How Elderberry Fights Colds and Flu Virus

October 9, 2020

When it comes to fighting a cold or flu virus, word has it, Elderberry is one of your best allies.

The extract, taken from wild grown Elder Flowers (Sambucus nigra), is known to help the body resist infection.

Elderberries contain Sambucus nigra agglutinins (SNAs), which helps prevent some types of flu from infecting healthy cells.” 

Now that’s interesting information worth knowing.

One winter a member of our family got sick with bronchitis and was unable to shake it. My research seemed to point to the Elderberry so we gave Sambu® Elderberry Concentrate a try.

Elderberry, you say?©

My local health advisor told me, “Elderberry is one of the most effective herbs for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections.”

Within the week the bronchitis was almost gone.

The berries have been found to 
“interrupt the ability of some viruses to replicate” 

AND…”The berries and flowers of elderberry are also packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system. They can help tame inflammation, lessen stress and help protect the heart….”

reference: webmd.com

I add one tsp. of elderberry concentrate into my morning smoothie during the fall and winter months.

Elderberry/zinc lozenges are a delcious alternative, one you can take with you on the go.

CAUTION ****** Do NOT use FRESH Elderberry! –All parts of the plant in the fresh state may cause poisoning. So if you’ve got an Elderberry bush in your back yard, you best leave the berries for the birds.

Having said that, properly prepared, the Elderberry juice and consentrate carries significant healing power and is a berry worth using. It is also quite delicious. This is one medicine pretty much anyone can swallow. You can find Elderberry juice and concentrate at your local health store and possibly full-service grocery store.

Don’t forget, to add a Merry Heart to the mix. “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Proverbs 7:22

Between Elderberry and a merry heart, it won’t take long before you can fling that kleenex box…to wherever it is you would like to fling it.

 ©

disclaimer: The content on this post is meant for informational purposes only, and is not intended for use as official health consultation.

Where do you go when waiting in line?

In my other world – storytelling

Some time ago, I was waiting in line at the TD bank, deep in thought, when the person behind me kindly let me know teller #3 was trying to get my attention.

I  jolted back into reality,  then smiled and offhandedly said, “Thank you… I was in my other world!

The person gave me a look I could only interpret as envy as she responded with the utmost sincerity, “I wish I had an ‘other world.'”

I hesitated, then chuckled. Her response was priceless, making me actually think about what I had just said.

Now, this was before everybody began losing themselves in their iPhone or Android, which by the way is nothing like the “other world” I am talking about.  In my opinion, cell phones and anxiety are synonymous and an addiction I’m not willing partake of. I’m not giving up “my other world” for that.

Just ask my husband… I’m so not attached to my cell phone, I’ve resorted to posting a sign on my front door to remind me to take it with me when leaving the house. I know. Shocking!

phone-sign

As I walked over to the counter,  I realized just how true my offhanded comment was. I call it “another world.” Some call it daydreaming, something I’ve always been very good at. My teachers said so.  It’s the place where I go, think up stories, develop plans, talk to God or just simply listen.

John Tess, Intelligence for Life (free internet radio) says the average person will spend about 10 years waiting in line.

Put it that way…

Where do you go when you’re waiting in line?

A Cup of Tea While We Discuss Your Antagonist?

Welcome…

Come, sit by the fire and I’ll pour you a special cup of tea – Midnight Fog it’s called.

Recipe for MIDNIGHT FOG

  1.  Steep a bag of Red Rooibos tea in  1/2 cup of boiling water.
  2. Whip 1/2 cup of chocolate milk (or substitute like chocolate almond milk) in blender
  3. Pour into a sauce pan and heat.
  4. Wisk to create frothy foam.
  5. Add the heated chocolate milk to tea.
  6. Garnish with pumpkin spice and raw honey.

 

HALLOWEEN lends itself naturally to villains expressing themselves in clever and creative attire.  If it’s not the headless horseman or the age-old Frankenstein, it’s Darth Vader or Zombies hulking the dark streets in our neighborhoods.

This brings us to my favorite topic – storytelling – and in this case, talking about the very important, three-dimensional character, the antagonist.

Webster’s dictionary defines antagonist as… “one that contends with or opposes another – the adversary or opponent.”

What would storytelling look like without a well-developed, strong,  fierce and compelling antagonist who’s as well thought-out and multi-dimensional as the hero (or protagonist)?

You wouldn’t have much of a story now would you?

The hero depends on the antagonist to challenge him, force him to overcome… to change… to win.

 

The antagonist can be:

  • a main character
  • one’s dark side vs one’s “good” side (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
  • things like the  weather (a hurricane, volcano, 40 below freezing temperatures)  which the protagonist must overcome or avoid

 

Most times we think of the antagonist as the villain. Is that always the case?

Could the hero be the villain and the antagonist his/her adversary? Something to think about.

Well, the tea-pot is empty. Time to spice up my antagonist villain in my latest book – Treasure Trap – coming soon. Watch for it.

Antagonist Mrs. Polzin in Treasure Trap - Carrie ©
The mean Mrs. Polzin in Treasure Trap – Carrie ©

The mean Mrs. Polzin in Treasure Trap – Carrie ©

Carrie – Storyteller

 

 

 

Time to Play in the Dirt – How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers

Growing up in a small farming community in southern Manitoba meant one had to learn how to grow a garden. I am blessed… my mother (and grandmother and great-grandmother) excelled in gardening, growing both vegetables and flowers – naturally and organically.

Our yard was the flower showcase of the town. The older I get, the more I appreciate those years. When we ate what we planted, and harvested, preserved and fermented our food supply for the winter.

When we saved our seeds.

When we came home from school at 4:00 PM and helped ourselves to a snack of baby carrots and tender peas – fresh out of the garden.

Gardening doesn’t get any better than that.

Does anybody else out there remember those days?

Planting a garden may not be practical for you… but what about planting your own flower pots?

 

Every May, Mother’s Day weekend, my daughter and I go shopping for potted flowers. (Yes, I’m passing it on – this lost art of gardening). We’re getting pretty good at arranging out pots with a variety of vibrant colored plants that give us pleasure for the entire summer… and then some.

 

Today we are going to help you put a little sunshine and happiness into your lives and onto your patio.

 

But… I don’t have a “green thumb,” I can hear you say…

One thing I’ve learned along the way is – don’t believe everything you say…

 

In this easy to follow, practical tutorial, my daughter Minde, does a great job  of showing and telling us  How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers.  

Time to play in the dirt … 

Introduction

 

© flowers just planted
© flowers just planted

Here’s a pot of flowers just after planting in late spring. 

 

 

© look at those blooms now just 3 weeks after planting.
© look at those blooms now just 3 weeks after planting.

Look at those blooms now – just 3 weeks later…

 

This article will guide you through the process of creating an outdoor potted flower arrangement. It will instruct on how to plant “partial-sun” flowers in a plastic pot.

This project should be done in spring in order to experience the full blooms in summer. Be prepared to use gentle hands throughout the entire process, and consider the idea that you may get a little dirty.

Before you begin – 4 basic things you need to think about:

1. The location of your flower-pot

The location of your flower-pot is categorized into 3 different types of sun exposure:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.

2. The type of flower-pot.

The two main types of flower pots available are:

  • Clay (ceramic) pots – for herbs and flowers that like dry soil.
  • Plastic pots – for most flowers.

3. The types of flowers you should buy

The types of flowers you buy should match the sun exposure of the flower-pot location. You should find similar exposure symbols on each of the plants when you purchase them:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight.

4. Your ability to maintain and care for the flowers

You should be prepared to water the flowers each day and remove the dead flowers and leaves regularly. Removing dead flowers promotes new blooms.

 

You will also need the following materials & equipment 

All of the following materials can be found at Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Superstore, or any local garden shop. The flowers and equipment may vary in type and style. Some items are seasonal and only available in spring and early summer. Most items are available all year.

  1. Small Garden Shovel
  2. Water Hose with Shower Nozzle (or Watering Can)
  3. Small-Medium Rocks (approximately 2 liters)
  4. Flowers.

Minimum requirement for this project:

  1. 1 x 5” Saratoga
  2. 3 x 2” Petunias
  3. 4 x 1” Lobelia
  4. Potting Soil Mix – minimum 60 liters.
  5. Scissors
  6. Garden Gloves
  7. Sheet of Plastic or Garbage Bag (size: 3ft x 2ft)
  8. Plastic Pot with drainage holes (size:16”top with 10” bottom).

 

You are ready to plant

Just follow these simple steps 

Make sure to follow each of the steps and sub-directions in sequential order. The main steps include:

(Step 1) set up materials and equipment

(Step 2) prepare the pot

(Step 3) prepare the flowers

(Step 4) plant the flowers

(Step 5) water and care for the potted flowers.’

 

Step 1: Set Up Materials and Equipment

  1. Purchase and have all materials and equipment ready.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Place the plastic on the ground to keep the area from getting dirty.
  4. Place the pot on the plastic to one side.

 

© Materials & Equipment
© Materials & Equipment

Everything you need …

 

Step 2: Prepare the Pot

  1. Put the rocks in the bottom of the pot
  2. Fill the pot with potting soil until just over ¾ full.
  3. Make sure you have enough soil reserved to fill the remainder ¼ of the pot.
  4. Dig 6 shallow holes in the soil.

 

  1. © Set up - get your pot ready
    © Set up – get your pot ready

    Plastic, pot, rocks and garden shovel ready for planting. 

     

     

© Shallow holes in the soil
© Shallow holes in the soil

You’ve made 6 shallow holes in the earth. 

 

Step 3: Prepare the Flowers

Be gentle and take your time when handling the flowers. Try not to crush or break stems and leaves. Some breakage may happen by accident; this is usually OK. Most plants will recover from damage if cared for properly.

  1. Water the flowers using a gentle stream until the soil and roots are moist.
  2. Cut the plastic flower containers into individual pieces with the scissors.
  3. Arrange the flowers in the pot to visualize how you would like them while they are still in the plastic containers.

 

© plastic flower containers cut ready to safely remove the plants.
© plastic flower containers cut ready to safely remove the plants.

The flower containers cut for safe removal of plants.

 

 

© Your flowers arranged in the pot.
© Your flowers arranged in the pot.

You’ve arranged your flowers and placed them in the shallow holes. 

 

Step 4: Plant the Flowers

When handling the flowers, grasp gently near the base of the stems where they are strongest. Take your time and be careful with the stems and leaves.

  1. Hold the first container by the flower base, turn it upside down and look at the bottom.
  2. Remove any roots sticking out of the bottom container by pulling or cutting them.
  3. Hold the flower base with one hand and squeeze the bottom of the plastic container with your other hand.
  4. Keep squeezing the container and pushing the roots upward until the flowers and roots are out of the container.
  5. Gently break up the bottom of the roots so they are hanging loosely. (This will help the flower plant to grow quickly, and to its full potential, in the new soil.)
  6. Place the flowers and roots in one of the shallow holes in the pot.

***Repeat these steps 1-6 with each flower container you wish to plant***

 

©
©

Squeeze the container and push the roots out.

 

©
©

Break up the bottom roots

 

Once you have all the flowers out of the plastic containers, the bottoms of the roots are gently broken up, and each plant is placed in the pot arranged as you like; you may proceed with the following steps.

  1. Scoop soil using the shovel, from the ¼ reserved potting soil, and put it around the base of the flower plant.
  2. Repeat step 7 for each flower plant in the pot.
  3. Fill the area around each flower plant from the remaining ¼ reserved soil until there are no roots showing.
  4. Gently press the soil around the base of each flower plant with your hands.

©
©

Scoop soil and fill the area around each plant.

 

Step 5: Water and Care for the Plants

  1. Water the base of each flower plant in the pot, using a gentle stream of water.
  2. Wait for the water to soak in, and water again.
  3. Gently wash any soil off the leaves and flowers.
  4. Let the water fully drain out of the pot. (This may take 5-10 minutes.)
  5. Place the pot of planted flowers in the location you chose. (The flowers in this example will require a “Part Shade” location.)
  6. Water every second day, or keep soil moist.
  7. Pick off dead flowers and leaves every day, throw them away.

 

©
©

Using a gentle stream of water, water the base of each flower plant. 

 

 

©
©

3 Weeks later, flowers are bursting with blooms. 

 

Trouble shooting and problem-solving. 

Below are some potential issues that you may encounter during this project and a list of suggested solutions.

Water does not drain from the soil.

  • The pot needs to have drainage holes.
  • Check to make sure the pot has drainage holes.
  • Check to see if the drainage holes are blocked.

The flowers are limp and the leaves are wilted.

  • Most flowers need to have moist soil.
  • Do not buy wilted, dried-out flowers.
  • Do not let the soil dry out.
  • Water the flowers before you begin planting.
  • Water the flowers after you finished planting.
  • Do not let the flowers sit exposed and out of the container without water for more than 1 hour.
  • Once you have finished planting the flowers and watering them, and the water has drained out of the pot; wait 24 hours for the flower plants to recover and leaves to strengthen.

There are many broken stems and leaves.

  • There may be flowers, stems, or leaves that break off in this process.
  • Be careful while handling the flower plants.
  • Remove any broken leaves or stems.
  • As long as there is a plant fully attached to the roots, the plant should grow and recover with continued care.

The soil dries out quickly.

  • Small pots dry out faster than large pots.
  • Small pots will need more frequent watering than larger pots.
  • Use water gel from your local flower shop to decrease watering times.

Warnings

The finished outdoor potted flowers in this project will be quite heavy and weigh approximately 50-60 lbs.

  • Bring the materials and equipment near the location you chose for your flower-pot.
  • Follow these directions near the location you choose for your flower-pot.

Some flower plants may be poisonous, and should not be eaten.

  • Read the labels before purchasing flowers.

Copy Right © All photos by Minde Wagner.

 

 

 

 

Read & Write by Candle Light to Step-up Your Writing

So…  how will reading and writing by candle light step-up my writing?

There was a time when this antiquated practice was the one and only option. But today??!! Is this really necessary? Certainly not. But, why not humor me?

Something doesn’t have to be necessary, to be effective.

Doesn’t simply the thought – the visual, translate you into story land?

What marvelous stories can one conjure up with an image like this?

And then… what if you actually did light that candle…?

 

Go ahead… light your candle.

Here are 5 sure-fire, practical tips to step-up your writing.

 

1.  Take time to read... and read some more.

Intentionally expose yourself to different writing styles and genres.

Stretch yourself – get out of your comfort zone.

Familiarize yourself with authors whose work captures your attention and inspires you.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from these authors?”

Take notes…. which brings us to our 2nd. point.

 

2.  Keep a journal.

Keeping a journal improves long-term memory retention and sharpens your ability to visualize what you are reading or hearing.

A journal is also used to document events; events with details you might wish to include in your writing at some point in time.

Write down your ideas when you think of them. Keep your pen and paper close to your candle – or laptop – or notepad – or iPad –  or cell phone.

If something catches your attention, intrigues or interests you, make a note of it.

 

3.  Join a writing group.

This group can be online or in your community.

This is an excellent way to meet fellow writers and authors.

Note: Be sure to ask them what they do to improve their writing skills. Perhaps introduce them to reading and writing by candle light.

Joining a writers group in your community has greater benefits then just the online connecting.

 

Why? You get to practice your out-loud reading skills – to present to a live audience. Every aspiring author needs this experience. Don’t bypass this important part of your writing journey. Everybody has stage fright. You’ll just have to get over it.

 

Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©
Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©

4.  Attend a writer’s workshop – or take a writing class every now and again.

 

Even though I had no interest in technical writing, I took a technical writing course because I knew it would improve my overall writing skills. I gained new perspectives about writing for my audience.

I also took expository writing, writing for children, essay writing, journalism, and, of course, creative writing courses.

My husband taught me script writing.

Workshops and seminars/classes are also a great way to meet other authors, writers, editors and publishers; people you need to have in your sphere of influence if you are a serious writer.

 

5. Who’s your writing buddy? 

Someone whom you can trust with your creative endeavors. Someone who will give you honest feedback. Someone who’s rooting for you. Someone who’ll light that candle with you.

And you can do the same for them.

 

 

Writing your Memoirs Leaves a Legacy

 

Novelist Stephen King once said, “I write to find out what I think.”

Your memoirs are a LEGACY.

Putting them on paper gives friends and family (as well as yourself) the opportunity to FULLY appreciate these valuable, interesting and “uniquely yours,” experiences.

Writing your memoirs is different from writing your autobiography.

An autobiography is the complete story of your life.

A memoir is one or more stories from your life. You can write as many memoirs as you have memories.

Outline the events of the story sequentially. Then start your story with a little action. You don’t have to necessarily start the story from the beginning. Weave your story, create suspense. Get your reader hooked, looking for more. Then fill in the pieces – the background – as you go.

Here’s what I do…
Close my eyes. Take myself back in time to the memory I’ve chosen to write about. Now, using my five senses, I recreate that scene. What do I see? What do I feel, hear, smell, taste?

I transfer those thoughts on to paper. I want my readers to feel like they are there with me experiencing what I experienced.

Writing memoirs is the easiest kind of writing to do – because you know the story, inside and out.

 

Writing memoirs hand and pen