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Wishing you and yours strength, health, love and the beauty of nature all around us
Merry Christmas from our house to yours 2014
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A great explanation of Santa for your children

 

Bing Crosby & Marjorie Reynolds   White Christmas Holiday Inn 1942
Bing Crosby & Marjorie Reynolds White Christmas Holiday Inn 1942
                                                 Paul's favorite Christmas Song

 

Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus

 

In the spirit of the season, we'd like to present one of the best Christmas letters ever written. It was an editorial in the September 21, 1897,edition of The Sun (now known as The New York Sun). The editorial was unsigned but was written by Francis Pharcellus Church, one of the newspaper's editors. It was in answer to a question from one Virginia O'Hanlon. Hope you'll enjoy it as much as the original readers did!

 

Is There a Santa Claus?

We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

"DEAR EDITOR:  I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
                        "VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
"15 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

 

Francis Pharcellus Church - The Editor 

 September 21, 1897, edition of The Sun (now known as The New York Sun).

 

 

 

Bing Crosby & David Bowie - The Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth
Bing Crosby & David Bowie - The Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth

My favorite Christmas song - Christine Parent 

 

The holidays are over, the tree was beautiful. But soon it will be time to take it down and recycle it. However, recycle it how? Here are a few ideas for you this year--and none of them involves the town dump.

If you live near the seashore, check with the town, as some towns will take the tree and place it in the sand dunes to catch the sand when the wind blows or to prevent storm erosion by the waves.

If you have blue hydrangeas, roses or tender perennials, cut the branches from the tree and place them around the plants to help cut the force of the wind on them during the winter. This will also block the sun from drying out the delicate branches. (Like a teepee around the plants.)

For newly planted evergreen ground covers like English Ivy, pachysandra and small junipers lay the branches over them for the winter. It will help to keep foliage green and prevent dehydration.

If you cut the branches into small pieces, you could add them to a compost pile. It will take time but they will break down to beautiful soil.

If you feed the birds during the winter, place the tree near the feeder and it will give them shelter when those big snowstorms arrive. The tree will also give them a place to hide and check out the area for the neighbor's cat before they go to the feeder.

If you do crafts, then cut the branches from the tree and place them in a black plastic trash bag. Put the bag in a sunny location outside and make sure water does not get inside the bag. In just a few weeks, the needles will all fall off. Now you can use them to make those fragrant balsam pillows that will keep any room fresh smelling like the great outdoors.

Some towns will accept the trees and chip them into mulch, to be used around the town to cover flowerbeds. It takes time to rot but the tree will not fill the landfill site. Never try to burn the tree outside! The tree will be dry and it will almost explode into flames with all the pitch in the needles!

You enjoyed the tree for the Christmas season; now let's put it to good use and help Mother Nature keep the planet healthy.


 

Poinsettia's the flower of December

 

The first United States ambassador to Mexico was Joel Poinsett, appointed under the new administration of President Andrew Jackson in 1828 to build strong ties between the countries. Joel was an avid amateur botanist, and spent much of his free time roaming the countryside of Mexico looking for plants not found in the United States. In December, Joel found a tall, fiery red wildflower growing along the back roads of the countryside where he lived while in Mexico. Joel was enchanted by the unusual flowers found on this plant, so he took cuttings and had this new plant shipped to his greenhouse back to his home in South Carolina.

Joel worked to improve the quality of the plant when he was home--and the following Christmas he delivered his special plants to the White House for the president, from the country in which he represented the United States. He called the plant the poinsettia; after all he discovered and grew this wild flower, so why not name it after himself as so many other plants enthusiasts had done before? Because of his early efforts and his work, today over 150 million poinsettia plants are grown and sold in more than 50 countries every year.

In the wild, the poinsettia grows like a shrub--8 to 10 feet tall--and the branches are leggy looking but stiff and coarse in appearance. The bright green leaves grow 6 to 8 inches long and drop from the plant during the winter months, then redevelop as spring arrives in May. In early November, the top leaves begin to change color due to the temperature cooling down and the length of the day shortening. This causes a chemical change in the plant which stops vegetative growth and promotes flower development on the plant. The red leaves are called flowering bracts and in the center of the colorful leaves, the small flower buds will develop; they look likes button with yellow fuzz on them. The plant will stand out in the wild from November to February and then goes dormant.

The Aztecs used this plant for its milky sap in medicine and to control fevers. Clothing merchants used the colorful bracts to make a reddish-purple dye for cotton fabric. The high priests used the plant in ceremonies because its fiery red color was a symbol of purity.

In the early 1900's FEAR filled the minds of mothers all over America. A nasty rumor spread that Poinsettias were poisonous and that a child who ate just one leaf could become very ill or even die. Mothers began to avoid this wonderful plant for the holidays and it quickly lost all its appeal. In 1919, things got even worst as an Army doctor circulated an untrue story that a two year old toddler died after eating just one leaf from a plant growing near a playground in Hawaii. Now the media began to label this plant as dangerous and if you lived in a warm climate where the plant grew, they said to pull all plants out for your own safety.

Finally in the 1970's, the Society of American Florists asked Ohio State University to test the plant and uncover the truth, poison or not poison. The results were overwhelming and their findings concluded that a 50 pound child or even your pet could eat 500 red bracts and suffer only a mild upset stomach. Also the American Medical Association released a statement of assurance that poinsettias have never been responsible for poisonings or fatalities. The plant was saved from devastation and is today's bestselling Christmas plant.

In 1993, a survey was taken about the poinsettia plant and its toxic myth; the results were as follows: 63% of women and 42% of men still believed the plant was toxic, and they got their information from word of mouth, the media and rumors. So this December, be sure to purchase a Poinsettia plant for your home and let it be known it is not poisonous. It is a plant of beauty that was once a wildflower and only came in the color red. Today poinsettias come in red, pink, white, white with pink blotches, spotted color combinations, double-flowering varieties and new varieties every year to help decorate for the holidays.



 

 

 

 

               

We want Figgy Pudding for Christmas and New Year Dinner  

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

 

cup of butter

 

2 jumbo eggs

 

1 cup of molasses or cup of molasses and of real Maple syrup

 

2 cups of mission figs buy 1 pound and chop finely yourself

 

teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind

 

1 cup of buttermilk

 

2 cups of all-purpose flour

 

teaspoon baking soda

 

2 teaspoons of baking powder

 

1 teaspoon of salt

 

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

 

teaspoon of nutmeg

 

2 cups of a good Brandy

 

Cheesecloth about 3 square feet

 

 

 

Directions:

 

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees

 

Grease a 9 inch tube pan

 

Beat your butter until soft

 

Add the eggs and molasses or molasses and maple syrup and beat until fluffy

 

Add chopped figs the best quality you can find, grated lemon rind, and buttermilk

 

In a second bowl combine the rest of the ingredients {all dry ingredients} blend well

 

Pour the dry ingredients into the fig mixture and stir well

 

Pour into greased tube pan and cook for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

 

Let cool for 15 minutes, and then run a knife around the edges of the cake pan to dislodge

 

And put on a baking rack to cool completely. Place the Figgy Pudding in a nice serving plate.

 

Soak the cheese cloth in the brandy and wrap the sides and top of the pudding like cake.

 

Add the extra brandy to the pudding a bit at a time over the next 24 hours keeping the cheesecloth

 

Moist at all times. Keep in the refrigerator during this time of soaking the Figgy Pudding.

 

Remove the cheesecloth when serving.

 

Bring the Figgy Pudding to the table and heat a small metal ladle filled with a couple ounces of Brandy

 

Now light up the brandy with a lighter. Now pour the bluish flames of brandy slowly over the top of the

 

Pudding and serve to your family and quest. Enjoy!

 

 

 

By cutting the molasses with real Maple Syrup will give it a sweeter taste, just an option for you.

 

 

 

 

 

              Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-985-6972

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $29.95! Holiday special!

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  Written by Paul Parent                         Produced by Christine Parent


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