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:
The Morning Glory's message is: "I bring you clarity." It is your birth flower if you are born between August 22 – September 22.
Morning glory zodiac flower signs are thoughtful and reflective. You tend to think and plan first before you take any action. You are organized and very observant. You have a natural eye for detail, and can be very analytical. You love to help people, and often use your organization skills to help others who struggle in “getting their act together.” You bloom beautifully right where you are planted, and you have a neat way of making things right and tidy. People come to you for guidance and healing.
Morning glories are known in China for their medicinal properties. The seeds are said to have a laxative effect. Large amounts of the seeds can also be hallucinogenic.
The water morning glory, also known as water spinach or swamp cabbage, can be eaten like lettuce. Although it is categorized as a Federal Noxious Weed, the state of Texas allows water spinach to be grown for personal consumption.
Morning glory juice was used in combination with substance from the Castilla elastica tree to make bouncing rubber balls over 3,000 years ago.
Did you know you can watch your morning glories and predict the weather? The petals with wide open blooms indicate fine weather and closed petals predict rain and bad weather.
I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend! It finally feels like Summer has arrived here in Southern California just as Fall is about to sneak in upon us! I'm in the mood for sorbet and if you are too, give this recipe a try. It can be concocted in the blink of an eye using ingredients you most likely have on hand. You can also make it with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or melon.
Ingredients: 2 pints raspberries, washed and hulled 1 1/3 cups simple syrup* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Purée the raspberries in a food processor. This should yield about three cups. Stir one cup of the simple syrup and the lemon juice into the puree. Taste and add remaining syrup if necessary. Pour the mixture into a bowl and freeze for about two hours.
* To make simple syrup, combine two parts water and one part sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and wait until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.
Tip: Garnish with fresh raspberries and/or mint leaves.
This is a recipe for Panned Baked Apples from a vintage recipe book. It's something simple and delicous to make with the apples from this years apple harvest and you can make as little or as much as you'd like. The scent coming from your oven will be delightful as well!
Core and cut apples into eighths. Put a layer in any size baking dish you'd like, sprinkle with two tablespoons of sugar, add another layer of apples and continue until the dish is full. Add to each quart of apples a half pint of water; cover the dish and bake in a quick oven until soft. The skin which is left on the apples gives a fine flavor. Serve hot in the dish in which they were baked. This is very nice when served with the meat course at dinner.
I'm not sure what a quick oven temperature is but I use 400F when I make this recipe. I also add a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
That you can make your own sour cream? Just add 4 drops of pure lemon juice to 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for about 40 minutes and you have homemade sour cream!
Never allow your washing machine to agitate more than 15 minutes on the wash cycle or the dirt that came out of your soiled items may be forced back into the clothing. Usually 5 minutes of agitation is enough, especially for your delicate items.
When working outside in the garden, or around the house, I always find myself bumping in to something that causes scrapes or bruises.
In the Victorian Era most people could not afford a doctor. Instead, they had household handbooks, which came complete with home remedies. The remedies had worked for centuries, having been passed down from mother to daughter.
One of the remedies for bruising to prevent the area from discoloring is to brew a tea from one large tablespoon of oregano and and a cup of boiling water. Let it set for 10 minutes and then strain it. Wrap the wet oregano in a piece of cloth and apply it to the bruise. Save the liquid and refresh the oregano leaves as needed.
Another tip from 1890 states: The best treatment of bruises is the application of water, of such temperature as is most agreeable. The degree of temperature varies with the temperature of the weather and the vigor of the circulation. On a hot day, use cool or cold water. If the circulation is low, use warm water. The bruised parts may be immersed in a pail of water, and gently pressed or manipulated with the hand or soft cloth for ten minutes, or even longer in severe cases. Then wrap up the parts in cloths wet with cold water, and keep quiet. This treatment keeps down the inflammation, and in nine cases out of ten proves a speedy cure.
With homemade Maple Cinnamon Applesauce! I love homemade applesauce and used to make it for my children when they were young. I prepared some a couple of nights ago for company and it not only tastes wonderful but fills your cottage the with the scent of apples, maple and cinnamon. It's so easy you'll wonder why you haven't made it before now! This recipe yields about 3 1/2 cups
Ingredients: 6 McIntosh, Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 2 Golden Delicious or other sweet apple, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine apple pieces and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the apples are very soft and falling apart, about 30 minutes. Mash the apples to the desired consistency and stir in maple syrup and cinnamon. I like to leave a few large chunks of apple in the applesauce for various texture.
Store in refrigerator. This recipe is also great on vanilla ice cream or even in crepes!
Do you have favorite spices that you use almost daily in your cooking? Spices are not only useful for adding flavor and depth to food, but are also used in promoting good health. Some of my favorites and how I use them are below. What are your favorites?
Allspice- Sold whole or ground. Strong flavor-therefore better combined with other spices in fruit, cakes, pies, pickles, etc.
Cardamom Seeds- These have a spicy smell and aromatic taste. Used in baked fruit, cakes, breads, soups, cheese and sauerkraut.
Cardamom- especially good in honey combinations. Use for some baked goods.
Cayenne Pepper- Usually obtained from small fruited varieties of capsicum. It should be of dull red color. May be used in very small amounts in vegetables and in some salad dressing and in cheese dishes. It must be used with care, however, and paprika, a milder form of red pepper, is successfully substituted.
Cloves- Should be dark brown in color and is usually used in combination with other spices, which gives a better flavor than used alone. Too much gives an undesirable color as well as a bitter flavor.
Curry Powder- This is a number of spices combined in proper proportion to give a distinct flavor to such savory dishes as meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.
Mace- This spice is the inner envelope of nutmegs. It may be used in "blade" or ground in various dishes.
Mustard- Sold whole or ground. I use this alone or in small amounts in various soups, meat dishes, pastry and in such dough mixtures as fancy breads, dumplings and in some puddings; also in combination with other spices for pickles.
Nutmeg- Useful in many dishes and adds a nice touch to: eggnog, apple Pie, green beans, creamed onions, sweet potatoes, creamed fish and chicken dishes, pork chops, and in stuffings. You can also use in fruit compotes, custards and ice creams cookies etc! Try buying your nutmegs whole and using a nutmeg grater for the best flavor.
Paprika- A Hungarian sweet pepper. Bright red in color and used in meat, salads, and soups, both cream and stock. As a garnish for potatoes, cream cheese, fruit salads and eggs.
Pepper (Black)- Used in all meat and vegetable dishes where the color does not affect the product.
Peppercorn- The whole berry of the pepper plant.
And my favorite of all: Cinnamon- Enhancing both sweet and savory foods, this ancient spice has been used for millennia. It adds distinctive flavor and depth to many dishes, both familiar and exotic. Almost endless possibilities exist to add this versatile spice to the daily menu.
Potions have long been a part of the insomniac’s medicine cabinet. Tinctures made from valerian root, mandrake root, and lettuce seeds are a few of the helpful but generally innocuous variety, while the Middle Ages prescription of “drinking a potion made from the gall of a castrated boar” is perhaps a bit extreme. The castrated boar juice was included in a concoction to put out patients about to undergo surgery in the Middle Ages as well.
In the Victorian era, people tended to be interested in spiritualist theories, including those involving magnetic fields and their impact on human health. Charles Dickens, who suffered from insomnia and for a time, tried a combination of opium and alcohol that left him with a wicked hangover, ultimately found relief after placing the head of his bed due north.
An old natural Victorian cure for insomnia from 1890 claims if you follow the procedure below you will be asleep in no time!
1) Chafe the body and extremities with a brush or towel, or rub smartly with the hands, to promote circulation and withdraw the excessive amount of blood from the brain. You will fall asleep in a few moments.
2) On retiring to bed, eat three of four small onions. They will act as a gentle and soothing narcotic and you will be drifting off to slumberland posthaste.
I read an excerpt in an old book that read:
Soap your head with ordinary yellow soap; rub it into the roots of the hair until your head is just lather all over, tie it up in a napkin, go to bed, and wash it out in the morning. Do this for a fortnight. Take no tea after 6pm. I did this, and have never been troubled with sleeplessness since.
Curious indeed and personally I think it was not drinking the tea before bedtime that assisted this insomniac in slumber.
I think I will stick to a relaxing herbal tea to help me drift off.
Make a Cucumber and Yogurt Mask! If you want happy skin, then cucumber is the answer. Did you realize that cucumber and your skin share the same level of hydrogen? It helps in soothing and softening and does wonders in reducing puffiness around your eye area.
Due to its cooling effect it can be termed as a magic wand for all of your skin problems.
This mask is great for combination skin: 1/2 cucumber 1 tbsp plain/natural yogurt
Puree the cucumber in a blender. Mix in the yogurt. Apply all over face and neck. Relax for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, then follow with a splash of cold water.
Cucumber Lotion To make a wonderful skin lotion: Mix one tablespoon each of cucumber juice and milk and a few drops of rose water. Apply on the face and neck. Remove after 15 minutes. This makes an excellent whitener for delicate skins.
If you like to take hotdogs on your picnics try this tip! Before leaving your cottage, place the hot dogs in a wide-mouth thermos and add boiling water. They will be cooked and ready to eat by the time the picnic site is reached!
You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. ~Casare Pavese
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