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Rabbits for Refugees

Twenty pendants, $40, all rabbits, all proceeds to the International Rescue Committee to aid refugees trapped by Trump's ban.

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Summer in Orcus Collection on Sale!

We got ebooks! Hot fresh ebooks! The whole collection, in one place!

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a Patreon person, you get it free! There should be an email in your inbox! You don't have to buy it! You already helped support it like whoa!

Amazon:

B& N

Smashwords

And yes, to forestall the question--I'm currently chatting with a publisher about a print volume, so that's hopefully in the works for the not-terrible-distant future!


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Dream Theater

(slightly expanded from the Twitter record shortly after waking.)

DREAM: You're a girl making her way to the frontier to find her fortune.

ME: Premise accepted!

DREAM: You have a feckless brother with you.

ME: He won't last long.

DREAM: You meet a lovely woman, who vaguely resembles the County Extension officer, who will take you as an apprentice. Soon you will go downstream from the town and make money doing frontier-y things.

ME: With you so far.

DREAM: She is concerned that you bring enough socks.

ME: Seems legit.

DREAM: Axe murder! Everyone in town is now dead except you and the woman and the axe murderer.

ME: These things happen.

DREAM: You hide under anachronistic sheets of injection molded plastic as the axe murderer stalks the town.

ME: Yay injection molded plastic!

DREAM: Also, your brother is lost on the tundra.

ME: See, I knew that'd work out.

DREAM: Sexy Idris Elba shows up.

ME: HELLO SEXY IDRIS ELBA MY WE ARE SHIRTLESS TODAY

DREAM: The woman tells you she is a member of the cult of midwives. She has a necklace with a weird symbol on it. Kinda looks like an anarchy symbol only with labia.

ME: Don't care, go back to Idris--oh damn, a cult of midwives? That's pretty good. I should take notes.

DREAM: Sexy Idris Elba leaves.

ME: Nooooo!

ME: My bitterness overwhelms me.

DREAM: Axe murderer!

ME: Screw it, I kill that guy. He might hurt Idris.

DREAM: ...uh.

DREAM: Not where I expected this to go. Give me a minute.

ME: I'll wait.

DREAM: Your brother returns! Possibly he is also an axe murderer! At the very least, he is lazy and did not actually go on the tundra after all. He has been in the barn.

ME: Can I kill him too?

DREAM: What?

ME: He cut a hole in the barn because the door was on the other side and he was too lazy to walk! I'm getting the axe!

DREAM: ...this would be frowned upon.

ME: Chance I'm willing to take.

DREAM: OH LOOK SHIRTLESS IDRIS ELBA IS BACK

DREAM: He is telling you about his visions.

ME: While not wearing a shirt, right?

DREAM: Lotta visions. Like a frontier blog.

ME: As long as he's shirtless, it's all good.

DREAM: The townspeople are all back. Turns out they weren't murdered after all.

ME: This is dreadful.

DREAM: They have arrested Idris for axe murder!

ME: It seems this situation could be solved with a WHOLE LOT MORE AXE MURDER. Just sayin'

DREAM: ...You are out on the tundra. Alone.

ME: But do I have an axe?

DREAM: NO ONE GETS AN AXE. THE AXES ARE GONE. THERE WILL BE NO AXES FOR ANYONE.

ME: Well, this sucks.

DREAM: The clouds are doing something weird and uncanny and have cat and crow heads.

ME: No time, gotta save Idris.

DREAM: It's really neat, though? Like, they're all twisty and swirly and stuff?

ME: A SEXY MAN NEEDS ME

REAM: We blew the entire budget on these clouds!

ME: You're going to execute shirtless Idris Elba. I AM BUSY.

DREAM: This one's a dragon with like a skeleton in its mouth and that one over there is a herd of buffalo with crow heads.

ME: I ride back to town! I will save Idris!

DREAM: You have to fill out paperwork saying you're his alibi.

ME: ...Anticlimactic.

DREAM: You can't use a fountain pen worth a damn in a dream, either.

ME: You just can't give me anything here, can you?

DREAM: But wait! If you sign this form, your reputation will be compromised because you, an unmarried young woman, were alone with a man! Unchaperoned!

DREAM: The townsfolk will judge you!

ME: Nathaniel Hawthorne? What are you doing here?

DREAM: Ok, you've saved Idris but now you're a fallen woman.

ME: ...

DREAM: NO AXES

DREAM: Idris decides the honorable thing to do is compromise you further.

ME: I forgive you for everything.

DREAM: Ha ha, sucker! Evil clouds are back!

ME: Nooooooo!

DREAM: The clouds are emanating from a monstrous device buried in the tundra!

ME: Okay, but how compromised are we talking?

DREAM: Huge machine! Gouts of clouds erupt out! No one is getting compromised!

ME: Then I don't care if they kill us all now.

DREAM: You must pry open the grate on the machine while cloud monsters attack!

ME: And sexy grateful Idris?

DREAM: Went to get a shirt.

ME: KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!

DREAM: There's a piece of meat stuck in the grate. Looks like bologna or something.

ME: ...ok.

DREAM: That was the problem.

ME: wut

DREAM: Evil piece of possessed meat drove the machine mad. It happens.

ME: What?!

DREAM: HEY LOOK IT'S IDRIS AGAIN

DREAM: He's brought you a quagga hide. He's very grateful.

ME: Oh yeah oh baby--wait, quagga hide? Where'd he get a quagga?

DREAM: ...

ME: This is important! Does he know where there are quaggas?

DREAM: HE HAS NO PANTS

ME: Then put on some damn pants and find me a quagga!

DREAM: You know what? I'm outta here. I can't work under these conditions.

ME: *wakes up*

ME: ...well, crap.

There is probably a moral here, but I think this just speaks to my priorities as a human being.

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Not dead Journal

...but holy moley, this con-crud has some teeth to it. Cough, body ache, fever and fatigue. Then you lay in bed and think "Am I REALLY sick or just lazy with a cough?" Then you get up out of guilt and then you have to sleep for three hours. Fun.







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Snow Journal





The tweet, if you can’t read it, reads as follows:

ERNIE: i ate snow sad now
ME: Oh buddy, your ears are so cold. Let me snuggle–GET YOUR TONGUE OUT OF MY COFFEE
ERNIE: better now

Anyway, being home alone with the hounds during a snow event is not a bad thing, although I’ll be glad to see another human soon!


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First Journal of the Year



I’ll tell you a thing, though. As many crappy little doodles as I do in these pages (and there are many!) when I look back, I don’t think “God, that sucked! I wish I’d done better!” I’m just glad I drew a weird little thing at all. Even if it’s just a chicken.


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In Which I Take The First Steps Towards An Alarming New Skill

Here we have a post that I am more than a little afraid to write, but I will do it because I am me and I do not let good sense stop me. And also I have written sagas of having electrodes taped to my butt, and if y'all can handle that, you can handle anything.

And, perhaps most obviously, if I can do this, anybody can do it, and perhaps my stark terror will be of use to someone.

Read more...Collapse )

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Minor Botanical Mystery

So here's a thing I tweeted about awhile ago, but I wanted to do a full write up. It's an interesting botanical thing I figured out about beans!

Here's four kinds of beans. Last year, I grew three of them!



The Aztec Cave Bean keeps appearing under various guises in seed catalogs. The story goes that this bean was found in a sealed clay jar in a cave during an archaeological dig in the Seventies. Carbon dated to 1500 years ago!

Thing is...nobody knows anything about this hypothetical dig. Who ran it? Where was it? There is no info. Dig on a forum and you'll get, "Uh...maybe Berkeley?" And then I went digging around in Google Books and found a reference to this legend from the 1800s (and the author was skeptical then, too!)*

Also, the Aztec Empire flourished from the 13th to 16th century, which by my math was at most 800 years ago, so if this WAS true, it'd be a Nahuatl Cave Bean. But never mind that. Let's just say I am Very Skeptical.

The ones I got were a lovely maroon mottled bean. It looked like they'd grow into Holstein cows or tiny paint horses. Artist representation above!

I also grew the Tarahumara Red, a rare bean variety from the high desert, grown by the Tarahumara people. It's one of those varieties that I don't know why they're rare--they're tough as nails. It produces a small maroon bean with a black ring around the hilum. (That's the white mark on the bean, or the "eye.") The Aztec cave bean ALSO has a black ring around the hilum, or at least the ones I got did.

So I had both these beans and I grew them and at first, all was well. Aztecs produced and produced, Tarahumara were less productive but they kept going and going and going and they grew in crappy buckets I forgot to water.

Then an odd thing happened. The Aztec cave beans...vanished. Suddenly I was harvesting nothing but solid maroon beans with black hilums.

Okay, sez I! The Aztec beans melted in the high summer heat and humidity. This was the first year I grew them, I had no idea what to expect, and some things just melt in our heat. These are obviously the Tarahumara Reds (I had planted a couple extra about midway through the season when another set of beans had choked and died.)

And then one day I harvest some beans, shell them, and out come the Mystery Beans. Maroon bean. Single white splash right where the sprout would emerge.

I stared at them for awhile.

I finally decided they had to be an Aztec cave bean that just got weird. Okay. These things happen.

I harvested a few weeks later and got dozens more.

Had I somehow made a cross-breed between my Tarahumara and my Aztecs? Beans can cross-pollinate, but they usually don't. Even when they're grown on the same trellis, they rarely cross, unlike peppers or squash, who will joyfully sex up the world. Beans are suspicious of other beans. Peppers would cross with pine trees if they could reach that high.

And then, in late fall, the very last round of beans, suddenly I have Aztec cave beans again. Little Holstein cow beans. AND Tarahumara Reds.

What the hell just happened?

I was baffled. I threw them all in jars and eyed them suspiciously. Had I found two beans that were star-crossed lovers and crossed easily? Were these sports? (Some beans are sold with the specific note "Throws an occasional all-black bean" and so forth.)

And then, browsing seed catalogs in December, trying to keep my spirits up, I happened on a bean collector who has been growing beans since, literally, the year I was born. His site was an obsessive catalog of hundreds of varieties. And one of them was the Jacob's Cattle Bean.

Jacob's Cattle Beans are an old, old variety. They range from maroon to medium tan, and they are speckled and spotted and splotched with white. It looks like an acid washed kidney bean. It was grown by the Passamaquoddy Indians of Maine, according to legend. Unlike the Aztec, they're more...flecked, I guess? Appaloosa horses instead of paints.

What they don't tell you, what I learned from our bean collector's site, was that many, many spotted beans descend from Jacob's Cattle types, and that if you grow Jacob's Cattle in high summer temperatures, it becomes solid colored.

Now, I can't know for sure, but I will bet you a dollar that my "Aztec Cave Bean" is a reasonably modern descendant of the Jacob's Cattle Bean, and the high heat in North Carolina turned them solid red. Then, as the temps cooled, they got the first white splotch, and then finally reverted to their normal coloration.

"Okay," you say, "but why do I care?"

I have no idea, honestly. It's neat? It screwed up my counts because I kept thinking that the hot-weather Aztecs were actually Tarahumara Red, so I now have no idea what my total counts were and need to regrow both.

But anyhow, I thought it was cool that I finally got to the bottom of my mystery beans.


*There actually ARE a couple of vegetable varieties found from ancient dig sites--a very impressive squash was found on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. They named it the Gete-okosomin, and you can get seeds now, which I'll try once I've got the Gem Squash reliable.
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Nearly there!

I don't dare take anything for granted, but it's 2.5 hours to 2017, EST, and we can do this! Hold the line! Don't die! If you feel yourself about to die, clench or something! We can make it!

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Held the Line Journal


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