How to clear weeds and grasses without magic

Since my triumph over the overgrown grasses of the front yard, I have been feeling quite pleased with myself. It is strange, but I do feel myself getting into the idea of a clean home, one that is cleared of excess things. Perhaps the human air is infecting me. I find that one clean room makes the rest seem very dirty and cluttered by comparison, and yards appear to be no different.

And the neighbor lady, of course, has been, shall we say, very outspoken about the issue.

So I have finally found the answer.

While I was watching some of that television thing that humans are so absorbed with – really, it is fascinating but becomes very confusing after a while because there are small segments in between sections of show that try and talk me into buying things – many of which I have never even discover a need for or know what to begin to think of. It is like every one of these little mini-shows about mops and insurance and dog food all involve some made up language that humans are grown to understand. I lack words to explain further if you have not experienced the same confusion. In any case, the result is that I generally will give up on the television and listen to my neighbors yell instead or run a bit of string about on the carpet and amuse The Cat. (Hopefully if I continue to provide her with amusement, she will consider me useful and continue to not eat me.)

But yes, I was watching some show about fixing up a very dirty house, hoping to glean some kind of knowledge about how to take care of mine, but the house they were showing was much more dirty and problematic than mine, and I ended up with only two forms of knowledge: One, there are pre-moistened wipe things you can buy to clean things. This seems most useful in places where those “microbes” and “germ” types of beings tend to hide. They are easily picked up by cloths, but then I do not know if merely washing the cloths will dissipate them or if they will only multiply in the wet environment. Cloths made to throw away would prevent my anxiety and also provide convenience. I will investigate this further the next time Flora take me to a large Everything Store (because they have everything in them).

Then, the second thing I thought of: you can pay people to do work. It's called a job, and people who are not “sponsored” with money from the Council or some other source have them to earn money with which to provide things they want and need. I thought maybe I could find some people to take up the weeds for me, and then I can learn by watching.

I have been asking around some, Flora did not know of anyone, but the old lady who lives on the other side of me from the Nosy Neighbors has a twenty seven year old grand son who has been kind enough to bring a friend by and they agreed to clean my yard for me in exchange for money. They even seemed excited about the prospect, which I think is endearing.

I am most pleased with the results. They left not an hour ago, and I am now looking around my house for any other jobs I do not want to do myself and would rather pay nice men to do for me.

It was raining quite a lot when they were in my yard, and there was much mud and leaves and things all over, but luckily I know how to sweep and mop quite well, at least in my kitchen, and so I did not mind them tracking things through that part of my house so they could eat the pizza I provided. Like any pixie, I believe it is important to pay any helpful being with food even if they are provided payment with money as well. It seems only correct.

To clear a yard of weeds:

You will need:

  • A yard that is full of weeds and grasses and things – I went through and made sure no magical creatures were hiding inside before the boys arrived.
  • Two men wiling to do work for money.
  • Work gloves for the men to wear
  • A case of beer
  • A large pizza covered in many cheeses and meats – this is a food I cannot quite understand, but it is a favorite of young men from what I gather, and you can order it simply by looking on the Internet and finding the nearest place who will deliver the food to you, hot and ready to consume. Most pizza services will even let you order online.
  • Money to pay them.
  • A chair
  • A glass of your favorite spirits.

They work for food and beer, much like pink flutters.

Direct the men to the yard and instruct them on what you would like done with all the plants. I discovered that hidden among the weeds were several flowering shrubs and things and even a few trees I did not want them to take up. Also, show them where to stack the refuse, as there will likely be quite a lot and it will need to be disposed of separately if possible. Give them gloves to wear in the garden in case they come across any biting wreskets you missed clearing the yard.

Leave them a few beers as an offering of hospitality and thanks. Then, go inside because it is starting to rain, and let them get to work. Put a chair by the window so you can watch the weeds disappear, and sip some liquor as you do, feeling happy about how clever you are and that you won't have to do the labor yourself. The men seem to be having fun pulling things up in the rain and mud. They are smiling, anyway.

Take them more beer, they are working very hard (wait until it is raining a little less if you are wearing anything that becomes see-through when wet). Wile you are outside, wave at the neighbor who told you your yard is a mess, indicating that you are doing what she wanted. Smile at her. Watch her turn away with that dismissive hair flip.

Go back inside and practice dismissively flipping your hair because it is so effective,

When they boys are nearly done with the yard, ask them what they like on their pizza. Then, go inside and order to – it takes approximately forty minutes to arrive, so time it's arrival to be convenient.

Once they boys are finished, invite them inside to eat. Make sure to hand them some towels, since they are probably muddy and wet from the rain.

Chat while they eat, and then thank them and pay them well, so they are inclined to return if more work is desired, send them with the rest of the beer and pizza as a thank you.

Look out at your yard and feel smug and happy that you have a nice, clear yard (apart from the pile of weeds, anyway).

Just for fun, wave again when you see the neighbor looking at your yard. Study her hair flip closely so you can go practice more.

Note: Sweep and mop the floor once the mud has dried. Mopping mud just makes more mud, so ensure that you sweep first.

Then, make new plans for another date with a human boy named Ryan. See if he wants to help you investigate cooking meat outside.

(1,212 words)

 

How to Obtain Alcohol Without Magic

One of the things I have missed the most is mead and wine and alcohol in general. We pixies are very good at making spirits, it was we who sold the talent to the humans, after all, in exchange for them no longer being able to believe in us fully without some madness after a time. Skepticism has been a great advantage to the Fae Folk, and I am proud of my pixie heritage.

But I also know that humans have the knowledge of alcohol. I have not wanted to trouble Flora to tell me it is a silly thing to want – she really is too busy for me to bother her to scold me every time I have a question, really, and she is incapable of merely answering anything directly without constructive battleaxeing. I decided that I really needed more food and so went to visit that boy, Ryan, at the shop near my house.

He was very good looking in a blue shirt. I like how humans have just the few eye colors and yet such a variety. They get to have green or blue or brown or a kind of strange mix called hazel, but there a light kinds and dark kinds and Ryan has very dark blue eyes, and they look extra blue when he wears a blue shirt like he did today. I got more potatoes to cook, and some cream for The Cat, and we talked a little about the weather and things. He asked again if I had cooked the meat I bought before, and I had to explain that it is still frozen and I am still unsure of what to do. I accidentally let slip that I barely even understand what to do with clean laundry, and he said “Yeah, I barely can get mine hung up most of the time.” Hung up? Is that what the odd triangles in the closet are for? I did not ask this, however, because I do not want to be too odd. I nodded and agreed that I cannot seem to get them hung up either.

He told me he would like to try cooking for me. Soon. And he could bring over a bottle of wine.

Wine?

I asked him where one might procure spirits nearby, since this idea had not occurred to me. I always have had to go to Mister Figgelstills to get my brandy wine and mead, but the humans have created a whole store dedicated entirely to the purchase of alcohol.

I was marveling at the idea for a while and Ryan told me that in some states you can buy wine anywhere, even gas stations. I don’t really care where I would have to go, I was most excited to find out.

I did remember my manners and asked him if he was serious about coming over to help me. He said yes, and would next Wednesday be okay because he doen’t have to work Wednesday night or Thursday.* I blushed and then told him I would love to have him over, but to make sure and bring whatever he thought he would need, because I am hopeless at doing much in the kitchen yet beyond making potatoes, tea, and popping corn on the stove. He did not seem to mind that at all. In fact, I think he is excited I have taken him up on his offer.

Then I paid for my food and left before I could agree to anything else. That boy makes my head do strange things, and I feel all fuzzy inside and forget about how much I miss magic and the Realms and all kinds of other things.

I did find the magical Liquor Store he mentioned to me.

Oh, what a place! They have everything there! Mead and wine and honeyed bourbon and something called tequila and all sorts of fermented wheat bears. Now, I have to say life is wonderful as a Fae in the realms, magic and magical creatures make life a thing of beauty and simplicity and a pixie can have fun and flit about all day with not a care in the world. But this? These humans are really on to something. What an amazing place!

I wandered for nearly an hour up and down the isles and shelves, marveling over everything I saw, and I finally chose a couple of bottles of mead and a small bottle of some brown liquid called scotch, which surely was invented by the Scottish, who are excellent drinkers, and therefore must be an excellent liquor. I believe I have had some in an offering from time to time, but humans don’t exactly write down what they are giving the Folk every time they pour a glass for the invisible forces.

I walked home a very, very happy pixie.

 

How to obtain liquor.

You will need:

  • A liquor outlet
  • Proof that you are above the human age of 21 – An identification card or drivers license or passport. Luckily, I have been furnished with a magicked card and human identity, so I had no problem.
  • Money

Walk into your favorite or nearest liquor store.

Scan the shelves for what you would like to drink. Try not to drop anything, but if you do they are very kind to clean it up.

Thank the man mopping up what you just broke and ignore when he stares at your bosom.

Stand in the line of people buying their bottles, avoid dropping another of yours.

Present your intended purchases and your proof of age to the cashier.

Pay them the money they need in exchange for your spirits. Take your change.

Leave with your bag of bottles, happy.

 

Isn’t it just marvelous? No exchange of luck, no hexes or spells or obligations or favors. Just give them money, and obtain spirits.

Maybe humans are more clever than I have given them credit for.

*I do find the week day names to be most interesting. I wonder if most humans even realize anymore that they have named their days for the gods. Odin’s day is Wednesday, Thursday was once called Thor’s Day. Do they even know? Probably not, or else they might change it. I find the humans to be superstitious beyond reason sometimes.

(1,036 words)

 

Mowing Grass Without Magic

I believe I mentioned the existence of lots of growing things on either side of this house previously as a challenge, and I have continually been avoiding doing anything about it, because I am rather unaccustomed to dealing with garden wildernesses without the help of my magic to seek out wasps and the right roots and flowers or where something that should not be disturbed might be living.

But as usual, I find that my annoyingly nosy neighbors have decided to ask if I intend to. Well, neighbor, but they are both to blame as far as I care. It is starting to become very tiresome, this meddling. I feel as if my sister, the Council, my neighbors, and all other form of being have suddenly decided to take great and overbearing interest in my doings. And I am beginning to wonder if my neighbor might even be a spy for the Council – the man has made several overtures for me to come to his house and dine with him while his wife is out of town. I find this most disturbing – we all know very well that eating and drinking what another offers us in their dwelling is an invitation for enchantment!

What does he think I am? A pixie to be enslaved with honey cups and glasses of chilled white wine? (He gave me this last detail as a means to entice me, though I have never tried a chilled white wine, I imagine it to be like a cold mead, which is most intriguing). But despite all, I declined his offer, even when he gave me a bouquet of flowers.

But the flowers and the asking for me to come eat makes me sure he is in place to spy on me, either for the council or for other reasons, and that the flowers were to encourage me to tell the truth. Shame, too, because they were some of the tastiest flowers I have come across in a very long time. I should have asked him where he procured them; I do miss munching on daisies before bed.

Flowers are a dangerous gift. All one needs do is place a little ambrosia dust in the middle of one, and as soon as you might smell or taste the stuff, there you are in a puff of hazy glittering air and glowing for all the Realms to see and they can take you anywhere and do nearly anything to you and you have to tell the truth if they ask you any questions. (Now, it isn’t that I haven’t been tempted to try this trick to woo a certain elf male, but of course, I continue to refrain.)

The neighbor did not stop at his flowers, I might add. He kept telling me exactly how long his wife would be out of town, and indeed she got back yesterday as he predicted. I wonder if this was some way of telling me is is watching me, or has powers of omniscience? What is the goal when a human reports how long their spouse is away?

The day she got back, the wife even bothered me. I was sitting out in the back yard, contemplating if the magical tracking the Council uses to help me maintains focus on the house alone might allow me a stroll. (I’d just found a lovely little fluttery dress in the things Flora brought me, and wanted to feel the wind on my skin as I strode about.) I was on the front walk, when she came over, walking the way my mother used to fly when I had left something out in the rain to ruin, and told me that my garden was a total disgrace and that I needed to do something about it. And didn’t I need to have pants on.

I’m not sure why she asked that about my outfit; she has worn skirts before, so I believe they are clearly a part of the human wardrobe. Perhaps she was concerned I might catch a chill. It was hard to tell, because she was obviously upset about something, and she asked me a few questions about her husband and what he was up to while she was away. Maybe they are playing spying games against each other, and she is feeling upset that he guessed when she would be back and is trying to get back at him. Maybe she hid some kind of spying device in my grass and the length of it is interfering with it’s working. Human gadgets could be disturbed by grass, maybe. They are easily disturbed by things like “solar flares” and bumps and moisture, so I do not see it as being impossible.

Anyway, she did seem plenty mad, and I do not wish to draw any of her anger my way if I can help it. I have enough trouble.

So, my friends, I have successfully managed to mow my front yard. (The back, I suspect will need the weeds and things pulled out of the ground manually, which will have to happen later.) I did not do an incredibly good job at mowing, I suspect, because this was my first time operating machinery at all, and as I have said before, I am rather insecure about dealing with anything I might find living in the yard without my magic to help guard me. It seems that people like to mow in some kind of very specific way, but I cannot quite grasp what is so special about one method over another.

To Mow:

You will need:

  • A hag stone – if you cannot actually find an authentic, adder stone, then any rock with a hole in it will do.
  • Lawn mower – I found a lawn mower in the little shack that humans call a “shed” in back, and it appears to run on electricity, because I had to plug it in with a long orange power cord. It reminds me of the vacuum contraption I have not yet found the courage to use, I fear it may suck up something important, and then where does it go? Is the vacuum a portal into another place where it disappears? Is there an alleating nomgog living inside of it? Or is it as boring as all the other human things are and must be emptied, so sucked up objects are not lot forever? Oh well, back to mowing.
  • Somewhere to put grass trimmings – in my case, this is an extra garbage bin that is reserved for organic waste. Most convenient.

First, since so many varieties of Folk like to live hidden in grasses and things, and many are very good at concealing themselves when living in human territories, make sure to scan the yard for any signs of them by looking through the hole in your hag stone. Of course, I am not allowed any magical implements, so I had to do this by tramping about and ringing a bell, to make sure they all left the yard before I got started, which seemed to amuse some of the youths on my stet to no end. You might think they weren’t taught anything about how to scare off mystical creatures. Negligence, for sure.


Luckily, my yard seemed free of any of the things that might wish to inhabit such lovely tall grass, and so I was able to get on with mowing.

As I said, this particular mower is electricity driven*, and so I must watch for the cord at all times, so I decided the best was was to hold the cord behind me and attack the grass in a forward and back kind of motion, going over each patch of grass and weeds until it seemed shorn close enough to the ground. Some patches were tall enough that I had to raise the end of the lawn mower and sort of set it down on top.

The way these mower things work is they have blades beneath a big compartment that spin around and cut the grass, then the clippings are flung back into a bag kind of thing, like what one might pack harvested krikri eggs into to take home. This bag fills up quite quickly when the lawn has been let to grow, and so must be emptied into the receptacle. Just take it off, dump all the trimmings into the open top of the bin, then stick it back on and keep mowing. If you wait too long, then, well, it’s messy and probably just trust me on this. Empty it often.

And there, now my neighbor lady has not reason to be angry with me anymore, and she can turn her attention to figuring out how her husband knows so blighted much. At least while she is back, he probably won’t be asking me to come and eat his evil food offerings for now. At least I hope.**

*The Internet tells me that most lawn mowers are gas and oil powered, and give off noxious fumes. I am most grateful for the inconvenient but not poisonous option of electricity. There are others which have a bunch of spinning blades that move when the contraption is pushed forward by hand, but that is just creepy. And all that iron to possibly touch? No. In my human disguise, I am not so badly hurt by iron as most fae, but I do not wish to handle spinning blades of death either.

**Although this issue is a welcome distraction from my Council troubles.

(1,567 words)