Garden, Plant, Cook!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Christmas Day!

Dear Folks,

Today starts my blog of the 12 Days of Christmas. May you each celebrate these days in your own way and whether these celebrations are religious & secular (our family's way) or one of them, remember the reasons for kindness and giving, which no one theology or philosophy has a superior claim to. Today's trying and challenging times call for a better way of looking at your neighbors who are also your shopkeepers, repair persons, and clerks.

1st Day of Christmas — December 25th.

If you didn't light your yule log last night, light it this morning, and enjoy the warmth while you enjoy the day and all it means to your family.

A Tradition:
Set a place setting and chair for the unexpected guest (or keep handy). This is an old tradition and has its origins in either remembering absent (at war or far away) or missing family (deceased), and also the delightful surprise of a welcomed and unexpected loved one or friend who drops by.

BACKYARD It is a tradition for some folks to give extra feed to the animals on Christmas Day to remember the animals present at the birth of Jesus, and the leave grain out for the birds. If you routinely feed the birds, give them an extra treat during this cooler time of the year by spreading peanut butter on dry bread and pressing as much bird seed as possible into it. You can string it up with a clothes pin or clip or lay flat on a plate in a spot above the ground.

KITCHEN: And speaking of peanut butter, if want to keep the little ones busy while dinner is being prepared, give them the ingredients to make peanut butter candy logs. Give them an easy- to-clean spot in the kitchen and have handy the necessary kid-cleaning wash-cloth!

Also known as edible play-dough this recipe is one my mom taught us in the 50s. You can just let the children squish the ingredients together with clean hands and show them how to take small pieces, roll them into a ball or log and cover them with toppings of their choice.

1 cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup honey
1 ½ cups dry milk

Mix in large bowl. Shape into logs. Can be rolled in sprinkles, coconut, chopped nuts or mini M&Ms. Chill for a hour or two to harden up a bit.

GARDEN — Make your own tradition of planting something on Christmas Day after the excitement of the mornings activities have backed off some. It fosters a deeper sense of the spiritual renewal of the day.

HERBS: While rosemary is one herb traditionally associated with Christ's Mother Mary and Christmas, the herb Myrtle's symbolism is for Joy, Peace and Renewal.

Myrtle, an edible herb — the leaves, flowers and fruit are edible — is a great herb for the desert. Plant now through February for best success. It can be a lovely specimen plant or planted in groups for hedging. There is standard, dwarf and variegated varieties. This bitter herb has traditionally been used with game meat to give better flavor.

A liquor called "Mirto" is made from myrtle. You can trying make some yourself from the berries alone or leaves and berries by infusing them in vodka, then sweeten.



Charity/Giving/Generosity: If the word ‘charity' makes you think of welfare or handout, try the definition of generosity: "the trait of being willing to give your money or time." — The Spirit of Generosity.

Find any way within your means to give something to someone or an organization today. If you go to the movies, as many folks do after dinner, take along a bag of candy and hand out to others waiting in line. Invite a neighbor you know is alone today for dinner or dessert.

I am old enough and ‘homey' enough, I guess, to enjoy not only music, but also old time radio programs, as background to working, whether in the kitchen or the office. This site is a super source for literally thousands of radio shows from the 20's through the 50's.

Lionel Barrymore reprises his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. A wonderful Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol is the story of a very grumpy and cold hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who wants nothing to do with Christmas and croaks "Baw-humbug" at any sign of Christmas cheer. Orson Welles beautifully narrates this classic tale of redemption and brotherly love. Listen free to the whole program:

For more holiday only programs:

Merry Christmas Day!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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