Monday, October 19, 2020

How to get a Minecraft Sheep to an Island : Amularia


Porter Jackson, after building the school in West Rivertown, was set to find his fame and fortune abroad, like his father the pirate Jack Iyaga before him.  Life on the farm was getting a little crowded, with all of the new buildings they had made for the town, and the birth of a new son, making a full house with his wife and two daughters.  He was only supposed to be gone a few weeks - staking off to the West in a birch boat from the Western Gate, as Mattias Phillips has called the place of his ill-fated Nether World Gate.


The Porter Thomas school, and the Iyaga Farm

He strove to travel for a day or less - but as is written in the journal : 'Two days at sea headed West - And finally, when you feel like you are about to give up, there you find Amularia.'

Amularia was an island not entirely unpopulated - but mostly by cows.  The building and streets that were left seemed like they had been abandoned for something more sinister than the Earthquake.  It was the year 39, and a pirate's son knew what he was seeing.  Sure enough, there was a pirate ship wreck on the next island over, which showed no sign of inhabitants at all.  Porter took some risks and discovered both pirate treasure in a sunken ship, and a buried treasure map.  He came back to Amularia a rich man on an island with no people.  But, that was not for long.

A house for Porter, one for Tan, and bachelor pads for Zade and Martin until they get their farms up and running.  Martin already found a beehive on another very nearby island to the North - and he is trying to figure out how to make some bottles and start to produce honey.

With the scent of emeralds and iron come traders from near and far, and settlers from the mainland, as well.  Porter planted a few crops, and put up lit torches and then headed home to his wife Nanette to put the emeralds and diamonds in the Bank of Rivertown.  He left the iron smelting and came back with Tan Vandreas, Zade Perkins and Martin Thomas.  Porter does not want to move his family here, but Tan has agreed to stay a few years to help the young men get on their feet and collect and breed cows.



But over on the island of Pagossus - the uninhabited land full of the Spruce Trees and holding the remnants of the mysterious shipwreck?  There were  sheep there. Every good colony needs to get sheep or some trade source of wool to be able to build and expand beds and houses.   And, it is so hard to get sheep across the ocean.  But, Tan had a plan... the tan man with the plan.. I guess?  

 They mined as much hodgepodge stone and dirt as they could and made a zigzagging path from island to island.  And, using a lead they stole in the night from one of the two (TWO!) traders that somehow appeared with their llamas (in the middle of an ocean, what kind of potions are you guys using?) they led the first sheep away from Pagossus and into the cow pens here at Amularia.  They hope to go back at the beginning of the next week and find another - unless the wolves have gotten to them.  That was a big reason to go, even though the road building was hard - the sheep were not safe in their own environment with packs of wolves roaming the Spruce Forests.

Island Colony of Amularia considered officially established in Year 39.  It is located at -1248,64,-35, with Pagossus being located to the SouthEast from there.  

Another thing that has come of this trip?  Sweet Berries, found in the forests of Pagossus.  They are spreading faster than the watermelon craze of Cod Bay.  In the end, they may be worth more than the emeralds that Porter found in the shipwreck!  This is quite a good reason to return to running Iyaga Farms, as well as the news that Nanette is expecting another production of their own - 'Iyaga Jackson', born at the end of year 39 and quite a surprise to most everyone.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

West Rivertown years 4-30, Rosered years 20-50

 McElvaney ordered a team of construction men to come from North City starting in year 4.  Michael Perkins arrived with his wife, Julia, and his foreman, John Roberts (wife Rebecca, four year old daughter Alice) and a crew of ragtag men, some no more than 12 years old actually, coming along with their older brothers to help build this new city down on the river.  Perkins issued orders for another set of men and boys to come in year 12, as well. 

West Rivertown.  The Robinson house is on the right, the one that John Robinson built after his wife and he moved out of the second story of the City Hall.  They had three children in the house and took care of numerous bee hives around the area.  There are deep mines leading to lava and mineshafts on either side of the house - so you don't really want to be caught outside there at night.  In the far distance is the house Jack Iyaga built for his son and daughter-in-law.

West Rivertown after the building of the Porter Thomas school (Porter Jackson, Tan Vandreas, Albert and Argo Thomas, all cooperating)

These were

Andrew Burke

Andrew Burke moved to Ravenna when he heard they needed a roofer and that there was plenty of room for him to build as tall of a tower as he wanted, perhaps even with cannons on top.  He was an instigator in getting Conor Eastham (of the East Native villages) to make the trek to Rivertown and court Cora Robinson.  This was also the only roof in the village Burke would not work on - John Robinson's third story set high above beehives and skeleton-infested mines.  Conor helped Robinson complete the building and several months later, won Cora's hand in marriage and brought her to Ravenna.

Andrew and Mack Gordon

Andrew and Mack moved into Ravenna to work in mining and construction.  Andrew 'Andy' Gordon (as compared to Andrew Burke) was also looking to work on his inventions, a blast furnace and a composting bin.  He has succeeded in the composting bin.  Mack had his eyes on the doctor and midwife, Melodie Whitacre, a woman who built her own house, captured wild sheep and had made the trek from North City entirely on her own responding to an advertisement from Benjamin Pippington.  She had survived attacks by Drowneds along the way, and had introduced herbalism and new plants to the city.  After about a year of failed courtship attempts, Mack rescued a cow from a mineshaft using nothing but a rope, and soon afterwards, Melodie agreed to marry him.  They moved in across from the clinic in Ravenna, leaving the Gordon house to brother Andy, who was still tinkering with his gadgets.

Argo and Albert Thomas

Argo and Albert asked for their wives to come to the city in year 6, ushering them down the river with Harry Patterson, and building some of the first Perkins houses that were off the center of the town.  Argo and Albert were both very interested in trees, which John Robinson, was as well, as sources of apples and wood to build the burgeoning city.

Jack Iyaga

An old pirate, Jack has mostly kept to the barracks and helped with a few mining expeditions.  He refuses to climb the lookout towers anymore, but has written to North City Remnants several times looking for his family, which he always intended to bring to Rivertown.  As of year 35, there had been no word from any of them.  In year 37 his son Porter Jackson came down the river with his wife and two young daughters.  Jack built them a house in the West Rivertown, somewhat beyond the Robinson complex, and is enjoying watching his granddaughters grow up in a world so badly changed by the Earthquake.  While building the house, Iyaga almost died because he had not installed windows.  Pillagers arrived and shot him through the window opening while he was working on the loft for his granddaughter's beds!  He took an axe and finished off one of them before running for the hills.  It was only lucky that the little ones and their mother were over near the Robert's restaurant at the time.

the beginning of Iyaga Farm

Porter Jackson (son of Jack Iyaga), wife Nanette and daughters Ricca and Nessie, son Kyle born here after settling in Rivertown.  There has been some contention as Porter has been mining in a deep mine to the West of his house and he is trying to claim not only that area but his own house and farm as his property.  That is more property than almost anyone else in town has claimed.  Several of the elder men are saying he needs to get a partner in the mine and then between the two families he will be allowed to claim half.

Tan Vandreas was the person to answer the classified ad for miners, and he built a small house and several extra ones near the Iyaga Farm for future workers.  He also teamed up with Porter, Albert and Argo to build the Porter Thomas school, a two story three classroom school that was the city's stipulation to ceding that much land, split in half, between Jackson and Vandreas.  Vandreas plans to rent out his extra houses and eventually settle the land even further to the West.

Also, word has it that Mattias Phillips has made it to the Nether World.  He found diamonds and obsidian deep beneath the Robinson mine and came back bearing very strange mushrooms, samples of wood, and a lifetime's supply of gold.  However, he has said the doorway was destroyed, and he has had enough lava for his entire lifetime already now...

Rose Red Iron Mining Community (Rosered)

the building in the farthest right back is the school
also the home of Stanley North, Earthquake refugee brought his two daughters.  Stanley is a weaver from the old school, he can even do the flower pattern.  The community was first formed by Joseph DeCroix, his wife Isla, and a fisherman Nicholas Long.  Victor Trent and Zari Dee came to the community after the first large amount of iron was pulled out of the ground, and the mineshaft was discovered under Long's house.  There are tunnels connecting at least four of the houses to the stone tower, due to an extended Pillager fight that actually went inside the DeCroix house and almost killed several of the citizens.

Zari Dee and Victor Trent were some of the young men that had come to make their fortunes.  After learning the trade, they were lured away by Joseph DeCroix in the Southern territories when he built his Rosered Iron Mine Company around year 20.  They both moved there to mine iron and to grow their own families.  Zari took a girl from the Eastern Village with him, Osterham was her last name.  Victor took with him the younger sister of Sandra Parker (nee Knox) who had come down with her from North City.  Sandra did not want her younger sister to be moving so far away, but the city was rich with wheat coming in and the entire country was expanding.  They had come all this way from North City - a little further, her own house and a growing town?

Alan Kenzie

 Kenzie is going to travel to Vanter, the land of birches hanging in the sky over the lava fields, and make his own forge there.  Vanter Forgeworks, halfway between RoseRed and Rivertown.  He is instrumental in creating the road that connects the two.

Paul Allen

Paul Allen went on the 'Eastern Sea' expedition with Sevier and () - and then fell head over heels with the daughter of Paul Daniels, young Piper.  He established a small enclave he called Piper's Cove, and, having the 'discovery of the Eastern Sea' under his belt (we later found out North City called that place the 'South Bay') they married and settled there, forming an animal trading post with sheep, cows and a blacksmith's forge for their youngest son Kallum, with apprenticeship help from Sam Sevier (who by that time had grown quite old and who had never married).  Piper's Cove was plagued by Pillager raids, and potential contributors Niko Otrio and Thaddeus Pippington settled in a nearby bay forming the city of Cod Bay with Callum Barham, a fisherman who had come in from the Eastern shores.  Paul Allen's daughter, Iris, married a Robinson and moved to Cod Bay.  His other son, Alvin, took a long trek close to Rivertown, in one of the most dangerous swamps, and married a Parker girl (Sara Parker, daughter of Sandra and Matthew) forming Meadowview Farms. 


 East Rivertown and Benson's Pointe beyond

Abe Henricks

Goes with Alan Kenzie on the road building expedition to Rosered.  Settles in the mountains east of Rosered at Pennock Farm.

Other Settlers:

Mattias Phillips came to Rivertown after the Great Earthquake in North City (year 30) with just a pickaxe, two torches and a bucket.  After spelunking several times in the caves behind the Robinson house, he built a furnace, smelted iron and then constructed a two story house behind the Thomas orchard.  He did odd jobs until he could get his own cows and fields in, and then began to make his intentions clear to Albaree Thomas.  She was a pale, thin girl, not the prettiest of the Thomas sisters (of which there are four) but there was something about the way she moved through the trees, her gentleness with the animals - he set out to make his home lovely and inviting, and after several festivals and a long talk with her father - Argo Thomas, about orchards and cows and the West - Mattias and Albaree were married.  Their daughter Kyra was born in year 33, son Cyrus born in year 35.


the outside of the house Mattias built for Albaree, with vegetable gardens, flowers, banners and rugs

Saturday, October 17, 2020

family learning to play Magic the Gathering again

 Esme and I played a game against each other tonight - her big complaint is that the game just takes TOO LONG... so I recorded both of the decks I had built and am going to to try to pare it down to forty card decks.  Forty cards were the standard way back when but I know 60 to 70 is what is used now.  But I can see her point - and especially it was her first game and so much to learn there.

I recorded both decks so I don't have to keep going back and forth saying 'What did I do last time?'  I had bought a green/blue and a white/black/red deck box to begin with, and a 'deck builder's box' with lots of lands and basics in it .. and I really wish I would have written down those original cube decks before I started building something I thought we could play...

I'd like to try the red cards that are in the box as their own deck.. but I think they are missing some essential creature types, low plays like 1 red and 1+red.  

 There is a little shop in the next town over I discovered while delivering mail.  I hope to be able to go in there and see what kind of individual commons and uncommons they might sell.. or if they are only new in package.  I did order 4 of one of the commons in Green I really thought was cool... but I am not going to go crazy ordering different things before I see what they might sell.


And after all of this - we have Esme's birthday stuff to open and that is a whole different game ;)  see which she likes to play better.

White Blue Magic the Gathering MTG Deck

 60 cards

11 plains 

8 islands

2 Tranquil Cove

2 Mystic Monastery


Jeska Banner

Heraldic Banner

Mantle of Tides

Marauder's Axe

White Creatures

Teyo, the Sheildmage (Planeswalker)

2 Venerable Knight

Hunted Witness

Resolute Watchdog

Shepherd of the Flock

Martyr for the Cause

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun (Leg. Ench Creature)

Tireless Mercenaries


Blue Creatures

2 Long finned Sky Whale

2 Thriving Turtle

Moat Pirahnas

2 Faerie Vandals

2 Vedalken Mesmerist

Jeska Elder

Tome Raider 

Callaphe Beloved of the Sea

Aethersquall Ancient






Sea God's Storm

Void Snare

Thought Collapse

Solemn Offering



Trapped in the Tower

So Tiny

Staggering Insight

Charmed Sleep

Angelic Exaltation


Black Green Magic the Gathering MTG deck

70 cards - creeature heavy

 11 Forest

8 Swamp

2 Jungle Hollow (bicolor black/green land)

1 Golgori Amulet (3 to cast, gives black or green mana)

Artifact Creature Rampaging Monument - 4 cast - 3/3 plus benefits

Green Creatures

2 Flaxen Intruder (1 green / 1+1 with adventure)

Renata Called to the Hunt (Leg. Ench. creature)

2 Terrain Elemental 

2 Longtusk Cub

Thriving Rhino

Beanstalk Giant

Arborback Stomper

Treeshelter Chimera

Sylvan Brushstrider

Nylea's Forerunner

Guardian of the Great Conduit

Kraul Foragers

Nexus Wardens

Black Creatures

Eye Collector

Tymaret Chosen from Death (Leg. Ench creature)

Cursed Minotaur

Veiled Shade

Lampad of Death's Vigil (Ench Creature)

2 Tattered Mummy

 Order of Midnight

Mire Triton

 Burglar Rat

Plague Wight

Fathom Fleet Cutthroat

Bloodhunter Bat

Lazotep Behemoth


Barrow Witches


Demon of Loathing


Essence Extraction

Root Snare

Mystic Repeal

2 Appetite for the Unnatural

Bake into a Pie

Return to Nature


Raise Dead

Certain Death

Consign to the Pit

2 Reave Soul



Revenge of Ravens


Sunday, October 11, 2020

The City at the End of the Game Minecraft advancement repeating message glitch


This repeating message glitch only happened inside End Cities.  It just kept repeating and spamming the screen.  It was caused by an outdated data pack - Netherbound.  Once the data pack was updated to the most recent version it stopped.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Minecraft stories - WestSea year 24-31

In year 17, Paul Daniels and Gary Pippington went out to the Western Sea from Rivertown, taking their two eldest sons with them - Peter (born -8 North City) and Thaddeus (born year 5, Rivertown).   This happened just before Sam Sevier and Paul Allen went to find the Eastern Sea, in what would become Piper's Cove.  The crew of four found the Western Sea and made a tunnel through the last mountain, and a spire to show where they had been.

However, after the cities began to expand to the East, Piper's Cove in year 19, and Cod Bay in year 19-21, no one paid much attention to expanding to the West.  But Peter Daniels did not forget.  In fact, he could not forget the many islands and coves he saw in the distance from the top of the spire at the Western Sea front.

In year 24, after seeing Niko and Thaddeus move off to the new burgeoning town of Cod Bay, and hearing about his sister Piper's emigration and marriage under mixed-reactions from his parents - Peter tried very hard to woo Maisie McElvaney.  It is not easy to try to court the Founder's daughter right under his nose, even if he is in the bank or having his face stuck in contracts all of the time.  And Peter was pretty sure he could see a gleam for adventure there in Maisie's eyes - especially as she gazed from the third floor of the McElvaney house - off into the distance, in exactly the direction Peter's own thoughts shared.

In June of the year, Peter began to sail to the West, having had no real luck with getting permission from Dan McElvaney or an outright expression of interest from his daughter.  One thing he had heard though, was that Dan had been writing to young entrepenurs and businessmen in North City, asking if they would like to move there and marry his daughter.  He heard Maisie talking with Sandra Parker, Rebecca Roberts ,and their daughters up at the Gourmet Food shop.  She definitely did not want to ever marry a stranger just because of his money.  She wanted someone she knew, but there wasn't any chance her father was going to approve of anybody already living in this town!  Peter thought that might be partially right.. partially wrong.

He took a long trip to the Western Sea, and getting in his boat, he aimed to find the absolutely most pretty place he could, without getting lost, that Maisie would fall in love with him, if she didn't fall in love with HIM immediately, maybe she would with the land.  When he saw the cliffs at WestSea, be began to build.  He built a little two room two story cobblestone house, and then returned to Rivertown by sea, and in the darkness outside a Town Meeting, he asked Maisie for her hand, if he could show her a place where she could watch the sun rise and set from her own house, on her own land, far away.  He told her the sun would set over the ocean and rise over their fields, and the children he wanted to have with her would run through the flowers and weave between the birch trees lining cliffs and shores.

It was poetry.  And Maisie packed a slim bag the next morning.  She showed up in the Pippington Glassworks the next morning, seeking Peter, and told him she was ready to go see the place - and maybe stay, depending.  He accepted the terms, and without telling anyone but Gary and Cerina Pippington (who Gary stood there with his mouth open - he did not want to impart the wrath of McElvaney, either.. but ... it was something he had always thought might happen, if the fates had their way...)  Gary fell down on the floor of his shop and laughed until his sides hurt - but only after they had gone, and because in his mind Dan McElvaney did a back flip and pulled his hair out in clumps at the news.  Gary has such an imagination, which makes him a wonderful glassmaker and dyesmith (and the father of five children, himself.

Long story short, WestSea is located at -43.6, 70, -477.5, northwest of Rivertown.  

It has had one large renovation, adding three extra large rooms for beds and trunks to the side of the original structure.

Maisie McElvaney quickly became Maisie Daniels, marrying with a cleric from the East Native village presiding.  WestSea is now, in year 31, home to Peter and Maisie Daniels, and their four children.

It is the Western most city as of year 31.  The two waystations between WestSea and Rivertown are 'Barrington County;, a mostly undeveloped area that is under the care of a private caretaker McElvaney has hired on, and Vanter Forge, owned by the Perkins' Construction company and cycled in and out with various users making everything from glass to stone bricks to iron ingots in their blast furnaces burning day and night.


Sunday, October 04, 2020

Minecraft Ravenna year 35-45


year 41

City of Ravenna:

location : halfway between Benson's Pointe, East Native village and Piper's Cove.

founder : Benjamin Pippington (son of Gary Pippington, Rivertown) born year 7

event: Chased by pillagers while on an expedition to Piper's Cove to ferry sheep from Sam Sevier.  Sheep were killed by wolves.  Benjamin escaped with his life by furiously building a small mining guild building and using the wool from the sheep to make a bed.  He mined and snuck out through multiple doors (instead of windows) to cut wood and scout.  Pillagers hung around for quite a while.

Afterwards, Benjamin was awarded the land plot in year 35, at the same time Charles Robinson was awarded nearby Cambrey.  Both of these were seen as good waystations if pillagers or other monsters caused trouble in the future.  Benjamin and Thomas Benson (Benson's Pointe) took an expedition to the East Native village to trade for emeralds.  Upon returning, Benjamin was building the Bank of Ravenna, when Rorik Eastham, an East Native villager, struck a deal to help him with construction.  Rorik moved in and brought his wife Anya and daughter Bella.  Bella and Benjamin were married soon after (year 40).  

Benjamin took at least two trips to Piper's Cove to trade for glass, blue wool and other necessary items during the beginning years of the town.  He traded an emerald to Kallum Allen (big money, but the iron Benjamin had was necessary for tools) for 128 blocks of glass, and 'all the blue wool we might request in building the bank'.

Perry Pippington, Benjamin's younger brother, arrived from Rivertown, visiting the East Village, and becoming enamored of a young Stella Eastham, niece of Rorik.   Conor Eastham, nephew of Rorik, brother of Stella, agreed to the match if he too, could move to Ravenna and build his own house.

During year 42 there were at least two babies due to be born.  Benjamin recruited Melody Whiteacre, a doctor working in the Northern Remnants (North City) to come and start her sheep farm and clinic in the new town.  Although the trenches of the stricken area were challenging and rewarding, Melody was getting ready to settle down and found the idea of farm life tempting enough to go cross-country in a small boat.  She not only built her own house, but brought in wild sheep against several wolves from the forest, as her original black sheep was killed in the crossing.

Conor, Perry and Benjamin all helped build the clinic at the same time they were building other houses in the area.  Andrew Burke, a member of Perkins construction from Rivertown, answered the advertisement for 'roofer needed' and built a four story tower in the town, as well, to perform his lookout duties for Pillagers.


year 41

From some off-comment made by the Pippington brothers and Andrew, Conor disappeared for more than a week, leaving his house entirely empty and work unfinished.  He returned with a blue flower in his lapel and smelling of honey.  Two months later, after more disappearances, he married Cora Robinson and brought her to Ravenna.  We hear John Robinson has finally, after 25 years, finished the roofing on his third story tower.

Andrew insisted that after his tower was finished he would help build a school 'for the young ones that are all coming in like fish in the stream'.  Ravenna School was built across from the clinic and tower and has nine desks.

 Hearing about the school and clinic, and probably at some urging from Andrew Burke, the Gordon brothers (Andrew and Mack) have separated from Perkins Construction in Rivertown (year 44) and started up their own business here in Ravenna.  Their initial plan has to do with alternative furnace products - but 'Andy' Gordon has been trying to show some composting techniques he had learned in a Southern village.  Their main employment is with the mining guild, pulling in large quantities of stone, shoveling dirt and leveling the area East of town for further development.  

Year 45 - Mack Gordon proposed to Melody Whiteacre.  She turned him down, but it didn't stop him.  He has made himself very 'useful' and started a large field of wheat doting on the sheep and even planting watermelons which he traded for in Cod Bay.  On his way back from Cod Bay, he pulled a wild cow out of a pit of water and brought it to his farm.  He convinced Bella Pippington to give up her one cow 'for the time being' and he would return with a calf, and hopefully also begin a supply of milk for the town.  He has been successful, although Bella was in tears when her pet sheep - Ronnie - the first wild animal that had been caught here, got out during the cow transfer.  It was quickly recaptured, but there were many tears.  Later that week, Mack captured a wild sheep in the woods to keep Ronnie company.  His wrangling skills have not gone unnoticed.

City of Ravenna, year 45, Gordon Farm bottom left

 In mid year 45, after the birth of 3! babies in the village, and after a few late night calls for torches and other assistance, Mack has once again proposed to the good doctor.  He was feeling much more confident of his abilities and accomplishments, and this time, she said 'yes'.  They have married and moved into her house across from the clinic, while he continues to work on his fields and breeding cows.  Andy Gordon has been successful in building the compost bin, and his brother is helping him with the new technique of composting excess saplings, seeds and sugar cane into bone meal to be used to quickly grow melons, pumpkins and in potions and dyes.


year 42 :  Astrid Pippington (Benjamin and Bella)

year 43 : Aaron Pippington (Perry and Stella)

year 43  : Henry Eastham (Conor Eastham. Cora Robinson)

year 44 : James Pippington (Perry.Stella)

year 45 : Ben Pippington (Jr)  (Benjamin and Bella)

year 45 : Polly Pippington (Perry-Stella)

year 45 : Eileen Eastham (Conor Eastham. Cora Robinson)



Minecraft Cod bay years 34-40

second city 'Cod Bay' year 38 

year 34: school built

Pillager Attacks tick up around Piper's Cove.  They have also been seen halfway to Rivertown in the swamps.  Injuries sustained twice. 

year 35 : outpost Cambrey - halfway to Aryl village

wheat, cows

landowner:  Charles Robinson b. yr 15 Rivertown

year 35 : outpost Ravenna - halfway to Benson Pointe from Piper's Cove 

landowner: Benjamin Pippington b. yr 7 Rivertown

sugarcane, paper & wood products, mining

year 36 : courthouse roof finished, helped by Carver Robinson, who has moved in next to the Forestry Trust, building two story cobblestone  


Steven Pembry becomes clerk at courthouse and begins exchange program to provide a storehouse of materials, from luxury to regular items - exchanging iron nuggets for specific posted counts.

year 36 : Carver Robinson (of Rivertown) moved in, courted and married Iris Allen (piper's cove) started Robinson Farm (kelp, pumpkin, wheat, carrot, potato).  Carver is a miner and has been working in the quarry behind Danby Street - found obsidian portal and treasure.  Also, has found with Dennis Danby an abandoned mine between Cod Bay and Piper's Cove - large amount of string, terrible monsters.  One night, fought six zombies in a row and almost died.  Iris is a farmer.  Iris traded with Pomra DeAryl to catch and trade an emerald from the DeAryl fortune (made by trading with her village, clay and brick products)  for melon seeds.  Iris then bred up the melons with bone meal and gave back seeds in dozens to Pomra, which have added a new food source to the village and a trade item to be traded to all other cities.

I hate these guys!  They keep showing up and making me rearrange my cities with escape tunnels and lookout points.  They literally have 'changed the shape' of civilization as I build it.

year 38

Rigel Otrio and Mandra DeAryl son Dalton Otrio b.year 38

added citizens: Iago Orak married Tasha Benson (of Benson's Pointe)

long lost pirate son of Goffey Orak, much younger brother of Priscilla Pippington, landed and began building across the bay and clearing forest - finally approached Priscilla and showed her the blue bead necklace he wears - and she agreed he is her brother.  He reports news of their mother's death on a far off shore, and learned of his father's death here.  He bears a striking resemblance to her son Argent, as well - and they are only 9 years apart.  While traveling for trade and building his house, he met and wooed Tasha Benson, second daughter and youngest child of David Benson of Benson's Pointe. 

Christopher Orak, born year 39

and Talyn Orak born year 40

year 40

Meadowview Farm : Alvin Allen (b yr 21 Pipers Cove) emigrated : halfway between Rivertown and Cod Bay on the South Side, entrance to the swamp, plagued by monsters from deep caverns nearby.  Has horses, pigs, sheep and growing carrots, wheat, sugarcane and pumpkins.  Oak tree orchard producing apples.  Traded apples with Dennis Danby for carrots to begin feeding his pigs.

(sampling of fields ie : wheat, carrot, potato, wool, melon)

Piper's Cove harvest : 48 wheat, wool : 24

Meadowview harvest : 22 wool, 4 wheat, 11 apple

CodBay : DeAryl harvest : 24 wool, 28 wheat, 100 carrot, 50 melon slice 

Benson's Pointe : 108 wheat

CodBay Th.Pippington : 23 wheat

CodBay N.Otrio : 130 wheat, 58 sugarcane

CodBay Pinescy DeCroix  78 potato, 24 wheat, 27 carrot

CodBay: Dansby harvest : 90 carrot, 24 wheat, 13 potato 

Rivertown - 57 sugarcane ->traded Benson's Pointe for 2 stacks cobble  

Rivertown (Sam Sevier) 18 wheat

year 40

Sam Sevier (Rivertown) invests two of his cows and wheat harvest (18) to Piper's Cove) helping Piper and Paul Allen build new animal pens to begin a breeding and livestock trade company.   Also encourages harvesting of kale and production of glass.  Kallum Allen, age 15, scores an extremely lucky find of 11 iron ore stripping sand from the beach - takes up blacksmithing as Sevier's apprentice - begins to mine coal and iron in the quarry his father began at Piper's Cove.

Benjamin Pippington (Ravenna) and Thomas Benson (Benson's Pointe) trade with the natives of the Eastern Village, clay products, as Niko and Bevan did before with the Aryl residents, and split 10 emeralds between them.


Thursday, October 01, 2020


Cod Bay, year 31 (gametime)

Cod Bay, year 36 (gametime)




DeAryl family (Bevan + Pomra)

sons Harran, Omri daughters Kira, Kynee

Otrio (Rigel + Mandra) family : daughter Wirna

Otrio (Niko + Alice) family : daughter Marika 

[[ town recorder : Niko Otrio ]]

Pippington (Th.+ Priscilla) family :son Argent, daughter Serena

Callum Barham [ founder + crop trust ]

Prospectors : refugees from North City earthquake

Steven Pembry [bank, courthouse trust]

Dennis Danby [ forestry trust ]

Piscany DeCroix, May DeCroix

((((   year 1 : found Rivertown from North City )))

( year 19 : found Cod Bay from Rivertown )

Callum Barham (fisherman, nomad, founded city with Niko and Thaddeus following helping them stop raid on Piper's Cove (Piper Daniels + Paul Allen) in year 19)

originations : Rivertown : Niko,Thaddeus,  Alice Roberts(m.i yr 27)

Native village on Mt. Aryl : Bevan DeAryl +Pomra , sister Mandra 

North City (year 27) Priscilla Orak (father Goffey, d. yr 27)

North City (after year 30) Rigel Otrio (cousin Niko) Steven Pembry, Dennis Danby, 


South Clans (year 34) : DeCroix 

 Charcoal and forestry trust station

Drop off saplings here for later planting.  Drop off large amounts of logs that can be burned into charcoal if needed, or grabbed again for building projects.

Also have crop trust station (in every city) to drop off half of harvests for later use.  Each family field gets all or half (depending) of the harvest of their field.  Every once in a while the main harvest is made in the city and a bit is dropped off to the chest in each house.


 Shop : Otrio Bakery & Soup [ Niko, Alice Otrio ]]

Shop : Clockworks [[ Steven Pembry ]]

clocks, compasses, iron tools (opened year 30, moved year 37)

Shop : Blue Goose [[ Priscilla, Serena Pippington ]]

dyes, dyed wool and leather goods, chairs, glass and polished stones

Shop : Clay Pot [[ Mandra, Wirna Otrio ]]

woven banners, undyed wool products (and natural color sheep wools) 

clay, terracotta, glass and polished stones

School : Pomra DeAryl (built year 34)

Butcher Shop : year 37

Friday, September 25, 2020


 Esme got her seventh grade immunizations today, they had forgotten to send home info for 'non sport students'.. but we got caught up.  She was very worried for it - but they came out to the car and gave it to her.

I had a sinus migraine, and finally got it under control with some music, eucalyptus bath and finally an aspirin and some more music, dancing around with Charlotte and the other dogs to the Great Big Sea until the aspirin finally took effect.  Going to head off to bed here in a minute.

Saturday, September 19, 2020


 I did some editing on House of Sunlight, and have three stories that need to be gone over.  I have found some of the art - was wondering if I should try to paint or pastel paint some of the other imagery in my head.  There is quite a bit on the postal route, scenes at stops etc, that are interesting to me but I don't know if anyone else would find them as pretty as I do.  With my strange vision, stigmatism and color differences and synesthesia, I sometimes 'ooh' and 'ahh' over things others would find mundane, for myself that is a good thing, added wonder etc, but for drawings sometimes I would think what I think is spectacular others would see as 'just another hill with trees.;'

My right shoulder clicked out on Thursday, about midmorning.  It is in what I would call the 'wing muscle', and usually I can just flex that area and it pops in and out without much pain, constantly.. But it has had a 'hitch' in it, and with my rib cage on that side, they are uncomfortable.  Friday I drove postal route, and today I did as well.  It isn't keeping me from actually doing anything, it just hurts, more than usual.  Mark suggested I get some more epsom salts, and/or take a hot bath.  I was able to get it to click back into place for a little while doing some stretches but as soon as I relaxed playing a game and watching TV I feel it has slid back.

Hope to get some sleep tonight, although I know that won't help the shoulder.  I've grabbed an extra pillow to try to sleep in a position that won't make it worse.

Ordered some more of the Village Naturals lavendar epsom salts, as those seem to be the only thing that actually works well for me.  The arnica 'chronic pain and fatigue' formula they have has made me nauseous more often than not, and the Dr. Teal's medicinal bath is more like a bubble bath and not much 'medicine' at all.

 We almost have carrots!  I planted the Oxheart carrots from Victory Seeds this year in the raised bed up front of the house and they are about an inch in diameter now.  I ate one, just to test.  I wonder if the Hamburg parsnips are doing anything.  Also, out in the roadsides in Trezevant today, I saw wild morning glory blooming, light blues and even a darker purple.

I had been working three part time jobs up to this weekend, and now the temporary one is done.  I will have a little more time now, to edit stories and take pictures.  The part time job paid quite a bit of the bills this month and I found some things Esme would like for her birthday and have them coming.  Lydia car was expensive needing brakes and now the Taco truck wants something, as well - fought with it all day on the postal route, every time I put it in park it was 'fight like hell' to get it back to drive, so I ran most of the route with it like that trying to avoid any situation where I would have to park.  I was able to make it to the end of the day (thanks to a few customers who came out when I blew the horn, and came to get their packages) and bring it to the mechanics to await his diagnosis.

 I've been doing more work on my Rivertown Minecraft town, and been wondering about making a comic book style history of it 'Minecraft storymode style' and seeing if that could lead to anything creatively.  I did the PDF for the net string bag pattern a few weeks ago on Labor Day and I have not been able to upload it as a 99 cent Kindle, yet - the file was too big and our internet was too slow - maybe at the beginning of next month I can get it 'out there'.

Monday, September 07, 2020



I woke up this morning with thoughts, things I could publish, patterns, and ideas for kits... working on some of them, sketched a whole lot of them down.  It was nice to be inspired - if I could make something of it, it will be nicer.  I started to make one bag step by step so I could take pictures of it.  Then we went and got some groceries.  Mark is going to make some dinner, and I have post office tomorrow.

 It's funny, but I can SEE where the pain is in the picture.  The hand is at rest as it gets (although holding the camera in the other hand was no fun).  The long red line down the almost center is where it hurts, right where the vein crosses over it in an arrowhead type shape.  Probably a bit of it is from this crocheting, but most of it is just driving and living and having hands built like this... hEDS is fun.

 Onward.  Yea, that.

Friday, September 04, 2020

keeping the brain on a leash

 It's been one of those mornings, I've already poured about a quarter cup of olive oil on bread and chicken, with maple syrup.  That is a sign that the anxious 'I'd like to think something but it will take SO much effort to STOP when I get started...' feelings are based more in just finances and weather.

I thought for a while that my stories for 'The House of Sunlight' had been lost, and was feeling this empty void that I could not write them again, but needed to 'feel' them again, at the same time.  But, Mark found them in a directory I would not have looked in.  'The One Hundred' is a philosophical statement that I needed to hear again, a journey of despair that turns into one of recognition of the journey - and knowledge that we need to look outside the current situation that looms upon us to realize something 'higher' - wherein possibilities begin.

Much better than picking up Moon Palace again, and throwing it against the wall (Paul Auster does that to me), or trying to read 'In the Night Country' for the fourth attempt and shutting it down after a chapter again...

And it brings me back, through a few jumping ideas, to the white room hypothesis.  All this clutter around me, but I can't clean it up, because then I lose it.  Try to organize, but then feel it is futile, because nothing really works.. and I lose things, and then woe about having too many things, things wouldn't get lost if there were just fewer things, but that doesn't work in 'real life', not like the Pinterest images of minimalism or the blogs etc.  

I'm at one of those 'walking the ridge' places - I know so far, at least, I've got my eye on the path and we're getting there... but at the same time I feel like we could fall at any minute.  I know there is so MUCH I can do but there is so much I DO and yet sometimes it seems like it will amount to not enough, if not for the moment at hand, for the future because I didn't do the things, because I KEPT myself from doing the things.. or just didn't have enough energy at the end of the day.  

Yesterday I walked up and down two long driveways to get responses for questions at my job - and this morning, walking up the stairs, I feel like Quasimodo, at least in the legs.  Stepping over the old hound laying across the stairs feels like jumping a hurdle.  The other day I went around taking pictures in the fog, and I felt like the Hunchback the entire time... dragging myself along, the dog staring at me asking 'Mom, why are you walking like that'  Eventually, it kicks back over a gear and things straighten up.. but just sleeping extra long on one side sometimes my shoulder or knee gets out of joint, and then it takes some convincing to make it work properly, or just use it as it is... often use it as it is until some miracle moment it decides to pop back.. then enjoy the juxtaposition of the earlier discomfort against the now...

A little of this is the Ehlers Danlos syndrome.  The drinking olive oil at 7 am is definitely the EDS.. although I can remember back to many specific moments when I felt terrible that about the only thing that sounded like it tasted good was olive oil and maple syrup.  If the rain stops monsooning soon, and the sun shines, that will help some.

If the Universe gets back in order with this coronavirus and economy and everything being upside-down topsy-turvy, that will help a lot.  Since I don't see the latter happening... I guess I dirnk the olive oil, then the coffee.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

pneumonia in Fargo

 I was reading some guy's description of having COVID-19, and he was talking about how his doctor told him there was nothing he could do for him, and he would have to just head to the ER if it got bad.  The guy described lying awake in a pool of his own sweat, high fever, hallucinating and wondering when it would be time to go if he would have enough strength.  He didn't want to expose his family or friends - and he didn't want to have to got to the hospital until he had to.

I've been there, but it was with a different pneumonia back in 2003, while I lived in Fargo, North Dakota.  I am prone to bacterial pneumonia, especially, because my sinus is malformed.  It collects 'junk' at one specific crazy spot and then in some conditions, it drops bacteria into my throat and lungs and I begin to get a yellowish-green snot and sputum that collects like 'threads' in my chest.  I can feel them when I exhale, and I cough them up like crazy.  The bad thing is when you stop coughing them up, and things dry out.. and you're not better - it turns into a dry heave and you feel like you'll break your ribs or break a blood vessel and cough up blood.  Been there, too... and within the past five years.

But what burned me the most about this poor man's letter was that his doctor told him he couldn't do anything for him.  And the doctor did not offer this man the many things he could do for HIMSELF to try to at least keep some agency and feel better from specific symptoms.  At least, the man doesn't tell us he did any of these - only that he laid there afraid and pouring sweat and waited for it to go away.

 That is the worst thing you can do.  Your state of mind affects your health as much as the illness.  If you lay there and wait for the 'boogie man' to finally go away, you have reduced your body's chance of fighting it.  Unless you are utterly too exhausted to get up and go to the kitchen or run a bath (and not because you haven't slept three or four hours), you should be doing one of these things or have done them within the past few hours to feel better.  If you don't have the energy for at least one of these things, or fear you will fall asleep and have already been asleep for most of the day - then yes, it IS time to go to the ER, to get another person etc- that is the danger zone with pneumonia.  That is where it turns from 'walking pneumonia' to bedridden.  And in 2003 we didn't have 'oximeters' in every home to check your O2 level.. but being too tired to get up and run a bath or make tea was a good sign.

I remember this specific pneumonia as the worst ever because at one point lying in my hallway having just slept most of the day, and my fever was probably quite high, and I was thinking really really hard about how to get to the bathtub.  The bathroom was right across the hall from my bedroom, but I got stuck there sitting in the hallway between the two confused and exhausted.  My brain was all fog, and it was like a million lights were on and making noise at me.  My first husband (now ex) worked overnights at a hotel at the time, and even when he was home he didn't really know what to 'do' with me being this sick.  I had to do it for myself.  Thank goodness we didn't have 'covid' going around at the time because that would have added his paranoid fear to my sickness and who knows what he would have done during that time.  I drug myself into the bath and cooled down, then I was a bit better to put the kettle on in the kitchen and sit there staring at it.  Hot green tea and honey and pouring sweat and then coughing fit after coughing fit, and finally back to the hallway, decide bed or bath etc.  And so on over and over in a cycle.  And I am 'immune' to opiate medications.  They had tried to give me a prescription cough medicine because I had cracked a rib coughing... but it did nothing for the pain and probably helped with the 'lights are making noise' issue, so I would not take anymore of it.  But through the overspiced soup / honey tea / sweat / bath / sleep / alarm / overspiced soup (repeat) routine I emerged out of the other side weak and pale, but better.

 You can :


If you have a whole-body fever that is 2 to 3.5 degrees higher than your 'normal' body temperature - you should be trying to reduce it with an ice pack to your forehead or towels or cloths dipped in cool water placed on your neck and arms.  Don't shock yourself, but try to bring it down gradually.  If your fever is concentrated in your sinuses, place the cool cloth there and dip back in cool water every few minutes.  

If you have a headache, you can place an ice pack on the forehead or back of the neck, and put your hands and feet into warm (not hot) water.  This will draw the blood flow down into your hands and feet and away from the part of your head that hurts.  This may help with throbbing.



If your sinuses are stuffed and nothing has helped, run hot water in a steam bath with some peppermint and/or eucalyptus oil (Dr. Bronner's soap works, too, as it has the oil in it).  Sometimes I don't even get in the bathtub at all - just sit in the room with the shower running water down into a small pan of water containing the soap - and the bathtub plugged to catch the overflow.  The steam rises in the room and I start to feel better


Drink tea with honey.  Honey is a natural antimicrobial that will help with what is infecting your sinus.  The warm to hot tea will help draw it there when you swallow it.  Boil the water, brew the tea, then stir the honey in just before you are ready to drink.  This keeps the good properties of the honey (that can be destroyed by heat) at their best right up until the moment you drink. Green tea is really good for this, but rosehip, hibiscus, orange, peppermint or lemon tea will also mix well with the honey.

Licorice tea (which you must be careful with, for too much too often can cause problems for some people with certain heart problems) with honey is the best for clearing mucus from the lungs.  Peppermint is next - you will often find Peppermint and Licorice in the same tea for this reason. 


If the weather is decent, get some sunshine, which helps provide Vitamin D (also in fish and eggs) and get a decent amount of fresh air.  Don't go out in a pouring down rain, or a 100 degree day (be sensible), but get natural ventilation when you can.  


 If you know you have a fever because of a bacterial infection you might want to sweat it out a little, to help it clear up.  The heat your body is trying to produce is because the bacteria can't stand being too hot - and might just 'die or get out' etc.. drink a good amount of liquids, including tea with honey and a source of vitamin C like orange juice, pineapple or tomato - and then wrap up in blankets and use your fever.  Sleep, but set an alarm so you are woken up in two to three hours to check your temperature.  Have a big glass of water or tea by your bed and drink as much of it as you can when you wake up to put liquid back into the mucus and hopefully cough it up.  If you ever get more than 3.5 degrees above your normal body temperature and 'just can't cool down', it's time for a cool bath or cloths - or the ER.

If your chest feels heavy or tight, but you are not extremely fatigued - you can place a hot (but not too hot) towel directly on the part of your chest that feels tight or 'caught up'... drink tea with honey or tea or coffee with a small amount of a strong br-andy or wh-iskey, about two tablespoons worth, and lemon juice, and within one or two refreshes of the hot towel you should begin to feel some relief.


Hot liquids help keep our sinuses moving along.  Chicken soup is a famous one, although I usually remove all the noodles and then spice the broth heavily with cayenne, onion, garlic, black pepper and turmeric curry powder, bringing it all to heat so that it combines.

Onion soup contains a natural expectorant property.  Make a strong onion broth or chicken broth with onion powder added to it and let to 'soak' for a minute or so.  The property in the onion is not immediately accessible but is released with heat and binding to a fat.  A bowl of hot onion soup or broth can get you beginning to clear mucus from your throat and lungs within the next half hour.  Too strong of onion you might get digestive issues - but it's a trade-off.  

Garlic, same as the onion but it also contains antibacterial properties that will help kill what bacteria might be growing in the sinus.  You can use garlic powder (not salt) raw (as in not cooked in, just sprinkled over top) over many foods to help, or eat actual raw garlic cloves.  Garlic is also great for abcesses if you can stand to hold the chewed raw clove up against the painful place for long enough for it to do some good.

 Cayenne, black pepper and jalapeno pepper can help as well because they make our noses and eyes water.  Cutting raw onions can help, because it makes your noses and eyes water and flushes things out.  Now, if you're around someone who is coughing and sneezing on you and you are rubbing your eyes afterwards that is a different story - but having a 'regular flush' of everything that collects can really help most of the time.  Black pepper also has a chemical called 'piperine' in it which is an anti-inflammatory, and it is helped to be accessed by the body by adding turmeric and a fat source (see below).

 All of these, cayenne, onion, garlic - can be carried best with a little bit of fat and also help access fat-soluable vitamins in the onions and peas and so forth - use full fat butter or chicken broth with the fat in it.  

Pea soup (with onions) made from split peas.  This will add iron, and zinc, and help bring the expectorant quality of the onion to you as well.  The zinc is a known help against some qualities of virus reproduction, and the soup will help coat your throat with it.  It really can't hurt you much at the very least, and it also contains vitamin D to help with your immune system.  It is a known fact that pea soup can bring back someone's sense of smell when it has been temporarily lost.  How odd that is one of the covid symptoms?  It is actually considered to be a feature of the amount of magnesium that pea soup contains, and lack of smell is a sign of magnesium deficiency.

To avoid : Lots of high sugar foods (you are feeding the bacteria in your sinus with sugar) and milk products (for most sinus stuff, it's also 'food' for the bacteria).  The very very worst thing I've ever done for sinuses is known I was about to get an infection and had a bowl of ice cream.  Bad idea!  

To avoid : Mixing lots of OTC medications.  Don't!  Always follow the instructions of the medication or your doctor.  It can be hard when you're tired and sick and the last thing didn't help etc.. but hopefully one of these other things helped some, too.


Other helpful things I knew - from having pneumonia - long before I read all of this covid stuff?  Lay on your stomach 'proning' was not new to me.  Also, laying on your stomach in a shallow bath with peppermint or eucalyptus oil helps you breathe in the steam and also helps with coughing out any mucus that is loosened.  

 Sleeping on your stomach or 'mostly' on your stomach on your side will help the mucus not collect down in your lungs while you sleep as much.  It also frees up the space in the back of your ribcage for the lungs to expand more.  This is NOT new info, but people had to hear about it like it was to start doing it.  If you wake up and your nose is clogged on one side, switch sides.  Raise / elevate your head with pillows to help snot go down the correct pathway in your esophagus and not to your lungs.  If you wake up coughing and it feels like it just will not come out - your whole chest is on fire - hang your head down off the side of the bed for a moment to see if that convinces it.  That brings blood to your head and neck and assists gravity.

Coughing out mucus is easiest from the 'on all fours' position because it puts the lungs in the best possible position for the cough to be effective.  I learned that more than thirty years ago when I had my first case of pneumonia in Minnesota.  It was common knowledge back then - we've just forgotten so many of these things!

 And the biggest thing of all was to keep a positive attitude but be wary enough to know when you need some help.  The moment you are 'giving up' is the moment the sickness is going to kick your butt.  Don't give up, but don't lie down and not get back up either.  Lying in bed, even waited-on-hand-and-foot while you have walking pneumonia is a surefire way to make it worse, not better, as the mucus will settle in your lungs.  Get sleep, but set your alarm so you can check your own condition at least every four hours (closer together if you are checking fever and it is high.. further apart if your fever has started to break and you have begun being able to clear your lungs well) - then do the most natural next part of the cycle, and work around to sleeping some more.

Sunday, July 26, 2020


garden bits coming in, I need to pick peppers today and probably pick over the cinnamon basil again.

A postcard from Nakisha!  She is my favorite artist.  A dear friend of mine bought me her book, and for Mother's Day I asked for a print that is now on our art wall.  It says 'I hope you get to curl up with a good book'.  She had a promotion on her Facebook and I knew I'd love to have a postcard to hang up - and show others her wonderful work.

The other postcards are from The Kirk Estate, which I got with the seeds I bought this year.  I caught up with her blog - a bit bittersweet, she writes from her soul and it is a soulful time in the world right now.


toys copyright

My friend Christine on my mom's group has been crocheting toys out of a book she got.  They are very inspiring, and a good use for little bits of yarn that would otherwise not make much.   But I hate to follow patterns.  And I knit better in the round than I crochet.  So, I decided to just draw some pictures and go at it.  I'm writing up a 'pseudocode' pattern for it (the only way I can follow knit instructions) for posterity, and will post it sometime soon as well as some step-by-step, and print out a booklet for my Etsy shop about it.

toys copyright

I repurposed a carrall from the top of a little toolbox to carry my tools and tiny balls of yarn in.  It is working pretty good.  Catching up on season 10 of NCIS, and slowly getting through the Seaquest I ordered for my birthday.

Charlotte is very happy.  The other dogs have mostly accepted her.  She gets to go on walks with Sweetie and Nova, who were never interested in walks before - but now they jump up and 'press me' to be the one to go on this walk or the other - I make them take turns.  Charlotte is so much I could never walk three on leash at the same time.. Daphne comes along without her leash  which is why I still call it a 'three dog walk'... but neither Sweetie nor Nova could be trusted to return with me from the walk like Daph does.

Esme is going back to school, so far, on the 4th of August.  That is coming up so soon.  She wants to go.  We're mostly ready.  I think I need to buy her another mask or two since she has to wear one everyday (highly encouraged), and she only has the one.  I've asked her to wear it to get used to it - but she said that was 'too much'... and she 'thinks she can handle it when the time comes'.  Well, I tried.  She's going to be thirteen before we know it.  She has joined a group online with a team studio and is doing some very interesting work, .. roleplay Minecraft storymode type stuff on a Youtube channel (of the myriad ones there are), but other than that it is 'secret' and copyrighted by the studio owner.  She's learning great art and sound skills - which she hopes to put to use in the future with her own channel.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


I am growing and drying four different kinds of basil in the garden this year.  There is sweet Genovese basil, shown above on the left, and the perennial lemon 'mint' basil, and at the bottom of the page cinnamon basil.  I also have a purple basil mixed in with regular sweet basil out there, but it hasn't yet grown large enough to pick or take photos.

my real take on masks

The mask order is to go into effect at most businesses on Monday, and there are two big problems with this:

1.) Masks don't really block the virus, but the 'mask order' is going to make people feel so safe they will now be going about 'business as usual' everywhere.

2.( I have seen people wearing masks believe they do not need to social distance because they are wearing a mask.  I've seen high risk elderly people congregating in a group of five just inches away from each other talking in Walmart aisles - all masked.. but feeling safe because of it.

Combine that with #1 and we end up basically back in the soup.

I know that the sickness is real.  I truly think that is what smacked Mark and Esme down so hard in the middle of February.  It fits all the symptoms they had and the doctors did tests and said that Esme had 'just a virus' and to take an antibiotic to control the sinus infection that came with it, so that it wouldn't dump snot into her lungs and make the effects of the virus worse.  I think I might have had a mild reaction somewhere around the first of March when my throat was so cold and achey for several days.

So I don't think the whole thing is a hoax.  But, I don't think the masks work the way people are believing with their heart and soul they are going to, either.  We should continue to distance, wash our hands and go out for essential things and work.

I naturally distance myself from ANYONE wearing a mask - but that is not what I see from others.  It is also honestly one reason why this bugs me... my 'alert' sensors are going to be going off for everyone - and I won't be able to communicate with half of them if I need to because I can't see their lips move behind a mask.  I already just nod and smile at cashiers and 'do the routine' because I can't understand if they are asking me 'donate to children's hospital' (guessed) or 'dome rate a child's horse petal'   If I know what I'm 'supposed' to hear it gets better, but sometimes it is just entirely unintelligible.

And yet, when the # of cases go up two weeks after this, it won't be blamed on the mask order.  It will be 'it would have been so much worse without the mask order!'

And school?  Well, Esme wants to go back.  They just haven't said much at the district beyond the start date and the supply list - they are still arguing over the policies I guess.  I do have a mask for her if she has to wear one.  I'm not sure what her feelings are on it - she just wants to be back with her grade.  She worries about what 'all' her friends got involved in over the summer, new skills, new friends, new goals.  She wants to talk to them and do new things instead of what she has done the past four months.  She has made a lot of new friends as well, through her Minecraft, voice acting online and animation... and she has 'come into her own' a little with this, having new goals and ambitions.

But, she is ready for a little more 'normal'.. and I know everyone is.  I don't like 'the new normal' everyone is talking about.  It frankly scares me a little to look at life being like that for the next twenty years or so... and not just for me, but for Esme growing up in that kind of world.

Leaving this here for posterity...

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

zucchini experiments - vinegar

I'm experimenting with refrigerator pickles etc. I had fresh basil that I dried earlier today, and several small cucumbers and zucchini that were ready. I read a bunch of recipes online, then freehanded this with what I have:

Recipe tried

finely chopped zucchini and cucumber in a quart jar, 
1 cup white wine vinegar, 
1 cup water 
2 tbsp sugar 
boiled mixture together, pour over mixture in jar, 
add 2 tbsp olive oil, basil leaves, mustard seeds and crushed red pepper seed, 
add more boiling water to fill almost to the top, 
seal hot jar and refrigerate for 48 hours. 

I think it would be excellent served over rice, we'll see. I can see making it with some hot peppers, onions and garlic for another go round.  I did not soak the mixture in salt and rinse it as a prep step.  I almost did that yesterday - and then ended up using those cucumbers for a salad mixture to eat on toast.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Adopted a lost dog - Charlotte

This dog was lost over July 4th weekend and someone I knew from Lowe's had posted about her.  I looked at how much she was like our other dogs and sent a few pictures to Mark and he said 'you should tell that person we'll take her if they won't keep her'.. because she looked like she had some real personality and that personality 'resembled the everything of our dogs'.

so next thing you know we are picking up Charlotte (the lady who found her named her) from a house in Paris.  She had been there a week and they couldn't keep her - but neither they nor I wanted to see her in a shelter.  It's obvious looking at her head she has some Pitt bull in her, so she probably would not have fared well at the shelter.

 the vet at Lakeway said they thought she was a blue heeler and pit bull cross, about 2 years old or less, unspayed female  If she does have owners looking for her, maybe they'll find her this way but we will need some pretty good evidence that she is theirs, pictures and vet records etc.  We will have her spayed in a few weeks if no one calls us or the original finder about her.

She is energetic.  She won't stay off the bed - she sleeps up against my back. She loves toys and stuffed animals - but luckily has not chewed anything up here.  She knows about chickens, and how to properly behave around them, and knows cats.  She does not know goats, but was willing to steer clear of 'weird dog' the first day, then got a little barky the second.  She is 'handsy' with her paws -likes to put them up on my knees and probably liked to be a lap dog when she was smaller.  My Sweetie is jealous that Mom would dare bring another dog into the house, much less let it on the BED which she has always been told not to be on *sigh* I tried to keep her off - she said the other dogs would pick on her and they kind of did...anytime she tried to lay down anywhere else someone was prodding and jumping around her. So, I gave in.

Daphne and Nova aren't too hot on the idea either, but do like to go for walks.  Minerva says 'puppy...big puppy' and just wants to make sure she keeps her dignity and that Mom will still feed her curry and eggs.  Spud says 'puppy .. energetic female puppy' and tolerates her - he was the ambassador we brought with and he said 'if we have to' and was quite diplomatic about bringing her home to introduce to everyone else.. just a little snap and bark and sit still and not on me in the truck all the way home.

Rex is glad to have someone to bite, but also his dignity is hurt getting bit so much.  They're warming up to each other.  She is about his age, maybe a little younger, and now she is the smallest dog here!   She walks on a leash nicely, but really really likes walks, as well - so she will get bored and sigh when walks have not been sufficient.. even with yard time.

Someone loved her - they put two collars on her, one purple and a flea collar.  Someone maybe couldn't keep her.  She obviously had a woman owner, because she bonded hard to the lady who found her, and now she is laying at my feet or at doors I go out of etc.. sleeping up against my back (as I said a bit ago).  She does not like lighters, fire, or spray cans.  She cowered once when I picked up a laundry basket and swung it over my shoulder.. but she cues off the other dogs, too - and has decided it is okay when sounds are scary as long as the others say it is.

Mom!  She's biting me!  *ha*