ISO an old family remedy: Florida, gopher grass, prostrate sandmat/spurge?

My mother suddenly remembered that her grandmother, who lived in Pensacola, used to pick what she called gopher grass to take off warts. She said it grew in her backyard and she used to apply the little roundish leaves directly to warts, but she wasn’t sure how she made them stick – “maybe spit,” she said. Well, my search for “gopher grass” wasn’t turning up anything too promising as a match, but my mother said she would recognize it if she saw it again.

Well, she thinks she found some today and she sent me a picture. I believe this is Euphorbia prostrata, prostrate sandmat or ground spurge. In poking around, I found a very few plants in the Southeast that have been called “gopher grass,” but none of them look anything like this.

So I’m hoping the internet can help me out, and I’m especially keen to hear from folks in the Southeastern U.S. and most especially in/around northern Florida. Anybody heard of a gopher grass that looks anything like this? Or heard anything *else* being called gopher grass in that area? Anybody heard of it being used for warts?

St. Martha Altar Service: Steady Work, Fair Pay, Balance of Power, Peaceful Home, Domination — with Pay What You Can options

Sorry for getting this set up so late – my internet has basically been useless for about a month now, but they finally came to fix it, so I can finally connect via my computer again.

There’s currently a double rewards points bonus at the Seraphin Station shop good now until midnight August 5th.

This work begins the night of July 29th, the feast day of St. Martha, but there are several different modes of different lengths running concurrently here, so you absolutely can book late, as long as you see slots still available for the service you’re interested in.

St. Martha in the Bible:

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” – John 11:5

Famously depicted in the Bible as getting stuck with all the cooking and cleaning while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to him teach, St. Martha is the patron saint of servers, cooks, domestic workers, housewives,  and those in the hospitality industry – those who are behind the scenes making important things go even when nobody notices.


Her devotees will call on her for intercession when they need steady work, especially in these fields, or when they are having difficulty with their work, for instance if pay is slow in coming or a boss or manager is being unfair. She’s often called on to help with peace in the home, as well, as an extension of her association with the domestic sphere.

St. Martha the Dominator

Some legends have her leaving Bethany for France after Christ’s death and resurrection. William Caxton’s 1483 English translation of the Golden Legend tells how she tamed an infamous monster through her confidence in the power of God, her faith in the sign of the cross, and her skill in using the domestic tools with which she was familiar and comfortable.


And this was no garden variety baby dragon. It was really more of a sea monster, half beast and half fish, the offspring of the infamous Leviathan and some Galician beast. It was bigger than an ox and had the strength of a dozen lions (or bears, take your pick). It regularly sank ships and ate people.


Martha, being a badass, made short work of the beast by tying it up with her girdle (which can be understood in context as her belt). She didn’t need a sword or armor. 

The Golden Legend explains in detail how the creature defended itself from attack, and boy is it disgusting.
Read more about St. Martha, her history, and working with her in general at this main article.


These extra-scriptural legends account for much of her fame and reputation as a patron saint. She is called on for assistance by those who need to get the upper hand in any kind of relationship in which they find themselves “at the bottom of the totem pole.” In conjure and in the folk traditions of Latin America, she’s earned the title of St. Martha the Dominator, and she’s often called on when women want to dominate a man. 


But in this role as dominatrix, she is also petitioned to help employees get better treatment from their employers, for instance, especially if they are household employees like kitchen servants or nannies. So she is a great ally for all types of situations in which you are the underdog, or you might be taken for granted, or there’s a built-in power imbalance in a situation.


There is a tradition in some circles that she doesn’t like men and won’t work for them, but that’s not always necessarily true. It depends on what they’re asking her for and how they’re approaching her. You can read more about this and about working with Martha more generally at Big Lucky Hoodoo where there’s an entire article with lots of resources devoted just to working with St. Martha.


In orthodox Roman Catholicism, she is also the patron of dietitians, hemophiliacs, housewives, landlords, waitresses, servants, cooks, and women workers. Will she help a man in any of these roles?  I have certainly known her to. And that she assists in situations that don’t have anything to do with “dominating” someone should go without saying at this point.


Under the title of “St. Martha the Dominator,” she has gained a widespread reputation, and there is a ton of info out there on dominating work under her aegis. But just as you might call on St. Joseph under his title “St. Joseph the Worker” for work-related petitions, but you understand it’s the same saint, the same person, not two different people, so you can call on St. Martha for things that don’t involve wayward spouses at all. And you certainly don’t have to be a woman to call on her.


I’ve heard folks say she’s helped them with sibling issues in their family, like jealousy, or manipulative attention-grubbing, or rivalry.  I’ve also heard her called on by folks who are facing difficulties in managing their households because of strife or poverty; along with St. Joseph, she is a wonderful ally if you have a lot of mouths to feed and you are running short of money and resources to take care of them all. 

St. Martha Oil

My St. Martha formula is created from this sort of three-dimensional perspective of St. Martha rather than focusing only on her role as a dominator, and the same is true with this service I’m offering. While it’s suitable to use if you’re asking her help in getting the upper hand with a boss or returning a straying spouse, it’s also suitable to use if you’re setting lights to honor or thank her, if you want to invoke her aid for something specific, or if you’re seeking her help for something more general like patience or pragmatism.

Even when the difficulty is internal rather than interpersonal, St. Martha can help. If, for instance, you need help accepting the fact that right now in your life, you have to be waiting tables if you want to be able to stay in this town and have a shot at an acting career down the road; if you’re struggling with disappointment, envy, or resentment related to your current station in life; or if you need help accepting the things you cannot change while you’re figuring out how to change the things you can, then St. Martha can be a great ally for you.

Learn more about the service and the available options, including Pay What You Can if you’re facing financial difficulties and want to petition her for help, at the Seraphin Station shop.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Nicho with Pearls

These little nicho ornaments are made with reclaimed post-consumer tinplate that’s hand-cut, hammered, and shaped to encase tiny print reproductions of antique and vintage holy cards. I embellish them from my stash of vintage, antique, and/or reclaimed fabrics, metals, beads, and trims. This particular shrine features an image from a French holy card of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and is embellished with resin rhinestones and pearls, reclaimed vintage brass rosary chain, silk ribbon, a silver-tone heart pendant, pearlized glass beads, and satin roses. 

This handmade ornament is intended to evoke the Blessed Mother’s elegance and grace but without removing all the rough edges and scuff marks that are part of this icon’s history and that characterize the fabric of her devotees’ genuine lived lives.

7.25″ long including chain and pendant.

Available at Seraphin Station

Morning in the life

It’s just after noon as I type this. This is the first time I’ve sat down all morning since getting up at 5:30.

I’ve changed clothes three times, mopped the kitchen and the floor of Mike’s office twice, washed the dog twice, and am washing my second load of towels. I am kind of ready to go back to bed, but it’s time to get started working now lol

Don’t mind me – I look like I just got dragged backwards through a wet hedge – but look at the size of that damned hornworm. Ugh.

Chickens have to be tended at dawn every day, period, no matter what. And then if you are doing some kind of organic farming or gardening, and especially if you live somewhere like just off the bayou in southernmost Alabama/Mississippi, this is also your best time to make the rounds of whatever you’re growing and tend to anything that needs tending. If you wait until later in the day, even for cooler weather right around dusk, it will still be hot as hell, approximately 1000% humidity, and thick with mosquitoes who think your Deep Woods Off makes a nice condiment. Not that the mosquitoes aren’t already out just after dawn, because they are, but later in the day, they’ll be impossible.

Well, it’s been raining nearly every day for over a week now, and I don’t like to garden in the pouring rain, but tomato hornworms and leaf hoppers and army worms don’t mind snacking on everything in a rainstorm, so you can lose the race *fast.* And sure enough, the sticky nightshade I relocated to be near one of my tomato patches to act as a trap crop was showing signs of a significant hornworm depredation. These things can strip a plant of leaves overnight. So impending storm or no impending storm, I had to find that hornworm.

Well, I didn’t find it before it started pouring rain. Fortunately I found it before lightning had hit nearby too many times, but I was cussing there towards the end of that hunt.

As soon as the storm let up, like within 15 minutes, because I had only just gotten into dry clothes and found some food, Roo alerted me that something was going on outside. She was running from the back yard into the house, to the front door, and then when I didn’t open the front door, back to the back yard, rinse and repeat, whining the whole time. I can’t see things further away than a few feet because I desperately need to go to an eye doctor. The tenant who lives in our cabin IDed the disturbance as a fox, a rather large one.

In a moment of supreme and undercaffeinated stupidity, I let Roo out the front to chase it. And she did – she took off like a bolt of lightning after it through the woods, moving surprisingly fast for a dog her size. Still, she wasn’t gonna catch the damn fox. So after less than five minutes, we called her to come back, which she doesn’t always do right away if she’s chasing something really exciting, but to her credit, she did.

What she caught instead of the fox included a few pretty deep mud puddles and probably some old barbed wire from a decrepit old fence (which is why I shouldn’t have let her out). So she came back soaking wet, dripping a combo of mud and blood, and we couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from.

Have I mentioned she doesn’t like baths?

Chickens are getting pretty tired of this.

Finally got her cleaned up enough to identify that she’d nicked the edge of her ear and had a little gouge in her thigh, not vet-worthy, I was thinking. I try to get her quiet and calm so the bleeding will stop. Meanwhile, Mike is packing up his tools to go to a job site — and while I’ll do in a pinch when he’s not around, Mike is Roo’s person, her north star, her beloved. Once she realizes he’s leaving, she’s back out in the (very muddy, very swampy) yard to watch him, which she will continue to do until the car is no longer in sight. The vantage point for this in the yard happens to be the point of lowest elevation in the yard, so she’s basically sitting in a puddle for all of this.

Washed her off, got her *back* inside, mopped the floors again, and noticed she’s limping now, which she wasn’t doing at first. Cue inspection of foot pads, toenails, legs, etc. Probably that little gouge in her thigh is worse than it looks and her whole leg hurts now. Vet’s not open at this point anyway – just have to keep an eye on her and keep her as calm as I can.

Then it was time to head back outside to look for any storm damage and do things with the plants *other* than look for the damned hornworm.

I’ve been busy as hell for over 6 hours and I haven’t even started “working” yet. First order of business: caffeine. We have some yaupon out here, and I’ve been making tea out of it and drinking that instead of coffee. It’s pretty good. Just don’t think about the Latin name – it’s a complete misnomer.

The Blue Charm: Rustic Hoodoo Amulet Necklace

For this amulet necklace, I’ve basically deconstructed a classic rural Southern-style conjure bag, aka a mojo or toby, and made jewelry out of it.


This is backwoods conjure the way it used to be. It’s miles away from the shiny city general store with imported spices and soaps and fabrics. This is the part of the country where floorwash is made with chamber lye, not ammonia and certainly not Florida Water. New curtains come from recycled worn-out clothes, and those clothes come from recycled flour and feed sacks.

Old barn and field gear provides tiny scraps of leather. Copper, brass, and steel are scavenged from derelict machinery and buildings. Scraps of fabric — saved in an old cookie tin with thimbles and thread — tell 50 years of stories in a square inch: palest blue silk of a once-treasured gown; crisp white poplin once someone’s Sunday best; a thin strip of woven blue and gold once a hair ribbon won at the county fair. Whether passed on or simply moved on, those who once owned these bits and scraps are no longer here. And nobody was listening for their voices before you and I got here. Not everybody can hear them, after all.

This necklace is for those who can – or who want to. It’s for the medium, the storyteller, the card reader, the local historian, for the mad prophet, the family memory-keeper, the soothsayer. It’s for those who live too much in their own heads and those who don’t live enough in theirs, for those who want to remember and those who cannot forget. It’s for magpies of myth, keepers of scraps, and weavers of visions, those who can read the narrative in excavated brick or crumbling beams or rough-loomed fabric remnants. It’s for those who don’t go the long way round to avoid the cemetery at night and who aren’t afraid to slow down and chance hearing whispers in the wind.

Continue reading “The Blue Charm: Rustic Hoodoo Amulet Necklace”

status update

Contact and Pending/In Progress Stuff

  • my new email is karmazain@seraphinstation dot com, but you don’t have to do anything different to get in touch with me. The old @gmail address still works and things sent there will show up in my new inbox and the site contact form will continue to work.
  • If you are still waiting on a reply from me and it’s been a week or more, *feel free to write again,* ideally by responding to the last message in our conversation so you’re basically bumping it up to the top of my giant disaster of a new inbox. I know I used to tell people not to keep “reminding” me they were waiting because it’s counterproductive and clogs my inbox. Well, that was before I accidentally screwed up everything I had set up to organize inbox stuff this past week. Now my inbox is a huge mishmash of undifferentiated, unprioritized, unlabeled stuff, so feel free to raise your hand and make noise in the meantime if you don’t want to just wait for however long it takes me to get to the bottom of this mess going message by message.

Etsy

  • That applies to Etsy messages as well – go ahead and write again if you still want a reply from me and you’ve been waiting a week or more. Once I discovered my notifications weren’t working with the app on my phone like I thought they were, I started working on a way to get it set up so Sonia would see those incoming messages too and help me not lose track of everything in case of app/software/my attention span/whatever failure. Well, let’s just say Etsy does NOT make this easy, and in fact nothing we’ve tried so far has worked. We have a new plan of attack we’re gonna be trying here soon but bottom line is we have not solved this yet, and all the organizing features I had blew up, so it’s all a big mishmash of undifferentiated stuff. So feel free to raise your hand and holler so I can pluck your message out of the mishmash, put it in the appropriate place, and answer you 🙂
  • If your initials are N.S. and you were waiting on a lodestone spell kit, you will be getting that with your current in-house order as a gift from me by way of apology for making you wait so long at Etsy.
  • Folks, with the way Etsy runs things and the current status of existing and affordable integrations that let Etsy talk to other apps/services? Etsy is the worst damned way to get in touch with me at this exact second. If the notification of an incoming message pings my phone like it’s supposed to and does so at a time when I can answer pretty soon, all’s usually well, but in reality, Etsy’s messaging system and I don’t get along so well. So you’re always welcome to email me directly and you probably *should* for best/fastest results.

Current/In-House Orders and Bookings

This does not apply to orders that come in – those do not get lost. There is and has been a system beyond just my memory/email inbox to manage that stuff, so there is still no point in asking “when will my order ship” questions. The answer to that is the same as ever. See your order acknowledgment email for details 🙂

The only exception is gonna be a few services for a few clients where we were having an ongoing discussion on Discord and that discussion covers/crisscrosses *more than one topic or booked service.* I thought the Discord chat idea would be great for the folks who wanted to do asynchronous chat about their reading or report. And for isolated bookings, it is. But when there are several different services/reports/bookings/topics discussed via PM, it rapidly becomes a nightmare and something I just can’t stay on top of in terms of “where are we with order #S8888” or “where is the light setting report for S4567?” And I’m really sorry about that, about proposing an approach that ended up not being a very good one.

ETA: Well, WordPress ate an entire paragraph I had here, and it has something to do with its new freakin’ Blocks feature and [redacted for expletives so ridiculous they make even me feel a bit abashed]. Anyway, if we have had an ongoing PM thread at Discord on multiple things, I’m gonna have to separate these issues/topics out – or you can speed this up by nudging me if you want to tell me which orders/services we’ve begun to discuss but you’re still waiting on a response to a question on or something like that. I will create a private channel for each of those orders/bookings so it’s one issue/topic and one service booking at a time and we both know where that convo is happening, and I’ll paste over whatever info is in that disorganized PM thread and invite you to the private channel once I get it set up. Otherwise, if you’ve been waiting a while for a light setting report or consult and we haven’t started talking about it, you’re not dealing with a systems problem or a message getting lost – you’re just dealing with me being buried with work and slow as Christmas. Once we have my exploding inbox and task lists sorted back out, though, Christmas should start coming a little sooner again, so to speak.

Continue reading “status update”

Keys & Crossroads: Feast of St. Peter Community Altar Service Begins Tonight

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Have a light fixed, blessed, dressed, and set on my altar with your petition or prayer and worked in your name or the name of a loved one, in a communityaltar and prayer servicebeginning on June 29th,the feast day of St. Peter.There is some wiggle room and you can join up after the work starts as long as you see that there are still spots left and it doesn’t say “sold out.”

St. Peter was appointed by Christ as the first pope of the church, and the keys signify his authority as its first prelate and the authority of the church to bind and loose — basically to open and close the gates of heaven. This is essentially what gives the church the authority to administer the sacrament of reconciliation and thus forgive sins, opening the gates to heaven for the penitent.

St. Peter is an enormously…

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status update

Internet’s been down for days, I had an appt for my second COVID shot today, the ISP scheduled the repair appt for today, we still only have one vehicle, we still have hawks feeling very bold and leaf hoppers trying to murder my tomatoes, and Mike was supposed to be finishing some work at a customer’s house (after he finished attaching hardware to this tarot card storage shelf he made months ago that I told him I can’t sell until there’s a way for people to hang it on the wall– which necessitated a trip to the hardware store) . Now I have (very slow) internet again but I am in the middle of trying to set up the business email account so Sonia can do things without getting the runaround, waiting on me, chasing verification codes, etc…. and it’s taking ages cause my domain provider is not playing nice with Google’s verification setup. And it’s about time for me to go out and do dusk chores….. in the freaking rain.

So to say I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off is an understatement. But in all this chaos, things really are pointed in the right direction and some dust really should be settling soon. (It only took me a week to figure out that Sonia didn’t have access to a document with account info in it that I thought I’d given her access to. No idea how much time she wasted looking for it since I kept referring to it like it would be right there in front of her.)

Please don’t quit yet, Sonia! I’m getting it together, I promise! (with your help lol – thank you!)

Questions You’ve Asked: Patron Saints Playing Favorites

A client is getting set up with some Law Keep Away work, some of which involves physical items being installed at the front entrance where a St. Michael paket has been living. She wonders if she needs to move/remove St. Michael, whom she petitions for physical and spiritual protection, since he’s “the patron saint of police and general law and order guy.”

What a great question!

Short answer, no. No need to remove St. Michael.

A fixed paket of the type I used to make for clients/customers, when I could still source those detentes for reasonable prices. I haven’t been able to do that since reopening, but I like them very much and I hope I can offer them again one of these days.

Longer answer explaining my rationale: for one, human beings declared him the patron saint of law enforcement – he didn’t proclaim himself that lol… and even if he has shown a propensity for watching out for law enforcement, he certainly hasn’t done so to the exclusion of anyone else. IOW, law enforcement doesn’t have the corner on St. Michael.

Now he is a “law and order guy,” and I would not necessarily expect him to have my back if I, as a devotee of his, were to go out, get fucked up as a rat, and start a fight in a situation that didn’t need a fight, thus causing unnecessary chaos. But a fight for a good cause? Might be a different story – and that might be so even if in the eyes of the law it made me guilty of assault and battery.

IOW, angels and saints are not and have never been especially known for being huge champions of human codifications of law, order, and morality. Or to put it another way, in a standoff, St. Michael would have Valjean’s back, not Javert’s.

But another consideration too: even if St. Michael tended to “take the side” of the person working in the name of human law over another person, working to stay off the radar of some authority doesn’t necessarily equate to being against that authority. I can think of a dozen good reasons off the top of my head to want to avoid being the person an agency or authority focused on that don’t have anything to do with me breaking any laws in my city, state, or country. And I can think of a dozen more off the top of my head that might technically involve some law-breaking but there’s something about the situation, or the system, or the local authority, or the law itself, where the morality of the situation does not match the letter of the law that’s on the books.

And in any case it’s totally possible for me to break the law regularly while still having respect for members of law enforcement and not wanting them to be hurt in the course of doing their job. And to have respect for them but not ever want to see them knocking on my front door 🙂

Now would I count on him to have my back if I wanted to injure a member of law enforcement in the course of doing whatever I’m doing? No. And I would not expect him to have the back of a member of law enforcement who wanted to injure me, either, like set out with that intent. IOW, I think intent matters here, as does general moral orientation. And you know, like Santa Muerte, St. Michael is commonly depicted holding a set of scales or balances in his hand. That’s a reminder in both cases of their roles in weighing the heart or soul of an individual at the personal judgment when that person dies and/or at the general judgment day at the end of time when eternal judgment is passed on everyone who ever lived. And while they might help out with the weighing ritual, only God gets to do that ultimate judging.

Visit Seraphin Station to get a custom-fixed scapular paket to wear, carry, or hang by your doorway.

So it doesn’t actually matter what we people think. We don’t have the final say, we humans, and we are flawed and imperfect and so are our systems and governments. And that is how it can be possible that Santa Muerte is called on to protect both members of law enforcement and those who regularly run afoul of the law in Mexico. It’s not because she just adores cops or she just adores criminals. It’s because she is a champion of those who find they have to live dangerous lives on the margins of society in one way or another, and her perspective is much larger than ours. So with any saint’s. So with St. Michael. We do not have the big picture, but certainly heaven and hell are not being run the same way as FCI Talladega or Folsom Prison 🙂

St. Michael Niner Chaplet Bracelet

This one of a kind chaplet bracelet is handmade with 5mm ruby red glass beads, an ornate crucifix with a bronze-toned antiqued patina imported from Italy, a chain extension and lobster clasp if you want to wear it or secure it around a statue or rearview mirror, and a holy medal of St. Michael handpainted in bright and durable enamels. 

The saintly protector par excellence, Michael is called on to defend against dangers both spiritual and physical and from enemies both known and unknown.

Unclasped, this chaplet’s length from end to end is 8.75″. Will fit a 7.5″ wrist, but I’m happy to customize it if you need it shorter or longer. (Just allow a few extra days handling, please!) Medal measures 1″.

This style of chaplet is called a “niner” and is a popular and very portable way of doing a novena for a saint, of keeping your prayer beads close to hand when you’re traveling or need to be more discreet than a full-size rosary might allow, or of having a set of prayer beads the perfect size for wearing as a bracelet or keeping on your car’s rearview mirror or the door knob of your room or home.

One way of praying with a niner chaplet is to call on the saint’s aid on the medal, pray the Our Father x3, the Hail Mary x3, and the Glory Be x3 on the beads, and then the Apostle’s Creed on the crucifix.

Read more about St. Michael (and other saints and angels) in the education section at Big Lucky Hoodoo. And if you’ve never been sure how St. Michael can be a saint and an angel at the same time – and he most certainly is – you can get a little crash course in Catholic ontology at Seraphin Station.

This St. Michael piece is available at Seraphin Station or Etsy.

Drink Whiskey, Pray, and Set the Bed on Fire: A Glimpse into Pandemic Life 120 Years Ago

This was originally posted in my personal blog a few years ago, but besides being a glimpse into how people dealt with pandemics 120 years ago, it references a few things some of y’all might find especially interesting, including folk remedies, patent medicines, home and herbal remedies, speculations about cats and/or comets being the cause of yellow fever outbreaks, and rural Alabama life at the turn of the century. Since my personal blog is mostly dedicated to family and regional history, I approached via the avenue of family history and focused on the areas where I had ancestors at the time *and* access to some actual records, which is mostly along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Louisiana.

It looks like the Florida Memory site won’t let you link directly to pages within its exhibits – I tried, but everything seems to spit you out a level or several above where I wanted to link to. Sorry about that.

Florida Memory has an online exhibition called Pestilence, Potions, and Persistence: Early Florida Medicine which is fascinating (and disgusting, too – don’t forget disgusting). There’s a lot of cool stuff here, including sections on midwifery, yellow fever, hookworm, and an outbreak of bubonic plague in Pensacola in the 1920s, which I didn’t know about ’til I read this. But poking around that got me thinking about how huge a presence yellow fever was in so many of my ancestors’ lives.

Yellow fever, so called because of its tendency to cause jaundice, could be a killer, and medical understanding of it in the 1800s still had a ways to go. If you grew up around it — as you might if you lived in East Africa or Barbados — it might only make you mildly ill for a few days. But if you didn’t have acquired immunity — if, say, you were a European colonist in Barbados, or New York, or Philadelphia, or Santo Domingo, or the Mississippi River Valley — it could kill you and half the people you knew very quickly.

And nobody really understood what caused it. Until the early 1900s, nobody knew it was a virus spread by mosquito bite. Medical understanding of it more than slightly resembled medieval medical understanding of plague – maybe the air in an area basically got miasmic, infected, dangerous. [1] Maybe infected people could infect you, somehow, too, so you’d better stay away from them just in case it’s spread that way. Maybe herbs or fumigation could help. Or maybe you should just relocate until the whole outbreak blows over – hope you can afford to!

Some blamed yellow fever outbreaks in the New World on the wrath of God. Some blamed it on newcomers to the area or unsanitary neighbors. Some blamed it on convergences of things like insect populations, filth, global volcanic behavior, the presence of lots of dead cats, the “putrid exhalations” of a coffee shipment spoiled during import, and/or comet activity. [2] Medical colleges advised burning gunpowder and using vinegar and camphor. [3] People were urged to avoid intemperate consumption of alcohol at the same time they were surrounded by newspaper advertisements for things like Duffy’s Pure Malt Whisky, “A Scientific Remedy, not a Beverage!” [4]

During a Florida outbreak in 1888, Dr. John P. Wall wrote of its “having its origin probably in the filth of the slave ship” and warned about “the necessity and importance of sanitation,” explaining that “the atmosphere of the city where it is prevailing sooner or later becomes infected – poisoned with its morbific agent.” [5]

Wall quotes United States Army surgeon Dr. Sternberg who wrote in 1884 that yellow fever, “like cholera, is contracted in infected localities.” He characterized it as a poison: “In infected places the poison seems to be given off from the soil, or from collections of decomposing organic matter.” [5]

This was your prevailing medical opinion – these were the experts. Nobody knew yet. So how did ordinary people deal with yellow fever outbreaks? Well, that could depend on where they lived, whether urban or rural, whether there was any kind of local health official or not, and whether they had the resources to do things like burn all their bedding or relocate for a while or whether they had to stay put and make do.

Continue reading “Drink Whiskey, Pray, and Set the Bed on Fire: A Glimpse into Pandemic Life 120 Years Ago”

June Community Spiritual Services; Bonus Rewards Points

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Community Honey Jars

June community honey jars begin Monday, June 14th. There’s one for love/relationships and one for prosperity/income (which is Pay What You Can). I’ve set it up where you can book through Etsy, too, through the process is a bit clumsier and less straightforward there, sorry to say.

Planetary Work

Mercury Retrograde remediation and the Lucky Stars Sweet Jar for Jupiter in Pisces both have “rolling enrollment,” meaning you can join in at any time during the transit as long as you see spots still open, as I’ll be working some aspect or phase of these continuously.

St. Anthony of Padua 9-Day Service

St. Anthony’s feast day is June 13th, on which night I’ll commence a nine-day vigil, novena and chaplet service.

I’m not sure there’s anything St. Anthony has never been petitioned for by a devotee, but I imagine most petitions are still for finding lost…

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The bad news and the great news

The bad news is not news to anybody probably: I’m still not caught up from when I started getting underwater a couple of months ago when we got knocked offline for a while. It’s been one thing after another since then: several predator attacks and chicken deaths, water heater went out, oven went out, offline again for a few more days, car needed new engine, dog needed vet, Mike needed dentist (and caught himself a horrible case of poison ivy the same weekend), etc, etc.

And to be honest, it looks like that’s just what “normal” looks like around here, what with the whole crop-raising, herb-growing, livestock-having, wood-reclaiming, posthole-digging, predator-fending-off rural thing we’ve got going on.

Well, clients and potential customers will only be deferred for the wellbeing of a chicken so many times before the novelty wears off 🙂 and meanwhile I’m running around stressed out all the time because I know I have an out-of-control to-do list. Now I didn’t leave academia and city life and come out here to stare at chicken poop every single morning at dawn in the hopes that I could one day recapture the stress and bustle of city living. And I sure didn’t open up shop again because I was eager to make people wait three weeks to get an email response to a question. This situation won’t do.

Solution: Get some help.

So I set out to hire somebody who has the skill and temperament to do a great job at the things I suck at or at least struggle with. I’ve been trying to do that for a minute now, and I’m really excited to announce:

The Great News

Sonia has joined us at Seraphin Station as a part-time virtual assistant. She’s already learning the ins and outs of the software and platforms and my “filing” (cough) “systems,” and she’s already found and responded to, or informed me of, some email that was sitting around in limbo, so she’s already making things better and she’s only just started training.

There is an awful lot of stuff to comb through with my “filing system” and with all the various social media platforms and communication channels. She’s got her work cut out for her and she’s got to learn her way around quite a few new things. But if I can just keep from scaring her off before she’s had a chance to do that, I am very optimistic about the difference she can make around here.

So join me in welcoming her aboard, and be nice to her if you see her around!

Farewell to Dickhead Joe

Despite his name, he was the best rooster we’ve ever had, and we’ve had a few. He was the last of the original flock we inherited when we moved here. He deserved a longer life.

We think it was some dogs “owned” by these shit-heads who live around here who let their dogs roam wherever they please 24/7. I didn’t catch them in the act, though. I was too late even though he wasn’t even 100 feet from my front door, just into the woodline. People suck. I don’t blame the dogs – I blame their people.

We’re having a hard time at Seraphin Station right now. It’s been a hard year on the chicken front all around, and this one especially sucks.

RIP, Joe Joe. You were such a good boy and I miss you fiercely. I’m sorry you died this way.