Fire Cider and How to Make this Health-Boosting Tonic

Fire Cider boosts your health with herbs stewed in apple-cider vinegar. Fire Cider. The very name sounds like something you might want to try: half a dozen or more flavor-rich herbs and fruits, steeped for a few weeks in apple cider vinegar, then strained and bottled, perhaps with a bit of honey added to balance the acidity. This traditional winter and early spring tonic is renowned as a folk remedy to help ward off winter colds, flus, and other infirmities, or, as some...

List of Names for 2017 Hurricane Season

Tropical storms have been named for 2017, so here is the list of hurricane names for the Atlantic Basin (Miami hurricanes) and Eastern North-Pacific (California hurricanes). Is your name listed? How are Hurricanes Named? Native Americans called these storms Hurakons, after "a great spirit who commanded the east wind." Spanish explorers adopted the word and then began giving hurricanes the names of patron saints on whose feast days the storms occurred. Later, hurricanes were...

How Long Do Seeds Last?

How long do garden seeds last? How do you tell if your old seeds are still good? Let's find out! Wintertime is the season when these questions matter. The gorgeous seed catalogs arrive in the mail, tempting you with beautiful photographs. But before you go crazy, it's time to inventory your leftover seeds to avoid duplication. How Long Do Seeds Last? Some seeds have a longer life expectancy than others. Most last for a couple of years if stored in a dry, cool place...

Plants of the Winter Solstice

Winter solstice occurs at almost midnight on December 21, marking the official start of winter. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Now the days will start to get longer and as the old adage says,"When the days lengthen the cold strengthens." Even so, I appreciate seeing a brighter western horizon when I get out of work at 5pm. The sun has begun its climb toward summer and each day brings us one day closer to spring. Nearly every ancient culture had myths...

History of the Poinsettia

Where does the poinsettia come from? Where was this traditional Christmas plant discovered? Are poinsettias poisonous? Learn more! No plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia. More than 2 million of them will be sold this year, making it the largest potted flower crop grown in the US. There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available in shades of red, pink, white,and yellow—solids, streaked, marbled, and multicolored. It makes it hard to pick just one!...

Best Apples for Baking: Apple Pie, Applesauce, Cider

Not all apples are ideal for cooking! Below is a chart with some of the best apples for baking—from apple pies to applesauce. Ever eaten a mushy apple pie?  Often, the reason for this is a soft apple, such as a McIntosh. Have no fear!  When you use the right kind of apple, you may find you actually like apple pie! Below is a list of the best apples for cooking and baking. Note: Some familiar apple varieties may be missing because they are best eaten...

Fall Leaves: Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Why do leaves change color in the fall? When exactly do they change, and how does the process occur? What Causes Leaves to Change Color? First of all, not all leaves turn vivid colors in the fall. Only a few of our many species of deciduous trees—notably maple, aspen, oak, and gum—produce stellar performances for our annual autumn spectacular in North America. Several factors contribute to fall color (temperature, precipitation, soil moisture), but the main agent is light, or...

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