Everybody knows the expression, but far too few appreciate its truth. No one would argue that laughter is a good thing, but what I learned at the Laugha Yoga Leader Certification, held at the Yogaville Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, Virginia this past weekend was just how good a thing it really is. What has long been held as an assumption is now backed up by solid science. Laughter benefits our health in ways that are real, measurable and proven….
The two horses Rita and Shiton came with the farm. They’d been living here for quite a while when we arrived, and didn’t have anywhere else to go, so we were happy to let them stay….
We were so grateful to be present for the ceremony in Knoxville, TN celebrating my brother’s retirement from the US Navy Reserve. Capt. Jefferey R. Jernigan served as an anesthesiologist in the Medical Corps for over twenty years, and served six months of active duty in Iraq in 2007….
I called my parents this morning to wish them congratulations on their anniversary. “Do you think the marriage will last?” my dad said. Mom just laughed. Apparently, having a sense of humor is one of the reasons it has lasted, SIXTY-THREE years, to be exact….
It’s a cold winter day and for some reason I was thinking about peanut brittle. Makes sense, right? Anyway, it reminded me of something that happened years ago that’s a fun story to tell– and it really is true. It was when the children were little, back before everybody carried a cell phone everywhere. So one rainy day Ted had gone to the grocery store, and one of the kids asked if we could get some peanut brittle for a treat. They all agreed that would be good. But he had already left, so I suggested we try to send him a message through our thoughts, like mental telepathy. This seemed like a great game, so we all sat down, closed our eyes, put our fingers to our temples, pictured Dad in the grocery store and said together, over and over again, “PEANUT BRITTLE, PEANUT BRITTLE, PEANUT BRITTLE…” It was very funny and we had a good time laughing at ourselves, but after a while it got old and we all went off to do our own thing. Ted returned in due time with LOTS of groceries (I’ve heard this is a common trait in men, but that’s okay! Here’s a funny video on that topic) and began unpacking. The kids were sort of hanging around but I think they’d forgotten about the peanut brittle, until Ted explained that as he was walking around shopping, he suddenly, out of the blue, got this strong urge to buy…a PANCAKE GRIDDLE! And so he did! When we heard this, we all howled with laughter! Even if somewhat muddled, our telepathic message had made it through! I am not kidding you, that really happened. So, in honor of that story, I decided to make some peanut brittle today. I’ve never attempted this before and I must be honest with you, dear readers, and confess that it did not turn out. It was, in fact, a complete fail. For that reason, I don’t have a really cute photo of my creation that looks all perfect like something on Pinterest, and that’s why the picture you see here has nothing at all to do with this post. But that’s okay, I think it will do.
Every morning one of us goes out to the bird yard to let everybody out of their enclosures, put out some food and check on the water. When I saw my husband Ted’s face coming in the other day I knew something was wrong. “There are no guineas,” he said. “They’re all gone, every single one of them.” …
Since I wrote about my first adventures with sourdough a few months ago, I’ve made bread at least once or twice a week and have experimented with numerous recipes. I LOVE my starter, which I was lucky enough to get from Meg at our neighboring Rockland’s Farm. Her mother started it over fifteen years ago and has been growing and sharing it ever since. It’s so beautiful and bubbly and has that wonderful tangy, lively smell. It makes me so happy to feed it every day, just like a living thing (but don’t worry, I haven’t named it–yet.)
In addition to bread baking I’ve been doing lots of reading and researching on probiotic food and have been looking for ways to increase it in our diet. I admit to becoming a wee bit obsessed with the whole cultured food concept and it’s numerous health benefits. Fermented foods are loaded with nutrients and the beneficial bacteria our bodies need for digestion and immunity. Humans have been using fermentation as a way of preserving food for thousands of years, yet in the last several decades these methods have been largely disregarded and replaced by artificial means, such as processing the food well beyond it’s natural state and adding chemicals to prevent spoilage.
I won’t go off on a tangent here about the toll all of this has taken on our collective health in this country, because plenty of other people are already writing about that all over the place. Let’s just say I’m quickly becoming a convert, and I’m really looking forward to preserving much of next year’s garden bounty by techniques of culturing in addition to canning and freezing. In the meantime, I discovered a recipe for a German Chocolate Kefir cake from Cultured Food Life, a great website with tons of information on the topic. Yes, the cake is actually made with kefir– and it is yummy!
January 6th marks the beginning of Epiphany, a period of several weeks in the Christian liturgical year between Christmas and Lent. The word “epiphany” comes from a Greek word which means “appearance,” or “to show forth, manifest.” As the well- known story goes, three Kings from distant lands followed a bright star to the lowly birthplace of the Saviour. His coming was foretold by prophets and anticipated by scholars, but it was the Wise Men who read the signs and journeyed far to witness the Holy amongst us. The “epiphany” in the story is not only the Magi recognizing the humble birth as the coming of the Messiah, but also their appearance before it. In other words, they showed up….
Sooooo, I’ve been a little behind on the blog. It all started two weekends ago when both the boys arrived from opposite ends of the country and all five of us piled into a rented mini van headed for a good old fashioned Christmas with the grandparents in Tennessee. It was a day’s drive, followed by a day of preparation on Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day when both of my brothers and their families arrived for a grand total of fifteen people. Because some arrived later, the big holiday dinner was set for the next day, December 26th, when everyone could be there. It was a rare gathering of (nearly) the whole clan, so we had a photographer come to document the event. Next day, we (the five Kingsleys) once again piled in the rent-a-bus and headed down to Newport News, Virginia (another day’s drive) where John C. met up with his buddies in the Greg Burroughs Band for a gig at Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill. Ted, Emma, Cameron and I went to the show and had such a fun time hearing the guys (loved seeing John rip the fiddle!) that we stayed through both sets (late night for us!). Our whole-family holiday ended when we said goodbye to John as the guys headed out for Boston. It was an all- night drive for the band while we collapsed in our hotel. The next day it was the four of us back to the farm, where all the animals were excited to see us and we got to catch our breath briefly before we went our separate ways for New Year’s– Cameron and Emma to NYC and Ted and I off for an overnight with our friends in Herndon to ring in 2014, with a late breakfast and a hike the next day and a return once again to the farm that afternoon. The kids got back from New York that evening in time for us to share the traditional New Year’s dinner of black eyed peas for luck, greens for money and corn bread for nothing but pure goodness.
The very next morning, it was off to the airport and goodbye to our Cameron. After his being away for an entire year, our time with him was much too short! His flight had barely lifted off before the snow started and we were socked in for the evening and the next morning, but we were happy that Ted’s sister Marj and her husband Jim were still able to make it for a short visit that afternoon on their back to Williamsburg. Around that time we got the call that the boys in the band were unexpectedly headed our way. They’d had two cancellations due to the blizzard in the northeast, giving them an extra night before their show in Woodbridge, Virginia. I headed to the kitchen to make soup, cornbread and brownies for the hungry gang. A few hours later, three guys and a girl piled in from their snowy trek, got something to eat and settled in front of a football game. I threw a few pillows and blankets at them and went to bed. They slept late in anticipation of another all night drive Saturday, getting up around the time my niece Susanna pulled in from Charlottesville to spend the weekend with Emma. Lots of coffee, tea, eggs, bacon, toast and conversation later, the GBB loaded out once more and headed off to the final show of the tour before their return to Nashville. Susanna, Emma and I didn’t waste any time heading out to Leesburg for just a little look at our favorite salvage shop and pizza stop, then back across on the ferry to home sweet home. More wintry weather today, a good time to slow down. Whew! Hectic but all good—love the holidays, the fam and the crazy life!
Dear Dorothy, I’ve been thinking about you a lot today, on what would have been your eighty- eighth birthday, if I’m counting right. For one, I’m getting ready to embark on an attempt at your Christmas bread recipe……