How to Shovel Snow & Other Snow-Related Tips

Winter kind of sucks, doesn’t it?

A lot of my witchy friends are currently deeply depressed and worried about the heavy snowfall heading their way, especially since many of them don’t get heavy snowfall.

I mainly post about witchcraft, magic, and other spiritual pursuits of that nature. But sometimes, practical advice should be offered in addition to the magical advice. So a year ago or so I wrote a post over on tumblr about dealing with it.

I’ve decided to republish it here and add a few more tips as well as some witchy ones. Keep in mind, this advice is probably only good for people in the RI/MA/CT area so YMMV on this.

 

Magic tips for winter

  • Enchant your winter gear for warm.
  • Enchant your shoes for grip and dryness.
  • Gather up some snow in a jar for winter-related spells later on.
  • Weather spells might be useful to nudge storms off course from you but you may end up messing with another town in the process. Plan your weather spells carefully.
  • Leaving an offering to winter spirits to ease your winter worries.
  • Listen for the sound of chiming or laughter when you’re outside. You may be joined by winter spirits playing. Keep in mind, sound travels very far in the stillness after snowfall so you might be hearing neighbors two streets over.
  • Use de-icer and road salt as protection salt.
  • Enchant any post-shoveling drinks or food as a health boost to keep the body from suffering in the extreme temperature changes.
  • Enchanting a wind chime to chime when you need to go out and shovel can be tricky but worthwhile if you get a lot of snow often.
  • Create a snow altar to put offerings on.
  • Your snow creations can be fantastic for offerings and can be enchanted for literally anything. Snowman guardians, snow balls as a curse, snow angels to bring clarity.

 

Shovel early and often.

If it snows on and off for 12 hours, I’ve probably been outside to shovel at least 3-4 times, it now more. Generally, my rule is every four hours. If it’s really heavily coming down, I’ll go out more often.

Even if there’s only an inch or two on the ground, I’ll go out and shovel if we’re expecting more snow. This is because the earlier you shovel, the more snow is out of your way.

Even if you don’t intend to go out, shovel. Eventually you’ll need to go out to get something and you’ll have to dig through crusted, frozen snow and that’s an awful experience.

Do not shovel more than you are able to.

Take your health into consideration. Wear supportive measures if you have to and take breaks often. Hire out if possible. Don’t hurt yourself.

Shovel in shifts.

Shoveling might go faster if two people do it, but then two people are exhausted. It’s sometimes easier to have one person shovel for round one and round two goes to a second person. This works especially well if said two people work different schedules.

Shoveling is hard work

People always underestimate how hard it is to shovel snow. It’s slick, heavy and everywhere.

Your back will ache. Your wrists will hurt. Your thighs might not like you anymore. Your fingers will be frozen. Your cheeks, ears, and nose will be wind-beaten. Your eyes will sting from snow. Your shoulders and arms will be boneless.

And then you got to go out and do it again.

If you shovel early and often, you’ll reduce the amount of strain on your body so consider that.

 

You have to shovel a pathway to your mailbox if you want mail delivered.

The USPS will NOT deliver your mail if they can’t get to your mailbox without climbing through snow. They want a shoveled path. Steps should be de-iced.

Push when you can, lift/toss when you have to, perfect the turn.

Ideally, you should be able to push the snow across a space like a lawn mover across a lawn. At the end of your space, lift or toss the snow into a pile, and do it again. Go back and get any snow you missed.

“The turn” is great for when you have a lot of snow and it’s too heavy to lift. Ideally, the turn is a slight scoop and turning the shovel to slide the snow onto a pile without actually lifting.

When you form a pile of snow, it should be at least a foot or two from the end of your driveway. This is because if you put a snow pile right at the end of your driveway it can obstruct vision when driving and can even block you from getting out. Plows can make the piles even higher and piles are very hard to move later on.

Clearly define your space.

Ideally, you should shovel the entire length and at least a person-sized width for walkways and about seven to eight feet width for each car. The space for cars to drive on should be clear, always.

If you have a two car driveway, make sure that you shovel at least two feet at the end of it. This is to clearly mark to plow truck drivers that that’s the edges of your space and they shouldn’t plow you in. Pay special attention to this if your driveway is on a corner.

Markers can help but I find they tend to get buried in the snow anyway. We once hung up stakes with LED lanterns at the end of the drive and that helped.

Shovel with the wind

You will quickly learn to shovel with the wind. There’s nothing worse than tossing a pile of snow against the wind towards a pile you started to discover that it’s flying back in your face.

 

Yes, you will feel like you’ve accomplished nothing

Often times, I’ll finish shoveling only to discover that it looks like I did nothing back where I started. When this happens, I quickly run the shovel back over the main areas, especially the walkway, and go back inside.

There’s different kinds of snow

Fluffy, powder snow is the easiest move and can make the job very easy. It’s fun to walk through and great for photos. However, it makes rubbish snowballs, snowmen, and snow forts. This snow typically shows up well below freezing.

Wet snow is snow that comes down that is slightly wet. This is the kind that will pelt you. It’s heavier than the powder but still snow and should be fairly easy to move. This is the perfect snow for making things out of like snowballs, snowmen, and snow forts.It’s usually about 10-20 degrees below freezing temperature for this snow but is can show up at average freezing temperatures.

Slush is the worst. It is heavy. It’s rain mixed with snow and will make you miserable. It is very heavy and yes, it still needs to be shoveled. Watch for ice. It’s useless for anything unless you want to make deadly ice and snowballs that can smash windows and hurt people. It’s usually above or right around freezing temperature for this snow.

Day after snow is snow that’s “rested”. It’s compacted and is greatly useful for making things like snowballs and snow forts but is heavy, often comes up in chunks, and is a hassle to snow.

Temperatures are a guess. There’s a lot more meteorology to consider to guess the kind of snow properly.

 

Look at your lease/renter’s agreement to see if you’re suppose to shovel.

Some places will require you to shovel and others will hire someone to do it. Make sure you know your rights and what you’re suppose to shovel.

Check your city’s website for cancellations. Listen to the radio. AAA road services usually has the best up-to-date information in my area. Twitter, however, is extremely useful, especially if you follow local twitter accounts.

De-ice your pathways. 

De-icer is expensive but it can save you from breaking a bone from falling. Road salt is the less chemical version of it.

If you choose not to de-ice, try sand, kitty litter, or pebbles to help against ice and slick pathways.

You can skip de-icing the whole driveway and instead stick to where people get in/out and the path from the driveway to the house. However, you risk the cars not having enough grip to get out.

A combination of kitty litter on the car spaces and de-icer on the people spaces is a good, safe bet, although it can be expensive.

Make sure to check if your de-icer will damage anything. For example, road salt isn’t good for brick walkways or steps. We have brick for both our porches and have to use a particular chemical de-icer to keep from destroying the brick. It’s more expensive but it also melts the snow faster. When I get to the cement of the walkways and asphalt of the driveway, I switch to salt to melt the ice and cat litter for grip.

De-icer can freeze.

Weirdly enough, de-icer can freeze. Or, rather, it can freeze into a slushy block of horror when sufficently wet then cold then wet then cold.

We keep our deicer outside to avoid damaging the wood floors and to keep the animals out of it.

Brush off your car.

You should at least brush off your front and rear windshields, your mirrors, headlights and taillights, the grills/exhaust, door handles, and license plates. Legally, in RI, you have to have your license plates shown (and lit during the night) so you have to do this. I know people who have been stopped and given tickets for not brushing off their license plates.

Brush off the doors, roof, and area near the doors before opening the door or you’ll wind up with a wet seat.

Flip up your windshield wipers.

Windshield wipers can lift up, straight towards the sky, to allow replacement of the wipers or arms.

This keeps the windshield wipers from freezing to your windshield and allows for easier brushing off of the car. This can be a lifesaver when leaving work in rubbish weather.

However, avoid this is the wind is really, really bad as it might break the wiper arm.

Start you car

If it’s especially cold, you may wish to start your car, run it for a little bit, and turn it off every times you go out to shovel.

I usually skip this because it’s rarely that cold in my area but when it does get that cold, I do that.

 

Buy/own at least two or more pairs of gloves

No matter how careful you are, your gloves WILL get wet. Have a dry pair to switch to for additional shoveling or going out.

Skip using soft cashmere or similar gloves. Your hands will look like a lint brush after a few moments of being wet.

Snow boots are useful

However, they might not be necessary. Wear old, comfortable shoes to shovel with good treads. For example, I wear a pair of thick 2″ heeled casual boots. For me, my feet are comfortable in this position and the treads are good. Having the boots and heels elevated keeps you from getting stuck in deep snowdrifts.

Avoid sneakers if possible. Your feet will be unhappy, cold, and wet. You’ll also want to skip your fashion winter boots. They’re not meant to survive extremely wet conditions and the salt will destroy them. Trust me.

But wear whatever shoes are comfortable and have good grip.

Don’t shovel in clothes you want to wear. Wash shoveling clothes often.

Snow is solidified water, often saturated with road salt. This means your shoveling gear will be saturated with this weird white shit. When the snow dries, it will leave the material stiff and crinkly. Having clothing to switch to is awesome.

I tend to shovel in boots of some kind, warm Lycra leggings, and at least two shirts plus a heavy winter jacket with hood, scarf, gloves, and hat. I sometimes even take my glasses off because after a while you can’t see shit anyway. Save for the jacket and hat which dry easily, I rotate to a different set of clothes for another shoveling session.

Stay by the door

Going in and out from heated houses and cars to cold snow and back can be hell on your body. Stay by the door and allow your body to acclimate to the warm/cold weather before moving further. This is true for both coming inside from shoveling and going out to shovel.

Keep tissues by the door

Like the above tip, coming in and out from hot/cold weather does weird things to the body. One of those things is making your nose run like a river. Keeping tissues nearby can avoid gross stuff on everything you love.

Treat yourself!

I tend to make up a pot of something warm like coffee, hot chocolate, or soup before I go out so I can have it as a treat for a job well done.

Prepare

A flashlight and candles with a working lighter left on a counter or table can make power outages much easier.

If an outage occurs, do not panic. Keep the fridge and freezer closed as much as possible, fill bowls and containers of tap water, and pick one room to center yourself in. That center room should be the one you want to remain in mostly for the length of the outage. Bring all the blankets in the house to that room and stay warm. There’s lots of tips for making a mini heater from candles available online if you care to search.

Stock up early and well. The few days before a storm is suspected, the stores will be PACKED. Everyone will buy milk, bread, and toilet paper. Followed by de-icer, gloves, shovels, and booze. These are the most hunted for items. Buy them early or you’ll miss out. ATMs and banks are extremely busy too.

If you have to go out, plan according. I generally use at least 30 minutes to an hour for travel time to get to some place by a particular time. Do not go out unless you have to, especially if the roads are being worked on or cautioned against. Be careful when driving, slow early, and leave room for plows.

Keep gloves, a scarf, hat, a snow car brush, and a small shovel in your car to shovel when you need to leave work or whatever.

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It snowed the other night! ☃

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Parking ban

This means you cannot park there for the length of the ban. Typically this appears as an on-street parking bans during plow hours. An example would be that you cannot park on the street between 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The city may tow your car or fine your for parking during that time. You’ll definitely be plowed in and risk the plows damaging your car. Find a place for your car to be.

If you become stranded

Stay inside. Even if your car is stranded, stay inside of it. Cars can’t see you in the dark and you’ll be far warmer inside the car than outside of it.

Know your shovels.

Take a good, long look at what you need to shovel when choosing shovels. Deep, crescent shovels are great for pushing snow, like when clearing a driveway. Shallow shovels are better for lifting snow. Metal shovels are heavier but useful in breaking up ice and snow chunks. Plastic shovels will break but are lighter meaning good for fluffy snow.

Multiple shovels FTW

We have three shovels in my house. We keep one (metal, shallow) at the top of the stairs to keep the back steps clear and to break up ice. A second crescent shovel is kept at the bottom of the back stairs for walkways and the driveway. We keep a third crescent shovel by the front door to keep the front walkway clear without having to haul a shovel through the house or walk around the snow outside.

Walking in snow is hard work.

Lift your legs up as if you’re climbing stairs for deep piles.

Lean very slightly back when there’s ice, especially if you have breasts or a lot of weight in front of you, to give yourself counterbalance.

Assume there is black ice (ice that is hard to see) under where you’re walking because there probably is and that it is your mortal enemy which would like nothing more to watch you fall.

If you fall, protect your face but try not to land on your hands

Hands and wrists are some of the easiest bones to break. They often break when we try to catch ourselves from falling and to protect the face. If possible, turn to the side, land on your forearms, and tuck in your head.

Shovel when people are plowing. 

Snow plows operate usually during quiet times. So if I go out to shovel at 4 a.m., I’m going to be out there the same time as plows on my street. Often times, they’ll help by plowing the front part of my driveway for me for free. Sometimes they’ll ignore me. But either way, they DON’T plow me in which they WILL do if I’m not out there.

Pay for a plow or shovelers.

In my area, a plow to is about $25-35 per visit. Hiring someone to shovel can be some $15-35, to do a driveway and walkway. Our current plow guy won’t come unless there’s a few inches on the ground and costs $45 but he plows the driveways and shovels all the walkways. Make sure you know what you’re getting before you pay. Prepare to tip for jobs well done (although this won’t likely be required if you’re paying a contractual service).

Inform your city or local plower if you work in emergency services or may need emergency services as they should plow your driveway for you.

If you’re in emergency services, such as a doctor or you may need emergency care, inform your city. In my city, they’re suppose to ensure that you can get out and that disabled people can be reached.

That being said, uh, they don’t. We hired someone or I shovel. But your town might be different!

If you own a plow, do not plow the street.

Plow trucks can be hired by private parties but, in RI at least, you have to be licensed to plow the street. This is to avoid damage to the street. I’m certain rural areas are far more lenient with this sort of thing but check your city ordinances. You don’t want to be fined for trying to help people.

By the way, the streets WILL be shit afterwards because people ignore the law and the people hired by your city probably don’t care after day 5 of 3 a.m. shifts. Expect chunks of asphalt and cement; expect potholes. Advanced tip: Look to see if your car insurer covers replacement tires and double check your tire spares.

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Vintage sled ❤

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No one really enjoys shoveling but hopefully these tips can make things easier for everyone!


Originally posted over on my tumblr’s satellite blog here. Different URL but it’s mine.

Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day 2014

Sunday August 16th, was Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day (RIPPD). For those of you who don’t know, last year I presented a workshop on secular witchcraft at RIPPD. This year I didn’t present or vend because I didn’t have time to get something together before the event given the severe resurgence of my sleeping disorder beforehand.

Anyway, a friend of mine was vending his spa products so I had a definite reason to make an appearance. More than that, I believe in supporting my local community – not just for the vendors but also the local pagan community.

For those who visited RIPPD last year, know it was far smaller this year. Which saddens me. It’s really hard to support the local community when the community is so disorganized that major vendors don’t want to participate.

I happened to visit a major new age store the day before RIPPD to pick up herbal supplies. The owner of the store was manning the counter and when asked if she was going, she told us that she has issues with RIPPD and one of them was the location. RIPPD isn’t held in Providence but an out-of-the-way place in East Providence. Previously to that it was held in Bristol. Not only is the location a problem but RIPPD is, apparently notoriously disorganized.

The Ladd School

The Ladd School. Taken from [http://www.theladdschool.com/history/history-of-the-ladd-school-ri.asp].

This morning the Providence Journal reported that Rhode Island’s Supreme Court upholds the state’s decision that it can’t be liable for injuries gained on Ladd School. [x]

Which is really interesting because Ladd School is a famous abandoned mental institute.  Built as an annex of the Templeton Colony and in association with the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded in 1908, it was suppose to be progressive. [The States newest institution”. The Providence Journal. 21 February 1909. pp. S4, 7.] It wasn’t. Originally known as the Rhode Island School for the Feeble-Minded. Dr. Joesph Ladd later changed the name in 1918 to the Exeter School due to the controversy with the term “feeble-minded”. [Ladd , M.D., Joseph H. (1916) Report of the Exeter School to the RI Board of Education, p.20] Whatever it’s intentions was, by the 1940s it served as a place to put people, usually women, who were unwanted. The mentally ill, women pregnant with illegitimate children, prostitutes, and so on. It was a eugenics program run by Dr. Ladd who was Fernald’s protege. (Ferald being Dr. Walter Fernald, a eugenicist who decided these schools were a good idea and compounded such ideology.)

Up until the 1940s or so it was a nightmare. Varying degrees of how terrible it was depends on your source but overcrowding, untrained staff (Dr. Ladd was the only trained staff, supposedly, but that’s just local legend. However, there was a great shortage of trained staff. That much has been historically confirmed.), with few releases, being sent to the Ladd School was a literal death sentence – you didn’t leave until you were dead or unable to reproduce. This, by the way, was encouraged by the state as the School had become something akin to a penal colony.

In ’47, Dr. Ladd released nearly a third of the school’s population (about 900 people!) and made changes to improve the school. This was not because a change of heart but financial troubles. [Ladd, M.D., Joseph H. (1945) Report of the Exeter School to the Department of Social Welfare, p.2] However, although the number of buildings and patients grew, the conditions did not overmuch. There was anew focus, however, in taking the severely disabled rather than just the criminal or shunned women. Because there were so few trained staff, the situation kept getting worse until 1955 when a 20 year old “defective delinquent” was implicated in the murder of a severely disabled child. [“3 Years In Exeter Death”. The Providence Journal Bulletin. 1 March 1956. p.1] Dr. Ladd quickly resigned.

In ’56 Dr. John Smith took over [Greenberg, Selig (3 July 1956). “New Exeter Head Spend Hours On Planning”. The Providence Journal Bulletin.] and in a renamed the school Dr. Joseph H. Ladd’s School in 1958. Dr. Smith was a breath of fresh air even if the air did have it’s own stench a bit. Dr. Smith came from Connecticut’s Training School for the Feeble-Minded and put in a few series of new buildings, state-of-the-art, including small cottages which would become the model for group homes. However, in the late 60s, employees began picketing the working condition and wages. [“Ladd Pickets for More Help”. The Providence Evening Bulletin. 21 March 1973.]

In November 1977 a state inspection at the hospital building found multiple health and human rights violations, including several deaths from negligence and medical malpractice. [Perl, Peter (28 September 1977). “‘Deplorable’ situation closes Ladd clinic”. The Providence Evening Bulletin. p.1.] Dr. Smith was fired by the governor who demanded changes. [Gariepy, Tom (25 January 1978). “Dr. Smith fired at Ladd; Garrahy orders changes”. The Providence Evening Bulletin. p.1.] George Gunther took over but made no waves. The 1980s arrived quietly but changes in policy and revision, plus denationalization movement had the governor order the closing of Ladd in 1986,  although the last patients wouldn’t leave the building until 1993. [Fitzparick, C. (1 March 1986). “Reaction to Ladd closing: cheers”. The Providence Journal Bulletin. p.1.; Miller, G.W. (31 July 1986). “Ladd Center shuts down”. The Providence Journal Bulletin. p.A3.] At the end, it compromised some 30 buildings and even had it’s own named roads. There’s even a map from the 1970s that shows how large the School was. [http://www.theladdschool.com/map/the-ladd-school-buildings.asp]

You can read more about the Ladd School at The Ladd School Virtual Museum, although watch out for some misinformation and writer’s prose. I found at least one instance of inaccurate information and the writer has a tendency to backhandedly insult the state. This is a great little blurb on Ladd School, with a lot of detail but zip sources. Read the comments for personal stories. The facebook group  The Ladd School Museum has a TON of information, including documentation. There have been at least four books published on Ladd as well as a documentary. The Ladd School was the filming location for the movie Blackmask. [http://www.theladdschool.com/research/the-ladd-school-links.asp]

Over the years, heading up to the Ladd School was something of a teenager’s right of passage, but it was not without risk as the state’s decision indicates. That was a lawsuit from ’05 when a 17 year old boy accidentally spilled sulfuric acid he found on site over himself. I personally knew a classmate of mine who was hit by a car on site but he survived with a broken arm and a new story to tell. (Ladd School was a popular place to drink and get high). Another friend of mine fell from the second floor but wasn’t injured outside of bruises. The buildings always felt cold, even in the bright heat of midsummer. Friends who frequented the site more than I (because Exeter is across the state from me), report phantom footsteps, shadow figures, voices, and singing when no one else was around. However, with the site being so very large, it would have been impossible to actually confirm that they were alone every time.

In 2006, heavy rains revealed more than 70 human remains out on route 37  were discovered. Archaeological research discovered that exits 2 and 3 were built over the State Farm Cemetery which is the name of the Ladd School’s cemetery back in the ’60s. Later the bodies were re-interred in the State Institute Cemetery in Warwick later that year. In 2009 there was a memorial service for those re-interred. [“RIDOT Hosts Memorial Service for 71 Men, Women and Children Re-interred at State Institution Cemetery”RI.gov. Rhode Island Department of Transportation. 2009-07-14.] The building of the highway occurred because the wooden grave markers had been worn away over time and no environmental studies were done before the building occurred. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhode_Island_Route_37. Retreieved 12/21/2013.] The whole building over graveyards and not checking the environment isn’t even surprising. There’s no law in Rhode Island that says they can’t, so long as it isn’t a Native American graveyard. This is from personal experience working with the Historical Cemetery Commission of Rhode Island. Trust me. No one bats an eye at building over graveyards in this state. In fact, according to the state registry, there’s something like 3100 cemeteries in Rhode Island. And at least a third of them are missing. We either had no data to find them outside of comparing family cemetery names to landowners of the period or we have information from 40-60 years ago telling you how to find the cemetery – often using landmarks that no longer exist. There is a current movement to place each cemetery on GPS so they can be added to maps and claimed as historical landmarks. Ladd School and State Farm Cemetery, at this point in time, have not been declared a historical landmark.

Most of the buildings of the Ladd School were demolished August, 2012. [I can’t find the original post but here’s some photos of the demolition: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.579697698743021.1073741828.419338814778911&type=1] Located in Exeter, Rhode Island on state property, it is famously known by locals as a haunted place with hundreds if not thousands of reporting sightings. For those looking to wandered through Ladd, know that police do routinely stop there, there’s cameras on the grounds of nearby office parks (a popular route to get there), and to watch your step as the grounds can be tricky. In fact, seven people were arrested for trespassing in August 2012 so you might want to give it a pass. [http://cranston.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/cranston-teens-charged-for-trespassing-at-former-ladd-school]If you’re in Exeter, don’t forget to check out the gravesite of Mercy Brown, an accused vampire.

Most importantly, don’t damage anything in Ladd or Mercy Brown’s cemetery. Not only is it beyond fucking rude, it’s a crime. Also, I’m watching and I consider all graveyards and cemeteries in Rhode Island under my protection. Fuck with one and I’ll curse you. Friendly warning.

Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day, August 11, 2013 – a review

Or, hell yes RIPPD

Ginandjack and a RI PPD Program

Ginandjack and I were running late. Having both slept in a bit more than we had planned, I swung by his place to pick him up and grab some breakfast at Dunkin Donuts (which is so very Rhode Island I can’t even).  A quick visit to the ATM and a hustle back to my house to stock up the Hakuryuu the Jeep before heading out.

Water was loaded up by the metal container into the cooler alongside a simple pasta salad, homemade pastries, and a pair of peaches. Finally, we doused ourselves with lemongrass and eucalyptus bug spray and 70+SPF sunblock.

As no one contacted me for a lift to the event I hadn’t bothered putting the rear seat back in. The truck was filled with our cooler, some emergency supplies, the speaker, a blanket, and Nella, the citronella plant I intended to plop on the table during my workshop so I would a) have a prop and b) won’t be attacked by insects in the near-swamp.

Image

The road facing away from the Sportsman Club and towards the Wampanoag Trail.

RIPPD was being held in our hometown. It was easy for us to rumble and rattle our way down the Wampanaog Trail to the nearly hidden street of Mohawk Drive (or Sportmans Drive. Depends on who you ask.). Narrow and broken, we slowed to a roll and parked alongside the road. We decided to leave most of our crap in the Jeep and took only our wallets with us.

Image

The view of the Sportsman Club and the event site, plus a glance of the Jeep from the road.

The first thing we saw was the Noble Knots food truck, a coffee truck who’s name escapes me, and the RI Blood Bank truck. (Later, we ended up having to move the Jeep to a small field because the blood truck had to leave and the cars were blocking the way. Oops. Poor planning on their part.)

The building itself is a single floor with three steps up (a side entrance for the physically imparied with a ramp). White and narrow, the inside was two rooms, plus a tiny hallway with bathrooms and the kitchen. I don’t have images of the inside, but they were mostly small table full of jewelry, some cloaks, and Familiar Spirits, the state’s only New Orleans’ style Hoodoo shop. The Witches’ Almanac was also inside, which I adore and highly recommend for folks who are looking for an alternative to the Llewellyn almanacs available.

We made our way to the Welcoming Tent where I was immediately recognized by Dayna, the workshop coordinator (also, an absolutely adorable and sweet person.) Once I got my program and name tag (which I refused to wear. It’s a thing.) Ginandjack and I started to wander and see what there was to see.

The location was gorgeous and larger than we imagined. The workshop tents were on separate corners of the little field behind the building, past a cement patio with a fire pit. There was plenty of space for large rituals, which was where they were also held. In the distance, you could see the marshy waters of the river opening up to the sea and hawks flew high above, circling in their habitat. The Sportmans’ Club is down the street from a wetland bird sanctuary, often used for hiking and relaxing by locals.

I think my only complaint about the grounds were the rampant amount of poison ivy, cut down but still present and the lack of seating. Other than the ground, there were no seating arranged unless you snag a chair from the workshops. Likewise, there were only tables to stand at. This sadden me because unless I plopped down on the grass, I couldn’t chat or do readings on a whim as I would normally do at get togethers. Perhaps next time. It was the first time at this location so live and learn.

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Vendors 1, including a patch of signs that may or may not leave to Night Vale.

On the other side of the building, past the food trucks, were the tents for vendors.

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Second image of the vendors. There’s more along the right but you get the idea.

The vendors themselves were mixed. A lot of jewelry, a very nice booth with stones, some mish-mash witchy stuff, soaps and aromatherapy, a few information booths, herbal products, handmade mirrors, and some statuary. It’s pretty much as you’d expect. I didn’t end up buying a thing as either I could make the things offered or they didn’t appeal to me. Gin picked up a few things here and there. For each of the purchases we strolled back to the Jeep to stow it securely in the Jeep’s lockbox before heading back in.

Unlike other Pagan Pride Days, there was a definite lack of entertainment. No music was played outside of the occasional snippets of song by a person or during ritual. It was peaceful but I’ve come to expect some music for PPD, and all events really, but since I couldn’t come up with any local entertainment either, I can’t really complain about what can’t be found.

We arrived during the Wiccan Opening Ritual performed by a group from the Stang and Cauldron shop. Since Wicca is neither Gin nor my own bag of tricks, we watched, commenting politely and quietly to ourselves, before making another series of rounds bout the vendors.

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The mid-day ritual by the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan.

Eventually, we got to chatting with the local Hellenics since Ginandjack is a Hellenic and Dionysian. By Hellenics, I mean not just a random group but of Hellenic but the Hellenic Temple of Apollon Zeus and Pan. A Kemetic also hung out with her “Hellenic cousins” and was quite fun to talk to. We enjoyed their company and spent a good hour or so talking with them, if not more. The Hellenics were also doing the mid-day ritual, which I didn’t participate in due to being secular. I did, however, shoot a few photos and watch. If Ginandjack writes up a thing on his experiences during the ritual, I’ll link it.

I didn’t get close because not only did I not want to be involved, but because I don’t want to mess them up. (If you’re wondering why that might be, well, secrets and spoilers).

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Ginandjack came to find me under one of the tents where I was sitting quietly, watching. The Kemetic we had been talking to came over too, to talk and chat about seers and seership.

Ginandjack and I snagged some water and fruit before hitting the vendors again and discussing what we’d seen and experienced. We said hello to those we passed and wandered about.

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Ginandjack with Nella the citronella plant. Because we don’t mess around and always bring protection.

My workshop on secular witchcraft was at three, so we spent a lot of time wandering until then. Towards quarter of, we meandered back to the Jeep to collect Nella the citronella plant and my notes and handouts.

RIPPD ran two workshops at a time and I was, unfortunately opposite of Raven Morgaine, the owner of Familiar Spirits, whom was talking about Shadow Work. His workshop was packed, of course, but about a dozen people showed up for my own. A dozen people was about average for a workshop at RIPPD so I was pretty happy with the turnout.

Th workshop itself went well. While some of the attendees went away with more questions than answers (which is totally unsurprising since no one except Ginandjack I had spoken to knew what secularism was at all) but all of the attendees were interested and many actively engaged. A few stayed after for discussion before moving on to other things. It was a good hour, in my opinion.

Ginandjack and I talked to a friend who stopped by for a little while before grabbing something else to eat, making a final round of the vendors who were slowly packing up, before scooting out ourselves to hit the beach before the sun set.

I might post my “notes” here so others can see what the workshop entailed, roughly, if folks are interested.