Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Of Beer and Witches

Hey. Welcome to Boxing Day. A day in which I hope you have nothing to do. I am probably wishing I had nothing to do but as I am travelling and visiting family at the moment (I've written this ahead of time) well, at the very least I'm gonna try to be drinking some decent beer.

And maybe you should too. Cuz this is gonna be a bit lengthy.

So yes, I am a beer drinker. I love beer. It has not always been so. Through the years beer was often the cheap go-to drink hanging out in the background while I tried other liquors. The cheap whiskey years, the cheap wine years, the better than cheap wine years (mostly red but then I went white), then the Single Malt years (nothing cheap there), followed by vodka (mostly mixed with dry vermouth), and then, well, I found my way back to beer. Guinness, Hobgoblin, Czechvar, Innus & Gunn - all among the labels I regularly pick up at the liquor store now.

So back in 2016, when we returned to Newfoundland, and a good friend took me on a weekend trip to the booming entrepreneurial area of the Bonavista Peninsula, imagine how stoked I was when she brought me to a small local micro-brewery.

We were in the area for an event that my friend was to make a presentation at. The event was in the town of Bonavista but we were staying overnight in Port Rexton, about an hour away.

Earlier in the day, after a great hike on the Skerwink trail (pictured above left), we spent a brief, but very happy hour sampling various ales on offer at the nearby Port Rexton Brewery. My mind was blown! O M G! I must have this and drink this always! I particularly liked their T-Rex Porter and Sweater Weather IPA.

Unfortunately, for me, you can only get this elixir at the brewery itself (a 4 hour drive away) or at select local restaurants. I brought some home with me, of course, but as the shelf life is only a week, well, suffice to say I invited a couple of friends over.

But, that was then and this is now! And now this province is experiencing a bit of a boom in the area of micro breweries. Lead on! (says I). You can read more about that here and here.

But where do the witches come in to all of this love of beer, you might ask. Well, recently I found this very interesting article in the local paper, The Overcast, about Alewives and Witches. Well, isn't that interesting? Woman in the medieval period were the ones predominantly brewing beer! And because this activity required a cauldron (for brewing), a broom and cat (for clearing up and keeping rats out of the grain), and tall black hats ( get attention at the markets), well, the medieval alewife is where the stereotypical witch iconography comes from! When men got interested in brewing they decided to deomonize the women brewers and hence the 'witch' was born. You can read more here, here, and here. Oh yeah, and here...and here, too.

Except that some of these theories have been disputed by Christina, Crusher of Myths (and beer historian), who pokes holes in many of these rather pat theories.

And I gotta say, I'm kind of with her.

She points out that the pointy black hat was actually a style; "Popularized in late 16th and 17th centuries these hats were often depicted adorning the heads of wealthy or noble European women, but also men..." - source

And that cats...well, cats already had a bad rap. And brooms, well, the broom was just a household object that was often used, mostly by women because they did the majority of cleaning and...sigh, things have not changed all that much, have they?

So, really, it seems that the idea and iconography regarding 'witches' didn't come from alewives because it was already around. Alewives were their own thing. And whether or not men came along and used the already existing witch idea to push them out of the business of brewing, well, I remain silent. Judge for yourself.

You can read the entirety of the argument re: "alewives are not witches" here.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

An actual gift...I made

I made this back in October and then gave it to the instructor who patiently walked us through two crochet classes. Lots of patterns available online.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Winter Solstice

Saturday, 15 December 2018

The Quintessential HH

HH stands for Haunted House, by the way. From the 'brilliant' code we used as kids up at camp.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dreamers Then & Now

Listen to this month's show Dreamers Then and Now from American Routes

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A Gift ...

Saturday, 8 December 2018

First Snow

This was early yesterday morning...before the snow stopped. There was no snow on the ground before the accumulation total was 25 - 30 cm.

The trees are lit up by our neighbour's headlights to aid his snow clearing efforts. Schools, businesses, official offices, all delayed opening by 2 hours to give snow clearing efforts a chance.

Husband got to use his new 2nd hand snow blower for the first's small and takes some time but saves the back muscles! I wrestled myself into my snow gear and helped shovel out last of snow under cars and from steps etc. Then packed up and struggled to get to school for there at 10:30 am.

Then, despite all that snow clearing, driving (side streets weren't cleared and quite slippy), and walking down that bloody hill along a slightly less steep street than I usually use (see below) I arrived to find only 4 other students had made it in. And that the instructor had decided to cancel class...!

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Storm Warning!

First Winter Storm of the season coming our way!!

I don't know about where you live but here, well, here people do something weird when there's a weather warning about a storm that may cause closures. People like to get to the storm before it hits and load up on bags of chips. It's referred to as 'storm chips.'

Is this just a Newfoundland thing? Or do people do it where you live?

If you follow me on my Xmas blog...well, forgive the double posting. I'm just so excited!

It's true we've already had a storm day but that was due to winds. This will be the first 'snow' storm of the season. Anticipating closures tomorrow. But not relying on it. Still have homework to do just in case.

But seriously, just a few weeks ago we had a storm day due to high winds. Lots of places were closed including the college where I attend classes. Winds on this island, here in the North Atlantic, have really become stronger.

Since we returned in 2016 there have been at least 3 wind storms strong enough to cause structural damage, flying debris, and, of course, HUGE swells and waves. Happens in Fall and Spring - during hurricane season.

 Climate change is real folks.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018


Not often you find a song about a comic book character...

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Wish List

Tabletop Collection - Edward Gorey House. 

Oh my! I had no to choose?