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Playing For You From Our Scented Cottage


Fall is summer's flamboyant farewell.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

It's Upon Us Again...

Flu Season. It seems that it arrives more quickly every year and with it looming over us, I have become concerned with warding it off.

While rummaging through my home remedies, the thought occurred to me that everyone needs to know some tips on warding off the flu as best they can naturally. In addition to the flu there are hundreds of cold viruses, and unfortunately, one of them will certainly make an appearance for everyone during this fall and winter season.

There are a number of natural substances that help the immune system fight the viruses causing colds and flu. They've been used in folk medicine long before the first antibiotic was even discovered. Before ingesting herbs please consider any pharmaceuticals you may be taking for other ailments. Herbs are natural drugs and as such can interact with medications. If you have questions please consult your doctor.

Wild Oregano possesses superior anti microbial powers, capable of bringing fast relief from cold and flu symptoms (runny nose, congestion, chills, sore throat, ear aches, cough, fever, fatigue, stuffiness and muscle aches) because it is able to kill the virus which is their cause. Oregano oil has incredible antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal effects. Studies show it also has unrivaled antiseptic (pain-killing) qualities. Many studies have shown that oregano oil can improve the symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold and flu. Oregano oil has been proven effective against a variety of microorganisms. The best part is that oregano oil is completely non-toxic and does not cause any side effects.

The Olive Leaf-Studies show that Olive Leaf extract is a potent anti-microbial that has inhibited the growth of every human pathogen it has been tested against, including viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi and yeast.

Echinacea has a rich tradition of use by North American Indians who used it medicinally more than any other plant. Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. In other words, it makes our own immune cells more efficient in attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells; including cancer cells.

Golden Seal has been used for centuries in herbal medicine. Golden Seal has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes irritated mucus membranes, aiding the eyes, ears, nose and throat. Taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, Golden Seal may help prevent further symptoms from developing. It may be used to help reduce fevers and relive congestion and excess mucous.

Garlic (Allium sativum) has been used since the days of the Egyptians to treat wounds, infections, tumors, and intestinal parasites. The Allicin in garlic is responsible for many of it's healing properties. It stimulates the immune system, increasing the activity of white blood cells that fight foreign organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and yeast. Garlic is particularly effective in treating upper respiratory viral infections due to its immune-enhancing properties and its ability to clear mucous from the lungs.

Astragalus is a Chinese herb that has traditionally been used to strengthen the Wei Ch'i, or immune system. It is regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune function. It has been proven effective in cases of colds, flu and even cancer. It improves the white cell function and general resistance to infection.

Zinc on the immune system is well known. According to medical studies, it can reduce the average duration of colds by 7 days and decrease the severity of all cold symptoms to virtually nonexistent after the third day!

Vitamin C is well known for its ability to fight viruses and bacteria by stimulating the white cells, which are the "soldiers" of the immune system. Vitamin C may be the most important antioxidant when it comes to immune system function. It works well with other immune activators and does not cause any side effects.

Above all, eat well, get plenty of rest, wash your hands often. A healthy and happy fall and winter to you!

What's In Season For October...

It's hard to believe but another month is upon us and it's time to post what's in season for October. Take time to enjoy the fresh fall vegetables and fruits. You'll be healthier for it.

(n = newly in season; p = peak of season; w = winding down)

artichokes p
Fuerte n Zutano n
basil w
beans, fresh shelling w
beans, green w
beets n
broccoli n
Brussels sprouts n
cabbages n
cardoon p
celeriac/celery root
chard n
daikon n
eggplant w
garlic w
greens: turnip, beet, parsley, lettuces, escarole, arugula, komatsuna... n
peppers, sweet w
peppers, hot w
potatoes, sweet n
pumpkin p
radish n
rutabaga n
spinach n
squash, winter p
tomato w
turnips n
yams n

walnut n
almonds p
chestnuts p
pistachios p
pomegranate p
quince p
apples p
cranberries n
raspberries w
kumquat n
lemons n
orange, Valencia w
pears, Bosc n
pears, Comice n
persimmons p

Freezer Trick For Cashmere...

I know it's still very warm in most parts of the country, but cooler weather is just around the corner. I love cashmere and look forward to wearing it during the fall and winter seasons. If you have a favorite cashmere scarf or sweater that is looking a little worn this year, no need to go out and purchase a new one. This freezer trick may revive it!

Place your item in a plastic bag and then into the freezer for a half hour or so. The cold causes the fibers to expand, making your item look almost new again!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Summer's End

"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.
And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November."
- Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden, 1905

It is my hope that you have all had a wonderful and relaxing summer season! Cleaning up the garden, shorter days, cozy fires, the aromas of freshly baked treats from the oven...that is fall to me and I welcome it after the heat of the summer.

 Wishing you all a wonderful Autumn!

Weather Cones...

Long before technology was developed to predict the weather, people had to rely on observation, patterns, and folk lore to avoid being caught off guard by the elements. If your plans, livelihood or even your survival depend on the weather, it certainly wouldn't hurt to become familiar with some of these methods, especially since you never know when you might be out of touch with the local weather report.

Did you know that one of the most reliable of all natural weather indicators are pine cones? These have traditionally been used to forecast the weather as they change shape according to whether it is wet or dry. In dry weather, pine cones open out as the scales shrivel up and stand out stiffly. When it is damp, they absorb moisture and as the scales become flexible again, the cone returns to its normal shape.

Do you have access to pinecones? Do you have a fireplace? If so, perhaps you will like this craft that costs very little to make. When I had a pine tree dropping cones in my yard I pondered ways to use them. Making wreaths is one way but you can also make your own pine cone firestarters for your fireplace. Perfect for the cold weather months coming up.

Gather the pinecones in fall, allow them to dry out, then dip in melted wax recycled from old candles or crayons. These make wonderful gifts for the fall and winter for those with fireplaces.

The colors vary depending on the treatment applied. Melt wax in double boiler , not directly on stove as heated wax can ignite. To add colored flames when burning use:

- table salt (burns yellow)
- no-salt substitute (burns violet)
- borax (burns green)

Dip pinecones in wax to coat and then dip in a mixture of sawdust and one of the above items, (depending on the burning color desired).

Display in a wicker basket, nestled in autumn leaves or Christmas greenery, and embellish with seasonal ribbon bows. Just lovely and much cheaper than purchasing them at a high end retail shoppe.

Lucky Number 6

Do you consider the number 6 your lucky number? If so read on:

The symbolism behind number Six is legend. With Venus as its ruler, Six represents harmony, balance, sincerity, love, and truth. Six naturally reveals solutions for us in a calm, unfolding manner. We invoke the six when we need delicate diplomacy when dealing with sensitive matters. The spiritual meaning of number also deals with enlightenment; specifically "lighting" our path in areas we require spiritual and mental balance. It beckons us to administer compassion and consciously choose forgiveness in a situation.

Homemade Sugar Free/Fat Free Pumpkin Spiced Coffee

Do you love those pumpkin coffee drinks at the popular coffee and tea shops but want to save your pennies for other must have items? Make your own pumpkin spiced creamer and enjoy your homemade coffee drinks any time you'd like for much less!

1 cup Fat Free half-n-half
½ cup Splenda
3 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat until Splenda is dissolved and spices are well combined. Stir in desired amount and enjoy in a hot cup of coffee. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe source: Mary Lea Wright

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A New Perspective...

A few years ago I came across this article and have never forgotten it. It presented itself to me again the other day so I thought I'd share it with everyone. It's my hope that you will see the analogy in it, and that it will give you pause for thought and a new perspective as it does me every time I read it.

Suppose that I, a family doctor, make a house call to see a patient with a pain in the gluteus maximus -- the buttock. In the course of my physical examination I find that the patient is sitting on a tack.

Were I to honor the implicit contract which postulates symptom suppression as the primary objective of my visit, I might administer a quarter grain of morphine, write a prescription for codeine pills, and leave instructions to call me in the morning. The morning report might be something like, "As long as I take the pills, it doesn't hurt, Doc."

In a few days, the pain medicine loses its effectiveness. Time and increasing dosage bring two new developments. The symptom suppression stops and side effects begin to appear. Symptoms may now include nausea and vomiting along with pain in the buttock. Faced with apparent failure of the drug approach, I might recommend surgery.

There are varying surgical solutions to the problem. I could sever the nerve which carries pain sensations from the buttock to the spinal cord, or I could perform a dorsal root rhizotomy. That's a highly specialized neurological operation where we cut the sensory nerve as it enters the spine.

Alternatively, we could freeze the thalamus in the brain, which is thought to be the body's pain center. I might send him to a pain control center where a group of specialists would give instruction on how to live with pain. As a last resort, I might suggest a prefrontal lobotomy, after which there be would be pain, but the victim wouldn't notice it.

If I suggested getting up off the tack, the response would likely be, "But Doc, I make my living sitting on tacks."

Sound absurd? The American Health Foundation reports that some 400,000 new cases of occupationally related diseases are reported each year -- and 100,000 Americans die of them. Furthermore, "the extent of occupational disease is thought to be underestimated because the connection between job and disease often goes unrecognized."

--excerpted from "Fiscal Fitness" by Vicki Robin,
Holistic Medicine, Jan-Feb 1995.

Are you "sitting on a tack?" I was. I was in a high stress job and as much as I knew it, I didn't stop until I suffered a heart attack. I won't make that mistake again! Please listen to your bodies and instead of masking issues that may come up, take action to solve them and rid them from your life. You will only be stronger for it.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Owl

When you hear the screech owl, honey, in the sweet gum tree,
It's a sign as sure as you're born a death is bound to be;
Unless you put the shovel in the fire mighty quick,
For to conjure that old screech owl, take care the one that's sick.

I love owls but the lore that goes with them is not what one might think of as happy or positive. One of the Gaelic names for the owl is Cailleach-Oidhche, crone of the night. The barn owl is called Cailleach-oidhche gheal, white old woman of the night, among others. It symbolizes the powers of darkness, hidden wisdom, detachment, metamorphosis. The owl is a hunter, dwelling in the shades of moon-light, perceptive, silent and swift.

Did you realize owl broth was once used to feed children to avoid whooping cough according to British tradition? Perhaps it's because the owl itself never suffered in pain when making a similar sound. The eggs were also once thought to help prevent epilepsy, bad sight, and to bring drunks back to their senses.

The owl is often a guide to and through the Underworld, a creature of keen sight in darkness, and a silent and swift hunter. It can help unmask those who would deceive you or take advantage of you.

Have Another Cuppa...

Did you realize that drinking tea regularly for years may produce stronger bones? Studies have shown that those who drank tea on a regular basis for 10 or more years had higher bone mineral density in their spines than those who had not. Yet another reason to enjoy tea (not that I needed one!)

Stop by again soon!