cold.

It’s autumn again now. The memory of summer keeps me in better spirits, that and a genuine love for harvest celebrations.

The bitterness of winter ruins a lot of my springtime joy. I get anxious about late frosts, whose effects are exacerbated by climate change. Warm days that happen now in January and February get tree sap moving. Leaves bud on tiny branches. Then the cold returns and bites. Those baby leaves die; the trees lose an investment that used to be a sure thing.

But then there are gardens to plan and plant. Before long, summer is on its way again.


One-Day Liquid Fast

I put myself on a fast, today. It’s been years since the last time I managed to make myself do this.

It’s a liquid fast; I have unfiltered apple cider and cayenne-laced lemonade. The pepper helps a lot with hunger pangs. I added a splash of raw apple cider vinegar to keep the candida albicans at bay. I am also drinking green tea so that the cider and lemonade sweetness doesn’t overwhelm me.

I feel pretty good so far but someone heated up ham in the microwave and the smell is making me sick.

Fasting is hard to do, especially with a strong appetite like mine. I hope I can make it the full 24 hours.

I want to do the full Master Cleanser Lemonade Fast in January. Seven days of this lemonade with salt water wash and senna tea. Three days of gently working back to solid food, so it’s really almost 10 days of fasting. This is a thorough rest from digestion that allows the body to heal serious damage. It’s been probably almost a decade since I last did it, maybe more. Since I’ve figured out my diet issues, there has been less motive to do the fast.

(Warning: graphic over-sharing ahead) The first time I did the MCLF, the results were pretty dramatic. I passed solids the entire 7 days. Saying it a second time: I ate nothing for a week and and still flushed solid waste out of my gut every day. (That is what the senna tea and salt water flush are for). People can heal a lot of things this way. My husband at the time also did the fast. He nearly rid himself of a huge tumor that had been on his back for over a decade.

My gut was damaged when I didn’t know I was gluten intolerant. I grew up eating a diet I couldn’t digest. I haven’t done the MCLF since going gluten free. This fast should give my body enough of a rest that it can heal. It won’t bring back what is gone – I won’t regain the ability to produce gluten enzymes – but can heal what is still here.

Fasting one day a month is recommended; I plan to do that. I’ve planned to do this for the past 15 years. LOL. Well, today is a start.

Airhead; Not Always A Bad Thing

Forgot a co-worker’s farewell luncheon today, even tho it was saved on both my work and home calendar. Had to meet husband at Lowe’s to buy paint & switch plates & new door so he could get work done on little rental house.

(Guy at the paint counter offered me an extra large stirrer in case husband misbehaved. LOL!)

Complained to work spouse about being an airhead, missing both items on my calendar. In the process, I accidentally pointed out that she’d gotten the time wrong on this afternoon’s meeting and had erroneously declined it.

Realized I was being a bit too hard on myself. Everyone makes mistakes. Good thing I complained, or she’d have missed an important meeting.

Dropped by retiring co-worker’s desk and wished her well. She says she hopes to lose 20lb over the next year, not being stuck behind a desk anymore.

My Predictions for the Last Season of GoT:

Dragonglass trends like mad, everyone just has to own a dagger or two.

Highgarden faces its first flu epidemic. Cersei sends out troops; flu decimates their ranks, she dies on Arya’s poisoned blade and good riddance.

Sansa sends out letters of petition for a decent husband, Brienne matches her with Podrick.

Dragon eats Euron, Yara takes to the sea, leaves Theon in charge. Hijinks ensue.

Jorah meets his little cousin Lyanna, who sets him to work rebuilding her troops. He defects to the Night’s Watch because sad Jorah, no Dany.

Jamie catches up with Brienne and they are BFF again, Jamie is best man at Brienne and Tormud’s wedding. Jamie and Tyrion reunite. Dany matches Jamie and Lyanna Mormont, there is much eye-rolling.

Free folk settle at Riverrun and Casterly Rock, re-name them Fishy and Rocky. Targaryens settle in at Dragonstone and breed like bunnies.

Arya marries beneath her and takes the Eyrie; her direwolves win all the dog shows. Dothraki take King’s Landing, settle down and get fat. Sometimes seen staring wistfully across the sea until their children hug them.

White walkers lose their sense of direction and become ordinary backyard pests. Everyone has dragonglass, so no biggie! Ice dragon is chained up in Arya’s backyard.

Final scene: Tyrion sitting on Iron Throne, holding up and frowning at a dragon egg just as it begins to crack, breaks the fourth wall to sigh at the audience.