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Friday, August 5, 2022

Hold My Beer: Story of Alewives and Witches ~ Sherri Easley

 These long, unbearably hot and dry summer days are draining my energy and making me long for cooler damper weather. I constantly look at the weather app to see if there is any rain soon, just to be disappointed.

So, I came across an article a while back on a news site called “Weird History” that made me think of fall, so here goes:

Per the Article:

In medieval times, the job of feeding the family was “women’s work,” and beer was a central part of the peasant diet since it was consumed instead of potentially tainted water. Inevitably, nearly every medieval woman knew how to brew beer.

This was a fermented ale from grains with a low alcohol content, which their families drank daily. Most medieval families downed multiple gallons of beer each week, so women sometimes sold extra beer to neighbors who didn’t have the time to make their own, even inviting people into their homes, which served as an informal tavern.

These entrepreneurial women who made their living brewing and selling beer from their homes were called “alewives.”

These alewives spent hours stirring bubbling cauldrons, while wearing their tall, pointy hats, which were popular in this era, to make them stand out in the marketplace, so customers could identify them.

Alewives promoted their business by placing a broomstick outside their door. The broomstick, also known as an ale stake, signaled that the latest batch of beer was ready for customers.

These women understood herbs and plants they used in their concoctions and often had cats running amuck to take care of those pesky mice in their grain.


Men who saw alewives as temptresses, swindlers, and deceivers could easily imagine a witch's brew boiling in their cauldrons and by the 16th century, men grew suspicious of female brewers, who had their own income source. One community banned young women from selling beer. In others, the tools of female brewers became the symbols of witchcraft.

Churches painted with images of alewives in hell with demons cemented the association between female brewers and demonic magic.

According to the Catholic Church, alehouses were dens of sin that seduced men into gluttony and lust.



The witch trials were only one part of a larger movement to promote stricter morals and eliminate disorder and targeted independent women, and in Europe, that included women who made a living selling beer.

So… the conclusion? Our modern image of a witch likely came from alewives. 


Am I the only person who did not know this?


Mother Louse was an Oxfordshire alewife in the 17th century. But today, she looks more like a witch than a brewer. That’s because the pointy hat, cauldron, and black cat we associate with witches today were all used by alewives. 

Clyde the Camel attends the Jacquie Rogers readers' event!

  

 Much Ado About Hearts of Owyhee
with guest star Clyde the Camel

Life is always changing and our family has had a lot of big changes in the last few years, that's for sure.  But one thing that has been a constant for the last six years is my readers' event, Much Ado About Silver City.  Well, this year even that changed.  We moved the event from Silver City to my home town, Homedale, Idaho.  I was skeptical but to be honest, I just couldn't fathom getting people to Silver City with all the competing events--farmers markets, rodeos, craft shows, county fairs, and the like.

So...when you bash into a 50-ton boulder, turn left.  Yep, that's what I did.    I called around and finally landed the venue, the Homedale Senior Center.  It's a really nice facility complete with a kitchen and a stage.  Holy moly!  So onward and forward we go. 😃

A view of the stage end of the room.  We were able to perform
on an actual stage and it was heavenly!  I'm in the top center, and 
Diane Garland is left of me.  Mercedes Christesen is on the far left (in purple).

Three other authors came and signed books.

Paty Jager had a really nice display, as usual.

Authors Mary Vine and Robyn Page

We had wonderful music from the olden days courtesy of Matt Paxton, and in this photo, Andy Martin joined in, too.

Matt Paxton on the left, Andy Martin on the right.

Of course, you can't have a party without a camel!

From the left: Kim Garland, Clyde the Camel, Sassy the Donkey, and moi.

You don't often see a camel in Homedale, Idaho.  He was a such an oddity that there was a traffic jam on Main Street--a four-car backup.  They're still talking about it.

And of course we had the World's Worst Melodrama.  This year, it was an Old West version of Romeo and Juliet, renamed Raphael and Julianne.  The script, while stealing directly from Wild Bill Shakespeare, had terrible jokes and only rhymed when convenient.  The actors kept losing their places, and the director seemed to have an issue with focus since she was greeting newcomers and in general admiring her fine script.  We all know Wild Bill was spinning in his grave.

Left to right:
Tresa Hiatt, Andy Martin, Saki Herod, Diane Garland, Kim Garland

We had a really good time and I never could've pulled this off without Diane Garland, who set up the room; Kim Garland, head cheerleader and pack mule; Mercedes Christesen, charity auction volunteer; Tresa Hiatt, dressmaker; and Mr R, Friar Lawrence and pack mule.  Thank you!

Back: Kim Garland
Front: Jacquie Rogers, Diane Garland

Diane and Kim came all the way from Ohio, which was quite an honor considering it was their 34th wedding anniversary.  
Congratulations, Diane and Kim!

We'll do it all again next year, the 3rd weekend in July, July 15, 2023.  Mark it on your calendar and see you then.
Until next month, Happy Reading!



If you're on TikTok, friend me!  My handle is @jacquierogersbooks.  
You can get videos of Honey Beaulieu and Sassy's latest updates there.  And goofy videos of her scribe.  Heck, we even do a few cooking videos.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

NEW TECHNOLOGY IS EVERYWHERE

By Caroline Clemmons

How embarrassing to be so late. I have a good excuse, but you know what Mary Poppins said: “Never give an excuse.” Anyway…

We live in an older home, built in 1950. To Beth Trissel, this sounds new, as she is fortunate to have her family (as in many generations) home nearby. Those of you who live in an older home realize the many issues that come with it.

I love this house! I enjoy living here. I enjoy it more when the plumbing works properly.


We don't want to go here!

We are currently battling years of tree roots and pipe deterioration. We have a plumber coming today. With any luck, he will do some roto-rooting to clear out the roots and be on his way.

I recall when my sister in Southern California had a similar problem. Rather than jackhammer the floor, they rerouted the pipes through the ceiling and walls. Southern California—they didn’t have to worry about the pipes freezing.

Making life easier.

Last year, we had to have what we call “the mole people” come to our home with a slab foundation. There is an amazing machine which excavates a square just large enough for a thin plumber (more likely his very junior helper) to crawl in. The excavation sounds like a giant mole is underfoot. The young man detached the old pipe, attached the new one, and backed out. 

But, that has to be the world’s worst job! 

Then, the same machine moved the dirt back in place. No jackhammer required! Technological advances are not just in electronics, thank goodness.

Have a great day.

 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Summer Dates and Summer Nights by Kara O'Neal

My husband and I celebrated our 24th anniversary this month. I told him that I wanted to ride the ferris wheel with him, so we traveled to Kemah. It's a gulfside town in Houston. They have a boardwalk and rides and shops...all the things you would need to have a day of summer fun!




This is us at the top of the ferris wheel and there's a Texas sunset behind us. We had a lot of fun.

My husband is absolutely my prince charming, and I'm so glad I get to do life with him! He's steady and strong, and always so very patient. I've never met someone who's more patient than my husband.

He's quite talented, too. He's an artist. My hallway is covered with his artwork -- and our children's -- and my cupboards are filled with pottery he's made.

I'm always amazed by how he sees things. He looks at objects very differently and pulls out nuances that I hadn't noticed. When we visit art galleries, he's able to explain why a Jackson Pollock painting is worth so much. (And I think that's quite a feat!)

And, of course, he's designed my book covers for me. (And always with a smile on his face no matter how hard it was.) Here they are.....



They're like a rainbow, huh?

I could talk forever about my husband. About all the little facts he harbors, his never-ending knowledge about history and the presidents, his jokes and his athletic ability. But I won't.

Instead, I'll end with saying that I love my hero, my prince charming, my reason for living and my inspiration for the romances I write. Thank you, honey....I'll love you for forever.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

HOW OLD IS OLD?

How old is old? How much a part does genetics play in longevity? What part does attitude play in our longevity?

When I was a girl, I remember there were two ages of adults. If they weren’t gray, they were old. If they were gray, they were really old. Now that I’m … not so young any longer, I have a new perspective on age. Wow, do I ever!


In fact, a friend who is my age and I were discussing that this morning. We wondered how many more years we had to write. I figure I’ll write as long as my fingers move and I can string together at least semi-coherent sentences. My husband’s cousin died sitting at his desk with his fingers on the keyboard. Now, that’s the way to go.

On the other hand, a friend lived to 105. When she was 90, her doctor told her she had less than three months to live. She outlived the doctor who gave her that news. In fact, she had a new home built at 90, where she lived the rest of her life. (Word to the wise: she had cancer insurance and had home hospice every day for her last few years.) Several of her siblings lived to be in their late 90s.

We all know similar stories. There’s no figuring the guy who is a health nut and dies at 40 and the chubby, sedentary person who lives to be 95. No one said life was fair, right?

So what are we to do?

My personal opinion is that we should live every day to the fullest. Do something kind for someone else. Look on the bright side. Every day is a gift. Give thanks for each day because it’s a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. No I didn’t come up with that, but it’s true.

As Joan says, the take-away truth is: Attitude may not add years to your life, but it will add life to your years.

Go forth and make today a day worth living. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

My Dream Vacation is in the Library by Laura Hunsaker

 I am in a Facebook group for readers and someone said that it takes 1,000 books to be classified as a library. I mean...game on. How many of us could hit that 1K book mark in our lifetimes? Or have you already? If I had the space, I would absolutely have a library. I would sit in the window seat and read all day long. It would be the best room in my house.



But it got me thinking. My local library is  building a new one within 3 miles of my house. I want to drink an iced coffee and sit in a chair by the windows and read all afternoon. That is my dream. No one will bother me, no one will need me for anything, I could just spend an afternoon reading. And it would be amazing. 

My husband and I are trying to plan a big vacation for the family and I mentioned that I'm all for hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and paddle boarding...but I think one activity per day is good. My husband would love to do all that in like one day. He's an active kind of guy. He asked, well, what would your ideal vacation be? Reading on the beach. No hesitation, instantly, I said, "Reading on the beach." He told me that I can't spend thousands of dollars to just read in a different location. (bet me LOL), but honestly that would be my dream vacation. I want to read in every fabulous place in the world. Cafe in Paris. Beach in Hawaii. Deck chair on a cruise ship. Hammock in Cabo San Lucas. I mean, that is literally living the dream to me.

Is it so terrible that my favorite ideal days all involve reading? But since the vacation isn't planned yet, library in my own house is just in the imaginative stages, and the library up the street is real...I mean I guess I could just read in the new library and call it a vacation, right? I mean, reading can take you anywhere.

So how about you? Is it just me? Should you vacations involve outings and activities? Or is it okay to have some downtime with a book and realize you paid a bunch of money to read when you could do that at home? Or...are you like me and consider your book your adventure?

Laura Hunsaker can be found on www.laurahunsaker.com




Saturday, July 23, 2022

SUMMER ON MY SWING: Pondering Answers

by Judy Ann Davis

“Hot July brings cooling showers, apricots and gillyflowers.” - Sara Coleridge

I admit as a writer I enjoy time alone to sit and think which is why I like July, why I like summer. My patio swing calls me to rest, enjoy the warm days or balmy nights, and ponder the world. It’s said curiosity is instrumental in driving our thought processes. It’s when I’m wrapped in that solitude when I ask questions which may or may not have answers: 

  • Why can’t we see the wind? 
  • How does the song sparrow learn its many different songs?
  • Do woodpeckers get headaches? 
  • What do northern squirrels think when they eat their first southern peanut from my bird feeder? Can they have an allergy to them? 
  • Fireflies flash in patterns that are unique to each species. Have they ever learned another pattern like we learn second languages? 
  • Why was the daisy chosen to be the flower plucked with the chant: He loves me, he loves me not?

 And my weird wondering brain chugs along…

Maybe in our attempt to explain things in nature, we need to accept there are mysteries which may never have explanations. As humans, we like explanations. We like plans. We like the predictable.

And, we like to ponder.

After all, isn’t that what creativity really is? The use of our imaginations or original ideas in the production of an artistic work?

So I leave you with this July wish: Take time to rest, relax, and contemplate the world around you. And if you get a bizarre or curious thought, drop it in the comment box below so we all can ponder the answer!

 

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