Sunday, December 15, 2013

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 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 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~

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

~~Thanksgiving~~Fruits Of The Harvest

From candles to gravy boats, from generations past to generations of the is all Fruits of the Harvest.

Thinking of all the love and labor that goes into building families over many generation and all the loving labor that goes into a project in order to reap a rewarding is simply one and the same from the heart.

Thanksgiving without pumpkin and turkey is hard to imagine--just as Thanksgiving without reaching out and giving back is unacceptable.

A loving family, true friends, healthy bodies and minds. an abundance of all things needed for a warm and satisfying Thanksgiving time, for these things I feel grateful ...may you share in the same feeling at your house.

Happy Thanksgiving from Sage Hill Farms~


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Back Ten Feet: Sue's Top Ten Tips

Anyone can do this regardless where we least to some degree.

Embrace and go for it !
Bea K.

The Back Ten Feet: Sue's Top Ten Tips:  1. First...Do no harm.  NO chemicals!!!   2. Lawn or turf grass is for framing not farming           a. Get rid of most if not all     ...

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Fall, Fairs, and Football~

September, the beginning of the " changing " of the seasonal guard :) Autumn/Fall- doesn't actually begin until the 22nd...but the temps are dropping, the leaves are showing signs of color, summer gardens are falling away, and the fall festivities are happening in towns and cities around the country. ( our County Fair begins in the coming week ) and a great one it is. I really enjoy the Harness Racing most of all.
This pretty picture is by way of my friend Judy Graber from Mineral Springs Farm-organic raised/Black Angus Beef ( yes ! )
She can be easily found on FB.
                  Labor Day is the big holiday for the US and Canada. 
Grandparents Day is the 8th-
if you are blessed with grandparents, get to know who they were through the years past, what it was like when they were your age, if not for them, you and I would not be :)
Ahhh, September birthdays...we have 7 during this month. Lots of celebrating will be happening from the 4th through the 30th !
New Moon on the 5th...great time to trim the hair for maximum growth.   One full moon, on the 19th-check and balance time :)   
The days to fly your flag if you don't fly it every day...Labor Day...2nd, Patriot Day...11th, POW and MIA Recognition Day...20th.
Asters are Septembers flower, do you have them in your garden ?
Please practice being a good land steward.....don't use dangerous chemicals, instead look for and learn about the natural ways to care for your soil, it will thank you with rich and bountiful offerings. You and your family will be healthier and future generations will have a fighting chance to enjoy mother earth too.
Wishing you and yours a most wonderful Autumn season.
Bea Rigsby-Kunz/Sage Hill Farms


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bee Balm/Bergamot=Goodness In A Cup~


                  Scarlet Monarda. Oswego Tea. Bee Balm. Bergamot. 

 A fruitful source of Thymol.
This pretty herb has become a favorite in our gardens. It has showy, bright pink flowers in large heads or whorls at the top of the stem, supported by leafy bracts, the leaflets of which are of a pale-green color tinged with red. Its square, grooved and hard stems rise about 2 feet high, and the leaves which it bears in pairs are rather rough on both sides. The whole plant is strongly impregnated with a delightful fragrance; even after the darkly-colored leaves have died away, the surface rootlets give off the pleasant smell by which the plant has earned its common name 'Bergamot,' it being reminiscent of the aroma of the Bergamot Orange.   It is known in America as 'Oswego Tea,' because an infusion of its young leaves used to form a common beverage in many parts of the United States.

 It is also sometimes called 'Bee Balm,' as bees are fond of its blossoms, which secrete much nectar. It delights in a moist, light soil, and in a situation where the plants have only the morning sun, where they will continue in flower longer than those which are exposed to the full sun. It is a very ornamental plant and readily propagated by its creeping roots and by slips or cuttings, ( needs room to spread ) we find it does great beside the Butterfly shrubs.

TIP: .....Oswego Tea blend will be available from August through the month of September...get it early, doesn't last long. Will be on the Sage Hill Farms web store beginning August 1st.

I trust your summer is Awesome !

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Spring Promises~

Spring, it comes only to retreat, and back again...seems she never tires of teasing us. However, those of us who garden have figured out ways to compensate for that which we cannot change. ( the weather :)

Spring lettuces , onion, chive, many herbs, and depending on location...a few other goodies...can be grown in cold frames, high tunnels, greenhouses, and even in open areas with the knowing that you need some form of protection on those nights that dip below what is acceptable. I love the floating row covers, they can be used simply by spreading across/down where needed...or, they can be used on a dome like frame built to keep them from touching the plants.

Remember, if you have large beds or gardening in un-raised soil...take the time to design walking paths between your rows...a thick layer of pine straw will help absorb the shock of your footprints and avoid packing the soil. Be aware...if you use wheat straw or other grain straw you will end up with unwanted weed and grass sprouts in the new spring...I highly suggest pine can be easily removed in the fall or late winter and used in other areas of need. Yes, dead leaves do work...however, they are subject to be taken away by the wind, and they don't supply nearly the protection of impact as the straw.
Happy Gardening ~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Teacher/speaker/advocate for "Truth In Labeling."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Top Authors Give Proceeds to Middle School Gardening Project

Top Authors Give Proceeds to Middle School Gardening Project

(Jasper, AL) April 28th, 2013 - Top authors from across the world will come together on Facebook this Saturday to raise funds for a gardening project for students at Curry Middle School located in Jasper, AL. The project is Sponsored and coordinated by Bea Kunz of Sage Hill Farms.
“The project will be ongoing from year to year with different students and teachers participating,” states Kunz. She goes on to say, “I am thrilled to be a part of any project that enlightens or peaks an interest in better foods for better health."

Kim Mutch Emerson, owner of Master Koda Select Publishing, LLC got wind of the project and gathered authors together from around the globe who were excited to offer the proceeds of their sales on Saturday, April 27th to this worthwhile project. For a preview of the books being offered you can visit this blog:

The benefit event will include games and contests for the attendees and takes place on Facebook this coming Saturday, April 27th from 10:00am to 3:00pm Eastern time. The public is welcome. Proceeds from the book sales will go to the Curry Middle School Organic Gardening Project. To join this worthwhile event, simply go to this link and click join:

For more information or to donate to this non-profit project contact Bea Kunz on her website at or Dr. Thomas Kyzer, Assistant Principal at Curry Middle School, Jasper, AL.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrate A New Beginning~

Spring is really all about new beginning's, rebirth, and improving on, or refurbishing that which you may have started at an earlier time.

Walk through your garden, the park, or the woods, everywhere you look , new life is awakening.

Lambs, calves, and baby chicks are born in the spring. All these beautiful happenings tend to confirm...Mother Nature really does know what she is doing ~
I choose this spring to re-confirm my desire to be healthier and less caught up in stressful events of which I have no control....I will revel in the colors, aroma's, and spirit of spring.

I will remember to be ever so grateful for where I am rooted, my beautiful friend's, awesome family, and My Gardens !
Little flights of fancy are essential to the contentment of the soul...make room for imagination and small pleasures created for the moment and simply for fun.
I will aim to simplify my food choices and eat with honor and respect for my body.
I will feed my mind with exciting books and conversation.
I will feed my spirit with the Word Of God, from whence all good things begin.

Come join me in the Rites of spring~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Happy Spring~Happy Gardening :)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

                                   March Madness in the Gardens

I believe I speak for many of us gardeners when I say....bring on the warm weather already ...please ))) She pleads while watching from the office window, the huge , beautiful, snowflakes falling from the sky !

Sage Hill has a lot of new projects to share once spring arrives and construction can take hold.

Beds and plots are all in tip top condition and ready to plant.

We are also growing some things in the greenhouse this year that are new to our growing list, follow along and see our success...or not !

Lemongrass and ginger are two of the newbies. Going to be an interesting summer. :)

Some reconstruction happening on the SH website, still much to be added and changed.
A new blog for your pleasure and need to know things.  ' good things .' :)

I found this article to be very good reading, most of it we all know, but kinda updates all that knowledge and puts it into better focus.

Ok, while waiting for spring I'm headed out to wander in the snow :)

Enjoy, whatever is happening in your world today~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Culinary Herbalist/teacher/speaker

Monday, February 04, 2013

Loving February--We are having cold, some snow, and just around the bend from spring :) What is not to love ?

Indeed it is too early to think about putting anything into the ground except trees and shrubs, some perennials and bulbs, but it is not too early to start flats in the greenhouse environment.

Herbs, spring onion, and lettuces will do well if started now and then transition them to the ground in very early spring.

Looking for a plant ( herb ) to attract beneficial insects to your garden...think Yarrow--this pretty bloomer has earned quite the reputation for all the goodness it brings to the space around it.
It feeds lacewings, lady beetles, parasitic wasp, syrphid flies, and tachinid flies. Having one of these in your gardens is a blessing, having more than one or all of them is a Hallelujah time !

Fennel--another herb that brings something very special to the is fodder for caterpillars of the anise butterfly. We can never have too many butterflies.

Parsley--feeds the caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail-the most beautiful butterfly in my opinion--if you look close you'll discover they have many shades of blue and black.

So much to think and talk about this time of year.

Do remember to plan and order seed early if you haven't saved your own....everyone who gardens will be doing the same, and it is first come , first served, for the pick of the best.

If it's sunny in your world...think spring~
If it's cold and wintry...enjoy the magic of whatever that brings.

Plenty to celebrate this month...Lunar New Year on the 10th, Lincoln's birthday on the 12th, Ash Wednesday on the 13th, Valentine's Day on the 14th,  Washington's birthday on the 22nd, and Flag Day on the 24th.  Have fun and give a little extra thought to each of these special dates-the importance of who and what.

May the best of yesterday merge with the best of today and bring the most amazing tomorrow :) Make it so~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz


Sunday, January 13, 2013

This was posted on my blog January 13th-2012....

Sage Hill has the first snow of the season this Friday13...a good thing, I love the trees with snow in the branches. It seems to bring a slowing of the mind, the body, and the 'traffic.' :)

Our planning for the spring gardens and other additions to the farm scene are well underway.

I trust you are planning a spring garden, fresh grown foods are the best way to have the proper nutrition for you and your family.

Need help getting started ? I'm a call or email away. You will also find many helpful articles on the website and by researching this blog archive.

The best of 2012 and Friday the 13th...EatWell-BeWell~

2012 has been a fabulous year, the farm has grown, seen and dealt with changes unexpected, came through with awesome results and we once again find ourselves welcoming a new year with new plans, and excitement for all the unknowns to come as well.

As the photo shows, last year at this time we had a beautiful snow on the ground...this year, lots and lots of rain...not even much cold, so we adjust and wait for the gift of tomorrow...with gratitude for whatever it brings.
Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Culinary Herbalist/Teacher/Speaker