Thursday, February 23, 2012
There are all types of headaches and most are dealt with taking two aspirin and perhaps rest. Allergies, sinus, tension, eye strain, hunger, hypertension, over-exertion can cause them, as well as the classic hangover. Then there are the caffeine withdrawal and cluster headaches. Arthritis contributes to pain in the head and the worst of them all, the migraine, which comes in many phases and descriptions. with so many effects on the whole body.
It is a fact that over 50 million people in the United States alone consult physicians for relief of headache pain. Millions annually is spent on aspirin, acetaminophen and other medicines to alleviate the problem. Migraine sufferers are told to avoid certain foods - onions, figs, chocolate, hot fresh bread, bananas, processed meats, yogurt, nuts, plums, vinegar, sour cream, seeds such as sesame, sunflower and pumpkin (we thought they were health foods), and others. What a bummer; I like them all.
I once had a girlfriend, whose mother who lived with a constant headache. Whenever we would go to her home, her mother was always on the couch with a damp cloth on her forehead, suffering from a daily headache. I often wonder if she ever was relieved of them and lives a normal life.
Have you tested your home’s air? If you get a headache after being gone all day, maybe the dry air is what is giving you pain. A humidifier is the answer.
At our house we have humidifiers both in all our rooms. Years ago, when it was legal to burn leaves in the fall, the smoke would give some folks terrific headaches; for others it was a favorite aroma that signified fall.
Here are some folk remedies from an old-time almanac:
• Soak your feet in hot water to draw blood from your head.
• Run around the house outside three times.
• Sleep with a pair of scissors under your pillow.
• Ask a seventh child to blow in your ear.
• Have mom or someone else rub your head and the headache will be transferred to that person, but will be less severe.
• Put a buckwheat pancake on your head.
• Take an egg and roast it well in the coals and when it is hard cleave it in two and as hot as thou mayst suffer it, lay it to the head and it shall take away the aching (15th century).
• Wrap damp cloths around your head and burn scented wood.
• Heat hillwort (thyme) and aysell (vinegar) and put it in your nostrils that the odor may go to the brain.
• Rub cow dung and molasses on your temples. (It isn’t as bad as it sounds; you can use commercial manure that is odorless.)
• And lastly, tie a leather thong lightly around your head. If this fails, you may tell your friends, “The thong is over but the malady lingers on,” which will give them headaches.
All these remedies were actually used in the early centuries and some in the early part of this century.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
By Carol WeimerNext week is Ash Wednesday, time to think Lenten thoughts. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of 40 weekdays of preparation for Easter season, which are days in Lent, but not days of Lent.
Each year I write to refresh Christians’ memories of the 40 days of Lent that symbolize variously the 40 days Moses spent on Mount Sinai, the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, or the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert.
Years ago when I was in high school most of my friends seemed to be of the Catholic faith. Our schedule was generally to go to one or another’s home and work on our homework together so we could have time to do other things once our lessons were complete. When Ash Wednesday arrived each year, the friends would go to church; it wasn't every day, but several times during the week following classes at school. If I wanted to work with them on homework, I followed along to church and participated right along with them, even though I was Presbyterian at the time.
Our elders always stress the importance of this holy season and we should recognize this and perhaps discuss topics pertaining to what Lent should mean to everyone - perhaps at the dinner table that evening if your family has the tradition of all gathering each day at the table for supper. If your family doesn't have that tradition or rule, then at breakfast there may be time to discuss the happenings for the day or news of family happenings. Time was when there were sacrifices made such as not eating meat on certain days in some homes or persons offering their own sacrifices during the season personally for the holy observance. Does anyone still do this? Some practices and beliefs have changed considerably since those days.
But, we can still have our own thoughts and try to be more conscious of the season. We could think of the holiday season we celebrated during, Christmas, and renew the feeling we had of being sensitive and understanding to others, praising them, doing kind things for them, giving them encouragement for their deeds and good works. It only takes a few minutes and can mean so much to someone.
You know the person you mentioned during the holiday time you promised to stop by and see or get together for a chat; have you done it? This would be a good time to keep that promise ... let today or tomorrow be that day. Stop by the nursing home, if you don't have someone there, just visit with any person sitting in the hallway waiting for someone to visit them ... it means so much. Remember hot cross buns? They are specially made at this season. And, they are just the thing to pick up at the local bakery or supermarket and take along either for home as a remembrance of why they are available at this time of year, or to a shut-in with a thermos of coffee to share with them. Perhaps it might start a tradition you can do each year to observe this holy season with your favorite aunt or grandmother; you will also be rewarded by your feelings of doing this.
Do try to make this season different in your life.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
By Carol WeimerIt’s certainly been a mild winter... so far.
I’ve been counting my blessings; no heavy coats, high boots, mufflers or warm gloves. But since I haven’t shoveled much snow, those extra pounds I accumulated during the holiday weren’t worked off.
I hope spring isn’t that far away and I’ll be getting outside for so many projects to help shed the pounds. But, after stepping on the scales at home I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. I needed to buy a supply of “lite”cottage cheese. It can be fixed in so many delicious ways. I make myself believe when I’m on a diet that all of the diet foods are healthy and I should enjoy them.
When I picked up the cottage cheese I marveled at the cost ....it hadn’t gone up any more since my last diet. Depending on where you purchase it, it can range from $3.24 down to $2.19 which isn’t bad, but at one time it was one of the least expensive items in the food case and our family devoured many pounds of it.
I couldn’t help but remark to the family that with a little effort we could save by making our own. I got quite a reaction, and, it wasn’t pleasant.
I explained that the earthen crock pot that Grandma used was still around and I well remember her making it. Our milk came from my uncle’s farm and it wasn’t pasteurized.
Stores didn’t have the neat little 1-pound containers of small curd, large curd, creamed, flavored or any cottage cheese at all. Only the city markets carried it.
I was always around when there was something unusual was being made. Grandma took soured fresh milk (cloppered, when the milk separates and thickens) and put it on the stove hearth or sometimes in the oven while it was still warm leaving the door open. She would turn it around and around (I never learned why; I was told I could watch as long as I didn’t ask too many questions).
She cut the curd into squares with a knife, stirring gently until it was warm as your finger could bear and the whey showed all around the curd. She would pour all of this into a coarse cloth bag (one that sugar or salt would have come in) and hung it atop a pan to drain in a cool place overnight.
In the morning she would turn the cheese out of the bag, into a bowl and season with salt, sweet cream, and a little pepper. She would use her potato masher and make it to the correct consistency. The mixture was put into an earthen crock and kept in the icebox (or on the cellar bottom before she had an icebox).
It was a simple enough procedure, but we couldn’t make it today pasteurized added-to and taken from milk. Fresh milk soured quickly when it came straight from the cow at the farm and that is what is necessary for good cheese. However, have you noticed that unpasteurized milk is now available? There is a farm in Cazenovia that now has a store on the premises licensed by the state Health Department that sells all kinds of dairy products from their own cows’ milk, and we are told business is very good.