A Little Humor for Your Day: Top Ten Reasons Why Beer Is Better Than Religion

Top Ten Reasons Why
Beer Is Better Than Religion


  1. If you have a beer, you don’t go around door to door trying to give it to someone else.
  2. You can prove that you have a beer.
  3. It is against the law to offer beer to little children who are not old enough to think for themselves.
  4. Nobody has ever been hanged, tortured, or burned at the stake over his particular brand of beer.
  5. If you have a beer, you don’t have to wait over 2000 years for another one.
  6. There are many federal laws that make them print the truth on beer labels.
  7. No one will kill you for not drinking beer.
  8. Beer does not tell you when or how to have sex.
  9. There have been virtually no major wars fought over beer.
  10. If you have devoted your entire life to beer, there are groups you can join to help you stop!

–Turok’s Cabana

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Today’s Extra: Survival Guide for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People

Survival Guide for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People

By: Jordyn Cormier

 

Being an empath or a highly sensitive person (HSP) in the modern world ain’t easy. Everyone is stressed—and empaths and HSPs are the emotional sponges, soaking it all up.

WHAT IS AN EMPATH?

To clarify, being a empath doesn’t just mean you care and feel for other people. It means you actually feel their emotions in your body. It can be sometimes difficult for true empaths to discern whether an emotion they’re experiencing is their own or someone else’s—which can be incredibly overwhelming and depleting.

While being highly sensitive to the needs of others can be a truly wonderful quality, it takes some dedicated effort to manage. It’s ironic that empaths are so good at being there for other people and making others feel better—but it’s often to their own emotional and energetic detriment.

Empaths can easily become oversaturated with emotions, leading them to believe they are depressed, ill or flawed in some way. But that’s not usually the case. A sensitive person just needs time to recenter.

SURVIVING AS A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON OR EMPATH

If you’re an empath, you really need to prioritize your self care. Here are a few basics that every highly sensitive person should have in their toolkits.

Practice breathwork

You know that dramatic friend you have who is always in a crisis? As an empath, it’s important to realize that they can be an energy suck—no matter how much you love them. If, while spending time with them, you can feel your energy being drained, focus on your breathing.

Holding your breath only allows negativity to fester and grow, so breathe deeply to ground yourself. Maybe also treat yourself to a little time out. Take a stroll around the block, a reprieve in the quiet bathroom or a relaxing drive to get away from the contagious drama.

Create physical space between yourself and perceived negativity.

Social situations can be really challenging for HSPs and empaths. Highly empathetic people deeply experience others’ negative energies. In fact, they tend to absorb them.

If you find yourself at a party in a conversation with energy-sucker, make an excuse to take a walk outside to balance and reground yourself. Then, keep your distance as much as you can for the rest of the event.

Social situations are already challenging enough. Create a bubble of safe, positive space around yourself to hold onto your own energy.

 

Know your boundaries.

As an HSP or empathic person, you probably tend to try to help people in need, no matter what. But when it comes to being there for people and sharing your positive energy, don’t be an overgiver—it’ll only deplete you.

Be polite, but let people know when you’ve reached your limits. Yes, you want to be there for the other person, but you need to honor your needs.

Try to become aware of when your emotional energy is reaching critical levels, and prioritize yourself. Place your oxygen mask on before assisting the person next to you.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.

You simply can’t always be there for everybody. You need to prioritize your own needs, too. So practice saying no.

For instance, one day you’re wiped, but a friend wants to grab a drink and talk about their absolutely horrible day at work. Be polite and honest. Say, “Sorry your day was so rough, but I can’t tonight. I can grab coffee tomorrow and talk all about it, though.” You could even suggest that maybe it’s best for your friend to stay in, take a hot bath, and treat themselves, too!

Saying no isn’t mean. It’s being open and honest. You need to make time for your own needs, too.

Being a highly sensitive person means you need to guard yourself a little more than others. Your powers of sensitivity are a wonderful gift that can really benefit those around you, but you want to make sure that you are not suffering as a result. It may be tough for you, but start putting yourself first.

 

Care2.com

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 6th: A KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

 

A KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

By Samantha Jones

A kitchen herb garden can be simple or ornamental, blended with decorative flowers or combined with other edibles. Herbs will thrive in pots on the patio, in raised beds, and in plots-even on a sunny windowsill. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook lists the best herbs to grow!

A Kitchen Herb Garden

The following herbs have a range of culinary uses:

Basil, an annual, grows 1 to 2 feet tall in moist soil. Encourage bushy growth by pinching off flower buds. Pick the leaves often, from the top. Use them with pasta, vegetable dishes, soups, salads, and oils or vinegars.

Chive, a perennial, grows 12 to 24 inches tall in moist soil. Harvest the hollow, grasslike leaves in the spring by snipping them close to the ground; they will soon grow back. Chives enliven rice, cheese dishes, eggs, vegetable dishes, dressings, sauces, and dips.

Cilantro/Coriander, an annual, grows 6 to 30 inches tall in light soil and full sun to partial shade. Pick the leaves (cilantro) sparingly when the plant stands 4 to 6 inches tall. Pick the aromatic seeds (coriander) when they ripen. Use leaves and flowers raw in salads and cold vegetable dishes, and the seeds in pastries, custards, confections, and meat dishes.

Dill, an annual or biennial, grows 2 to 3 feet tall. Harvest the leaves when the flowers begin to open; collect the seed heads when they are dry and brown. Use the leaves with soups, seafood, salads, green beans, potato dishes, cheese, and sauces, and the seeds for pickles.

Mint, a perennial, grows 1 to 3 feet tall in moist soil and partial shade. (Mints can be invasive. To prevent spreading, plant them in pots.) Harvest young sprigs and leaves frequently for a bushy plant. Use fresh or dry leaves and stems with roast lamb or fish and in salads, jellies, or teas.

Oregano, a tender perennial, grows 1 to 2 feet tall and tolerates poor soil. Harvest leaves when young and use in any tomato dish. Try it also with beans, mushroom dishes, potatoes, and summer squashes, or in a marinade for lamb or game.

Parsley, a biennial, grows 12 to 30 inches tall in partial shades. Leaves can be curly or flat, depending on the variety. Cut or pinch the leaves as needed. Use fresh in soups, salads, and sauces or as garnish for anything.

Rosemary, a tender perennial, grows 4 to 6 feet tall in neutral to slightly acidic soil. Gather leaves and sprigs as needed for use with vegetables or in lamb, poultry, and tomato dishes; breads and custards; and soups and stews.

Sage, a perennial, grows 1 to 3 feet tall in well-drained soil. Pick the leaves as needed for use in soups, salads, stuffings, cheese dishes, and pickles. Its strong flavor makes it excellent for salt-free cooking.

Thyme, a perennial, grows 12 to 18 inches tall in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Harvest the tops of the plants when they are in full leaf. Use the leaves, fresh or dried, in casseroles, stews, soups, and ragouts, and with fish, potatoes, green vegetables, and eggs.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

This new corner of Almanac.com will feature news, information, and cool stuff from The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its family of publications.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 6: GROWING HERBS IN THE GARDEN

 

GROWING HERBS IN THE GARDEN

Growing herbs in containers or a small space is so easy—and who likes paying for a package of herbs from the grocery store every time you need a few sprigs or leaves.

If the meals at your house have been a little bland, fresh herbs can make a huge difference in flavor; they are considered the mark of a serious cook and are essential ingredients in many culinary classics.

In late spring, garden centers offer a wide selection of herb plants making it easy for you to start an instant herb garden. Or, many annual herbs like dill or cilantro are easy to grow from seed. Having trouble deciding what to grow? Take a look in your cupboard and start with the herbs you already like to use. Once you have become a seasoning pro, you can branch out and add some new herbs to your repertoire.

BEST HERBS TO GROW

Annual herbs such as dill, basil, cilantro, and summer savory are easy to grow from seed. The plants last for one season only so grow plenty of extra to dry or freeze for use over the winter. Once you get used to their flavors you won’t want to cook without them.

Biennial herbs such as parsley and caraway can be started from seed also. They will grow well the first year and come back the second year when they will bloom and set seeds. Then the original plants will die.

Perennial herbs include Greek oregano, thyme, sage, winter savory, chives, and mint. Once established in your garden these plants will increase in size and come back every year.

Tender perennial plants such as tarragon, rosemary, and stevia need to be grown in pots so they can spend the winter indoors. Put the pots outside as soon as the weather warms in the spring.

It is fine to have your herbs scattered throughout the landscape—many are as attractive as they are useful—but it is easier for you to harvest them if they are all in one or two spots. You can spend a lot of time planning an elaborate herb garden if you like but you don’t have to. A sunny corner close to the kitchen door is an ideal location and will make it easier for you to step out and snip what you need for the meal you are making.

A small space is all you need to grow a gourmet herb garden but if space is really limited or even non-existent, culinary herbs grow well in containers. Use window boxes, hanging baskets, or a whiskey barrel to grow a mini-garden of kitchen herbs.

Even though I have large patches of culinary herbs in the garden, I always keep a hanging pot of rosemary, thyme, oregano, summer savory, and basil growing just outside the back door. Since it is so convenient I find myself using those herbs in my dishes more often and the fresh flavor makes a huge difference in my otherwise plain cooking. When the weather gets cold, I bring the pot indoors and keep it going in a sunny kitchen window. It doesn’t get much handier than that!

TIPS TO GROWING HERBS

Herbs are forgiving plants and will grow in less than ideal conditions.

  • Drainage is the most important thing to consider since many herbs do not like wet feet.
  • The soil does not have to be overly fertile. In fact, if herbs are over-fertilized they tend to be less flavorful.
  • Most herbs grow best with at least six hours of sun a day.
  • When planting, give the perennial herbs room to grow. It may look a little bare at first but they will expand to fill the space. Crowded plants compete with each other for nutrients and water and can be difficult to harvest. Air circulation is important for healthy growth, especially during humid weather.
  • Herbs respond well to regular pruning and when you clip them often to use, you’ll be encouraging fresh new growth.

The season for bumper crops of fresh produce is approaching fast! Be ready by growing the herbs necessary to flavor your world and spice up your life!

 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market.

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 6th: STARTING SEEDS INDOORS

 

STARTING SEEDS INDOORS

WHEN TO START SEEDS INDOORS

Starting seeds properly can make or break your entire growing season! Here’s are some tips that include when to start seeds, which seeds to start indoors, and how to do it.

WHY START SEEDS INDOORS?

  • Mainly, people start seeds indoors in order to get a jump on the gardening season. Doing so allows you to gain a few weeks of growing time, which can really matter in regions with short growing seasons.
  • If you want to grow a lot of plants, buying packs of seeds is usually cheaper than buying young seedlings from the nursery.
  • While some nursery plants are grown really nicely, others are poor quality. When you plant your own seeds, you have control over the way the baby is raised. This may be especially important if you are an organic gardener.
  • Finally, there isn’t always a great selection of plants at nurseries. When you plant from seed, you have a much wider choice of varieties, tastes, and textures—and you can experiment with new ones, too.

WHICH SEEDS SHOULD YOU START INDOORS?

Consult the table below to see which crops are typically started indoors, which are typically started outdoors, and which can be variable. (Note that gardeners in warmer climates will be able to start more crops outdoors than gardeners in colder climates.)

Start Indoors Start Outdoors Variable
Broccoli Beets Beans
Brussels Sprouts Carrots Celery
Cabbage Corn Kale
Cauliflower Garlic Spinach
Eggplant Okra
Lettuce Onions
Peppers Peas
Pumpkins Parsnips
Swiss Chard Potatoes
Tomatoes Radishes
Watermelons Squash/Zucchini
Sweet Potatoes

BEFORE YOU START SEEDS

  • Be seed-savvy. Obtain seed catalogs from several companies and compare their offering and prices. Some of the regional companies may carry varieties better suited to your area.
  • Make a list of what you’d like to grow. A good rule-of-thumb is to imagine your garden one-quarter the size that it really is. This allows for good spacing practices! See Vegetable Gardening for Beginners for popular beginner vegetables.
  • Prepare for some losses. Though it’s good not to plant too much for your garden space, it’s also good to assume that some of your seeds won’t germinate, or that they will inexplicably die off later. Plant a few extra, just in case.
  • Consider a grow light if you start in late winter. Most veggies need 6 to 8 hours of direct sun, so it’s important to have a grow light if you are sowing your vegetable seeds indoors in late winter. A grow light will also keep your seedlings from getting too leggy. Learn more about using grow lights.
  • Team up with a neighbor and share seeds if you have leftovers!
  • Use clean containers. Most seed catalogs offer seedling flats, peat pots, and other growing containers, but egg carton compartments make good containers, too. Be sure to poke holes in the sides near the bottom of the containers you use in order to allow excess water to drain.
  • Label your containers now! There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting what you planted.

WHEN TO START SEEDS

  • We’ll get right to the answer: Just check our Planting Calendar, which lists when to start your vegetables and herbs indoors. We’ve created a customized tool, based on your zip code!
  • As a general rule, most annual vegetables should be sown indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost in your area.
  • Don’t start your seeds too early, especially tomatoes. Wait until six weeks before your last frost date to start tomato seeds.

 

HOW TO START SEEDS

  1. Fill clean containers with a moistened potting mix made for seedlings. Use soilless peat moss and mix in equal parts vermiculite and perlite to hold enough water and allow oxygen to flow. Don’t use regular potting soil, as it may not be fine enough for seeds to root through properly. Pre-formed seed starters (such as Jiffy pellets) work well, too.
  2. Plant your seeds according to the seed packet. Most seeds can simply be gently pressed into the mixture; you can use the eraser end of a pencil to do so. When planting seeds, plant the largest seeds in the packet to get the best germination rate.
  3. Cover containers with plastic to keep them from drying out too quickly. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick for ventilation.
  4. Water newly started seeds carefully. A pitcher may let the water out too forcefully. A mist sprayer is gentle but can take a long time. Try using a meat-basting syringe (turkey baster), which will dispense the water effectively without causing too much soil disruption.
  5. When seedlings start to appear, remove the plastic and move containers into bright light.
  6. When the seedlings get their second pair of leaves, prepare individual pots filled with a potting mix with plenty of compost. Move the seedlings carefully to the new pots and water well. Keep seedlings out of direct sun for a few days, until they’ve had a chance to establish themselves in their new pots.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You may have to soak, scratch, or chill seeds before planting, as directed on packet.
  • Seeds sprout best at temperatures of 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C).
  • Find a place in the kitchen where there is natural bottom heat—on top of the refrigerator or near the oven are good spots. (Move the tray if the oven is on, as it may become too hot!)
  • If you keep your seedlings next to a window, remember to rotate the containers every so often to keep the seedlings growing evenly. If you’re using a grow light, remember to raise it a few inches above the tallest seedling every couple of days.

MOVING SEEDLINGS OUTSIDE

Before transplanting seedlings to your garden, you’ll first need to do something called “hardening off.” This will prepare the seedlings for the harsh realities (i.e., climate) of the outside world!

  1. During their last week indoors, withhold fertilizer and add water less often.
  2. Seven to ten days before transplanting, set the seedlings outdoors in dappled shade that is protected from winds for a few hours each day, gradually increasing their exposure to full sun and windy conditions. This is the hardening-off period.
  3. Keep the soil moist at all times during this period. Dry air and spring breezes can result in rapid transpiration. If possible, transplant on overcast days or in the early morning, when the sun won’t be too harsh.

Watch our video on hardening off for more info:

After the hardening-off period, your seedlings are ready for transplanting. Here are a few tips:

  • Set transplants into loose, well-aerated soil. Such soil will capture and retain moisture, drain well, and allow easy penetration by seedling roots.
  • Soak the soil around new seedlings immediately after transplanting.
  • Spread mulch to reduce soil moisture loss and to control weeds.
  • To ensure the availability of phosphorus in the root zone of new transplants (phosphorus promotes strong root development), mix 2 tablespoons of a 15-30-15 starter fertilizer into a gallon of water (1 tablespoon for vining crops such as melons and cucumbers), and give each seedling a cup of the solution after transplanting.

Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 6th: WHEN TO START SEEDS: NOT TOO EARLY!

 

WHEN TO START SEEDS: NOT TOO EARLY!

HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO START SEEDS

The seeds are rolling in, and if you are as eager to get the garden party started as I am, it is hard to refrain from starting them too early. When should you start your seedlings?

There is always some debate about when is the best time to start seeds indoors. If you plant seeds too early, you need to be prepared to keep potting them up into bigger pots.

Here in New Hampshire, I run a plant business with my partner and Memorial Day is usually our biggest weekend for selling plants. So, we gear our seed starting to have the plants looking their best then. As soon as I get my new calendar in January, I turn to May and mark Memorial Day weekend as our end date. Then, I number each Saturday back from there into February; 15 weeks is when we begin, and as the season gets busy, we even do some planting on Wednesday—hence the half weeks. As the seeds roll in we sort them by the number of weeks recommended on the packets.

Every location is different, but here’s an example of the way we plant:

  • Week 15 – Gazania & calibrachoa. We want these plants to be blossoming by the end of May.
  • Week 13 – Onions, shallots, and slow-germinating perennials.
  • Week 12 – Petunias & ‘Profusion’ zinnias.
  • Week 11 – Impatiens & more perennials.
  • Week 10 – Parsley, thyme, coleus, last of the perennials.
  • Week 9 – Eggplant, snapdragons, cleome, hollyhocks, dahlias.
  • Week 8 1/2 – Peppers. We grow about 50 varieties, so they get a start day of their own.
  • Week 8 – Cole crops, asters, stevia, salvias, nicotiana, and other slow to start annuals.
  • Week 7 1/2 – Basil, cilantro & dill.
  • Week 7 – Tomatoes. This is another marathon planting day, since we grow over 80 varieties.
  • Week 6 – Marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, lettuce, and fast starting annuals. Vines are planted in individual peat pots so they don’t get their roots disturbed after they germinate.
  • Weeks 4 & 5 – Cukes, squash, melons, and sunflowers (get started in individual pots instead of the community flats)

For your planting dates, look at your local last frost date and use that as your end date.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has an online planting calendar based on your last frost date, which makes it really easy to figure out when to plant what.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER (OR EARLY)

It is best to err on the side of caution if spring is usually slow to arrive where you live. To avoid having leggy weak transplants, it is better to sow seeds a little late than it is to sow them too early. Younger, vigorously growing transplants will make the transition to the garden much more successfully than spindly, overgrown ones.

 

Bear in mind that small seeds usually take a lot longer to germinate than big ones, but germination time is usually on the packet. There might be a few seeds that need special treatment before planting so look for that when you are sorting them. You don’t want to find out at planting time that the seeds needed a month in the fridge first. Been there, done that!

If you haven’t ordered your seeds yet, it’s not too late!

 

 

Also, are you using the Almanac’s Garden Planner tool? It’s amazing and free for the first week—enough time to plan out a garden and give it a go.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market.

Your Daily Witches Rune for April 6th is The Rings

Your Daily Witches Rune for Today

The Rings

Keywords: Love, relationships.

Meanings: The Rings is the rune of love and when it is the leading stone, it is a positive answer to your question. It is very much a rune of relationship and can indicate engagement, marriage or a new/renewed relationship. It can also indicate the need for a fresh approach to an existing relationship.