Well, It’s Star Anise Time Again …

…sung to Ray Charles’ ‘Crying Time’ … because allergy season is here at Widder Lake … and the snow hasn’t even finished melting.

My allergy face

My allergy face

If you’re wondering why, ‘star anise’, look no further than this post I did about it a while back. There’s something about the ‘star’ that mitigates the nastier symptoms of allergies.

Take it away Ray …

Star anise

Star anise

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Glorious Sunbeams, and a Sale

The snow’s almost gone, except in the shady areas where it’s still as solid as … ice!.

Our compost bins have finally thawed out so I went to empty one of them yesterday, (I rotate between three big plastic garbage cans) and came across a huge clump of worms huddled together near the bottom. Feeling like an immanent mass-murderer I hurriedly buried them in the deepest part of the open compost pile and scuttled away feeling terribly guilty. I think they’ll be fine, once they get over the shock, and will have much more room there than in the bin that’s for sure.

We’re having a lovely stretch of bright sunny days and shivery-cold nights, and one of the benefits of us both being self-employed is that we can take time out of each day and absorb some of the glorious beams that grace the garden after midday, so long as we avoid the shadows. They’re cold.

The Wintertree ... waiting, waiting, for Spring

The Wintertree … waiting, waiting, for Spring

-oOo-

In other news, Smashwords is having its annual Read an Ebook Week Sale, from today, 3rd March, until the 9th March 2019, so I’ve added Prelude to the list. It’s on sale for $3USD for the next seven days.

 

The Dragon and the Phoenix, and Other Things

First there came a Great Dragon …

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

… who was soon joined by her good friend, the Emerald Phoenix …

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

photo by Jingyi Zhang and Wang Zheng

I came across these two creatures today in my email inbox. They were featured in this article from the wonderful people at Space.com.

-oOo-

Prelude has a review, read it HERE. Many thanks to Jaye.

-oOo-

And, I put my Shaman-y hat on and went visiting HERE, at Dropping Pennies. Many thanks to KT, for the invite.

-oOo-

The sun is shining so bright it’s almost impossible to look out my window without squinting as the gorgeous beams dance over and bounce off of the hard packed frozen snow. A brisk northerly wind has blown every cloud from the sky and the gusts howl through my, slightly open window, because who can resist such a harbinger of Spring.

The shy, and seldom seen, Spring Harbinger Owl

The shy, and seldom seen, Spring Harbinger Owl

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?

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!