Saturday, August 21, 2021

Barbecue Decks and Magic Charms

 Now that the heat has broken I am up off the couch, the fans no longer run in multiples all over the house and I am able to go outside and actually do chores, which my ass appreciates because I don't have much of an ass, and so sitting on what I don't have all day long ends up being a literal pain in the ass.  It's like I have a pair of elbows back there instead of nalgas.  Being up and around is infinitely better than just sitting on a cold gel pack watching YouTube.  This is one of those weird things they don't tell you about getting old.  You get assless.  And I was no bass star to begin with.

So I've been outside working in the yard and doing errands and minor household repairs, puttering, which I love.  Just dipshitting around doing all the little necessary things.  And a few big things too, like cutting out a couple of trees and hauling in a few loads of nice, dry lagoonage before monsoon season arrives and getting that spread around.  Doing some touch-up work on the house paint.  Repairing the barbecue deck. 

We have a barbecue deck made out of machine grade oak boards that's finally giving up the ghost after 18 years, and that's not bad for a free deck that the Biker made out of huge oak shipping crates made for carrying sheet steel blanks.  I've been repairing it with old license plates, and it looks pretty kewell.  You end up with lots of old license plates when you're married to a motorhead. He throws them away, I fish them out of the shop trash and we have the most awesome barbecue deck going.  

I am convinced that the barbecue deck is the male version of the She Shed.  It is it's own whole sub-deck one step down off our main patio deck specifically for outdoor cooking purposes, with a  wood grill, a smoker, a propane grill and a utility cabinet-worktop.  It gets used all the time, and it's a two-man setup. I did not know this was a man thing, but apparently it is.  His buddies come over with large chunks of raw cow or what have you and they all set food on fire outside together.  This deck has seen a lot of testosterone, beer and grease.  And license plates.

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I have a shed, and I'm a she, technically, but my shed is full of power tools and various cutting implements powered by gasoline.  And saws and shovels and, you know, yard shit.  Tomato cages and flower pots and stuff. Tarps.  And a bit of pagan symbolism to draw in the fertile and creative properties of the universe.  

Come to that, I went around a couple of days ago and took a look at all the 'good luck' stuff I have around.  Horseshoes with nails over the doorways to chase off what needs chasing, a couple of giant fish hooks jammed into the wood next to the door (This is an old Finnish thing that my grandparents had and meant that you'd never go hungry.) I have 'hand of blessing' doorway charms, and I have a few ring rocks here and there just in case.  I painted the ceiling of my front porch blue, which is a sure way of keeping out haints and demons and the influence of the evil eye and general badness.  

The blue porch ceiling was another thing that my grandparents had.  My grandmother painted it over when she converted to Seventh Day, but she never took down the horseshoes or the fish hooks, oh hell no.  

Or the scythes.  

You want to scare some bad shit, and you were raised rural and German, you put a Grim Reaper scythe up on your house.  She had three!  They were out on the back porch where they used to entertain company; all mixed in with misery whip sawblades and ox bows and elk antlers and cart wheels and all that kind of stuff like you used to see on older peoples houses or barns, old hand forged tools and signs and so forth. But those three scythes were meant for purposes other than rustic ornament. NOTHING was gonna get past those things. 

Now my mother was all about the holy medals and crucifixes and light switch plates with Jesus on them that glowed in the dark.  Every single doorway had a holy medal over it. Crucifixes in every room, including the garage and the basement. By the time I moved out Jesus had pretty much taken over the place, so at least she had a spare room to put him up in.  (And she did.  Oh boy, did she ever.  Ask me nice and I might re-run that story for you.)

It's funny how you might not quite believe in it, but it makes you feel better having those things there just in case.  Does my little tribute to celestial influences out in the shed make my garden grow better?  Do the fish hooks keep us in groceries?  Does the blue porch roof really repel evil?

Maybe not.  But maybe so.  And maybe is where magic lives.

13 comments:

Jon said...

The closest we get to a lucky charm-type-thing in the garden is a "Green Man" plaque. Well, we call it a "Green Man" but as I recall it was a present my sister brought back from a holiday to Greece, so it's probably meant to be Bacchus. Whatever, it has graced three gardens so far and despite being made of cheap plaster which is slowly rotting away in the acid rain, will still take pride of place among the Fuchsias for some time yet! Jx

Camille said...

Asking you nicely...pretty please give us the Jesus in the spare room story.

You inspired me to walk about my house making note of any religious or Pagan good luck symbols. Freaking shocking. I've got a vintage Jewish Mezuzah by front door, an Irish St.Brigid's cross in my attic rafters, green man in the garden, a rosary hanging in the sewing room, and a Pennsylvania Dutch 'Wilkum' luck sign near the garage door. I also seems to have a shit load of Feng Shui baubles hiding in plain site. WTF...I have NO idea or remember where it all came from.

savannah said...

"Maybe not. But maybe so. And maybe is where magic lives."

We need mythology in our lives, sweetpea. I am convinced it sustains us. Or at least, it's fucking entertaining. xoxo

63mago said...

Men worked with scythes, women with sickles.
I still have the "Hip" (you call it in English "billhook" according to wikipedia" of my grandfather, really love the thing. A murderous piece of iron. Used in the woods.

Echoing Savannah, the Mythos lives on the fringe of enlightenment, and shines through every hole in the fabric of our modern lives.
I changed working vehicles so often over the last years, but that stupid angel was always taken care of. (Not miine, I did not bring it in, but always carried it over, if nothing else.)

ProximaBlue said...

I agree with Savannah! I'm as much a fan of mythos almost as much as I am a fan of nature. The two, in my mind are interwoven, because old stories and superstitions usually have some nugget of wisdom to them.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Jon: Those plaques are a big thing here. Well, in Bellingham up in the wealthy neighborhoods where the Godless Liberals roam and the College Professors torment their evergreen shrubbery into freakish forms. If I put one of those on my house everyone here in Sumas would scream "I KNEW SHE WAS A WITCH!" and set me on fire!

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Camille: Since you asked pretty please, you'll get your wish my very next post! I lived in a lot of old, old apartments in the East side of Portland where you could see where the mezuzah had been fastened, before the whole Jewish community moved to Hazel Dell. Isn't it interesting how things like that find a person? I used to keep my First Communion rosary in my kitchen cabinets for years until I passed it on to my granddaughter. That thing went through 21 moves in 20 years, always in the kitchen cabinet!

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Savannah: I think you're right. People seem to construct mythologies because there's a thirst for a backup plan, if you will, something 'just in case' alongside religion. Just my idea. But look at how many personifications of things become stable symbols - things like Uncle Sam, the New Years' baby, Mother Nature, Columbia, Father Christmas. You can take it a step further with superheroes standing in for demigods and fandoms standing in for cults. There was very little difference in the vibe of ecstatic religious worship and the vibe of any given rock concert I've been to. Kinda makes you think.

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

ProximaBlue: I agree with both of ya! The garden is a hot spot for the interweaving of myth and nature. Gardening is literally alive in our DNA, and such a deep need that it's best expressed in symbols and myth. Oh, I COULD go on about that subject!

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

63Mago: Yes! I remember my grandma telling me that! Her sickle was in use until she went into long term care, and that thing would tear your hands up in no time flat. There's a real trick to using a sickle and I don't have it. And I've worked with billhooks in my grandparents orchard, too. I think your statement "Mythos lives on the fringe of enlightenment, and shines through every hole in the fabric of our modern lives" is absolutely right, and beautifully put, too.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I don't think you can ever go wrong with too many charms and things - unless too many different ones are all crammed together, then their proximity sometimes cancels each other out. Having said that, I have a pot full of holes with stone around them that I haven't yet got around to stringing up (or fixing to a wall). They're still a good deterrant to the unwelcome, though - especially when thrown at them!

Steve. Because 'Steve' is almost as nice a name as 'Paul'. said...

Inexplicable DeVice: So cool! I've been searching for hole stones for years! I had a few when I was a kid that I'd found on the beach. My grandmother had a pile of them, big ol' rocks, that she scattered around in her garden. Neither of us knew any of the lore behind them at the time; we just thought they were neat looking. They were all over the beach in Oregon. Here on Puget Sound? Nope. Yet I will not cease my quest!

Bohemian said...

Maybe is where the Magic lives. I grew up with Parents from Superstitious Cultures and have done a lot of those things even tho' I probably wasn't as truly Superstitious as they were, but then again, can't hurt, Right? *winks* My Spiritual Collections from all Faiths and Naturalist Beliefs abound, I find them to be quite comforting and Beautiful. I had read your newer post first and had to Smile because tho' I don't have a four foot Jeeeyzus if I found one, I'd probably buy it. My Home is filled to the brim with the Weird and Wonderful, Oddities and the Bizarre. The Young people think it's way Cool, my peers probably think I'm a total Lunatic. *Bwahahahaha*