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General Healthy Living

Aloe Vera, the Healing Plant

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Aloe VeraAloe vera, also known as True Aloe, Burn Aloe or First Aid Aloe is a very well known and revered plant throughout the world. Thought to originate in Africa, Aloe vera quickly gained popularity as a beneficial medicinal plant. The “gel” inside the thick, fleshy leaves are used to aid the healing of cuts, burns and rashes. Aloe vera juice may also be taken internally, and it is said to regenerate internal tissues and organs in the same way it regenerates skin tissue. Indian cuisine incorporates aloe in some desserts and drinks. Aloe vera can kill certain bacteria, fungi and viruses. It dilates capillaries, increasing blood flow. Aloe contains anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it speeds the healing process and growth of new cells.

Aloe Vera gel

As always, it is a good idea to consult your physician for any medical issue of concern.

While the gel can be very affective in healing minor cuts and burns, external application may actually slow healing for more serious lacerations that penetrate muscle.

General

Decoupage – Making Gifts Personal

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We all want our gifts to represent how much we care. We hunt for that perfect gift that says “I think you’re special” and “I thought of you”, or even ” I was paying attention.” Sometimes it’s a funny scarf or a beautiful centerpiece, but other times it can be difficult to find the “gift with their name on it”. That’s when home-made crafts really shine.

The art of decoupage most likely originates from East Siberian tomb art, where they layered felts to decorate the final resting place of the deceased. This was cultivated by the Chinese in the 12th century and became wildly popular in Europe during the 18th century, where it was called “Japanning”, hinting at its Oriental background. It’s a fairly simple process, and it produces amazing results. You can take any object: furniture, boxes, chests, journals, or picture frames to name a few, and paste layer after layer of cut colored paper to the surface in any order or design you like. Traditionally, a Decoupeur (person who makes decoupage), would seal each layer with multiple coats of varnish to create a 3D inlay look. They apply about 30 to 40 layers, then sand it down to a polished finish.

Today this process can be simplified using a special decoupage paste, which can be found at most craft stores such as Mo’s Art Supply in Downtown Covington. You can use scrap-booking materials, personal mementos, fabric, photos and more. The end result is a beautiful, unique gift that will be a cherished memento.

Example of decoupage

Antique decoupage purse.

Local News

Pet Tips for Winter Months

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Dog Sweater

This pooch looks smart and warm in his doggy sweater.

It’s starting to get cold outside – is your pet prepared? Here are a few tips to help you and your furred friend get the most out of the cold weather!

Make sure your pet has a cozy, warm place to sleep. A blanket or pet pillow works nicely for this.

If your pet is on a regular grooming schedule, you may want to leave the hair a little longer for the winter months. The extra hair will help in cold weather!

If you own a short-haired animal, consider a pet-sweater or coat that covers from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this coverage is necessary to withstand any length of time outdoors in freezing weather.

If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, you will want to increase their food to keep them healthy and active. The metabolism will speed up as their bodies burn more calories to keep warm. Puppies may be more difficult to house train during the winter, as they are less tolerable of the cold than adult dogs. It may be necessary to paper train them until they become less sensitive to the weather. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to illness, breed type or old age they should remain indoors as much as possible, and please remember to keep your pets inside on below-freezing nights. As always, be sure to consult your veterinarian for any specific questions you have.

Local Events Local News

Tax-Free Shopping at the Covington Trailhead

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St. Tammany Art Association Covington Art Market 2012Working in partnership with the City of Covington, the St. Tammany Art Association proudly presents the Saturday Art Market. Stop by the Covington Trailhead and get your holiday shopping underway. This juried art market will feature a talented group of artists working in various mediums including painting, photography, jewelry, wood, fiber, metal and more. There will be great gift items such as soaps, wall-hangings, pottery and purses, just to name a few. All works for sale are created by regional artists, so you can support the arts and shop locally! Better yet, because Downtown Covington is a Cultural Arts District, all original art is Tax Free! So come on out this Saturday, support local artists, make fabulous holiday purchases and enjoy a day of festivities.

Amethyst Radishes from Slice of Heaven Farm

Amethyst Radishes from Slice of Heaven Farm at the Covington Farmers Market

Enjoy the Farmers Market too!
Double your market experience this Saturday. The Covington Farmer’s Market features seasonal vegetables and prepared foods. This week, harpist Jessica Meltz will perform at 9:30, and Mac’s on Boston will serve seasonal samples from their menu.

General

The Bobcat

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bobcat cubs

Lynx rufus floridanus

The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a member of the cat family Felidae, and it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, and most of the continental U.S. In southern Louisiana, the bobcat is an adaptable predator, living in wooded areas, swampland, and suburban environments. The bobcat is about twice as large as the domestic cat with a gray to brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears. The bobcat gets its name from its black-tipped, stubby tail, and it is on average the smallest of the four species of its genus. Adult bobcats stand 1-2 feet at the shoulders, and males average 21 lbs. while females average 15 lbs.

L. rufus breeds from winter into spring with a gestation period of about two months; kittens are born well-furred and with spots. The bobcat is largely solitary, but the range of males will often overlap. Females, however, rarely wander into the range of other females. A successful hunter, the bobcat adjusts its habits with regard to the activity of its prey, generally rabbit, hare, mice, squirrels, birds, fish and insects.

Native American mythology often pairs the bobcat with the coyote, as the lynx and the coyote are associated with the fog and the wind, respectively. In this pairing, the two represent opposites, giving rise to a fluid type of dualism. As the fog and the wind are opposites, they both can offer advantages or disadvantages, depending on the situation. Dreams of the cougar, bobcat and lynx are thought to be indicative of superior hunting and stealth capabilities. European settlers admired the cat for both its ferocity and grace.

Bobcat & Lynx

left: bobcat; top right: bobcat; bottom right: lynx

Farmers Market Recipes

Roasted Squash & Sweet Potato Salad

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Farmers Market Recipes
Recipes inspired by fresh, local ingredients found at the Covington Farmers Market

Ingredients:

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1/2 medium butternut squash

OR sweet pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced

2 medium sweet potatoes

OR sweet apples, sliced

4 – 5 cups of shredded greens (kale, collards)

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar

1/2 cup of pecans

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes or apples with onions and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, spread on a baking sheet. Toss the squash or pumpkin with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, spread this on a separate baking sheet. Place both in the oven, baking the sweet potato mixture 30 minutes and the squash 40 minutes, or until both are tender and lightly browned. Toss both halfway through cooking to avoid sticking to the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, toss greens with the remaining olive oil, the sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. When the squash and potatoes are ready plate the salad and serve with hot veggies on top, sprinkled with pecans.

General

Chrysanthemum – “Mum’s” the Word

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pink chrysanthemum

pink chrysanthemum

The name “chrysanthemum” is from the Greek language, chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower). In 1999, a ruling of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature set the defining species of the genus as Chrysanthemum indicum. The hybrid Chrysanthemum morifolium is derived primarily from this species, among others. This flower is the flower of November, and many countries regard the chrysanthemum as a beautiful reminder of autumn.

Asia has a history of using the flowers in a culinary capacity (generally, C. morifolium) for tea, rice wine and soup. The leaves are sometimes steamed or boiled as greens, and small flowers used as a garnish. C. cinerariaefolium produces pyrethrum, a natural source of insecticide. Pyrethrins attack the nervous system of insects, and they inhibit the female mosquito from biting. Because they break down easily in sunlight, they are less toxic to mammals and birds than many synthetic insecticides.

Natural pyrethrum is the basis for the group of synthetic pesticides known as Pyrethroids, which are generally used in commercial applications.

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

Train of Hope a Success

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The Train of Hope ultimately collected 37 loaded pallets of supplies, filling an entire baggage car. The idea would have never become a reality without the businesses, individuals, public officials and community leaders who offered their time and generosity to help those in the aftermath of Sandy. To them, the organizers of Train of Hope offer gracious thanks.

Train of Hope a Success!

Boxes of donated items being loading into a donated Atmosphere Movers truck. Check www.trainofhope.net to find more businesses and organization that were involved!

Train of Hope is an initiative of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission, the City of Slidell and Amtrak. Find out more at www.trainofhope.net

General Local Events Local News

The Leonids

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Leonid MeteorThe Leonids are viewed as the Earth moves through the stream of particles left from the passage of the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The name “leonid” designates the location of their radiant in the sky: the constellation Leo. The annual meteor shower may deposit 12 or 13 tons of particles across the entire planet. The peak of the Leonid shower is generally around November 18, but varies slightly, as the orbits of the comet trails are affected by other planets, giving them a different trail than the comet itself.

Leonids 1833 engraving

1889 engraving by Adolf Vollmy of a painting by Karl Jauslin, based on a first person account of the 1833 storm witnessed by Joseph Harvey Waggoner on his way from Florida to New Orleans.

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

STAA Presents Crazy Eights Members Exhibit

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St. Tammany Art Association Crazy Eights Member Exhibit 2012

The Annual Crazy Eights Exhibition: All Members, All Miniatures opened last weekend, featuring artwork in all mediums no larger than 8 inches in any direction. All works are priced under $300, making this show a holiday favorite. The exhibit will be on display through November 30th.

General Healthy Living Local Events Local News

Holistic Education Meeting

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This month’s meeting will take place at the Covington City Council Chambers on Thursday, November 15 from 7 – 8 p.m. Adrienne Ferguson will give a presentation on “Traditional Foods and the Lost Art of Fermentation” with a discussion to follow. Sponsored by the Holistic Center for Health and Healing, Inc., the event is free and open to the public. City Council Chambers are located at 222 Kirkland Street. More information: 985-630-2652

 

General Local News

Shop Local This Holiday Season

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What does it mean to “vote with your dollar”? More and more people everywhere have decided to “vote” for stronger, healthier communities by shopping with locally owned businesses. This movement comes from the understanding that local businesses support long term sustainability rather than just short term wealth. How does supporting local business help support us?

Locally owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. This, along with payroll, taxes and involvement in community events helps to support your local economy. The unique character of Covington is defined to a large part by our wonderful local businesses, and the overall impression of a community is often characterized by this.

A city’s business district ties in closely with its tourism. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them a sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” Says Richard Moe, past President of the National Trust For Historic Preservation. In other words, as far as tourism goes, it pays to be unique.

Perhaps most importantly, supporting local business means supporting local people. When you shop locally, you are personally helping members of your community buy their family Christmas presents, sign their children up for art classes, or even give end-of-the-year bonuses!

Three Great Local Business

The English Tea Room

Shop Local English Tea RoomThe Tea Room serves over 100 loose leaf teas from around the world, as well as housing an incredible collection of one of a kind tea accessories.

Jewels Cigar & BriarShop Local Jewel's Cigar & Briar

Jewel’s offers a wide selection of cigars, pipe tobacco and fine tobacco. Stop in and wish Pat and Jewel Clanton congratulations on their new baby great-grandson, Lane!

Shop Local Mo's Art Supply & FramingMo’s Art Supply & Framing

Mo’s offers art supplies, art gifts, professional art restoration, custom framing and now office supplies! Get the perfect gift for any art enthusiast!

Local Events Local News

Help for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

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The Train of Hope is collecting items needed most to be shipped via AMTRAK Crescent to New Jersey on Friday, November 9.

Items most needed include: blankets, baby items (diapers and pull ups in all sizes, wipes, formula, food), adult diapers, flashlights and D batteries, toiletries, pet food and kitty liter, new warm clothes, gently used coats, scarves, hats, gloves, men’s work boots size 9 – 12 and hand sanitizer.

Visit www.trainofhope.net for updates on what to donate, drop off locations and how you can volunteer! Donations are needed by Thursday at noon.

General

Make a Home-made Wreath

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The base of your wreath is its support structure, so you want to make it sturdy. You can use fresh vines cut from your yard or old wire coat hangers. (Note: you will want to use fresh vines to bend them without breaking, but you will have to hang them to dry before decorating. Turn them every couple of days to prevent warping.) Braid multiple lengths loosely together, leaving plenty gaps, and twist into a circle about 18 to 24 inches in diameter. You can use more wire or vines to wrap around and secure the circle. Turn any loose ends into the gaps in your wreath.

Here comes the fun part… Decorating! Brightly colored leaves and branches are most commonly used, along with acorns, pine cones, berries and feathers. Use any materials that you can wrap or glue on there to make it truly unique. Have some decorating ribbon left over, or old unused jewelry? Weave things in and out of your wreath base for added support and a genuine look. Remember, a wreath is just a circle – your wreath is what you make with your personal touch!

General

The History of the Wreath

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The art of making wreaths is both ancient and symbolic, dating back to the times of Greece and Rome. The people of the Greco-Roman society would make “wreaths” worn as headdresses to represent occupation, rank, achievements and status. Wreaths made of laurel leaves were used to crown Olympic Game victors. The word “wreath” literally translates to “a thing bound around” from the Greek word diadem. The most commonly recognized wreaths today are derived from the “Advent wreath”, a symbol of strength representing perseverance through the harshness of winter. The Advent wreath is said to date back 1000 years before the birth of Christ. The circle and sphere represent the circle of life and immortality, and the use of evergreen ferns symbolizes the continuance of life through winter. A wreath hung on the front door was used much like an address is used today. Materials, often including exotic flowers, were collected from garden and property and arranged in a unique way for friends and family to identify their relatives.

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

Keep Covington Beautiful November Activities

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Keep Covington Beautiful is a non-profit organization run by dedicated volunteers for the community. Some of the activities KCB has planned for November include Fall Beautification Day. They need volunteers to help re-plant the planters in Downtown Covington on November 17th from 9 am to noon (meet at the Covington Trailhead). Volunteers are also needed for Event Recycling at the Three Rivers Art Festival to help set up and monitor recycling receptacles in two-hour shifts from 9 am to 5 pm. Please contact Priscilla at kcb@covla .com or 985-867-3652 for more volunteer information.

Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

Playmakers Theater Presents Bell Book & Candle

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Playmakers presents "Bell, Book & Candle" 2012Bell Book and Candle was written by John van Druten and directed by Melanie Hayno for Playmakers Theater. This bewitching romantic comedy takes place in 1953 in Gillian Holroyd’s apartment in the Murray Hill district of New York City. The set design is enchanting, the costumes are spectacular, and the characters are captivating and humorous. Opening night was Melanie Hayno’s directorial debut, and it was a memorable performance by the entire cast. The Director noted that this run of ‘Bell Book and Candle’ is dedicated to the late Katie Planche-Friedrichs, who gave Melanie her first role at Playmakers in the 1978 production of Gypsy.

‘Bell Book and Candle’ will run through November 18, and the November 8 performance will benefit The St. Tammany Art Association! For more information, visit www.playmakersinc.com or call 985-893-1671.

Bell, Book & Candle cast(l-r): Kathryn Merris Scott (Gillian Holroyd), Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams (Miss Queenie Holroyd) and Liz Zelenka (Nikki Holroyd) prepare a toast in Melanie Hayno’s directorial debut at Playmakers Theater.

 

Farmers Market Recipes

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

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Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 large eggs

16 oz. cranberries (pureed/mashed)

16 oz. pumpkin (pureed/mashed)

1/3 cup applesauce

1 tblsp orange zest

2 tblsp chopped walnuts

 

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8×4 loaf pans. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Mix the egg, cranberries, pumpkin, vegetable oil and orange zest together. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Pour batter into the prepared pans and sprinkle the top of each loaf with the walnuts. Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

General

Wild Turkey

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Wild Turkey

Meleagris galloparo

The wild turkey is native to North America and can be broken down into six subspecies. It is the heavies member of the diverse Galliformes or “game fowl”. The turkey got its name from trade routes in place during the 16th century, where goods from the Americas and Asia were required to go to Constantinople, Turkey, before being sent to Britain. The British of the time associated wild turkeys with the country, and the name stuck.

The wild turkey has one of the heaviest maximum weights of any North American bird, second only to the Trumpeter Swan. Adult males, called toms or gobblers, normally weigh between 11 to 24 pounds, with records of the birds being over 30 pounds uncommon but not rare. The females, or hens, are much smaller in comparison, usually between 5 – 12 pounds. The long fleshy flap over the male turkeys beak is called a snood – this flap along with the wattles and bare skin on his neck and head fill with blood and expand when the bird is alarmed. When he is excited, his head turns blue; when he is aggressive it turns red. The body feathers of both males and females begin black and gray with a copper and brown sheen. The color of the male turkey becomes more complex as it ages, picking up metallic green and blue hues.

Although never publicly voicing his opinion on the matter, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to his daughter Sarah Bache that he would have preferred the wild turkey being picked for the National Bird instead of the bald eagle.

Wild Turkey