Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rhododendron Temperature Forecasting

Many Old Timers have weather predictions in the Appalachians. Some use the wooly warms, others use old sayings such as "Rain before 7, it will quit before 11(AM)".  However most will agree that the Rhododendron is the most reliable indicator for freezing temperatures.

Above freezing, Rhododendron leaves are up and lively.

Around freezing they droop and begin to curl.
In the 20's their leaves have a tighter curl.

As you get close to 0 the tight curled leaves look blue.

As winter draws near, have fun sharing your winter predicting skills with your friends!

Keep warm!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Money Maker #2!

Making money is on everyone's mind.  We ALL need it.  Towards the end of October this year we tried to "make money from nothing" gathering things that are free and doing something creative with it.  We created a post about this and shared it with the world...or more realistically, we shared it with the people who cared to read it... :)  Click here to read that post.  Well now, we've started a fire in our heart, we want to give people all the ideas we can on how to make some free money.  All it will require is time.  

This month we decided to look around us to see what was needed and what was available.  With Christmas on the way our goal was to make door decorations.  What better things to use than our surroundings!  We gathered all kinds of pine, a variety of different pine cones, ivy, holly, and evergreen.  We already had some wire & ribbon.

One night I created the bows and the next night I tied up the bough's.  The real challenge was finding the buyers!

I did find a Christmas Tree market and sold them to a salesman there for $7 each.  We made $50+ and we are waiting on more, if they sell.

Any money maker ideas you would like us to try?   

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Grove Park Inn & Gingerbread Houses

If you're not in the Christmas spirit, there is a place you have to go!  The Grove Park Inn, it will kick you right into the Christmas gear!  All the beautiful decorations and breathtaking views from the Inn are amazing to say the least.

In this picture to the right you can see the dining tables in the reflection of the window, but the sunset was just too beautiful to pass up.

Many people in this area have traditions of going to the Grove Park to take Christmas pictures and enjoy each others company in the big lobby where they have 2 huge fireplaces and a grand piano to entertain you.


Here is a pictures of one of the many giant Christmas trees that are decorated for all to see!

If you didn't get a chance to go I thought you might enjoy some pictures of my favorite gingerbread houses! 

Gardening with Varmets

It was a great day.  The weather was nice and Thomas and I were getting lots of Fall yard work accomplished.  I had a little time to work on my "Money Maker #3" project.  Which is to plant bulbs in November and force them to bloom beautiful flowers in January! Then sell them!

I gathered pots and our future "money plants" were covered with dirt and watered.

Too bad I didn't realize I was making the biggest mistake of all by leaving them outside!

A week later, when I went to check on them I discovered overturned pots and no bulbs!

A mysterious critter stole them and boy what damage the can do... They even ravaged through my garden!

My dreams of beautiful flowers in the Spring have faded.

Maybe Money Maker #3 will be squirrel hides for sale!  (Just kidding!) :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soup beans!

Soup beans are good anytime but especially when the temperature drops.  However, they are not exactly a "fast" food to fix.  They are to be cooked with anticipation.

Soup beans may be a variety of beans.  Some examples are pintos, navy beans, yellow eyed beans, or even lentils.  I chose a 15 cajun bean mixture for a spicy taste.

To begin preparing the dish you have been longing for this season... the soup beans need to be inspected first to find any debris or unfavorable bean.

Next you rinse the beans with water.

Then cover the beans with 2 quarts of water and allow them to soak overnight or at least 8 hrs.

Rinse beans and simmer for 2 1/2 hours until tender.  You need to watch them and add water if necessary.
Some beans are cooked with fatback for flavor but I added some sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, and cajun spices.  

The only thing I'm missing is a nice, warm batch of cornbread.

Hope you enjoy!

Cold & Flu Season

As the weather gets colder, inevitably sore throats and sniffles arrive.  If you had been born in the Appalachians in the early 1900's your Grandma would probably have made an onion poultice for you when you had a cold.  That is an hot compress to put on your chest made from onions and possum grease. Ew.

If you have read the About Me section you will notice I am a Nurse.  Keeping people healthy excites me and I just love to share some updated home remedies to help you ward off any cold or flu.

Prevention - Your First Line of Defense!

  1. Eat foods that build you defenses such as fruits and vegetables.  Avoid foods that lower your defenses like sugars and processed foods. 

  2. Don't touch your hands to your nose, mouth or ears unless clean.  
  3. Use saline spray to keep your nasal passages clean and moist.  (Dry nasal passage ways are thin and germs can pass easily.)  
  4. Clean your ears with Q-tips that have sweet oil on them.  Sounds crazy to new generations but I promise I'm not making it up. 
  5. Run a humidifier in your house, especially if you use wood heat.  And the last tip, is a redundant one, get enough rest!

If you feel a cold coming on...
  1. First and foremost, it is the oldest trick in the book, rest more!  Your body will have a chance to fight the virus if you are not working or just running around like a chicken with its head chopped off.  
  2. Drink plenty of fluids.  
  3. Warm concoctions are always good.  If your throat starts feeling funny, spray your throat with Propalos Spray.  
  4. Use a neck or shoulder warmer on the front of your throat for about 20 minutes before you go to bed.  Keeping the warmth around your neck increases the blood flow in the area so your body can fight the sickness.  
  5. As most doctors recommend, take 2 Advil to help fight inflammation. 
  6. Don't forget home made chicken soup. It is a "natural antibiotic".  

If you take these suggestions I hope your sickness goes as quickly as it came!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Appalachian Smoke

As the temperature goes down the smoke starts going up.  Smoke from chimneys can be seen dotting the hills and mountains all over the Appalachians.  

Chimneys aren't the only things that smoke around here...

We have smoke on the water...

And fire in the skies...
Are you also captivated by the natural beauty here?

Papa's and Beer

So, you are tired of left overs?!

I just wanted to share a tasteful change.  Our local Mexican Restaurant, "Papas and Beer".  
If you have eaten there your mouth is watering now.  If you haven't eaten there, you are in for a treat!

From the spicy bean dip and chips,

The homemade salsa with fresh cilantro on the bar,

And the delicious meals....
You can see how happy the customers are.

There are several Papa's & Beer Restaurants in the area but my family's favorite is the Brevard Rd. location.
If you're clueless as to what to try, we have some suggestions!  Our favorite dishes are the Warm Fajita Salad, Chicken Milanesa, Mexico City Tacos. 

Hope you get a chance to visit!

Provecho - Enjoy your food!