Valentine’s Day…My Way

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with A Dark Chocolate and a Cup of Ginger Tea~

Valentine's Day

Wishing you all a beautiful Valentines Day~

Share your love~and your chocolate…..hmmm…maybe

XOXOXO

The compounds in Dark Chocolate that benefit your health (antioxidants and phenols) are in the cocoa solids. The more cocoa solids your chocolate has, the darker the chocolate will appear. But you can’t rely on looks or marketing alone since any chocolate can be labeled “dark,” even if it doesn’t contain a high concentration of cocoa. The first ingredient on the label should be cocoa, chocolate, or cocoa liquor. Choose a product that contains at least 70 percent cocoa. This percentage should be listed on the label.

Be choosy about your chocolate. Bypass the colorful chocolate candies, skip the milk chocolate hearts, and turn away from the fancy bonbons.

A few chocolate tips:

Many mainstream chocolate manufacturers use cheaper vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, including Hershey. Steer clear of anything that includes added fats and oils (look for cocoa butter as an ingredient).

Stay away from any label that doesn’t say “chocolate.” …. “chocolaty,” “made with chocolate,” and “chocolate candy” all imply diluted chocolate.

Most supermarket brands are diluted by milk products and are semisweet, milk or sweet chocolate rather than dark chocolate. Pass them up and splurge on real “dark” chocolates (found in the “health” food section of most large grocery stores and available online).

Some dark chocolate to try*

Dagoba
My picks:  Lavender/Blueberries,Hemp/Pumpkin/Sunflower Seeds/Chili and Cacao Nibs.
~

Endangered Species :
My picks:
Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans

Equal Exchange:
My picks:
Very Dark Chocolate.

Green and Black’s
My picks:
Ginger
Cherry

EatWell-BeWell~

The Journey…..with Books

Favorite Books
I’m often reluctant to recommend books to others. What I find interesting and useful appeals to my very personal desire to know, understand, and help ‘me’ chart a course, make a decision, and/or take a stand…a book I read a long time ago prompted me to view gardening in a different way from what I learned growing up on a farm…need I say more

We can look around today and everywhere there is a plethora of information of what is happening now…now is important and must be dealt with…however, if we have a clear understand of how we got to the now…we can and will make better judgment’s and choices with what we are faced with today.

The two books I’m suggesting here will answer a lot of questions about todays issues in agriculture….

Just so we are clear…nothing, we could read or understand can or will ever justify where we are today…it can simply take away a lot of questions and help one to better define the why.

The Stylish Gardener

February 5th-2018…It looked like spring, it felt like spring…
I dressed for spring….Alas, as hard as I tried….my temp gauge reminds me it 32 degrees outside tonight with not much change for tomorrow…
Meaning, spring is still a far ways down the road…back to sweaters and boots…

We can hope for an early spring…Yes…we can!

In the meantime…pop over to the www.sagehillgardens.com and
catch up on the Blog postings…..you’ll find stuff to your liking I promise.
I’ll meet you in the gardens…a bit later!
February's Stylish Gardener

The Stylish Gardener

Finding Your Balance

The world is forever turning, revolving, evolving, adjusting, giving and taking back.
We, as the highest form of life on earth have a responsibility to find and keep a balance that aligns with the Creator’s intentions. Self, family, neighbor, country…when we do this, all things find their own level of being.

Find your balance and work outward…..

Love Thy Neighbor “As Thy Self.”

Bea's Beatitudes

Stress Healing Foods and How They Work~

When the mind and body goes through emotional issues the stress factor can and does leave us vulnerable to low energy, foggy mind, and binge or emotional eating/drinking…..

Our gut connects to the brain through the vagus nerve. This connection delivers nutrition (or toxins) to the brain based on the state of your inner ecology. So, if your intestinal system is loaded with trash…then your thoughts will directly reflect the same. However, if it is healthy and balanced, that will send positive vibrations to your noggin, and allow you to better handle adverse situations and circumstances so you don’t stress out.
Reishi

(Reishi), also known as ganoderma lucidum, has been on the planet far longer than we have, and has adapted to situations that have left other plants, and animals, extinct.

Perhaps we can learn and benefit from this miraculous herb?

Reishi is a powerful grounding herb, and provides an adaptogenic quality that is passed on to those who consume it. So even though you don’t plan on adapting and surviving for the next 200 years, it could very well help you adapt and handle the stress of your morning commute, or that surly family member.

Some of the other positive effects of reishi, which may explain its benefits to stressed out individuals, is it’s antibacterial, viral, fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these conditions that are often found in the gut directly affects your ability to think correctly and therefore handle situations in a calm manner. When reishi helps eliminate them, that leaves a cleaner connection from your gut to your head, which enables you to think more clearly.

(Passion flower)

The leaves and roots of many passion flower varieties contain compounds called beta-carboline harmala alkaloids. These alkaloids act as natural monoamine oxidase inhibitors that aid in the metabolism of the feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin and norephinephrine.

This helps produce a sense of calm and well being, and helps reduce feelings of anxiety and stress by raising the levels of these happiness promoting chemicals.

Passion flower often comes in tincture or liquid form (tea), and has very few known side effects, which makes it a desirable way to relieve anxiety naturally.

(Chamomile)

Chamomile is a commonly known herb for its calming and mildly sedative effect. It has been used for hundreds of years by natural healers to help reduce stress and induce sleep.

Part of chamomile’s positive effects comes from it’s antibacterial nature, and another part comes from the simple engagement of our smell receptors and how it affects our brain.

Chamomile can be taken largely in tea form, but there are also significant benefits from inhaling its natural oils through essential oil products. This is effective because our 50 million smell receptors inside our nasal cavity connect to our brains limbic system – which is responsible for emotions, memory, and sexual arousal.

(Lemon balm)

Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family native to the southern Europe and Mediterranean regions. It has been studied for centuries and has been known to relieve anxiety, promote sleep, and sooth agitation.

In a 2004 human study, lemon balm was examined for its effect on laboratory-induced stress in humans. 18 healthy volunteers took a single dose of lemon balm extract or a placebo, and their mood was assessed before the dose and one hour after, via a standardized stress-simulation test.

The higher dose ameliorated the stress induced by the test, and produced significantly improved self-ratings of calmness and alertness. Even the lower dose produced a significant increase in the speed at which the subjects could do math problems, without any reduction in accuracy.

Work in some of these healing foods and herbs for stress, and watch your mind and body start to heal itself.

Lemon balm and Passion flower are my go to favorites when I feel less than energized and joyful…..they really do work far beyond a quick pick me up!

Surviving Winter-The Stylish Gardener Way

While the winter break from gardening task is a welcomed relief…for about three days!  Then the shock sets in…I’m free and do I really want to be?? Soooo…we buckle up, prepare for landing, and survive!

There are all those fabulous books to be re-read, notes to translated and penned to proper places, new recipes to be tested, family and friends to visit and pamper, and…the freedom to curl up at any time of choice and let the world pass by in a day-dream…if you see one you really like, pluck it out and explore the possibilities.


Some of my favorite winter moments….Family time
Anytime snow!

Brunch!Favorite BooksVisiting those whom live elsewhere

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas~

Twelve Days of Christmas

Christmas Day is for many the end of the Christmas celebration-and that is OK for those who wish it to be…however, I love celebrating the twelve days from Dec. 25th-Jan.6th…it is my way of absorbing the message that tends to get pushed aside with so much preparation in the days prior to Christmas Day. the verses of this song, along with their supposed symbolism:
(there is much debate about this and I don’t wish to debate 🙂

One can ( I do ) take each day and make it fit right into the day’s schedule…I hope you join me in this twelve day journey~

(A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Jesus Christ)
The First day of Christmas has come and gone…I believe Jesus celebrated his birthday by giving all those who chose to accept Peace, Love, and Joy…

On the second day of Christmas
(Two Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments)
Take time to read and understand the words.

No automatic alt text available.

The Third day of Christmas finds me wondering and wishing for better documentation of things that will one day be our history.

“Three French Hens”…(faith, hope, and love.) sounds good to me.

My one French hen…( a gift from long ago)
~
The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

On December 28, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, the children murdered by Herod. These were not martyrs like Stephen, who died heroically in a vision of the glorified Christ. They were not inspired like John to speak the Word of life and understand the mysteries of God. They died unjustly before they had a chance to know or to will—but they died for Christ nonetheless. In them we see the long agony of those who suffer and die through human injustice, never knowing that they have been redeemed. If Christ did not come for them too, then surely Christ came in vain. In celebrating the Holy Innocents, we remember the victims of abortion, of war, of abuse. We renew our faith that the coming of Christ brings hope to the most hopeless. And, in the most radical way possible, we confess that like the murdered children we are saved by the sheer mercy of Christ, not by our own doing or knowing.
~

The five golden rings re-represented the first five books of the Old Testament, which describe man’s fall into sin and the great love of God in sending a Savior.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit—–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
(My Blog… “BeasBeatitudes,” came after a long search for the right spirit of said writings.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit—–Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience [Forbearance], Goodness [Kindness], Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continence [Chastity].

The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful Apostles.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles’ Creed.
~

I’ve heard many times,’life does not come with an instruction manual.’

I beg to differ, we simply fail to read and/or follow the instructions.

(HaHa…bet that rings a bell!!)

~~

(A poem I penned in 1012)


The Joy of Christmas…let me count them one by one-so many, you’ll be sleeping before I’m done.
There’s holly and cedar, rosemary and Red Birds-
Paper Whites and Poinsettias , Red Roses and Tartan skirts-
Stockings of red, green and beyond,bows and bells-oh my, what great fun…
Candles in the windows, sleighs by the stoop, hot coco and mama’s homemade soup-
Snowflakes and snow-balls for some there will be-alas, just rain and wind I see-
Chestnuts by the fire,cranberries strung above-and a toast to the one you love-
Pretty paper, pretty ribbon, pretty cards from far and near-
Silent night and happy dreams for those you hold dear-
Chocolate, red velvet, coconut and caramel tarts-
Snicker-doodles and Thumbprints, all tugging at our hearts-
Memories and flashbacks, from days carved in stone-
History indeed, but never really gone-
Carols for the neighbor…prayers for our Troops-
Christmas trees of all description-Presents all around-everything Merry and Bright…not like in Bethlehem-
Look into your heart-and find the tiny spark-turn up the flame and light the way….for yet another Christmas Day.

God Bless and may we keep the spirit of Christmas always in our hearts.   Bea Rigsby-Kunz-2012.

Reflections~

December Gardens

A beautiful, peaceful, healing garden does not have to be in the dirt.

For dedicated gardeners, earth stewards, and anyone with a true connection to nature….a lovely garden can grow in the mind….and our surroundings…
As the days grow longer and the cold grows stronger….conifers, holly, pine-cones, magnolia gifts and winter-berries bring seasonal cheer that feel as good as shoots of green in the spring beds.
Seed pod-southern magnolia

Merry Christmas, In God We Trust, Peace On Earth…..

Christmas As Seen Through The Eyes Of Dickens~

The Christmas Story…according to the Christmas Bible story, Christ came down to earth from heaven to be born at Christmas, because of his love for all humanity.

Christmas Through the Eyes of Dickens~(1812-1870)
( a cry for social justice )

Christmas in Scrooge’s day…in 1843 Christmas was much less commercial. Many people went to church, and many followed the ancient tradition of making merry. however, nothing was allowed for or geared to the working class or poor classes of people
We all know the heart-tugging story of  “A Christmas Carol” by- Charles Dickens…what many may not know are some of the historical facts that inspired this classic.

The English Christmas was at a low ebb when Dickens was a youngster.
his desire was to make it understood and to change how the working poor lived from day to day. Dickens loved his city and spent his life wandering the streets, by the time he was 15 he know it well…yet never stopped exploring and writing about its restless energy.

Much of today’s London was built in the 19th Century,
it was full of dark alleys and lanes, the streets were crowded, noisy, and very dirty.
Almost anything was bought and sold, the atmosphere was more akin to a modern third-world city than modern London. Many of the vendors were children-there were no child labor laws such as we have today. Many worked as young as 5-sweeping the streets.

The growth of the city exploded in the 1800’s and became know as “the Fever-Patch.” It was the first big industrial city in the world, and it was dirty, extremely polluted and unhealthy. disease spread quickly…there were four cholera epidemics in Dickens’s lifetime. plus regular outbreaks of typhoid, scarlet fever,, and other ills. Two hundred open sewers ran into the Thames River…and more than half of the London population took their water from it for cooking, laundry, bathing and drinking.

“A Christmas Carol” was written in 1843, as was the first printed Christmas cards. However in 1843 many very old traditions were still being celebrated. Some dated from ancient pagan midwinter festivals-which were celebrated long before the first Christmas. The latter part of the 1840’s began to see signs of new customs and ways that brought London out of the disgusting conditions it had become famous for.

The year after ” A Christmas Carol” was published , nine London theaters staged versions of this book…it has been a favorite of stage and screen ever since. The classic being the 1951 version.

After the success of ” A Christmas Carol” Dickens wrote a Christmas story each year for the next several years, including The Chimes,(1844) and The cricket On The Hearth (1845)-none were as popular as A Christmas Carol. It added a new word to the English language (“a Scrooge” is a miser…very few stories have done that.

Today’s Christmas is commercial in a way Dickens could not have dreamed of…but in part and thanks to him, we still feel that Christmas should be a time for family warmth, wholesome fun, kindness to others and especially children…his vision lives on~ RIP Charles Dickens.

Merry Christmas~

The Sage Hill Farms Family~