Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Day To Reflect And Be Grateful~

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated.

Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

There is also a Confederate Memorial Day, which is celebrated on various days in spring in some of the southern states.

Let us all stop for a moment and say a prayer of gratitude for the lives and the loss of so many in order to preserve our freedoms in a free country.

Regardless of our personal feelings or whether the system is justified in the manner of operation to accomplish the end results....our gratitude should be the same for our men and women in service.

To my grandfather, father, uncles, brother, son, and other family members who have given years and total allegiance to our country...a gracious "thank you."

Have a safe weekend~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz

Friday, May 21, 2010

An Herb To Know~

Sage is very dear to my heart..because, one, it was my mothers favorite herb, and now mine. Sage Hill Farms is named in honor of my mother and in honor of an herb plant that holds many magical surprises.

On the surface Sage can seem rather dull and common place...don't be fooled into accepting this as a fact.

Do you know...sage will whiten your teeth better than any commercial product.

Makes a wonderful rinse for dark hair..especially hair with red tints.

Delicious tossed into most any yellow vegetable and dried beans.

Get to know this beautiful herb and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

Makes a lovely addition to any flower bed too~

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Little Garden That Could~

I've been a member of KGI ( Kitchen Gardeners International ) for a few years...Roger Doiron, founder and activist for a better world through gardening connections is without a doubt an awesome and dedicated advocate for the cause of better food, better world.

If you would like to check out our fabulous group, please be my guest. We would love to have you join and become one of many around the world coming together for good and safe food~

Below is the latest article from Roger...I hope you enjoy reading and looking forward to your thoughts.

Bea Kunz
Sage Hill Farms



Like the 20 million Victory Gardens planted during World War II, this trend can win the struggle for good health.

SCARBOROUGH - The Obama family is celebrating the first anniversary of their new kitchen garden, but in my house we're putting two candles on the organic carrot cake and making a wish for our national food gardening future.

Roger Doiron of Scarborough is the founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International, a nonprofit group promoting home gardens.

Two years ago this month, my family and I planted a little garden of our own in the middle of our front yard. As luck would have it, we live in a little white cape with southern exposure which allowed us to claim that we had planted something much more noteworthy: a new food garden on the south lawn of the "white house."

Although the major networks were not present for our groundbreaking event, that didn't stop us from growing some media coverage of our own. We produced a short Internet video of our white house garden planting and used it to urge presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to follow suit upon taking office.

The clip went as viral as a gardening video can hope to go, appearing on many busy websites and, ultimately, on national TV. Fast-forwarding to the present, I am happy to report that both "white house" gardens are flourishing and that a new food garden revival has taken root.

Like the Victory Garden movement of the previous century, war once again provides the context for this revival, but this time it's not nation against nation, but people waging a struggle for health, their own and that of the planet.

Whether the current home-grown revival sends its roots deeply and broadly enough in society to make a significant impact on social and environmental issues remains uncertain. According to a recent survey by the National Gardening Association, 1 million new food gardens are planned for 2010.

That may sound like a large number, but when it's compared with the estimated 20 million Victory Gardens planted in 1943 when the U.S. population was half what it is now, it would seem that we're only scratching the surface.

This brings me to my birthday wish. First lady Michelle Obama has been the best gift the food-gardening movement could ask for this past year, but I'm hoping that millions of new people will follow her example this year. To bring these new gardeners into the movement, we need to educate them about the diverse contributions food gardens can make to families, communities, and our country's national security.

Many people, including policy-makers, think that a number of new little gardens won't add up to anything more than a hill of beans, but our history proves otherwise.

At the peak of the Victory Garden movement, gardens behind homes, schools, prisons, workplaces and in vacant lots were growing 40 percent of the nation's produce and helping to conserve financial and natural resources at a time of crisis.

Last year, my wife and I did some garden math of our own to offer a more contemporary example. We weighed, recorded and priced every item coming out of our yard, front and back, over the course of the growing season. the time we were done, we calculated that we had saved over $2,200 and had met roughly half of our family's produce needs for the year.

And the food was not only delicious and low in carbs, but also low in carbon, having traveled less than 50 feet from plot to plate. Saving money is one financial incentive for growing kitchen gardens, but it shouldn't be the only one.

Each year, we manage to find billions of tax dollars to subsidize corn and soybeans, which are used to sweeten soft drinks and fatten livestock.

Surely some of those funds would be better spent sweetening the deal for gardeners through innovative fiscal incentives and grants for new school and community gardens.

We already provide tax breaks to encourage families to put solar panels on their houses, so why not encourage them also to grow solar-powered food behind those houses?

Whether we organize it now or it organizes us later, a food garden revolution is coming and that's a very good thing.

In fact, the only downside I see is a nationwide glut of summer squash, but hopefully many new gardeners will follow Michelle Obama's lead in sharing some of their bounty with neighbors in need.

Doing so would not only make for a better-fed nation but a more socially just one too. When it comes to the next healthy, home-grown revival, everyone should have a place at the table.

- Special to the Press Herald

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lavender Facts~

Lavender Facts~
Lavenders are all members of the same botanical genus: Lavandula. There are about 28 species of lavender, and each one is distinguished from one another by a different species name. For instance, Lavandula viridis, Lavandula lanata, Lavandula dentata.
The most popular lavenders fall into two basic groups. The first are all cultivars of the species Lavandula angustifolia and are often called English lavenders. Some books use the names L. vera or L. officinalis for English lavender, but both names are incorrect. The second group is made up of hybrids between the English lavenders and another species, Lavandula latifolia, and is called the lavandins (L. x intermedia).

Both of these groups have gray/green foliage, make nice low shrubs, and are hardy down to about USDA Zone 5. They prefer full sun and a well-drained soil. All are fragrant, and though the compositions of their essential oils do differ, it is difficult for most people to tell them apart by their scents.
The biggest differences between them are in their heights, flower colors, the size of the flower heads, and the time of blooms. The English lavenders tend to bloom in early summer, the lavandins in midsummer. The darkest flower colors are among the English lavenders, while the tallest plants, the longest flower stems, and the largest flower heads are among the lavandins.

The biggest killers of lavenders are root-rotting diseases, which proliferate in high humidity and wet soils. These are especially a problem for the English and lavandins. If you live in a humid area, like the Southeast, give your plants as much air circulation as possible. Don’t crowd them in because if one plant catches a disease, it can easily be transferred to the others if too close together..
Don’t use organic mulches around lavender, try pea gravel or white sand. Increase your drainage by planting in mounds or raised beds, and incorporate crushed granite, like chicken grit, into the top 12" of the soil.

The soil should be slightly acidic. Though lavenders don’t require a lot of fertilizer, some should be added each spring. Chicken manure actually has a fungal deterring component and is especially safe to use.

The easiest lavenders to grow in hot, problem areas are the French (L. dentata), Spanish (L. stoechas), and the hybrids ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’, L. x heterophylla and L. x allardii. These are also some of the best lavenders for containers, and all but the Spanish will bloom nearly year-round if given enough warmth and sunlight.

Lavender tea is or cold.

Get the freshest and most aromatic from the Sage Hill Farms website now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Fennel Girls~

Florence and Bronze~

In the 1600's Spanish explorers brought herb seed to plant in the new world.
This is how Sweet Fennel became abundant along 'El Camino Real' or the Kings Highway-which connects the missions in California.

Today, tall wispy spires of green Sweet Fennel can still be seen along interstate 101-which traces the legendary route. ( Sweet Fennel is also know as Florence or Finocchio Fennel)

Bronze Fennel is grown for it leaves and seeds and has no edible root.
It is awesome combined with French Tarragon as a wrap for fish fillets.

Florence is grown for its vegetable root and has a sweet licorice flavor...delicious roasted with fresh grown garlic bulbs.

If you grow Bronze and want to collect seed, do not cut the center stalk after mid summer, this is where the bloom and seed will be. As the seed start to turn from green to brown...cut the whole head and allow it to finish ripening in a brown paper bag. When the seeds are dry they will easily fall off into the bag and you can easily clean ( just remove any leaves, stalk, etc) and put into an air-tight jar. Keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

Both Fennel's make beautiful additions to the garden and the Swallowtail butterfly loves them both.

Happy Gardening~

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WOW-one for us !

All of you that know me, know how strongly I advocate for this cause....I have spent many, many, hours at the helm of whatever medium was at my disposal to get this message out there. So many others have done the same...our prayers have been heard and answered~

It was forever slow in coming but it's a hurdle we have made~

This is the starting point that can change years of wrongs and start a nation on the road to better health.

Thanks to Mike Adams at Natural News for his ever and unwavering dedication to stand-up for what is right by exposing what is wrong...Mike must be dancing in the street!

(NaturalNews) When a government panel of experts finds the courage to tell the truth about cancer, it's an event so rare that it becomes newsworthy. Late last week, a report from the President's Cancer Panel (PCP) broke ranks with the sick-care cancer establishment and dared to say something that natural health advocates have been warning about for decades: That Americans are "bombarded" with cancer-causing chemicals and radiation, and if we hope to reduce cancer rates, we must eliminate cancer-causing chemicals in foods, medicines, personal care products and our work and home environments.

In a directive to President Obama, the report states, "The panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase healthcare costs, cripple our nation's productivity, and devastate American lives." the full report and share with us and everyone you know ...this awesome news.

A Mighty May indeed~

PS: I am happy to say when the Health Care reform bill was being tossed about...I sent a letter to our president suggesting this same action...instead of spending untold sums of money on "health care"...consider putting that money and that energy into cleaning up our food sources...we would then have much less need for health care at the critical stages we now have.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Herbs, Salt, and Salty Herbs~

Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause heart disease and other health problems. One major way to eliminate some issues is by reducing salt/sodium in your daily diet.

Table salt is made up of sodium and chloride. Salt and other sodium containing ingredients are often found in processed or packaged foods. Most of the sodium in our meals comes from processed foods.

Sodium is the part of salt that increases blood pressure. There is more sodium in salt than any other food that we eat. We eat salt because we are conditioned to think that it makes food taste better. In reality, if we allow a few days for our taste buds to adjust to "no salt" the real flavor of our foods become pronounced and is far more delicious to the taste than when it is salted, or too heavily salted.
The body needs sodium to hold water in the blood vessels. Sodium also regulates water balance in all parts of the body. If too much water is held in the body, the amount of blood increases. If it increases too much, problems will arise.
The increase in blood makes the heart work harder. The result can be high blood pressure. Other conditions, such as diabetes, can cause high blood pressure. The most common cause is eating too much salt/sodium. When high blood pressure is not controlled, it can lead to a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease.

So, it isn't a far stretch to realize eliminating as much salt as possible/and using the right kind of salt is a major "must do."

How much sodium is too much?
Health experts recommend 1,100 - 3,300 mg of sodium per day for healthy adults. Most people eat 2,300 to 6,900 mg per day. Some people are salt/sodium sensitive. African Americans, Hispanics, and obese individuals among that group.

One teaspoon of salt contains 2,000 mg of sodium.

The following suggestions can help lower salt intakes:

Eat fewer salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, cheese and pretzels.

Read the "Nutrition Facts" panel on food labels to see how much sodium you are eating. Read the label. ( this applies to all foods )
Look for the words, low-salt or reduced-sodium on products to replace those with high salt.

Use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of high sodium canned

Avoid pickled products like sauerkraut, deli meats, sausages and canned fish. (sauerkraut has awesome pro biotic benefits )so it isn't all bad. )
Use herbs and spices like garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and basil to flavor food and use less salt.

Season meat with lemon juice, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and rosemary.

Season chicken with sage,( seasoned vinegar, us sparingly ) and ginger.

Limit the use of high-salt soy sauce, meat tenderizers, seasoned salt, and Worcestershire.
This is a wonderful recipe for a Salt substitute...make it yourself or purchase it from Sage Hill Farms website. ( click on the blog title )

Salt-Free Herb Blend
Use this blend on food you would normally use salt. Fill the salt shaker and shake until your heart is content. ( It's all good )

5 teaspoons onion powder
2-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2-1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional*)

Combine ingredients and mix well. Spoon into a shaker. Makes 1/3 cup.

*Fiery spices do not raise blood pressure. A small amount of ground red pepper can enhance the flavor of food without making it taste too hot.

* Tip* A small dash of Cayenne pepper into a cup of hot chocolate is amazingly delicious.!
~ do opt for salt , know that all salt is not created equally.

Table salt... is the worst of them all for health purposes. The reason is...the crystals are small and don't dissolve, demanding more and more to get "the" taste. a granular salt that's pressed together. ( under a microscope each grain resembles an ancient pyramid....stacked cubes that have weathered.
The design is what makes it a good dissolves easily and imparts plenty of flavor without over-doing. ( Has not been processed or altered with additives, etc.)

( Kosher salt is the salt of choice in the test kitchens at " Cuisine At Home." ( also a staple in the "Sage Hill House" kitchen.....along with a variety of Sea salts.

Experiment, and discover the real flavor of your favorite foods~

Bea Kunz