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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
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And the Halloween password is…

And the Halloween password is…

I can’t say my older brother always took care of me but Halloween was different. He was a perfectionist about everything including finding the best places to go trick-or treating. We’d fill shopping bags with the biggest and best candy but only because he knew where and where not to go. After all, Halloween offers only a  2 – 3 hour window of opportunity. Fast forward 50 years, and I am the beacon of my community for the biggest and best candy.

It started about 20 years ago on an October 31st morning.  I was being interviewed by Jon James on WMME (Moose Radio) in Augusta, Maine. We casually talked about going trick-or-treating and I mentioned that I give out either king or giant sized candy bars. Jon got so excited that we decided to have a “secret password.” If you didn’t know about the password, you’d get one bar. But, if you knew the special word, you got three giant candy bars of your choice (out of 20 types).

Kids would number between 300 – 500 per Halloween. That’s a lot of candy, but nothing compared to last year.  With time so grew the numbers. In 2012 we had 780 guests consume 2,000 bars. Then, last year, in pouring rain and with the help of Food Network Magazine, the Sun Journal and two television stations covering the “event,” 1,302 characters showed and  wiped out  all 3,500 bars. In fact, the candy distributor came through with 300 additional to save the day. After all, I have a reputation to uphold!

The excitement in my community is building. I get asked for the password, street address, and what am I giving out. I’ll be on WMME Radio Halloween morning from 6:30am – 9:00, so listen for the password. You can visit the 92 Moose web site here (and click the “listen live” link). It is open to kids of all ages.  Might even be worth a trip to Lewiston, Maine.

Halloween1

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Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss Support

Apple Cider Vinegar For Weight Loss Support

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” is a favorite maxim of modern, healthy living advocates. But did you know that this statement is over two thousand years old? In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine backed up his admonition by prescribing apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for its healing and cleansing qualities. In biblical times, after laboring in the barley fields, Boaz encouraged Ruth to dip bread in vinegar during their meal. (Ruth 2:14). It was used at this time not only to flavor food but as an energizing drink. Soldiers through the ages consumed diluted vinegar as an energizing and strengthening tonic.

Home remedies and folk medicine have long relied on apple cider vinegar to aide digestion and prevent or relieve heartburn. Today, apple cider vinegar is revered for all these qualities and more. It is used in detox beverages and in weight loss regimens.

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. To ferment the liquid, bacteria and yeast are added. The sugars are converted into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted into vinegar by acetic acid, which not only gives vinegar its sour flavor, but has health benefits. The process yields a product that is rich in protein enzymes and probiotics (friendly bacteria). It is reported to lower blood sugar levels, improve metabolism, curb appetites, increase satiety and thus assist in weight loss.

Acetic acid (AcOH), a major component of vinegar, has been found to suppress body fat accumulation.  In a double-blind trial of obese individuals, participants were divided into three groups of similar: body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. During the 12-week treatment, the subjects in each group ingested 500 ml daily of a beverage containing either 15 ml of vinegar, 30 ml of vinegar, or 0 ml of vinegar in the placebo group. Both groups ingesting vinegar daily showed significantly reduced body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels. Thus concluding that daily vinegar intake appears to reduce obesity and is useful in reducing the risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, high blood sugar levels, and type 2 Diabetes. However, this relatively short study does not prove nor suggest that apple cider vinegar alone will reduce obesity. Rather, it can be part of a healthy lifestyle which includes: eating nutritious foods, exercise, and adequate sleep.

Drinking water with apple cider vinegar between meals, preferably 20 minutes before eating, may help curb cravings, avoid overeating at mealtime, keep you feeling full longer, and boost your metabolism, increase energy, and burn more fat. It is interesting, yet doubtful that Boaz understood when Ruth dipped bread in vinegar that it would help prevent a spike in her blood sugar levels.

Natural health and nutrition professionals recommend consuming only unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar with the mother of vinegar, as it contains the beneficial acetic acid bacteria. Another way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in salad dressing recipes.

Dr. Axe’s Secret Detox Drink Recipe

(Used with permission)

If you want to cleanse, lose body fat, boost energy and reverse disease, then adding natural detox drinks to your diet can help you improve your quality of life fast. The ingredients in this beverage work together to balance blood sugar, lower blood pressure and increase metabolism. Dr. Josh Axe recommends consuming this drink 3x daily, 20 minutes before meals for 2 weeks, and then consuming it 1x daily before lunch or breakfast.

Per serving

12-16 ounces of water
2 Tablespoons organic, apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure ground cinnamon
1 dash cayenne pepper
Stevia, to taste (I use ¼ teaspoon stevia powder)

Add all ingredients to a glass and stir vigorously to blend.

Note: You can substitute 2-4 drops of lemon and cinnamon essential oils, if you prefer, but make sure to use quality oils only. I actually like the taste of this drink, especially when adding essential oils. See Dr. Axe’s web site for more information.

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Is Your Pet’s Name On The Most Popular List?

Is Your Pet’s Name On The Most Popular List?

According to the 2014 Farmers’ Almanac, the following cat and dog names were the most popular in 2013. Was your pet’s name on the list?

Cat Names

Female Male
1. Bella 1. Oliver
2 Lucy 2. Max
3. Kitty 3. Tiger
4. Luna 4. Charlie
5. Chloe 5. Simba
6. Molly 6. Milo
7. Lilly 7. Smokey
8. Sophie 8. Joe
9. Nala 9. Jack
10. Daisy 10. Kitty

Dog Names

Female Male
1. Bella 1. Max
2. Daisy 2. Buddy
3. Lucy 3. Charlie
4. Molly 4. Rocky
5. Sadie 5. Cooper
6. Sophie 6. Duke
7. Lola 7. Bear
8. Chloe 8. Jack
9. Zoey 9. Bentley
10. Maggie 10. Toby

*Vetstreet developed this list of names from a database of 925,000 puppies and 425,000 kittens and born in 2013.

Did your pet’s name make the list? If not what’s your dog or cat’s name?

 

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Attack of the acorns! What does it mean?

Attack of the acorns! What does it mean?

Recently we posted information about the persimmon seed and how it depicts what the upcoming winter will look like. We shared Melissa Bunker’s (“The Persimmon Lady”) annual prediction featuring seeds that showed spoons inside (i.e., lots of snow).

Another popular sign of winter is the abundance of acorns and the observation of squirrels activity. Five years ago, my lawn was filled with buckets and buckets of acorns and it was only July 8th. Yes, it was a snowy winter that year. Acorns have been dropping on a more timely basis this year but I am reminded of just how many are coming down. Friday, I cleaned my back deck, but Saturday morning (no wind), the entire deck was loaded with acorns. It was as if Mother nature just let go. When I started to clean up again, I had to wear a hard hat because I was getting dinged again and again.  And, yes, the fat squirrels are loving it.

It doesn’t matter if there are lots of acorns in Maine if you live in New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, or elsewhere. So, what is  your acorn situation and what does it tell you about this winter?

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October 4th is National Frappe Day!

October 4th is National Frappe Day!

In some parts of the country, the name frappe is synonymous with milkshake: both made with milk, ice cream, syrup, and maybe some whipped cream. But here in New England, home of the Farmers’ Almanac, a frappe is typically made with ice cream, and a milkshake, as evidenced by its very name, may not always contain it, rather being made with blended milk, ice, and syrup.

In Greece, it is reported that the 1957 Thessaloniki International Trade Fair developed its version of the frappe: a drink born as a children’s liquid confection, but by fair’s end, evolving into a grown-up drink with the addition of instant coffee to its sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and ice. And of course global coffee purveyor Starbucks has taken the coffee frappe concept to new heights with its sweet, creamy, signature Frappuccino® drinks.

As October 4th is National Frappe Day, the genesis of the frosty, fabled frappe bears some exploration, not to mention an explanation of what makes this sweet treat so irresistible to so many people in so many places.

Culinary curators tell us the origin of the drink’s name came from France, the word frapper meaning “to hit; strike.” Frappe ultimately came to mean chilled by shaking. In the United States, the word first appeared in the 1848 edition of the American English dictionary.

In Japan, red beans (adzuki) are sometimes added, and the dulce de leche frappe is said to be popular in Argentina. If you live in New Orleans, your frappe du jour is likely laced with Absinthe!

For the rest of us, why not celebrate this ice-dreamy delicacy by making October 4th the day you discover your own fabulous frappe!

New England Traditional Chocolate Frappe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk (skim or low fat is OK)
4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
4 large scoops chocolate or vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Blend together, adjusting to taste with more syrup if desired.

Iced Mocha Frappe

Ingredients:

4 cups brewed hot coffee
4 one ounce packages hot cocoa mix (3/4 cup each)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
.2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream

Directions:

In heat-proof bowl, add hot coffee, cocoa mix, and sugar. Combine well. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze thoroughly. Add frozen cubes to blender. Add cream and vanilla, pureeing until smooth. Divide into glasses and top with whipped cream.

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What Does The Persimmon Lady Say About Winter 2015?

What Does The Persimmon Lady Say About Winter 2015?

Around this time each year, Melissa Bunker of Star, North Carolina (AKA, “The Persimmon Lady”), sends us her winter prediction based on opening up some persimmon seeds. Traditional lore is that if the seeds are shaped like forks, winter will be mild; if they are shaped like spoons, there will be a lot of snow; and if they are shaped like knives, winter will be bitingly cold.

Here’s what Melissa had to say:

Here is the 2014/15 persimmon readout. Never have seen all spoons before!!! Tell the readers to prep for lots of snow. Even our ground hornets are moving up into our pecan tree.

Thanks, Melissa! We hope to hear from you again next year.

Have you cracked into any persimmon seeds? If so, where are you from and what did you see? Share your photos on our Facebook page!

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Apples are good eating and so much more!

Apples are good eating and so much more!

Reportedly 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world, with 2,500 in the U.S. alone where the annual crop exceeds 220,000,000 bushels. Pomologists are discovering and cultivating new varieties all the time. In fact historians believe apples have been consumed in one form or another since 6,500 B.C. The Greeks and Romans regarded them as symbols of love and beauty.

But what about alternative uses for this varietal, abundant, and crisp autumn crop? These possibilities will expand your apple database and perhaps inspire you to come up with some creative uses of your own!

Alleviate allergies: Apples are high in quercetin, a plant compound said to slow down the secretion of histamine – released during an allergic reaction. (Maybe the adage about an apple a day – or more? – has some merit after all!)

Freshen stale cookies or cake: Slice an apple and place into an airtight container with stale baked goods. The apple’s moisture can revitalize.

Soften hardened brown sugar:  An apple slice placed inside the sugar canister overnight is known to soften the contents.

Ripen green tomatoes: Place tomatoes—and/or other unripened vegetables and fruit – in a paper bag with apples, which give off the gas ethylene, to speed ripening.

Remove excess salt from soups and casseroles: While potatoes are the old rule of thumb, some cooks say a sliced apple also does the trick.

Soften skin: Add sliced apples and/or a cup of apple cider vinegar to your warm water soak to help smooth callouses. (Do not add vinegar if you have diabetes or poor circulation.)

Manage a migraine: While not yet recorded in the annals of science, some studies reveal that inhaling the scent of a cut green apple can reduce symptoms and shorten an episode.

Combat dandruff: Massage apple juice into scalp after washing and allow to remain on several minutes. Rinse well.

Treat oily hair: Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a pint of water and pour through hair after shampooing and rinsing. The solution removes residue which can encourage oily hair. The vinegar smell will leave when hair dries.

Festive apple candle holder: Simply remove the center with an apple corer, insert tapered candle.

Crafts stamp: Slice an apple in half, dip in ink and use to stamp seasonal designs onto wrapping paper, gift bags, invitations and the like.

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10 Ways to Say Goodbye to Summer

10 Ways to Say Goodbye to Summer

As of today, there is a week left of summer 2014. For some areas, fall is offering a preview with some chilly temperatures.

With seven days left, (more if you live in warmer areas where fall doesn’t mean packing up the bathing suit just yet), here’s our list of what we’d like to and need to do before fall officially sets in.

1.    Visit the beach one last time. The sun feels so wonderful even on a chilly day and you’ll probably get a good parking spot.
2.    Eat watermelon and ice cream. (Next will be pumpkins and apple pie.)
3.    Get ready for shorter days. Daylight Saving Time officially ends November 2, but as you may have noticed, the sun is setting earlier these days.
4.    Pick the last of your flowers before a hard frost.
5.    Take that bike ride or hike you’ve been talking about all summer.
6.    Swim – if it’s not too cold, or pack up the bathing suit and summer shorts until next year.
7.    Light those Tiki torches and enjoy a BBQ before it gets too chilly.
8.    Close the pool or keep it open as long as possible.
9.    Do some yoga or exercise to get into shape for that raking that will take place in a few months.
10.    Order those vacation photos that have been sitting on your phone or computer.

Are you ready to say goodbye to summer? What would you add to the list of what you’d like to or need to do before fall officially starts next Monday, September 22, 2014?

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More Money Saving Tips

My favorite part of the Farmers’ Almanac is the many useful tips and hints it provides that make it easy to save money without trying. Here are just a few:

  1. Soap:  When you purchase a package of bar soap, remove the wrapping and allow the soap to be exposed to air for a couple of days. It will give you 25% more use.
  2. Drain cleaner: You don’t need chemicals. Put one cup of baking soda down the drain, pour in white vinegar and it bubbles it clean.
  3. Scuffs marks on wood or linoleum floors? Take an old tennis ball and puncture a small hole, insert a broomstick or mop handle, and rub the mark with the ball. Gone.
  4. Use less electricity: Strategically place night lights around the house. During the night you can navigate without turning on overhead lights.
  5. Got weeds? Here are two options: Either sprinkle baking soda or boil water and pour on the uninvited growth.
  6. Ants: Sprinkle powdered soap on the area where you see ants, and let them carry it off. This will destroy their nests.

The Farmers’ Almanac has hundreds of great money and time-saving ideas, and we can eliminate so many chemicals. Here’s an even more extensive list.  If you have something that works for you, please share in the comments below.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.