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If Candlemas [February 2] be mild and gay,

Go saddle your horses and buy them hay;

But if Candlemas be stormy and black,

It carries the winter away on its back.

 

In this issue, you’ll find information on these topics:

Calendar

RECIPES

o     Glogg

o     Real Hot Chocolate

o     Fruit Root Soup

o     Winter Chicken-Mushroom Soup

GARDENING

HOME REMEDIES

Test buds of peaches and other sensitive fruits for freeze damage. Bring in a few twigs cut from the trees and place them in a vase of water. If the twigs bloom in a week or two, expect blossoms in the spring and a crop next summer and fall.

Cut poles for peas, beans, and other climbers now. Peel off the bark and set them in a dry area until they are needed.

Keep this in mind while pruning: Fruit usually grows on the horizontal branches, rather than the vertical ones. Vertical branches may be trained to become horizontal by weighting them down for a few weeks.

For more gardening ideas, go to our Gardening Pages.

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It’s true: Hot chicken soup and lots of garlic help to reduce cold symptoms. Modern science now backs that up. Try Granny’s Best Chicken Soup from our archives.

And some studies suggest that virtually any way to inhale steam is beneficial. So, savoring a steaming cup of herbal tea may be a good idea.

Other home remedies said to prevent colds in the first place are: garlic, onions, thyme, sage, and vitamin C, used regularly. Or, if you dare, a daily sandwich of whole wheat bread, raw yellow onion, a half-inch of horseradish, slice of meat, cheddar cheese, and brown mustard. According to old-timers, this really works!

Sincerely,
The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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February 2 — Groundhog Day/Candlemas

On February 2, some people think only of those critters that look for their shadows: Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and Wiarton Willie in Wiarton, Ontario. In fact, there is a bit more to the day than that.

February 2 is also Candlemas Day. In the Christian tradition, it is the day that a year’s supply of candles is blessed.

February 2 is 40 days after Christmas and is known as the Feast of the Purification among Christians. "Februa" was the month for cleansing, when Yule greens were removed from homes and churches, and old brush and debris were burned to prepare the fields for the next sowing. February 2 is exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Oh, about those groundhogs: If they see their shadows, expect six more weeks of winter.

February 5 — Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras is French for "fat Tuesday"—the final feasting before the fasting of Lent, which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is also called Shrove Tuesday, a name that comes from the practice of shriving–purifying oneself through confession—prior to Lent.
So much sun as shines on Shrove Tuesday, so it shines all Lent.

February 7 — Chinese New Year

It’s the year of the rat! The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle and the animal designations are always used in the same sequence.

A Winter Warm-up in a Glass
Looking for something special to serve friends who just drop in? Try this fruity glogg, a traditional Scandinavian drink, prepared here without alcohol.

Real Hot Chocolate
Make a cup of hot chocolate from scratch, and you will never want to go back to the prepackaged stuff.

Fruit Root Soup
A delicious hot soup for a cold day. Uses root vegetables in season and a pear.

Winter Chicken-Mushroom Soup
Chicken stock with many healthy vegetables. Serve hot with a slice of crusty bread.

To find more great recipes to make for cold winter days, go to our Recipe Search.

© 2008, Yankee Publishing Inc. All rights reserved
Yankee Publishing Inc., P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444, USA, (603) 563-8111

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