Fairy Tale Charting

I’ve been studying astrology.  I began with tropical but shifted into sidereal placements and study of the 27 nakshatras (indian jyotish astrology) after comparing both my own charts and those of people I know . . . have found sidereal offers a closer picture and a deeper story, sort of zoomed in.  It positions information against constellations where they are above rather than against signs, named after constellations when once upon a time there was an overlay, but over time have shifted about 25 degrees due to the way the Earth moves with a wobble, so they’re no longer representing ‘star’ stories but have evolved into having their own story, sign stories.  The two systems result in two zodiacs with degrees of difference; as they are tools, depending on the interpretation, both systems can be simultaneously valid . . .

As an example, the Spring Vernal Equinox occurs on March 21st, give or take a day here or there, and in tropical astrology this marks the beginning of Aries . . . however, were we to step outside on that day and LOOK at the sky, it is not the constellation of The Ram, from where Aries once derived name, horn, and tale, that is presenting but The Fish . .  . that is to say, 0 degrees Aries in tropical astrology is against a backdrop of fixed stars where 6 degrees Pisces is present in sidereal astrology.  Depending on perspective, one could say that 0 degrees Aries is the same as 6 degrees Pisces, in a certain way, both offer information .  .  . one viewed from here offers this, and move to here and look and it offers this instead.  A combination of the two offers a whole lot, and right now the degree of difference is not so big that the entire chart shifts in a huge way . . . mostly placements may move from one sign to another, some stay in the same place depending on when in a month one was born . . . so a 3 degree Pisces Sun would shift to about 27 degrees Pisces, still in the same sign, maybe in the same area or house, but with nakshatras this makes an interesting difference, as these lunar mansions or asterisms (smaller areas within a mass of fixed stars) carry a tale specific to the degree within a sign rather than as an overall sign based interpretation.

I like to toggle between both zodiacs, see what changes happen to houses and planetary visits; feels like the tropical is more immediate as to day to day but the sidereal digs deeper into purpose . . . kind of like handpicking nits or threading a fine tooth comb and catching them . . . either way it’s nitpicking but the results are a little different!  This blog post offers a bit more detail on the topic of sidereal and tropical systems, an easy read should you be interested.

Anyway, where I’m going with this is:: I’ve been studying astrology for a few years now, am still engaged in study.  Often I have wondered, how would I draw up a chart for someone, firstly without astro.com and secondly, without a birth time or place or even date?  How could I draw a chart without programs or a methodical mathematical approach?  Is there a way that’s immediate, where I could go into the woods with someone and draw a chart for them with a stick on the earth . . . but what would it be based on?  A reply came in a marvellous dream that showed me visually how this is possible . . . fairy tales.

So someone wants an astrological chart interpreted, which requires a chart be drawn up first. Now let’s say they don’t know birth time or place, maybe they don’t even know their birthday (while this may seem far fetched, my great grandmother and grandparents didn’t know their birthdays, more like they had a general idea of time of year and so they picked a date and that was it . . . . ), yet they want a chart for interpretation.  They don’t know what they don’t know, but they’re curious to discover.  On my end I don’t know how to draw an exact degree specific chart on my own to begin with (no computer available in this reality with all the data); so here’s where fairy tales enter . . . I ask them their favorite fairy tales, myth, legend, fable, story, no less than 3, no more than 9, and these become the clues and cues by means of which to fill in the circle, feel toward energy and activity in the wheel of houses with planets and signs, and draw up their ‘chart’::kind of necessary as it’s what gets interpreted, and it’s doable anywhere with ‘tools’ that are available wherever one is.

In dreaming, I was whirling through space atop a pegasus on a mythic ride amidst Cassiopean stars with Andromeda and Perseus and in waking when I examined the fairy tales that showed up I was able to draw up my own chart based on the information in the stories . . . . that said, I know my own chart so potentially this exercise was colored by knowing what I know and I was making things fit to match what I know.  I don’t know but I want to, and that’s where you come in as people whose charts/signs/etc. I know nothing about therefore there is no bias involved.

Once I began thinking about it, other variables began suggesting themselves as to how a chart could be drawn with additions and alternatives to fairy tales.  What I’ve come up with as a starting point is this ::

Leave me a comment or use the correspond form with 3 – 9 of your most beloved fairy tales/myths/gods/goddesses/legends or personalities from the aforementioned . . . the ones that come to mind immediately in the same order they come up in.

I will draw up a chart based on these stories and share with you what it is.

Here’s the more involved part that I’m asking you to do after I share what I find with you . . .

Would you please go to astro.com and on the free horoscopes, click on extended chart selection.

Here you would enter your birth time and date and place information (as much as you do know, if you don’t know the time, pick a time based on when you feel most alive/lively/’born’).

On the chart page, under Options select Whole Signs, and leave it at Tropical first and take a look at your chart, compare it to the fairy tale one . . . . then go back and change Tropical to Sidereal, and where it says Ayanamsha, select Hindu/Lahiri and view the chart, compare this also to the fairy tale one; and theennnnn let me know whether I was remotely close or way off in space!!

If you’d like to try this out but don’t want to do the astro.com bit and don’t mind sharing your birth details with me via Correspond or Comment, then you could give me the information and I can compare the difference afterward on my own.  This is vital to validating the effectiveness of this ‘method’!

Your participation would be of great assistance to me in figuring out this fairy tale charting dream, and in return I’d like to send you a print of my art as a token of gratitude . . .

. . . you can select the one you’d like from the images below::  they’re 5 x 7 or 7 x 5 in size, prints are either of my plant creations or paintings, and all are Giclee’s on archival paper with white borders; some have deckled edges, some are straight cut . . ..

. . .tell me it’s name as well as your name and mailing address  . . . .  should none of the available prints be to your tastes, I’m happy to make you a unique work of art based on your story selections coupled with my findings (Comment or Correspond with me about your preference).

I’m not entirely certain how long this will require to get done once I’ve gathered your information; I’m guessing 2- 4 weeks, could be more could be less!




Head Cheese

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Making Head Cheese:

We, me and mom, started out when a friend of ours had a pig head for sale. We bought it because ever since I had told mom about headcheese, I had wanted to make it and mom had heard that it was good. And so dad picked up Henry, the pig head, and brought him home where he stayed over night in a cooler with ice.

I took it upon myself to do all the gland removal and butchering process, I like doing that kind of stuff for some reason!

The next morning, we brought Henry up stairs and put him in the sink. He had the brains, glands, eyes, ears, and snout . . . . . . . everything.

I washed him off while mom watched and gave me instructions. Then I cut off his ears and snout with the kitchen shears. Apparently you can fry and eat them!

Then I turned Henry over and started to cut off all the glands that look like bubble wrap or something similar with a sharp knife combined with the kitchen shears. I took out all the glands from the inside of the cheeks so that the inside was completely hollow. I had a big pile of strips of glands next to me when I was done. I gave them to our dog. The funny thing was she did not eat them at first. She sniffed them and then waited for a bit to see what the stuff in her bowl would do. She ate it in the end though. Then I came back to the sink and washed Henry off.

I turned Henry over and started to cut out his tongue. It would not come out the mouth because his jaw was locked in place. So instead I cut it out from behind, on the severed part of the head. I had to dig the knife deep into his throat and pull and pull to get the tongue out. But it came out and I put it with the ears and snout. Then I washed Henry off again so that he would be clean when we put him in the pot. Mom stood and watched most of the time.

Then I tried to take off his hair with a razor blade. It refused to come off so I used the scissors and knife to scrape and cut it off from around his jaw and bone of a snout and from around his eyes and his floppy, fat cheeksjowls.

When I was done with that, I cut out his ear bones. Then I washed him off again. Then I tried to get to his brains but I could not get through his skull. So we decided that it would be okay to roast him with his brains and eyeballs in since they were encased in skull 🙂 I put him in a roasting pan with seasonings [carrots, onions, celery, garlic and spices] mom had prepared. Then Henry went into the oven for just about an hour.

Mom took him out and we tried to put Henry into the pot so we could simmer him. He was to fatty to go in so mom cut off some of his fat and then I popped him in. He fit nicely.

We filled the pot with the pan juices and all of the vegetables and spices and 3 gallons of water. I moved the pot to the stove and we cooked him on high until the water boiled. Then we reduced it to a simmer and let him cook for 3-4 hours. When he is done, the meat should peel away from the bone.

We took Henry from the pot 4 hours later. During the time he was cooking, I baked cookies.

The meat came right off the bone. Mom cut off most of it. I finished the rest of it. Then I separated the fat from the meat. Henry had more fat on him then meat! That really surprised me! I shredded the meat into tiny, tiny pieces and put it in a mixing bowl and mom added salt, cinnamon, fennel, chili flakes and pepper. I mixed it up.

Mom cooked the fat in a pot on the stove to make it into lard. She put the skeleton into a pot with vegetables and water to make it into stock. The gelatin is in the stock. When it cooled after it was strained, the lard floated to the top, the soup underneath it. The gelatin is in the top layer of the soup part.

Then mom assembled it. She made sure the gelatin set properly by putting some in a bowl in the fridge. When she was satisfied, she put Glad wrap in the bottom of two loaf pans and put the head meat mixture on the bottom. Then she poured the gelatin/stock over it. Then meat mixture, then a layer of gelatin again. She did the same with both loaf pans and then she put the loaf pans in the fridge.

All that remained of Henry was a skeleton of the head in two sections: The lower jaw and the top part.

The brains had cooked into the meat but that is all right: They are completely edible and not in the least bit harmless unless you are allergic 🙂

And that is the story of the first making of headcheese by our family from my view.

If you are wondering who wrote this . . . . . . . . . .


Written and edited by;


Grilled Ham!

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We have an acquaintance who has a small farm.  He has snowy white geese with bright orange beaks, brown-black huge nosed guinea hogs that eat all their kitchen scraps and scrub and whatever they can dig into (they’ve cleared the garden space where the potatoes grow and all the underbrush just from rooting around,  it’s quite a sight . . . .  beats tilling and hand digging if you have a small farm, as opposed to a big garden *wink*, and if you’re into turning over/disturbing the soil in the first place) and really good potatoes that we dug up last fall.  We got a bone in ham from him that I thought I’d like to cook on the grill.  So I did.  Like this:

I rubbed a mix of 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. thyme, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, and 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar into an uncooked 6 lb. bone in ham

Heated up the gas grill on medium-low (between 250- 300 degrees).

Placed the ham fat side down on the grill for about 5 minutes till it was smoking and sizzling!

Moved it to foil with tongs and wrapped it.

Left it on the grill cooking while dead applewood chips were prepped, added to grill in foil, and burnt.

Added green applewood shavings to the coals in the dead applewood foil packet, got smokey!

Opened the ham foil a bit, added a cup of water half way through.

Kept cooking and adding green applewood to the coals.

The ham was done in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  The temperature inside the ham was about 145 – 150, lower by the bone (saved that for split pea soup in the fall or winter).

The lid was closed unless I was adding wood/checking on the ham.

It was THE BEST ham ever and would’ve been just as good with hickory chips or some other chips or even none at all, maybe with a whole peach tucked into the foil instead 🙂

Maybe I’ll try it on a live fire or in a pit next time . . .

Hatching chicks . . .

24 days ago we set up a broody box outside the coop in the run.  It’s a black rubber tub that we filled with straw and covered with some plywood boards.  Into this we put a waterer, a tray of corn, and our Mama Hen: a beautiful, buff rock henny who was picked because she would sit and sit and sit in the nesting box after laying, which seemed to indicate she wants to brood.  Over 4 days she made herself a nest space in the tub, and we gathered eggs from the hens: Silver Hamburgs, Auracanas, Speckled Sussexes, and a Barred Rock.  We collected them in a basket that was left at room temperature until the 4th night, when we slipped 18 eggs under Mama Hen in her tub-nest.  Every day Layla took her out of the box, once, so she could attend to her bowels outside the box, and we kept her food and water filled.  Over the course of sitting on her eggs, Mama Hen would get off and turn them over with her beak . . . . so they warmed evenly we are guessing.

Yesterday Layla came in, her eyes shining and filled with excitement as she exclaimed, “there’s chicks in the box!!”  So we all went out and looked, and lo and behold!  There were three little chicks peeking out from under the sides of her wings!  They’re hatching, eggs are stretching and shells cracking, and Mama Hen is fluffed out with her feathers all ruffled up about her :0)  Today we’re up to seven.  Seems like they hatch behind her, and then she lets them get toward her front and under her wings.  Can’t wait to see how many hatch in all and what they look like . . . . they’re really little and fuzzy and sweet.  There are two eggs toward the outside of the clutch, in which the chicks look like they grew on one side and the other remained stuck to the egg, so they didn’t survive the hatching . . . . looks like part of the egg didn’t turn or develop as it needs to.   The roosters we have are Copper Maran, Black Java, and Delaware, so the mix will be pretty interesting and so will watching the little chicks grow around Mama Hen!

We picked April to start this experiment since it’s warm enough for the Mama to be out of the coop and in the tub at nights.  We knew the chicks would hatch in May, when it’s also warm enough that they can grow under and around Mama without needing lights or other warming devices.  We’ve boarded up the entrance between coop and run to keep the other chickens from coming and going.  The chicks and Mama have been moved to a straw filled kennel in the run, and Mama Hen can come and go with her babies, showing them the way. The run is walled with eleven gauge welded wire and chicken wired around the bottom, to keep the small chicks from escaping.  Sometime in the summer they’ll be big enough to go outside the run and come and go freely, without being in danger of death should Clover, our dog, chase them . . . . she’s a half great pyrenees, half boxer, and takes her job of herding the chickens very seriously, sometimes to their discomfort!  She has certain areas she thinks they shouldn’t go, mostly out in the open spaces where hawks can see them easily, and keeps them in the woods and around the coop where they have cover if they need it.  The only exception is after or during a rain, then she’s okay with them going anywhere they please.  Since she’s joined our family they’ve not provided food for the hawks, raccoons, and foxes like they used to and the woods are thick with wormy hummus for them to peck, so we let Clover chase them  . . . . seems like whatever she’s doing keeps them alive, and that works for us all :0)