This Tenn. Lovely’s After My Heart!

This sweet place mixes music, natural beauty, and maybe even some ghosts…

OK, so I have to share this old house with y’all!

It’s in a Folk Victorian style, with a stated build date of around 1900.  It sits across from Loretta Lynn’s property in Hurricane Mills, TN.  And it comes with 2 land options – 15 acres for $159,900, or 30 acres for @219,900.

How cool is that?

The house itself needs some work but comes with a mobile home.  If it’s in decent shape, that could be home base while the main house is renovated.  After that, it would make a nice guest house, private grandparent suite, game house for the kids, or even a craft shop/office/library (I’m always looking for those!).

Hurricane Mills-land view
Link to home description – and more pictures – by clicking the image!

The land is beautiful.  Not too manicured but not exactly overgrown either.  There’s plenty for a self-sustaining garden, some grazing for animals, and even the Oak Grove of my dreams.  Cause you know a Pagan gal’s gotta have a proper rit site on the ol’ homestead!  A girl can dream anyway…

I can’t help but wonder if the property has its own Civil War era ghosts, as Loretta Lynn has claimed her place does.  As long as they’re friendly, I’m good to share the space.  My childhood home (among others I’ve lived in) was haunted also, so it’s no big stretch.

Now, to figure out how to cover the money, taxes, move, reno, etc. for this sweet, sweet place…

 

Ups and Downs of the Feline Variety

Well, it looks like all the kittens have been born.  We had 12 one week, 4 several weeks later and an unknown number a couple weeks after that.  The last mamas had theirs outside and they were well-hidden.

The first dozen are now about 3 months old and doing well as outside cats.  Our porch is their hangout and shelter in the heat and rain.  The 4 Artemis had went outside to finish weaning (where her sisters had their litters).  Unfortunately, they seem to have wandered off and one was found dead a few days ago. He’s in the pet cemetery, under a shade tree out back.

Same with her sisters.  I haven’t seen their babies at all and haven’t heard them in their hidey-holes for nearly a week.  I fear something may have happened but have seen no evidence of it, save for one left for dead in front of the barn.

That little guy, no more than a couple weeks or so old, was brought in and cleaned up.  None of the mamas wanted anything to do with him, so I’ve been bottle feeding him.  The good news is he’s doing well; eating better every day and getting increasingly vocal.  Artemis even comes in and cleans him occasionally.  She’d feed him but for her restlessness and his reluctance to latch on when she is laying still.  My best friend suggested the name William the Conqueror, for his strength and courage.  Another friend suggested Hercules.  They know my affinity for historical/mythological names and both are under consideration.

group of kittens like mine

The black male cat with a badly broken paw that’s been hanging around all spring (and fathered many of our black kittens, surely; the rest are likely Harley’s) has also not been seen for several days.  He is sturdy and can hold his own well, messed up paw or not, so no clue where he wound up.  2 of our males, Garfield and Morris, are getting aggressive.  This is balanced by the gentlemen of our brood – their daddy, Ginger, and Harley and Poto – acting as protectors of the mamas and babies.  Ging and Poto have already been neutered; the rest are in need of it.

But, first things first…the ladies need spayed to prevent another huge wave of kittens.  We have 6 of breeding age and can only afford to do 3 at a time (thank you CareCredit!).  With any luck, no more litters in the meantime.  We can’t afford too many – way past our limit now – and they are hard to find homes for.

Such are the worries of a crazy cat lady.  🙂

Career Development, Here I Come!

The career development options are many, and there’s something for every budget.

One of the things I’ve been getting into lately is re-building my freelance career.  Having taken some time out to tend to things on the homefront left me a bit rusty. So, in between logging hours for my new clients and interviewing for gigs, I’m pursuing a bit of career development.  And it’s about damn time, lemme tell ya!

Enter Hubspot Courses & Certifications.

These guys have been a market leader in, well, marketing for a long time.  Their Inbound Marketing Certification was something I started several years ago.  School got too intense though (I was double-majoring) and I never found the time to finish it. Now I’m back in and at it with a vengeance.

They offer other free courses too.  The Content Marketing Certification is next, considering my freelance specialty is content-related.  From there, I’m thinking the latest SEO training and maybe something to get me brushed back up on social media marketing.

Other career development options include:

Alison – This is another I’ve personally used myself.  They offer free courses in a variety of areas, from business and marketing to IT, science and lifestyle.  They stay open by offering premium options (like a formal certificate when you complete a course) for a fee.

Udemy – I wanna say I’ve caught a quick free course here a while back.  However, most of these are paid courses, ranging in price from a little to a lot.  Sometimes, you can catch ’em when they’re having a great deal (like 90% off!).  The categories are many and you should be able to find a course that fits your needs.

Duolingo offers free language lessons, if that’s on your radar.  I’m a member of this site, but neither my sons nor I have signed in for a while.  The lessons provide visuals and audio, so you can learn word association and know you’re using correct pronunciation.

The Muse, a career resource and resume site, offers lists of free and/or cheap career development courses also.  One of these can be found here (the rest are in the ‘tools and resources’ section of the site).  Some of these are the free courses made available by well-regarded universities, like MIT coding classes and Harvard business lessons.

Honestly, had I known about all of these free learning opportunities a few years ago, I would’ve chosen them over going back to college.  Considering my career was built largely off of what I already knew and picked up (mostly for free) along the way, it could’ve saved me a ton of money and debt.  I turned down good jobs to stay in school.  With courses like the ones listed here, I wouldn’t have had to.  Plus, I could have customized my whole learning experience.

But, live and learn.  The career development options are many and there’s something for every budget.

Have you ever taken an online course?  Do you feel you got good value for your time and money?

 

Catching Up With Myself

It has been WAY too long since my last post.  2018 has completely run off with me and I apologize for the delay.

Though the house still isn’t in the shape I’d intended by now, other things have been getting done.  The barn is damn near emptied out, the garden mostly planted in, and Summer Break is under way.  Oh, and can’t forget the more than doubling of our cat crew…I’m officially a crazy cat lady!  Of course, these are all things I should have been chronicling as they happened (otherwise why run a personal blog, right?).

When I renewed my blog a few days ago, I decided to revive and re-structure it.  So, some things will be changing while others will be getting more frequent use.  The upgraded plan included ads, so those will be a new development.  Not sure yet but the theme and layout may change also.

The most important changes, though, will be with the content.  New pages, sub-pages and a plan for content that’s useful to readers, more regular-like.  The categories will be broadly varied but the idea is to provide great info, resources, and ideas for each of them.

In time, this site should become a place you want to return to, like going to a friend’s house for a glass of tea and good conversation.  In the meantime, thanks for bearing with me.  🙂

Ringing in 2018!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

2017 has been a crazy year in many ways, and been rewarding in others.  The good news is we can resolve to make the changes that improve the stuff we didn’t like.  We can look ahead with hope and take action.

I hope y’all enjoy your last night in 2017 and ring in 2018 safely.

Yule: The Longest Night

Yule, or the Winter Solstice, is the longest night of the year.  In Paganism, this is when the Sun is reborn (or the Oak King, depending on your tradition).  Basically, it is the return of the days getting longer until the peak at Midsummer.  Believe it or not, many other Winter holidays celebrate this return of the light as well.  Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, with their progressing candle-lighting, are two that do.

There are many ways to celebrate Yule.  From Yule logs to pomanders to wassail (spiced wine) to making donations, several can be incorporated into other Winter festivities.   One year, my (Pagan) church had an overnight.  We lit candles and waited for sunrise in our jammies, entertaining ourselves with games, story-telling, and holiday-inspired snacks.  Most of us fell asleep by 4-5am but we had a great time celebrating Longest Night.

Traditionally, Yule logs were burned to bless the coming year and a piece was kept to light the next year’s fire, for continuity of blessings/protection.  These days, fireplaces are less common and most people won’t hang on to a charred piece of wood a whole year.  As a practical alternative, a reusable Yule log can be made by drilling holes into a small log and fitting it for candles and/or incense.  Sometimes, certain woods are preferred for the blessings they bestow (i.e. oak for strength, pine for prosperity, birch for fertility, aspen for spiritual wisdom, etc.).  It can be anointed with oils that are meaningful to you.  In short, they can be customized to fit the family.

Yule log-candles

Spices are a big part of all winter celebrations, am I right?  Whether you’re spicing up your mulled wine or baking gingerbread cookies, they bring a warmth all their own.  Speaking of spiced wine, the activity of wassailing – going door to door with song and drink – is the precursor of Christmas caroling.  The idea was to bless one’s neighbors, by drinking to their good health, and pouring a bit on the ground to assist Spring’s fertility.

Pomanders, made by punching cloves into oranges, create a nice holiday scent.  Experience tells me they can be somewhat messy to make and draw flies after a few days, though.  This year, I think I will just diffuse some clove and orange essential oils (1 to 5 ratio, respectively) instead.

In my family, we celebrate Yule in concert with Christmas.  After all, from Mithras to Horus to Jesus, it is celebrated as a birth of a Holy King in many traditions and for many years.  The winter holiday is a marking of a natural rhythm for me.  As a family, though, the most important thing for us is the time spent enjoying one another’s company.  And the sumptuous feast doesn’t hurt either…

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Samhain, a Celebration of Life and Death

Samhain reminds us to honor our ancestors, celebrate life, and not fear death.

I’m pretty late with this post but better late than never, I suppose. 🙂  For reference, the Gaelic word Samhain is pronounced ‘sow-en’ or ‘sah-wen’ – not ‘sam-hane’ – and the featured image belongs to DragonOak.

Samhain is considered the 3rd and final harvest of the year, in many Pagan traditions.  It is the turn of the wheel that marks the finishing of Fall’s work and the brief resting period that sometimes follows, as we move into the darker half of the year (Samhain to Beltane).  For us, the bit of rest helps us gear up for the upcoming Holiday season.

Samhain is the Celtic/Gaelic version of an ancient holiday that reminds us to honor our ancestors.  Mexico’s Day of the Dead is similar in many ways.  It is the time of year the veil between our world and theirs is believed to be the thinnest.  Many choose this time to communicate with loved ones who’ve passed on, through divination.   Others may set an extra place at the table in remembrance.  Still others simply look back with fondness.

A secular celebration for many today, Halloween activities have a basis in these ancient Pagan traditions.  Dressing up was once meant to frighten off spirits who may wish to do harm.  Guising started in the Middle Ages, when people in costume went door to door asking for food or money as payment for songs or prayers for the dead.  This became trick-or-treating in the early 1900s, when kids would prank those who didn’t “treat” them.  Somewhere along the way, their end of the exchange became forgotten.

For me, the main point of Samhain is to honor those who came before me and respect Death as a natural part of Life’s cycle.  It is, effectively, the final harvest in this life, though I personally believe it is only the body that dies.   Far from being “scary” or “gruesome”, it is a reminder that life is a continual thing and death is nothing to fear.

However you celebrate, or choose not to, I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your Fall season and the time life gives us with our loved ones.

Duties, Delays and Docs: A Summary

I did not mean to stay away this long.  It’s been a wild month.

I got caught up with a writing project I was working on for a client, which was way more work than I originally anticipated.  Then, my family and I passed around this awful Ping Pong cold for a couple weeks.  We spent Samhain, and my birthday, sick and it put me further behind on my project.  Lovely, LOL.  Thankfully, my client worked with me through it and extended the deadline.

Then, I had to train for the Election Day duty I signed on for a few months ago.  It wasn’t easy to do so much sitting for 15 hours straight but, considering that some countries don’t have democratic elections or ones in which citizens are involved at all, I felt honored to have been part of it.

A visit with my primary care doctor uncovered an issue (enlarged vein) that a previous doc found way back in 2012 but never mentioned to me.  Why?  Who can say, but it was the same doc who messed up a surgery I had that year and got kicked to the curb.  Oddly, another doc missed it in another ultrasound done 2 years later.  I have a check-up with my new specialist scheduled for sometime next month, so I’ll bring it up then and discuss my options.

I finally have a moment to breathe, in between events and with my project draft now in review.  With any luck, it won’t need much, if any, editing and we can move on to the next phase.  Fingers crossed, especially since I’m in discussion for another project that will ride alongside this one.

So, I apologize for not getting my Samhain installment posted on time.  My OCD isn’t happy about it not getting done and I’m hoping to get it before Yule’s installment.  In any case, I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving this Thursday…eat well and enjoy the time with loved ones!

Original Stenciling? Oh, yes, please!

My old house obsession just got majorly fed.  I found a Maine lovely with an 1800 build date, complete with 9-over-6 windows and original stenciling.  Color me stoked!

The stenciling is thought to be inspired by Moses Eaton.  He, and his son Moses, Jr., were renowned Early American stencilers in the late 1700s-early 1800s.  Examples of their work still survive and are icons of Early American home decor. Seeing as Moses, Jr. did go into Maine during his career, I wonder if the work could be his after all?

Back in the day, the wallpapers the rich enjoyed were out of reach for poorer households.  So, they did like they do now…DIY their way to a sexier home!  This meant floor treatments (i.e. oilcloths, handmade rugs, paint, etc.) and stenciled or muraled walls.  Paint could still be expensive but smaller designs, rather than full coverage, made it doable.

Wall stenciling_crossett library cite
Example of wall stenciling.  Photo from Crossett Library (link to flickr)

Not everyone had the skill to do a righteous stencil job.  When possible, it got hired out to folks like the Eatons.  And, if you couldn’t tell already, I’m a Moses Eaton fan.  My ebay wishlist is full of Eaton-inspired stencil patterns.  Once my house and budget is ready for my decor plans (some ugly paneling to replace with drywall), my living room will feature some stencilwork along the doorways, wainscotting, and ceiling beams.   Worry not…when I get there, I will post pics!

This Circa home is pretty close to a time capsule home, in my opinion.  Suits me fine…they’re my favorite kind of old house.  When you can feel the history just from the pictures, you know it’s something special.  If you’re an old house junkie like me, you’ll definitely appreciate the original cook hearth, woodwork and (yes) the stenciling.

Enjoy! 😉

Fall into Mabon

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves are falling, garden harvests are happening, and back-to-school schedules are being settled into.  We’re on the cusp of my favorite season – Autumn.  Time to celebrate Mabon!

Mabon, or the Autumnal Equinox, is the second harvest celebration of the Pagan year.  Today, day and night are in equal balance, with the Wheel turning toward the coming winter.

Often celebrated as a wine festival and widely known as a Pagan Thanksgiving, it is a time of balance, relaxation, and completing tasks.  Mabon offers a brief respite between harvesting summer’s bounty and storing it away to last the winter.  It is also a time of reflection, as we look on the year thus far to see what worked for us and what didn’t.  What didn’t work is a lesson on improvement and a plan to look ahead, to do better next time.

My Autumn Doll
This is Autumn, a doll I made at a spirit doll workshop a few years ago.

Many foods and drinks are associated with Mabon, as it is a time of plenty.  The cornucopia is overflowing!  While wine is a common component, apples (cider…mmmm!) and root veggies also play a role.  Fall leaves, acorns and pinecones are frequent decorations on the Mabon altar, representing the continuity of life even as the world turns increasingly cold and dark.

Ways to celebrate are as unique as those celebrating.  From a simple meditation to creating gourd art to a full-blown ritual with the coven, pick what works for you.  So, pour a glass of wine/cider, eat a little root stew and sit outside to enjoy the fall leaves blowing about you.  Or have a bonfire and usher in Fall with some good friends and music.  Or teach your kids to make gourd art.  Or….oh, just get out there and have fun already!

 

*Featured photo isn’t taking caption…photo by OakenHoof, found at http://cloggin.co.uk/content/incredible-edible-harvest-festival