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Monday, September 12, 2011

Full moon, herbal jelly, good friends and shearing cats?

September is the month of the Harvest Moon.
This weekend low in the southeastern sky, oh since about Friday, the Harvest Moon has been making her appearance.  Historically, September's moon is called the Harvest Moon because it happens closest to the autumnal (or fall) equinox.  This year  the autumnal equinox will fall on September 23.  Before electricity, or I suppose those super tractors with spotlights, the September moon gave farmers extra time for harvesting crops after sundown.  

The Native Americans called this moon the Full Corn Moon.  It marked when corn was supposed to be harvested.

                                                      Good Friends

Lynn in the Pine Nursery
Last week, I was privileged to spend a couple hours with a dear friend at her lovely home in the Pineywoods.  Her name is Lynn and she spends time when she can, teaching and coaching me on how to sing.  That's right, I am sure a lot of you have recognized her!  That's our Lynn, of the great Pineywoods singing duet "Adler & Hearne!"  

Lynn took me for a walk around the Goolsby's Pool, telling me the history of the Mill that used to operate there.  We walked on and beside the old road where the farmers drove their wagons, and even stood on the spot where the Mill was located. 

When you are back in the woods, and the mind is quiet and a soft wind just might be blowin on a cool Autumn afternoon, I just wonder if one could hear, you know, if they listened real careful like, the soft jingling of harnesses, the wagon driver humming "Amazing Grace" and the sweet gentle flavors of a simpler time?                     

Goolsby's Pool

Hmmmmm, maybe. 

I will let you go to YouTube to listen about old man Goolsby and the history of the Pool.

You can hear the song Goolsby's Pool at
"YouTube Adler & Hearne "Goolsby's Pool". 

                              Lemon Basil Jelly

All right now, let me go put some water on to boil.  I will grab the camera and let's go get some Lemon Basil out of the garden. Then we will get started on the herbal jelly recipe I promised.  This time we will be making Lemon Basil Jelly!  Now, don't you go turning your nose up at my jelly!  You are going to be so surprised when you realize this jelly tastes just like an old-fashioned lemon drop candy!

Lemon Basil (Ocimum × citriodorum)
Basil is one of the plants that volunteers
to come up in the garden year
after year!
Scented Basil Jelly (from website:  Renee's Garden)

2 c. packed fresh anise, cinnamon, opal or lemon basil (choose one)
2 c. water
2 T rice vinegar (or plain white vinegar)
pinch of salt
3 1/2 c. sugar
3 oz liquid pectin
1) Wash and dry basil in paper towels (Give me a break,  just wash the dust of the leaves and get them chopped! Give them a good shake over the sink and don't waste paper towels!). Then finely chop or process it in food processor.
2) Put basil in large saucepan and crush the leaves, using the bottom a glass. (I used the potato masher.)
3) Add vinegar, salt and sugar and bring to hard boil while stirring. When the boil can't be stirred down, add pectin.  Return to hard boil that can't be stirred down, and boil for exactly 1 minute, then remove saucepan from heat.
4) Skim off foam and pour hot jelly into hot sterilized, 8-oz. jelly jars. Leave 1/2" head space and seal at once with sterilized lids or melted paraffin.  Makes four 8-oz jars. (I was able to get 10 4oz. jars!)
5)  I add another step and process the little jelly jars in simmering water for 5 minutes.  Then place on a rack to cool.....I love the sound of the little jars going "ping" when they seal.  Making jelly is so much fun!

I use the cute little 4oz. jelly jars because we like to give our homemade jellies as gifts.  I have a lot of Texas Tarragon growing in the garden this year.  Texas Tarragon tastes like licorice, so that should make an interesting jelly.

We have found that the Lemon Basil jelly is not only good on toast, but is really awesome with cream cheese on crackers.  I have also used it to glaze baked chicken.

                                                       Shearing Jack the Cat
Groomingdale's Pet Salon
Sulphur Springs, Texas
Let me tell you about one other thing that happened this week.  Our friend and neighbor, Ann, from down the road and around the bend (literally) asked me to help her hold a cat she needed to shear. 

Well, okay.

Despite my visions of hissing, spitting, lashing claws, bite marks clear up to my elbows which actually happened to me when I was a pet-sitter in Arkansas. That time, I tried to give a diabetic cat an insulin shot....it is not something I would recommend doing without rose pruning gloves. 

Anyway, Ann owns Groomingdale's in Sulphur Springs.  Yes, a pet beauty parlor, and to make a long story short, Amanda, her daughter, now mother of twin boys and a 4 year old girl, could not make it into town to hold one cat.  Amanda lives over by Quitman.  Understandable.  So, now Ann, where are the rose pruning gloves?  Oh, I won't need them?  Well, okay....

I didn't do very much, just patted Jack, and occasionally scraped cat fur off into the trash.  I guess Jack has been through this procedure several times.  He was an absolute champ.  No scratching, biting or hissing!
Jack the Cat

Today, Sandra is down with a miserable stomach virus.  Which reminds me, to remind you, if you have purchased Elderberry Syrup from me at Farmer's Market, you really need to be taking the 2 Tbls. maintenance dose daily!  If you do get to feeling badly, take 2 Tbls. every 4 hours.  Oh, and for those of you that I have not told about Elderberry Syrup's awesome flu fighting capabilities, well, we will just have to Blog about that won't we! ? !  Or stop by my booth at the Winnsboro's Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

In case of nausea, a good thing to keep in the freezer is ice cubes made from ginger tea or simmered ginger slices.  (About a 1" piece ginger in 2 c. water, simmered for 20 minutes.)  The ice cubes should be crushed so that they can be sucked on.  When the patient is feeling up to eating, and don't rush eating, chicken broth, watery jello, soda crackers are good choices.  If they have had diarrhea, unspiced rice pudding and smashed banana are good bets. Remember the acronym, BRAT which stands for for bananas, applesauce, rice and toast.  BRATT, all the above plus tea (very weak), BRATTY, all the above plus the tea and yogurt.

Stay healthy.  Until next time, remember Life is a journey not a destination.


P.S. The Native Plant Society of Texas Winnsboro Chapter will be meeting this Thursday, September 16 at 6:30 pm.  Our meeting place is still Art & Espresso on Market St.  There should be a speaker and the talk should be very informative and interesting.  Please come join us and learn more about the native plants of Texas!
Sun setting through smoke

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