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.

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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.

Memories, Habits, Traditions~

Memories, Habits, Traditions~
Our memories are ours alone and come from all that is life, we can speak about them, write about them and share them through many ways of communication…

Habits are often formed from ones memories….good memories…worthy of doing over and over and over.

Traditions are a collection of all those…ours, and generations before us….

Tradition is at risk…embrace it, talk about it, write about it, share it whenever and wherever the door is opened…

Tis the Season….see it through grateful eyes~
All we are and have is because Tradition was.

A Month Of Enchantment # 5

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Photo by Jim Howton…

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Photo by Sherry Lynn…Pass Christian, MS.

I hope someone has enjoyed the month of Enchantment’s blogging as much as I have enjoyed compiling it …this is the last segment and I’m taking us to the Gulf Coast of South Mississippi…

As a child between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age my family transitioned from NW Alabama and farming to the Back Bay of Biloxi every year for the winter….our papa did this to work a saw-mill operation with a friend.
When I married at the age of 21, I knew where I wanted to live…my papa had died when I was just 17 and changed life direction for us all.

So….for 35 years Gulfport and Pass Christian were home to me, my family, including my mother and younger siblings…..this little blog post is dedicated to my sons and my siblings.
The “Coast” as locals think of it is without a doubt like no other place on earth.

American history would be so much different without the watershed moments of the 6 counties that make up the Gulf Coast area. It all starts of course with the water itself and the lush coastal landscape that has drawn newcomers to the area for centuries.

French explorers built a fort there in the 1600’s.
Still stands today and a must see for those who appreciate the reason why.

Britain and Spain planted flags on the coast before American statehood.

Migrants have come from all corners of the globe to find livelihoods on fishing boats, in forest and many other distinctly coastal pursuits.

Resource rich inland waterways meet the Gulf of Mexico in this area, giving life to terrain teeming with tall pines, swaying marsh grasses and fragrant magnolias.

National significant historic structures-including Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ home Beauvoir, the island stronghold Fort Massachusetts and the 1848 Biloxi Lighthouse…still standing strong after being battered countless times in horrific hurricanes.

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and the Alice Moseley Folk Art and Antique Museum are cultural gems to admire.

NASA’s Stennis Space Center, where rocket propulsion test are conducted in preparation for space missions has been a core attraction for decades.
There are so many more wonderful things to know and love…the food…the sunsets, the harbors, the sailboats, the beach strip…the people most of all…

I miss it all most every day of my life to some degree.

Info in part from the Mississippi Tour Guide Magazine…

Cooking With Cast Iron~

Iron Skillet

Ever wondered why your cornbread, fried squash, fried okra, fried chicken etc., doesn’t taste quite like grandma’s or your mothers. If so, it might be because you are not using the right pan? Nothing says “old timey” cooking quite like the use of a cast iron skillet. Cast iron heats evenly, retains it’s heat, and if properly seasoned it is virtually non-stick.

Here is how to season a cast iron cooking vessels (for those who don’t already know):

What You Need

Materials:
Dish soap
A stiff brush
Clean, dry cloth
Vegetable oil or shortening (or other oil of your choice)

~

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water and a stiff brush. Cast iron should not normally be washed with soap, but it’s fine here since the pan is about to be seasoned.

3. Rinse and thoroughly dry the skillet.

4. Using a soft, cotton cloth.. apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside and outside of the skillet. Vegetable oil and shortening are the most commonly recommended oils used for seasoning, but according to Lodge, you can use any oil of your choice.

5. Place the skillet upside down on the oven’s center rack.

6. Place a sheet of aluminum foil below the rack to catch any drips.

7. Bake for an hour.

8. Turn off heat and allow to the skillet to cool completely before removing from oven.

Additional Notes: A seasoned skillet is smooth, shiny, and non-stick. You’ll know it’s time to re-season if food sticks to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted.

Here are some tips on cleaning your cast iron cookware (NEVER use soap):

1. Clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Avoid soaking the pan or leaving it in the sink, or it may rust.

2. Wash the skillet by hand using hot water and a cloth or stiff brush. Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, as these may strip the pan’s seasoning.

3. To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.

4. Thoroughly towel dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat.

5. Using a cloth ( I don’t use paper towels because they can leave bits of fiber in the oil) apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside of the skillet. Some people also like to oil the outside of the skillet. ( I don’t) Buff to remove any excess.

6. Store the skillet in a dry place.

Additional Notes:

Using soap, steel wool, or other abrasives is not the end of the world, but you may need to re-season the skillet. If the skillet is well-seasoned from years of use, a small amount of mild soap may be used without doing much damage – just be sure to rinse it well and oil it after drying.
Remove rust using steel wool or by rubbing it with half a raw potato and a sprinkle of baking soda (seriously, it works!). Again, it may be necessary to re-season the pan after cleaning.

Biblical Dendrology and Other Interest~

dogwood-flower

Today is Good Friday and this weekend is Easter Sunday or Resurrection Day in the Christian world.  Trees feature strongly in Christianity, reflecting their social, spiritual and economical importance throughout history.  Some 37 tree species receive mention in the Bible. ( I have found and documented 20, the search continues…)

Trees are very significant in the Old Testament. Perhaps no more so than in the ‘tree of life’:

… on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.… Revelation 22:1-3

In Genesis 6:14, to escape the impending flood God commanded Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; the meaning of gopher wood remains a mystery to modern scholars.

 

Within the New Testament, trees continued to be of great significance.  Among the three gifts brought by the wise men to the infant Jesus, two were the product of trees: the tree resins (dried sap) of frankincense from Boswellia spp. and myrrh from Commiphora spp.  On the Sunday before his resurrection, Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people placed tree branches for him to walk on; a feast now celebrated as Palm Sunday.

Fragments of the written word tells us that Jesus was crucified on a cross made from Dogwood, even though none of the 30 or more species of Dogwood as we know it today, grow large enough to produce suitable timbers for this purpose.  The discrepancy is explained in this delightful poem:

The Legend of the Dogwood
Anon.

In Jesus’ time,
the dogwood grew
to a stately size
and a lovely hue.

‘Twas strong and firm
it’s branches interwoven,
for the cross of Christ
its timbers were chosen.

Seeing the distress
at this use of their wood
Christ made a promise
which still holds good:

“Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.

Slender and twisted it shall be
with blossoms like the cross for all to see.

As blood stains the petals marked in brown,
the blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.

All who see it will remember Me
crucified on a cross
from the dogwood tree.

Cherished and protected,
this tree shall be.
A reminder to all of my agony.”

~~

Bunny rabbits and brightly colored eggs are beautiful and I enjoy them in displays.

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However, please let us each make the true meaning of this season the real focus…Jesus~

Stevia….A Sweet Tale…

Stevia-the Sweet Herb~

Stevia’s history in the US began in the early 1900’s, when it was offered as an alternative to “white sugar” by those who were aware of the negatives from sugar over-use…the political power, such as we still see as a common thread throughout our food/health journey…quickly shut it down, FDA slapped a drug label on it and removed it from the option list.
Fast forward a few decades and another political weight decided it was useful as a sugar alternative…enter FDA/Coke/…get the full info here from a source I totally trust.    http://www.naturalnews.com/News_000626_stevia_Truvia_FDA.html
~~
(Back to the garden…)
 Stevia is considered easy to grow but it does have some basic requirements.

No doubt you have been keeping up with all the latest concerning Stevia. If not check out the Organic Consumers site and get the updates. Interesting to say the least. Exciting to say more~

Stevia rebaudiana is one of about 154 members of the genus Stevia. A member of the Sunflower family, stevia is a small herbaceous subtropical perennial shrub that grows to 2 maybe 3 feet tall.

Stevia supposedly grows best in cooler climates but for some strange reason it has done well for me in middle, southern Tennessee. During the growing season it supposedly thrives best at between 60 and 85 degrees.
Here in our part of Tennessee, we range more in the 90’s during the average growing season.

It grows as a perennial in frost free zones but otherwise can be grown as an annual.

Stevia rebaudiana is the only member of the genus containing the sweet compounds.

When you are planning to try your luck at growing Stevia, look for plants that have been grown from cuttings with a high stevioside content.
Cuttings are more reliable than seeds, so I read…but, I had beautiful plants this last year from seeds that self sowed.

I have concluded it is like most herbs…will thrive under most any and all conditions if it has good soil, lots of sun, and a wee bit of care.

Plant outside in early spring after all danger of frost has passed. It is very tender to hard frost and it’s also very brittle to the touch…so take care when working around your plants.

Sandy Loam soil with plenty of organic matter is great.
A layer of mulch works after the soil heats up and stays hot.
And I would certainly advise growing it in a raised bed…but then I grow everything in raised beds…just makes life for the plants and for me much better!

Stevia requires a consistently moist soil…but not waterlogged.
I use a manure fertilizer worked into the soil before planting.

Above all else avoid high-nitrogen chemical fertilizers, they produce large leaves and no flavor.

Sweet growing and enjoy~

Herbal Truths…Timeless~

An engraving of Parkinson from his monumental work Theatrum Botanicum (1640), reprinted in Agnes Arber's Herbals (1912). Born 1567 Died Summer 1650 (aged 82–83); buried 6 August 1650 Probably London, England Residence London, England Nationality English Fields Herbalism and botany Known for Publishing Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris (1629) and Theatrum Botanicum (1640)

An engraving of Parkinson from his monumental work Theatrum Botanicum (1640), reprinted in Agnes Arber’s Herbals (1912).
Born 1567
Died Summer 1650 (aged 82–83); buried 6 August 1650
Probably London, England
Residence London, England
Nationality English
Fields Herbalism and botany
Known for Publishing Paradisi in Sole, Paradisus Terrestris (1629) and Theatrum Botanicum (1640)

Throughout history people from every culture have been using herbs to season and flavor food.

In the 17th century, John Parkinson, the famous English herbalist at the Court of King James I-wrote these words, “dried summer savory leaves ground up with bread crumbs used to breade meate, be it fish or flesh, give it a quicker relish.” Meaning that it gives it a better taste.

Herbs do taste good and smell good, they are healthy and they give us so many options to experiment with. Hard and fast rules when using herbs are very few. You can make your own rules. Fresh versus dried is simply a matter of personal preference.

There are a few things to remember when cooking with herbs in order to get the best benefit of the natural oils. Fresh herbs like basil, should be torn with your fingers instead of chopped with a knife. Tearing releases more of the natural oil. Any fresh or dried herb should be added no more than 5 or 10 minutes to the end of cooking time. The longer they cook, the more taste you lose.

Another little tip: When using dried—–half the amount of fresh will do in most recipes.

Too little is better than too much! Herbs can be overpowering if not used in the proper amounts.
The blending of herbs can serve a two fold purpose, adding wonderful flavor to your dish, and allowing you to cut back or completely stop the use of salt and or fat.
Actually there is a third benefit, once you remove the salt and fat from your food, you discover the real taste . This is always a big surprise to most people.

I’m an herb farmer/user/teacher and strongly believe in the powers of herbs to support, heal, cleanse and maintain the health of our bodies, minds and spirit.

But they are like everything we do that has a real purpose, we must learn about the process
and commit to a practice of when and how to best use them.

**Yes, the spellings are correct for the times.

To Daniel Webster…A Toast!

Daniel Webster was considered one of the greatest orators in American history. He was a famous attorney, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate. He served as Secretary of State for three Presidents.

Webster was also a fervent Christian.

He made this statement regarding the importance of the Christian faith in preserving and prospering America.

~If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation.

If truth be not diffused, error will be; If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will;If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will will reign without mitigation or end.

I had this conversation at my dining room table with friends in 1999, discussing the threat of removing certain religious books from public places. I read and quoted the message above…how utterly frightening it is to look back and see so clearly how accurate the message is…look around…what do you see ?

A Toast To Daniel Webster

Power of Propaganda~

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Dr. Suzanne Humphries, author of Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History, is a nephrologist who has committed the latter part of her medical career to exposing the “lost history” of vaccinations.

Barbara Loe Fisher of NVIC commented that this is one of the rare books that conducted in-depth research documenting the medical history related to mass vaccination programs and infectious diseases.

If you only read one book for the rest of your life…Make it this book!

I have conducted intensive research into the earliest documented information on Vaccines….The Power of Propaganda has been a tool of political power since the beginning of time…never more powerful in the results desired than today.

Others have written and documented this info so much better than I could, one of those places /people is Dr. Joseph Mercola ….

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/18/history-vaccination.aspx#!

There is a dark and horrific history to vaccines, we think it is bad today, it does not compare to some history that has been well downplayed/hidden…until the age of “now.”  We are a short step away from revisiting that ugly and deadly part of history…Wake up, read the book, do your own research…take charge of your life…Or…someone else will!

Sage Hill~
Thursday’s Thought…Think about this…Every time the political power in charge feels they are losing control, we see an sudden outbreak of some deadly virus…what comes after the initial scare?…the magic bullet…a Vaccine…

Today, we have a power struggle where it appears the one side is losing control…and…today we have a headline of a mysterious illness breaking out in children that may cause paralyzes…very similar to Polio !!

Now, stop and think back over the last few months, how many major issues, frightening threats and outbreaks have we seen?  Think again…as soon as some other issue is settled, some under the table deal is completed…it all goes away never to visited again…well, until the need arises.

 

Cooking With Herbs Throughout History

Throughout history people from every culture have been using herbs to season and flavor food.

In the 17th century, John Parkinson, the famous English herbalist at the Court of King James I, wrote these words, Dried summer savory leaves ground up with bread crumbs “used to breade meate, (correct spelling for the times) be it fish or flesh, give it a quicker relish.” Meaning that it gives it a better taste.

Herbs do taste good and smell good, they are healthy and they give us so many options to experiment with. Hard and fast rules when using herbs are very few. You can make your own rules. Fresh versus dried is simply a matter of personal preference.

There are a few things to remember when cooking with herbs in order to get the best benefit of the natural oils. Fresh herbs like basil, should be torn with your fingers instead of chopped with a knife. Tearing releases more of the natural oil. Any fresh or dried herb should be added no more than 5 or 10 minutes to the end of cooking time. The longer they cook, the more taste
you lose.

Another little tip: When using dried—–half the amount of fresh will do in most recipes.

Too little is better than too much! Herbs can be overpowering if not used in the proper amounts
.
The blending of herbs can serve a two fold purpose, adding wonderful flavor to your dish, and allowing you to cut back or completely stop the use of salt and or fat.
Actually there is a third benefit, once you remove the salt and fat from your food, you discover the real taste . This is always a big surprise to most people.

I’m an herb farmer and strongly believe in the powers of herbs to support, heal, cleanse and maintain the health of our bodies, minds and spirit.

But they are like everything we do that has a real purpose, we must learn about the process and commit to a practice of when and how to best use them.

You can find more information about our farm and our products by going here:
http://www.sagehillgardens.com