Ask the hard questions

Ask the hard questions

Ask the hard questions

I read this article which I thought was pretty interesting….

You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question….A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

I found it on http://qz.com/584874/you-probably-know-to-ask-yourself-what-do-i-want-heres-a-way-better-question/
They found it on: http://markmanson.net/question

It’s an unusual way for me to post but I think this is a very interesting concept and thought pattern. So, not my words…the words of: MarkManson.net.

Feathers, Fuddles and Hope. What?

Fuddles-The feather  of Wonder ( and hope)

Fuddles-The Feather of Wonder ( and hope.)

featherOriginalSm

The original feather and inspiration for Fuddles.

Feathers: They are soft, they drift and can wander wherever, in my world they are a wonderment, they represent Part to Whole with their connected pieces collectively helping a bird to fly, often times very pretty, possibly colorful, full of potential and representing dreams and hopes, and they are floaty-a fun word and a fine flexible attribute!

I have been thinking about the connectivity of things, the occurrences that happen and the randomness (or not) of it all. The never-ending question of…Are their Coincidences? Do all things happen for a reason, however unclear it may be at the time?

Fuddles, a character in my children’s picture book, is a “protagonist” with the cause being the Wonder of Planet Earth. Fuddles image became a feather from the seed of an idea that “something” could impart “goodness.”  The what form does that something take began with conversations and bouncing around ideas. I needed a physical form but I couldn’t get my finger on. Once Fuddles was a feather it all became clearer. Fuddles was not only an ecological presence but also one of hope and vision. Months later I came to realize the strong connection to the hope concept of Fuddles. Hope became a topic of much thought and conversation with many who crossed my path. In this (not so random) universe the topic of hope seems to be everywhere these days. (Or is that just my awareness and focus?)  From the somewhat benign, such as the weather forecast which can’t get enough of the omnipresence Hope for Spring, to the paramount news reminding us this is the anniversary of the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge walk in Selma Ala. where Hope was, and still is, a clear message. I randomly was watching a movie called Finding Normal that stated, “…and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But, the greatest of these is love.” (apparently that is a biblical passage from Corinthians 13:13.) So there is was again, this time in entertainment. We all know the idiom of – Hope springs eternal. Indeed, Hope is sometimes the string that keeps us moving foreword in large and small endeavors.

I looked up the symbolic meanings of feathers and found this. “Symbol meaning of feathers deal with ascension and spiritual evolution to a higher plane…Native American Chiefs wore feathers to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their celestial wisdom…Another symbol meaning of feathers also revolves around prayer, and the Pueblo use feather sticks as they dance in prayer for rain during solstice rituals..As a Celtic symbol meaning (connected the Druids to) sky gods and (to) gain knowledge of the celestial realm…The Egyptians believed that feathers were symbolic of sky gods too. Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, would weigh the hearts of the newly dead in the underworld against the weight of a feather to determine the worthiness of his or her soul…In Christianity feathers represented virtues. In fact, an image of three feathers were made into signet rings – each feather symbolizing Charity, hope, and faith…In dreams feathers meanings point to travel or the ability to move more freely in life. White feathers in dreams indicate innocence or a fresh start in a spiritual sense.”  -(website)  All the above are essentially about hope. Hope has a forward momentum, it’s about the future and thinking thoughts/dreams/desires/needs as to what’s next, regardless of how immediate or far off in the “next” may be.

My question to you is as follows. It’s for curiosity and for further book research. What emotions, and words do feathers evoke for you? Please Let me know in a comment below.

Fall is quickly making itself apparent.

Gordy is in his element,
Fall is HIS SEASON!

These leaves were right outside my door… the pumpkins are all over the place now… I am thinking about a pumpkin soup and you? If you have a great pumpkin, or any fall, soup recipe, or any other great pumpkin recipe, please share it/post it in comments on the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Gordy w/Pumpkins and leaves

©BotanicalBeauties&Beasties

Haven’t tried it, but this sounds pretty good to me! http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Apple-Pumpkin-Soup

Apple Pumpkin Soup Recipe

★ ★ ★ ★ 4 star rating on the web….“Relish autumn’s color and flavors right in your bowl with this creamy, golden soup from Spearville, Kansas field editor Pat Habiger. Just blend the ingredients and chill overnight. “For a treat, serve in hollowed-out small pumpkins,” suggests Pat.
12 Servings Prep: 50 min. + chilling Cook: 10 min.
Ingredients
2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon each ground Spice Islands® Ground Saigon Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions
In a large saucepan, saute apples and onion in butter for 3-5 minutes
or until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in
broth. Stir in the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and
ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25
minutes. Cool slightly.
In a blender, cover and process soup in batches until smooth. Pour
into a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, transfer soup to a large saucepan. Cook over
medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the apple juice, cream, salt  and pepper; heat through. Yield: 12 servings (about 2 quarts).

Nutrition Facts: 3/4 cup equals 100 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 389 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat.
© Taste of Home 2012

Come on down and back to BBB3

Hi everyone, wanted to remind you all we have moved our internet host Jan 9. Progress marchers on! Hopefully you noticed a lack of post the last month it turns out we were posting but many of you were not receiving! A big opps on our part. We sincerely hope you want to stay with us…..

If you are an email subscriber you on Monday you ought to have received an email that asked you to click to activate again….If not then please go to the site and on the right to subscribe (again)  (we hope you want to!) The difference in your emails now is that to see the images of the gang you will need to click on a link in the email of the post. To read the words only, the email will do that.

If you are a WordPress subscriber/follower, you will need to re-subscribe. Sorry about that, the gang of The Botanical Beauties & Beasties hope sincerely hope you do indeed keep following us!

Friend

Our local friend hopes you will perform your magic and re-subscribe!

It’s Friday, can you say Green Smoothie?

Fun Food Friday
I don’t know about you all but I am actually tired of eating…all that holiday “Fete” has just done me in. Therefor, the thought of a recipe for any thing other than a “clean healthy” smoothie was more than I could fathom.  By the way, that smoothie you buy on the run may not be nearly as healthy as you think. Many have loads of sugar and calories. Bon Appétit has a nice little write-up. http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/consciouscook/2009/08/why-smoothies-arent-healthy-an.html

All the following info is from a website called Growing Raw (growingraw.com)

” How to Make Green Smoothies

♦ When you have a decent blender green smoothies are a snap to prepare. Simply wash your greens, chop your fruit, add water and superfoods and blend for 30-60 seconds.
♦ Make enough extra to drink throughout the morning and you won’t have to stop for a snack later, you can just get on with what you want to do while you top up with green smoothie.
♦ To save yourself time in the morning you can wash your greens and chop your fruit the night before and keep it all together in the fridge. Then all you have to do is empty your ingredients into the blender for a convenient and portable nutrition source.

For more detailed instructions and smoothie combinations check out how to make smoothies.

Favourite Green Smoothie Recipe

We are huge fans of bok choy as a smoothie base in our house. Not only is it easy to grow ourselves so that we know our supply is fresh, organic and cheap, but it gives a light fresh flavour that we all love, including the kids. Here are some of our favourite bok choy combinations:
♦ Bok choy and banana
♦ Bok choy, rockmelon and banana (the kids’ favourite)
♦ Bok choy, honeydew and kiwifruit
♦ Bok choy, rockmelon and persimmon*
♦ Bok choy, papaya and banana
♦ Bok choy, persimmon* and banana (my favorite – must grow a persimmon tree!)

For extra calcium, bok choy bases blend well w/chia seeds* soaked overnight into a jelly. Chia seed is a reasonably priced superfood that has 5 times the calcium content of milk.

Combinations that seem to give a huge boost in vitality and endurance tend to be an impressively dark green. They’re the kind of green that people really stare at when they see you drinking them… here’s a sample:

  • Spinach or silverbeet, melon, banana and hempseed oil (a superfood that’s great for immunity)
  • Kale*, kiwi fruit and very ripe bananas
  • Parsley, mint, spirulina*, melon and bananas
  • Spinach or silverbeet, sprouts , persimmon* and banana (this is for the really brave, but trust me you will feel fantastic after one of these…)

Even though you’re sure to find your own favourites, remember it’s a good idea to vary your green smoothie ingredients so that you get a diverse range of nutrients.” –Thanks to: http://www.growingraw.com/how-to-make-smoothies.html

Note * These foods are listed on many websites as superfoods of 2012.
Was a 2012 plan one of Health? Start the day out with a fresh green smoothie!
Bon Appétit 

Four days into 2012, and all is well.

4 days, 96 hours into 2012, 5 days to go until a full moon, and the all is well. Will we make it through another year? I think so! Illustration at end of post.

It seems pretty safe to safe to say the Mayans, who were correct about a lot of things but I think they missed the mark on Doomsday in 2012. “The Mayans speak of a dark rift or galactic plain.  They say that the end of an age, which can bring about world wide catastrophes (but not the end of the world) is caused by the world sitting on the what they call a dark rift.  Modern scientists speak of the earth passing through this dark rift, or galactic equinox or central plain.  This event refers to the cyclic and destructive gravitational influence caused by the massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. Some scientists believe that this is behind the increase in magnitude and frequency of earthquakes, floods etc which our world and other planets in the solar system are experiencing… All the so-called “Mayan prophecies of 2012” are nothing more than wildly speculative extrapolations, which are based on the yet uncertain interpretations by scholars of Mayan hieroglyphs. However, the truth is that apart from the astrological convergence, there is little indication that the Mayans prophesied anything specific regarding the events of this distant future. The Mayans were not prophets; they were not even able to predict their own cultural extinction. They were great mathematicians and accomplished sky watchers, but they were also a brutally violent tribal people with a primitive understanding of natural phenomena, subscribing to archaic beliefs and the barbaric practices of blood-letting and human sacrifice.” …

…”DEC 21, 2012, The sun reaches a solstice. With Mayan mythology teaching that our sun is a god and the Milky Way is the gateway to life and death, the Mayans concluded that this intersection in the past must have been the moment of creation. Mayan hieroglyphs seem to indicate that they believed the next intersection in 2012 would be some sort of end and a new beginning of a cycle.”  Info/words from: http://www.endoftheworld2012.net/mayancalendar2012.htm

What do you think? I think not a Doomsday, maybe a cool new beginning? Big change can bring good things too!

All this Mayan chatter got the gang curious…..they traveled to Mexico to see for themselves. Pretty amazing stuff those Mayan built! The steps, the angles, all connect to sun/moon travels. They certainly DID know something!

Chichen Itza - Mayan Temple

All this Mayan talk and some folks decided to head over to Chitzen Itza, a Mayan temple that still stands.

Welcome 2012!

Well it feels like a long time ago I sat down to write to you all…Reality of time is odd! First, All the characters and I want to wish you a very happy healthy and great new year. Great, hmmm, an interesting word – in this case it can mean whatever you need/want/desire and or dream. For us at Botanical Beauties & Beasties, it means a continuation of growth, meeting even more new amazing folks, and sharing our world to a bigger group.

As this is New Year’s Day (observed as a work holiday for many) I was wondering about the History of New Years Day – here is what I found…

“The celebration of the new year is one of the oldest holidays. Many believe it was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago it marked the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox. The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. How did New Years Day move from the summer to the winter? A good question, especially since the spring is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. Today New years Day is January 1st.

The month of January was named for their god, Janus, who is pictured with two heads. One looks forward, the other back, symbolizing a break between the old and new.

“Janus is the Roman god known as the custodian of the universe. He is the god of beginnings and the guardian of gates and doors. He is lord over the first hour of every day, the first day of the month and January, the first month of the year. Two heads back to back represent Janus, each looking in opposite directions. His double-faced head appears on many Roman coins. Originally, one face was bearded and one was not, most likely representing the sun and the moon. In his right hand he holds a key. He was worshipped at the beginning of planting time, harvest, marriages, births and other important beginnings in a person’s life. 1) Janus the god of beginnings (and endings)  http://www.meridiangraphics.net/janus.htm  / http://www.rense.com/general92/janus.htm

The Greeks paraded a baby in a basket to represent the spirit of fertility. Christians adopted this symbol as the birth of the baby Jesus and continued what started as a pagan ritual. Today our New Year’s symbols are a newborn baby starting the next year and an old man winding up the last year.” –http://new-years-day.com/new-years-history.htm  /

“Early New Year’s Celebrations

…For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. In addition to the new year, Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.

Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event. In Egypt, for instance, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

January 1 Becomes New Year’s Day

The early Roman calendar consisted of 10 months and 304 days, with each new year beginning at the vernal equinox; according to tradition, it was created by Romulus, the founder of Rome, in the eighth century B.C. A later king, Numa Pompilius, is credited with adding the months of Januarius and Februarius. Over the centuries, the calendar fell out of sync with the sun, and in 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today. As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. to read the whole article… http://www.history.com/topics/new-years.

Our ancestors thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. It has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends.

New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle. Some put coins in black-eyed peas and the person who gets the coin in their meal will be prosperous in the coming year.

So – here’s to circles, friends new and old, coins, black eyes peas, Janus- the Roman god of beginnings, and even Julius Caesar for making 2012 New Years in part what we know today as traditions and celebrations.

Time off. Resting is good too.

We will be taking this week off, even Beasties need some down time. The Whole Gang at Botaniumus wishes you all the very best for 2012.

Zoie is taking some time to dance, swirl, and enjoy. All the creatures hope you can relax, enjoy and do a little wiggling yourself!

For those of you that celebrate Kwanzaa Merry Ones to you!

Zoie

Take a little time to wig, wag, and enjoy.

Merry Christmas

Celebrate your imagination and even your illusions.
Make your dreams come true!
Believe!

Happy Holidays to one and all.

Tanka Holiday Stamp

Tanka holds one of the US Post Office Holiday stamps again today… Is Tanka a Santa helper. I think so!

“These festive Holiday Baubles (Forever®) stamps feature four colorful ornaments sure to add to the joys of the holiday season. These baubles may also inspire fond memories of beloved tree ornaments from childhood-objects that still have the power to enchant us today.

While styles from the 1950s inspired the ornaments depicted in the stamp art, sincere wishes for happy holidays never go out of fashion. These stamps offer a fashionably “retro” way to enhance the season’s greetings.

Evergreen trees and branches have been used as winter holiday decorations for hundreds of years. Trees were trimmed with fruit — apples were a popular choice — and nuts, candies, or paper. Glass ornaments first appeared in the late 19th century, in Germany, and their use quickly spread to other countries.

William J. Gicker art directed these stamps using illustrations by Linda Fountain. Drawing on styles popular during the 1950s, she first sketched the ornaments then rendered them using cut paper. These renderings were scanned and turned into digital files. The actual objects are slightly larger than a sheet of typing paper.

These stamps are being issued in books of 20 self-adhesive Forever stamps, with five of each different design. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

Made in the USA. https://shop.usps.com/

Festival of Lights.

May your home and heart be filled with shining lights of joy.
Mabel is celebrating Night 2 of Hanukkah this eve.

Mable Hanukkah  2011Mabel Holds the USA post office stamp. “This festive new Hanukkah (Forever®) stamp design commemorates a joyous annual festival celebrated by Jewish people around the world. In the stamp art, letters spelling out the word “Hanukkah” are backed by eight colorful shapes, symbolizing the eight days and nights of the celebration. The second “k” appears on the silhouette of a dreidel, a spinning top that children traditionally play with during Hanukkah.
The celebration of Hanukkah dates back over two millennia. Tradition relates how a miracle took place during the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated. The remaining supply of sacramental oil, thought to be enough for only one day, burned for eight days. Today, family members gather each night during the festival to light candles on a special candleholder called a menorah. Art director Ethel Kessler worked with illustrator Suzanne Kleinwaks on the new design.

The new Hanukkah stamps are being issued in panes of 20 self-adhesive Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate.

Made in the USA. https://shop.usps.com