Snow, Prelude, and a Shaman-y Post

Prelude, the print version is now up and running!!! Herewith be it! … I’m not sure why the ebook and print editions have different pages, but the ways of the ‘Zon are not for mortals to decipher, nor are they for the fainthearted. It’s also available in the UK, Canada, etc too. Just type in the title, and subtitle (Prelude – the Gaining of Shamanic Wisdom) and away you go.

-oOo-

When last we hear from our intrepid SNOW!!!™ reporter she had discovered that snow really does form ‘snowflake’ shapes.

Alas, her joy was not to last.

The -20C gusty winds blew most of the fluffy snow away to parts unknown, and our sad SNOW!!!™ reporter was sad …

Sad Widder

Even the windsocks were sad

Even the windsocks were sad

But, lo and behold, the very next day …

Happy windsocks

Happy windsocks

Our SNOW!!!™ reporter and her spouse shoveled the snow off their paths and driveway and then wandered down to the lake to see what had become of it …

Frozen and covered in snow

Frozen and covered in snow

Our SNOW!!!™ reporter was last seen ambling up the road, looking for further snowy adventures.

Last seen heading north

Last seen heading north

-oOo-

During of the process of writing Prelude last year, I decided it was time I started Teaching again, and to that end I’ve set up another blog, called Widdershins, The Shaman. (original, I know) Apart from putting up information about Prelude, I haven’t really started posting anything, until now.

So if you’d like to have a squiz at my first official post, on the creation of the Wheel of the Year, herewith it be: Creating the Wheel of the Year. It even has a couple of hand-drawn colored diagrams, because what’s a Shaman-y post without a bit of color?

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Facebook Connectivity

I came across a survey question today … and was asked if I’d purchased a (brand name removed to protect the innocent from the asinine) Facebook connect toothbrush recently. I did an internet search. This, apparently, is a real thing.

Not actual size, or an actual toothbrush

Not actual size, or an actual toothbrush

I, of course replied in the negative. Only losers connect their toothbrushes to Facebook these days. The absolute latest thing is used Q-tip Facebook/Twitter/Instargam connectivity.

I can track the quality and quantity of my earwax, (and get custom designed ‘tips-n-trix’™ to help me control any unusually heavy flow)  I can compare it to my social media friends earwax, have recommendations for earwax conditioners relayed directly to my Q-tips, as I’m using them via their bluetooth connectivity, and receive celebrity endorsements of the latest earwax technology right in my ears, all at no extra cost when I signed up for the ‘special, one-time-only, exclusive offer.

And I can rest easy, sure in the knowledge that my earwax, and indeed the entire Q-tip, is used in land reclamation projects in the South Seas to offset the effects of climate change.

I feel so good that my ethical everyday choices are making a difference in the world.

Actual Q-tips, probably

Actual Q-tips, probably

Note: No earwax was hurt during the making of this post. The Q-tips … fulfilled their destiny.

A Narrowboat across the Pontcycsyllte Aqueduct

One of the things I’ve been doing of late in order to save my sanity, whilst I joust with all things formatting to get Prelude up and running, has been watching Youtube videos.

I have a couple of favourite channels, one of which is The Narrowboat Experience, which chronicles the experiences of two young women, (and their cats, Munchie – the grey lad at the beginning of the video, and Alice, who is black and has black cat ‘tude) as they live full-time on their narrowboat, and traverse the canal system of Britain.

They usually post once a week-ish, (sometimes more, occasionally less) and I settle back with a pot of tea and indulge their adventures, or if I have the time I go back through their archives to where it all began, to their very first video.

Today they posted about their trip across the Pontcycsyllte Aqueduct, across the River Dee in Wales, on their way to LLangollen. The aqueduct is very, very, narrow and very, very high, as you will see…

A Black Forest Walk

When I was a kid we had an old fashioned radio. It wasn’t old-fashioned then though, it was the height of elegance.

It stood taller than me at the time, and was a solid hardwood box, stained a rich burgundy color with interesting art deco curves. It was brought alive by a mysterious array of vacuum tubes that had to warm up before any radio magic happened. Reception was iffy and dependant on equally mysterious ‘signals’ that emanated from somewhere ‘in town’. Being way out in the boonies this was our source of information about the world beyond our valley, and our main source of ‘live entertainment’.

I didn’t understand much of the information side of things, apart from getting out of the adults way if they heard anything that might’ve upset them, but I did enjoy the music. Both the classical music and the ‘top of the pops’ stations were heard throughout the day, interspersed with current affairs and general chat shows.

One of which was the Bob Rodgers Show, which I remember nothing of, except the theme music.

It was a boppy little piece composed by one Horst Jankowski, as performed by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

For your listening pleasure, and may it brighten up your day as it did mine today as I listened to it for the first time in many decades, I present …

A Walk in the Black Forest … take it away Herb!

SNOW!!! … Finally!

This week was our turn to have our very own arctic outflow. The temperature dropped from +10°C, to -10°C with a windchill of -18°C, in 24 hours. Gusts of wind added their own special flavour to the mix, and we engaged all our ‘lost power’ procedures … topped up the water dispensers, made sure the generator had enough gasoline, got a big pot of soup going in the slow cooker, that sort of thing.

Thankfully none of our measures were needed. (touch wood, because another cold and snow wave is immanent) Like most of North America, our electricity is in dire need of an upgrade, so it’s better to be prepare everything and not need them, than freeze!

Herewith be a bit of snow …

A light dusting

A light dusting

… that got a bit heavier and blew about all over the place. I tracked one poor little snowflake as it tried to get down to the ground at least three times.

I ducked out the front door and got this shot in between ginormous gusts of wind

I ducked out the front door and got this shot in between ginormous gusts of wind

By the time night fell  the air was full of snow, blown about like dust …

The white streaks are the slower moving bits of snow

The white streaks are the slower moving bits of snow

Mrs Widds and I valiantly braved the wild weather to shovel and salt our paths. Although there wasn’t much overall snow, I did my artistic duty and hastily swept a design into the driveway …

Smiley Face is looking a bit concerned

Smiley Face is looking a bit concerned

-oOo-

In other news, I finally managed to upload a print version Prelude onto KDP and order a proof copy that should arrive on our, chilly, doorstep sometime around the end of the month.

I’d put the whole process with KDP on a par with my Smashwords experience. Not overly complex, but hard work. Once I’d formatted my manuscript for a printed page, rather than a scrolling page (ebook) the rest was fairly straightforward.

So, as soon as I’ve perused the proof copy, all things being equal, it’ll be live on Amazon!

-oOo-

Now back to the snow …

As I was sweeping off the back stoop I came across the most amazing sight. Tiny star-shaped bits of snow. I dashed inside for my camera, (which I occasionally use as a phone) and tried my best to capture the wee things before they blew away.

This is the best shot …

Of all the red deck-chairs on the whole island, this little beauty fell into mine

Of all the red deck-chairs on the whole island, this little beauty fell into mine

And these lined up like a constellation in the night sky. The Mother (Nature) never wastes a pattern! …

Hello there, little stars

Hello there, little stars

-oOo-

No-one sings about the cold like Annie Lennox …

 

 

NO SNOW!!! … and Other Things

This is what the Winter Tree looked like on Christmas Day 2016

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

This is what my friend looked like this Christmas Day just gone.

That bit of blue sky was the last to be seen

That bit of blue sky was the last to be seen

To quote Voldemort, “I consider myself, disappointed”.

Just a few kilometers away, (and a few hundred meters of elevation) there’s snow everywhere. It’s several meters high, blocking highways, doing avalanches, and everything. Down here on the river valley floor all we’ve had is rain …lots of rain … floods of rain …way, way too much … rain.

To make matters worse, I’ve been nastily ill since my last post, which resulted in all sorts of bodily functions going haywire, along with a migraine cluster that still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it.

So, all-in-all, not the most auspicious Festive Season.

However … remember ‘Prelude’, the true tales of my Shamaning? Mrs Widds and I are putting it through its very final line edit this weekend, then off to Smashwords and the Zon it goes to become an ebook. Soon followed thereafter by a print version.

It’s been quite a journey, spending most of 2018 reliving a time in my life thirty years past.

I’ll keep you updated as to how it’s all going.

There’s still time for some snow to fall before winter’s over … isn’t there?

Soup Stock, and Coco

We always recycle, reuse, repurpose everything that we can here on Widder Island. We also create lovely piles of compost from our garden and kitchen waste. Everything organic, except meat, goes into the compost bins, and is covered in a layer of leaves, grass clippings, that sort of thing, then left to its own devices. We don’t turn it or add anything special. We rotate through three bins and when one is full we empty it on a compost pile to age some more, then it goes onto the gardens … to grow things that contribute their little bit to the on-going cycle.

Recently I started recycling our veggie scraps …

Anything that isn’t actually moldy or rotten

Anything that isn’t actually moldy or rotten

… and freeze them until we got a full bag …

Large-size freezer bag

Large-size freezer bag

… and then boil ‘em up for a few hours …

Bubble, bubble, veggie trouble

Bubble, bubble, veggie trouble

… I usually reduce 4 liters of liquid down to one liter of concentrated stock, then once it’s cool …

Ice-cube sized, for your cooking convenience

Ice-cube sized, for your cooking convenience

-oOo-

And now, about Coco, the Community Cat  …

Don’t worry she’s still alive

Don’t worry she’s still alive

Her person is a little old lady who has found she can’t keep up with the maintenance of her house and has moved into an apartment in town, taking Coco with her.

We miss her terribly

We miss her terribly

We do know, however, that when the time is right another cat will present herself to us, and we’ll be staff-persons again.

Coco, the Community Cat  … lived across the way with her primary staff-person, but acquired a collection of subsidiary residences along our end of our little road, whom she regularly visited for BBQ’s and cuddles and naps.