Gosh, it's warm and dry out. I know that we get some warm weather in February, but it seems a bit excessive this year. However, I'm taking advantage of the weather and building things in my backyard. I've decided to actually grow vegetables this year. Last year I was reasonably successful with flowers, so I'm going to "go for it" and put in some raised beds next weekend. (if you'd like to help, check the classifieds.)
If you missed me last month, it's because my cat bit me. Very odd, having to go to the doctor for a pet-caused injury. Poor kitty, Doug rolled over on his tail, and my arm was the closest thing to bite. For anyone who isn't aware of it, cat bites are very unpleasant. If you get a bite, go see a doctor. It took a couple of days of antibiotics for me to be coherent again.
Hearthstone has gone outside the state! gypsy and friends held an Open Full Moon in Portland last month under the Hearthstone name. It was well received, and several requests have been made for Marian to make a guest appearance to solicit donations.
THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT
A heartfelt thanks to CUUPS for their blue moon ritual, drawn from many traditions. It's wonderful to see the many levels of diversity in our community and lovely to hear the various full and blue moon myths.
FEBRUARY OPEN FULL MOON
The February Open Full Moon will be on Friday, February 26, 1998, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO.
The February OFM will be presented by Stephen and Marian, and will be a ritual honoring the lord of the wild and the hunt. It will include a rather lengthy guided meditation, so be prepared to sit. The meditation will be a depiction of a Neolithic hunt, so a word of warning to those very sensitive to this sort of thing; it might be a little disturbing.
KITCHEN WITCH REALIZES A SOBERING TRUTH
I have finally been forced to admit it. I'm a geek. I don't know how it happened. Maybe I was born this way, or maybe it entered my system through osmosis. But however it happened, I am still a geek. And it took a recipe to show me the truth.
I have a bread machine, which I consider almost as vital to my life as my computer is. I make bread for no reason, for any reason, and even when neither I nor anyone around me wants bread. So when I found a recipe for cinnamon bread that promised it would taste just like cinnamon buns, I turned immediately to my bread machine. But the recipe wasn't for the bread machine, and it started making this clear with its first ingredient. A bread machine that makes a 1 ½ pound loaf of bread uses 3 cups of flour. (A one pound machine uses 2 cups. There are 2 pound machines these days, and while I don't know how much flour they use, I suspect it's 4.) This recipe opened with 5 cups, allowing it to expand to 5 ½ cups.
Sure, anyone can make the conversion from 5 cups of flour to 3 cups. It's easy. Multiply by three and divide by five. The rest of the conversion might take a little more finagling, but in the long run, I believe any of us could have done it. But I didn't even consider doing it in my head. I did it on my computer. And I used a standard spreadsheet program, not a recipe manager that's programmed to do this kind of thing.
So the measurements turned out like this:
That's about the point where I realized I'd turned into a geek. I was honestly considering how to measure 1.2 eggs.
In a lame and late attempt to reclaim my mundane humanity, I re-converted the measurements to something that makes more sense. (And which worked beautifully.) I am sharing the non-machine version of the recipe, however, with the bread machine measurements in parentheses, although I have seen evidence (on my computer, of course) that lots of people use bread machines these days. I mean, just because I'm a geek it doesn't mean I can't at least try to communicate with real people.
Cinnamon & Sugar Braided Bread
Stir together 3 C flour, the sugar, yeast, salt, and cinnamon. In saucepan, combine milk and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm. Add along with eggs to flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour so dough leaves the sides of the mixing bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turn greased-side of dough up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size (about one hour.) Punch down dough, divide in half. Divide each half into three equal parts and roll each part into a 15 by 1 ½" rope. Place three ropes close together on a greased baking sheet. Braid loosely, pinching ends to seal well. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (20 to 30 minutes.) Begin to preheat oven to 350.
Stir together 1 Tbsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. When dough is risen brush tops of risen dough braids with a beaten egg., then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon topping evenly over each braid. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Of course, if baking in a bread machine, omit the braiding and topping. If you are using the machine simply to knead your dough, you can make one large braid, and you can make the topping for it.
I took this bread in to work and it took my boss alone just half an hour to finish the loaf. (The rest of us got a slice each, although a couple of stragglers arrived too late and had to make do with sniffing the crumbs.) It's great with sweet (unsalted) butter, and probably would be great with a powdered sugar and milk icing, but it didn't last long enough for me to experiment with it.
WISE WOMAN WAYS
by Deb Hoffman
Is your garden as mixed up as mine? The daffodils are pushing through the soil and the crocus are blooming a month early. I actually had to water the lawn! The earth is waking up early this year.
This month I would like to present briefly three herbs that are currently very near and dear to me: Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Chastetree Berry (Vitex agmus-castii) and Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis). These three herbs form a solid foundation to alleviate the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, insomnia, irregular or heavy bleeding, etc.
The root of Black Cohosh is a Native American remedy long used for women's complaints. The herb has been studied extensively in Germany; in 1988 it was shown that regular use of Black Cohosh was as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing common menopausal problems such as hot flashes, headaches, joint pain, water retention and fatigue. A 1995 study revealed that Black Cohosh in conjunction with St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) was 78% effective in treating hot flashes and other related menopausal symptoms. Black Cohosh supplies estrogenic sterols, glycosides and micronutrients which helps your body produce hormones. The herb has antispasmodic factors which dilate the blood vessels which may contribute to headaches. As a cardiotonic it can lower blood pressure, improve circulation and is a mild blood thinner. It has anti-inflammatory properties useful in treating arthritis associated with menopause. Chaste Tree,(most often called Vitex) is one of the most valuable herbs for women in all stages of their lives. It is the ultimate regulator. David Hoffmann, a very respected herbalist, states that "Vitex will always enable what is appropriate to occur".
Again, many studies have been done in Germany which show that the herb does have a distinct hormonal effect on the body, especially a progesterogenic effect on the pituitary gland which regulates the menstrual cycle. Vitex enhances the progesterone cycle and normalizes the estrogen cycle, thus restoring and regulating the hormonal balance. Vitex is a tonic, not a quick fix, and must be used daily over a long time. Results become evident only after a few months; permanent results require up to a year. It is worth the time.start it now even if you have no menopausal symptoms as it is a perfect tonic for women of all ages and is also effective for PMS symptoms.
Dong Quai is our gift from the Orient and is considered a supreme ally for any reproductive distress, but especially in menopause . Plant sterols and minerals in Dong Quai work promptly to modify hot flashes. They accumulate in the body, offering more benefit and effectiveness with continued use. Dong Quai may stimulate menstrual bleeding so it is suggested that you discontinue use during your bleeding time. Dong Quai is famous in China as a blood tonic and for its beneficial and positive effects on the liver and endocrine system. WARNING: If you are currently taking blood-thinning drugs or large amounts of aspirin, check with your physician or an experienced herbalist before taking Dong Quai.
All of these herbs can be purchased at local health food stores.indeed I have seen them at the supermarket as well. They are available in tablets, capsules and tinctures (my personal preference). Follow directions on the label or consult an herbalist for specific questions.
Our Mother provides for all stages of a woman's life!
THE FIVE R'S
by Ken Cannon
Turn off your lights. In the silence of your darkened room, you can hear a thousand trees whispering thanks.
North Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. (That's 60 million every day, 365 days per year. Yikes!)
<<ECO PAGANS OPEN HOUSE>>
<<<FEB. 27, 1-6 pm,>>>
<<<WINGS, 44th and LOWELL>>>
<<Friends, Chit-Chat, Community.>>
~~~"1388 C.E.--English Parliament bans waste disposal in public waterways and ditches." THE GARBAGE PRIMER
-----Water, water, water. I've always wondered why ecologists get worried about how much water we're using. It's not a fossil fuel, it's a cycle: it replenishes itself, evaporating into the atmosphere to form clouds to fall back to earth to form lakes and aquifers and rivers and flow on to the ocean, just like the pictures in the 5th grade science book, right?
-----So I confess I've always had some trouble with the alarms and warnings that we hear about it. In years of serious drought, yeah, ok, conserve so there will be enough for everyone to drink (everyone not to include the Kentucky bluegrass living between the street and the house).
-----But this winter has been one of the driest I can remember, so this month I'm musing about water and just kind of wondering about how concerned we should be about it. Lo and behold, a friend who works for the Bureau of Reclamation posts a couple of articles about it on an email list. (Yes, Lady, I'll write about water this month and any other time you say.)
-----It turns out that there may be plenty of water, but there is already a worldwide shortage of fresh water. You know, the kind you can drink without running it through a municipal treatment plant to remove all the chemicals.
-----UN officials estimate that "The world will need 62 percent more fresh water in the next 25 years to maintain current standards of living.there will be higher demands for water not only from a growing population but also from the industrial and agricultural sectors." (taken from an article in The National Journal's GREENWIRE)
-----Now, I doubt it has escaped many of us that Colorado is semi-arid at best. And most of us have seen the huge irrigation booms out east along I-76 and I-70 blasting huge sprays of water into the air to shower crops with life. And we all have enough cheap water to drink. But how much longer will it last? How much longer before we must choose between drinking water and irrigation water? And what can one person do about it?
-----When northern California went through that severe drought a number of years ago, they developed a saying about toilets which I saw in a service station rest room in Jefferson, CO recently: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." Repulsive idea?
-----Another thing people can do is to xeriscape their yards rather than try to support a wet-climate lawn in this desert.
-----And how about turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving?
CADILLAC DESERT: THE AMERICAN WEST AND ITS DISAPPEARING WATER, Marc Reisner, Penguin (paperback), 1993. An excellent book about water in the Southwest.
-----Aluminum Gas Cans: In last month's column, I mentioned that recycling one aluminum can saves an amount of energy equal to half that can filled with gasoline. Since then, I got curious about how many cans it would take to save a gallon of gas. The answer: 21.3 cans.
-----Sunday Papers: Also last month, I wondered how many trees are soaked to a pulp to publish a single edition of the Sunday New York Times. I still don't have that answer, but I did discover that "Every Sunday, more than 500,000 trees are used to produce the 88% of newspapers that are never recycled." (I think this is also a statistic for North America only.)
~~~"1850 C.E.--Paper is manufactured from wood."THE GARBAGE PRIMER.
~~~THE GARBAGE PRIMER: A HANDBOOK FOR CITIZENS, The League of Women Voters, NYC, Lyons and Burford, 1993.
~~~Other statistics quoted or extrapolated from "Benefits of Recycling":
Remember A Minute for Mom--One minute of meditation on the Earth Mother at one o'clock pm.
While I have your attention, anybody interested in a little manual labor next weekend?
Doug and Kent have promised to build me raised gardens in the backyard this year. We're going to be building them on Saturday the 27th of February. Basically, we're going to hammer a bunch of boards together and pour dirt into the resulting boxes. I also have an old garden patch that needs renovating for squash and such. Based on the old saw "Many hands make light work," we're looking for assistance in this endeavor so we can get it done and go on to other things.
Anyone interested in helping out and receiving meals and gratitude in return, please call Doug or Alia. (If anyone has a tiller to loan or use, that would be terrific as well.)
|1999 OPEN FULL MOON DATES|
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