Monthly Archives: August 2013

What The Frick

Canning pears and relationship woes continue. Current total of pears: 38 quart. Current attempts at discussion with the SO that turn into fights or crying? 2.

Bah, humbug.

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I’m trying to be a peacemaker, it’s just not working, and the lack of frith is trying my patience and keeping me from sleeping properly. I am not a doormat, and I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who I have to give constant reassurance too. I don’t find the good morning text cute or sweet, and yes I am going to put my family first. So, in my frustration, I decided to draw closer to Frige. Now, I know most heathens out there are Norse and not Anglo-Saxon, that doesn’t bother me. Being unable to find an Irminsul among a bevy of Thor’s hammers? Annoying, but yeah, okay. It’s understandable, law of supply and demand.

But when I go online and find medallions for Odin, Freyr, Freyja, Thor and Tyr, but Frigga gets ignored, I don’t get it. I glanced over options, and debated over things, but nothing seemed to feel right. Then I went into West Reading to the nearest store that stocks heathen-y things, and I thought I hit the jackpot. Absolutely gorgeous statues. I look closer, and the same problem. Odin, Odin, Freyr, Freyja, Tyr. I go online again, thinking, okay, I’ve got to be missing stuff. There’s got to be equal representation here somewhere for Frigga, she’s the Queen of Asgard!

So far, I have found one pendant (and a half maybe, if you count the Traveler’s Charm) and two statues. Am I just looking in the wrong places, or is Frige getting seriously shortchanged here? is this more of the Freyja is awesome and sexy and Frigga’s a doormat crap I sometimes hear? If it is, I think someone needs hit by a lore-by-four.

I blame Wagner. Am I allowed to do that? Some many people are exposed to Norse myth through The Ring Cycle (or maybe just me) and he represents Frigga as a jealous cow. So, until I have more evidence, I’m blaming Wagner.


Family and Futures

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My SO pretty much interrogated me on my feelings about my family, and how my family works. Whether it was simply trying to understand or what, I don’t know, but it made me realize, and not for the first time, how different my family is, which was only highlighted today.

My family is multi-generational, with myself and Dad a block and a half (if that) from my grandmother, who lives with my aunt. A lot of the time, I’ll stay with my grandmother, who is turning 84 next week. I get to help her and she gives me old-fashioned lessons in sufficiency and the old-fashioned way of keeping house, and then, my aunt will take me to my classes, Dad will pick me up, and the whole thing starts over again, Monday-Thursday. It’s not “conventional” in any sense of the word, but it works for us.

My SO on the other hand, seems to think families should work very differently. Parents work and do all the childcare, grandparents visit and/or are visited on holidays, and if/when they get too old, they get put in a home. This just boggles my mind and my worldview. I know homes exist (my mother made me swear never to put my grandmother in one) but I’ve never met anyone who thinks they’re a good idea, unless it’s related to hospice or the person in question doesn’t want to come home, like my grandfather, before he passed away. I don’t like that sort of family set-up.

I suppose, for me, family has always been a big cornerstone. You eat at Grandmother’s 5 days a week, you do your tilling and hers, you help build a shed, you do your aunt’s IT problems, groceries are done all at once and divvied up between houses, that kind of thing. As much as I know I don’t want to stay in the middle of Amish Country, and that my hometown is not at all tolerant or pedestrian-friendly, I have a hard time imagining a life ten or twenty years down the line where I wouldn’t be involved, even from a distance, in the day-to-day lives of my family.

For a few years I’ve been planning to see if I could move to Pittsburgh, once I’ve had a job and been able to put some money away. My two best friends from college live there, and now the SO. Recently, however, I’ve been considering other options, more urban than where I live, but less urban than Pittsburgh. It started out as a thought of other places I could work if I couldn’t get hired in town, but I think I’m slowly falling in love (from a distance) with a place in Bucks County. I love Pittsburgh, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a 6 hour train ride from a city 45 minutes away from me. I’m no longer sure I’d like settling down that far from my family, and I don’t know if my SO would be okay with leaving home.

The future is a very nebulous place, full of might-be and what-if. I need to think over these things, pray about it a little, and ask the ancestors for guidance, maybe talk it out with Grandmother too.


By All Ap-pear-ances

Today, Grandmother and I started the process of canning the pears from our trees. We used open kettle canning, which I literally just found out isn’t recommended by anyone except people who have done it for decades. Oops. This may sound silly, but no one in our family’s ever had stomach issues after eating pears. (I’m the only one whose had stomach issues in ten years, and I hate pears.) 

My hatred for pears aside, it was a good day. It’s probably going to take all week to get all of them done, as we work bucket by bucket. 

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Grandmother is also a lot faster than me at peeling pears. She says I’ll improve and I hope so. I’d like to take over eventually, even if just for my own place. (Control of my grandmother’s kitchen will be wrested from her on pain of death.)

I think part of my problem with the speed was I kept grabbing the “nice” looking pears out of the bucket, but when I cut them open, there were knots and spots that needed to be cut out. What’s true for books is also true for pears: don’t judge a book by it’s cover. 

Altogether, we did 11 quart, neatly packed into 24 ounce jars that once contained store-bought peaches. Somehow, I really like that, being able to use something most people would just toss out. They sterilize just as well as Mason jars. Even with the eleven done, it doesn’t seem like we’ve made a dent in the pears. 


Whoopie!

We found out the other night that my cousin passed away. He was in the Air Force in Japan and was in a car accident. I was feeling sort of numb, as I hadn’t seen him in years, so, as usual, I turned to cooking. (When it rains, it pours.)

One girl in my class had never had a whoopie pie. Growing up in Amish country, this seemed to be something that must be fixed. So, I made whoopie pies. So far one teacher has credited one with saving her life on her hour-long drive home. The sad thing? The girl who had never had one didn’t show up today.

Ah well.

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Death By Cramps (I Make Tea)

WARNING: GIRLY ISSUES DISCUSSED AHEAD

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One of the things I both love and loathe about being a girl is my period. Since my doctors are unsure as to whether I have PCOS as well as diabetes, I’m always kind of glad when I get it, especially since when I was really heavy my period stopped; so getting it again is also a sign of weight loss. 

My problem with my period is my cramps. I can take a lot of pain. I’m used to pain, but my cramps make even me double up. Thus, I like to curl up in bed with my laptop, feel sorry for myself, and make tea. I wasn’t planning on sharing my remedies on here, but because I didn’t do anything other than watch Harry Potter and feel sorry for myself today, I haven’t got anything else to talk about.  So…

Tea For Cramps (As passed down from Great-Great-Grandmother Russell)

1/2 tsp. chamomile

1/4 tsp red raspberry leaf

1/4 tsp. angelica root

Bundle in cheesecloth, place in tea ball,  or staple into a paper towel, and infuse as you would a normal teabag or loose-leaf. Serve hot, and without sweetener, if you can.


Rural Headaches

Most people labor under the idea that homesteading and self-sufficiency are easier out in the country, surrounded by neighbors with donkeys and farms. This is not always the case. I live in the middle of Amish country, where there are few sidewalks and the nearest Wal-Mart is ten minutes away, the nearest city, half an hour. Not so rural, right? Not so far away. Well, when you can’t drive, might as well be in China.

Another problem is that because you are rural there’s a lot of thought that you don’t need X, Y, or Z.
Today while at that local Dark Lord WaldeMart, I went to the gardening section, looking for seeds for a fall sowing. Since we live in the country, they apparently felt we didn’t need seeds, as their gardening section only had flower bulbs and grass seed.

Bah, humbug.

Now it seems I’ll either have to resort to mooching a ride to the semi-local feed store or order seeds on the Internet. The chances that the seeds at the feed store will be organic? Slim to none. Farmers around here want hardiness and size over everything else. They think “organic” is a pointless, city-slicker movement, and think nothing of laughing at the silly twenty-something looking for seeds.

So, for those out there who think the country is “easier” on a homesteader, don’t think it’ll solve your problems. Problems still exist in a rural homestead — it’s not “better” or “problem-free,” just different.


Pizza and Fighting My Own Battles

I’ve had a couple hard days, between side effects from meds on top of girl issues, relationship woes, and migraines. So, today I decided to treat myself with homemade pizza. As I was pounding my frustration out on the dough, I thought about an issue I’d been having in my relationship.

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Namely, the idea of my SO attempting to “defend” me.  Now, in most of my life, I’m a stereotypical Frigeswoman. I enjoy domestics and find spinning the only way I can get myself in a meditative state. I love children and working with them, and enjoy peace around me, despite being quite sneaky.

However, I’ve been fighting my whole life, and it’s made me a stronger person. I’ve fought against my own body, against bullies, against anyone who pushes me. When it comes to my battles, I want to fight them. I don’t want to be on a pedestal, I want to be on the ground, fighting back. I don’t want to someone to avenge me.  That takes away part of me and my chances to change for the better. I suppose it’s the viking and the Scot in me, the Sága and Scáthach, refusing to be undermined.

While I don’t know what it means for my relationship, I do know it ended up making some pretty good pizza.

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