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        New Moon     First Quarter    Full Moon    Last Quarter

                   Mar 4            Mar 12             Mar19          Mar 26

 Recommended reading

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life.- Richard Carlson

 Scripture for March

 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things."  - Philippians 4:8

 

Saying of the month

"The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.

When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here."

- Unknown author

 PAGE CONTENTS

Bible verses for March**

Saying of the Month

**

Gardening by the moon in March

Reading recommendation

**

Benefit from new-moon fasting

**

What's inyour pantry?

**

Closets needing de-cluttering. Try wardrobing.

**

From scratch" recipe of the month  - CHEESEY PEAS AND TUNA CASSEROLE  

 BENEFIT FROM NEW MOON FASTING

When I began writing this blog, I decided to call it an almanac instead of a referring to it as a diary or journal. The term almanac seemed to me more appropriate for what I wanted to say. The farmers’ almanacs are a source of folk wisdom that has been published in the U.S. continually for about two centuries. Many people, over the years, strongly believed in and have been helped by following the recommendations of farmers’ almanacs. So, that was part of my inspiration. While I never imagined that what I had to say would become widely popular, I hoped that the pages of my blog would reflect traditional wisdom and be helpful to a small group of people including, of course, my family and friends.

There is a lot to be learned in the farmers’ almanacs. One of the main points in these publications is detailed weather prediction that is printed for at least a year in advance. The sun and planetary movements, as well as phases of the moon guide these predictions. The almanacs also tell people the dates when to plant crops and when to harvest, as well as the best timing for starting up many other human activities.

According to the farmers’ almanacs, the new moon offers opportunities for making changes and initiating new projects. The new moon is a time for promoting all forms of growth, including planting crops, business opportunities, relationships, as well as creative and spiritual endeavors.

The lunar month is one of the most important aspects of our planet because it represents a regular cycle of greater and lesser gravitational attraction between the earth and the moon. The lunar cycle is 29.3 days long, and the lunar calendar has thirteen moonths, plus one extra day to harmonize with the 365-day solar calendar. Lunar cycles guide the tides. We have high tide on new moon and full moon days and low tide on the seventh day of the lunar month.

We become more attuned with our own aims and possibilities, when we are aware of the geo-magnetic and psychic energy available to us in different moments according to the lunar cycle. For the same reason, many spiritual traditions, including that of Native Americans, yogis and others, have special practices during the new moon. Their traditions point to these days as very favorable times to carry out certain spiritual rituals and other intentions.

 

This takes us back to the subject of this page – fasting and new moon fasting, in particular.

Short periods of not eating offer a way of cleansing the body and preparing the mind for greater focus. When you fast, your body takes a rest and healing occurs. A lot of people who regularly do fasting say that their days of fasting help them see things more clearly and with a new perspective.

The Christian tradition also calls for fasting, and is rooted in the words of Jesus: “All things will be possible for you. That kind of spirit comes out only if you use prayer and fasting.” (Matthew:17:20-21)

Fasting gives you an opportunity to live your day in a different way – with greater reflection -- a time for peace of body and spirit, and a closer connection to your Creator. Your fast will be even more pleasant if you spend at least part of your day outdoors, walking in nature, creating art, writing in your personal journal, listening to inspiring music, or doing devotional reading.

When you fast during the new moon, you receive important benefits. Fasting on that day greatly increases your energy and boosts your health.  Yogis don’t do their regular yoga practice during the new moon, but instead maintain a fast and use the day for quiet walks, meditation, and prayer. This is a wonderful way they have of connecting with the Divine.

So, my recommendation to you is to try new moon fasting and feel its benefits for yourself. This fast is usually for 24 hours. Start your fast in the morning and end it with a light breakfast on the following morning. If you’re new to fasting, try to plan as calm a day as possible. Be sure to allow yourself some quiet time or a leisurely nap in the afternoon -- if you can manage it.

You may fast in different ways. The usual ways are by drinking water with lemon juice or drinking vegetable and fruit juices, diluted with about 50% water. You may drink as much as you like. The important thing is to not chew anything during the day and don’t drink any coffee or black tea. If -- and only if -- there is a lot of hunger in the late afternoon or evening, you can drink a fruit smoothie with a little yogurt.

 

WHAT'S IN YOUR PANTRY?

 Like many other people I, too, worry about survival, related to any number of possible national or international disaster scenarios and think that preparations are indicated. Thus, the topic of this page: “What’s in your pantry?” By this question, I mean to ask you about your readiness for an emergency.

If some catastrophe caused the rest of your family and you to stay in your home, to avoid a clear danger, would you have the right amount and kinds of food in your “survival pantry? And, would these items last your household for a week? --or a month? -- three months? -- or even longer?

You are probably intrigued by these questions, and I hope you’ll think about answering them for yourself.

My own situation probably isn’t much different than yours. Sometimes I don’t buy enough food to get through an entire week, and then have to return to the store just three or four days after my “weekly” grocery shopping. According to some surveys, that’s the same story for the large majority of Americans. Almost nobody has more than a week’s worth of food in their homes.

We need to do better than that if we are to protect our families from unexpected interruptions in public services for periods of time. As you are probably aware, our supermarkets don’t keep more than a few days of food on their shelves. So, even if a pending disaster were discovered beforehand (and having enough money at the time), we might find the supermarket shelves empty. In that case, heroic runs to buy large quantities of essentials would be useless.

I hope you have come to the same conclusion I have. Storage of the right kinds and amounts of food can be a lifesaver, but you need to be prepared some time before anything happens and have the means to maintain your stockpile for quite a while without having important losses. The only way to do that is to use and rotate foods in your pantry or on kitchen shelves on a regular basis.

And, oh, did I mention the fact that the electric power will also probably be out in a major emergency? That means, that whatever is in the refrigerator and freezer will have to be eaten in the first 24 or so hours or thrown out. So, after that goes, what’s stored in your pantry is all there is going to be available for your household. Safe public water supplies may also be interrupted and that, too, needs to be taken into consideration.

I decided to make my list of survival essentials and think about how I could acquire and store them. For me, survival foods are those with good nutritional value that my husband and I find acceptable and, of course, they must also be in a form that can be stored on shelves for months at a time. That's the only way there would be a food supply ready for us in an emergency. Of course, I do my shopping with a really limited food budget and, so, purchases would have to be done a little at a time. It would also be necessary to continue eating from my stock and then replacing it with new supplies as they are used up.

But there are some other considerations. First of all, our house is small, and we don’t have very much space to store a lot of food or anything else for that matter. Thinking about our needs for the future, I’ve asked my husband to build a storage room that would include a large pantry, as an addition to our house. I've also asked for a cistern, a water purifying system, and a wood stove. He agrees with my ideas, but he told me that, unfortunately, all these things will have to wait until next year – we don’t have the money right now. This further limits what I can buy and store as survival essentials. But I’m determined to begin planning, anyway.

Here, I’ll give you my list of essential foods for my survival pantry (but, of course, my idea of essentials may differ somewhat from yours):

- Grains: rice, popcorn, corn meal, wheat flour, and quick-cook oatmeal.

- Legumes: beans and lentils

- Peanut butter and jelly

 

- Dried pastas

- Soda crackers

- Dehydrated milk

- Instant/dehydrated potatoes

- Egg substitute (available in health food stores)

- Vinegar, mustard and ketchup

- Sugar, baking soda, salt, pepper, ground cinnamon, and garlic powder

- Vegetable cooking oil and olive oil

- Canned fruit and vegetables, including lots of tomato sauce

- Cans of tuna fish and sardines

- Black tea bags

- Big bags of dog food

- Other things: boxes of large kitchen matches, hand soap, all-purpose detergent, and toilet paper.

Based on this list, I’m going to start accumulating what I think would be a one-month’s supply of essentials for my husband, the dog, and me. That would definitely be an improvement over the way I’m doing things now. At any rate, I know that I can’t store more than that at this time.

What else do I want? A lot – but I’ll have to wait for most things. Here are some intermediate steps that I hope to do while I wait for next spring – and dream about having the storage room, and the cistern, and the kitchen garden.

- Buy and store some garden seeds.

- Get a wood rain barrel, right away (although there isn’t much rain except in the summer, here).

- Obtain a solar cooker and learn how to use it.

- Purchase an olive oil lamp, which can also use any cooking oil.

When I’ve got together all or, at least, most of these things, I’ll be closer to my goal of living a simpler life and being self-reliant in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Whether or not a major disaster ever occurs, the effort I'll make bringing together all these provisions will be a real challenge in self-sufficiency and a great personal satisfaction.

I hope that you, too, will start making plans to obtain and store food and water for a possible wide scale emergency. By knowing the properties, preparation and storage of basic foods and buying what you need for your survival pantry, your household and you will have a measure of security if a catastrophe occurs.

All this leads to my final point. Survival readiness actions, like acquiring and managing a stockpile of food, can lead to greater independence. However, these activities are clearly complicated to organize. Beyond that, emergency preparation, of any sort, goes against what we’ve been conditioned to believe and do in the past several decades. To be self-reliant, you have to be willing to work harder than we’ve become accustomed to. But, remember Aesop’s fable about the ant and the grasshopper. Let’s stop being grasshoppers all the time and, like the ant, spend some of our energy preparing ourselves for harder times 

 

 CLOSETS NEEDING DECLUTTERING? TRY WARDROBING.

Wardrobing is a system of acquiring clothes in a few basic colors - usually 2 or 3 - so that all pieces work well together in a well-defined and consistent style. The purpose of wardrobing is to create multiple outfits from a rather limited number of items. To achieve successful wardrobing, you'll have to pull out all of the items in your clothes closet and drawers, go through an editing process, and only put back pieces in your main colors.  When you master the art of wardrobing, you will have enough outfits to feel comfortable and look good in any season of the year. As an extra bonus, your clothes drawers and closets will be almost miraculously decluttered.

I'll describe my experience with wardrobing to illustrate how you can achieve these goals.  (Since I live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of cold weather, wardrobe editing has been somewhat easier for me than it may be for you.)

I picked 3 basic colors: black (true black and charcoal gray), blue (blue jean blue and medium-blue) and white. Most of my clothes are in solid colors, and the few that I have in prints include one or more basic colors. By careful editing, I've seen that every piece coordinates well with all the others.  A few beige and pastel tops and shirts still appear in my wardrobe because I’ve yet to find their replacement in black, blue or white.

So, here is my wardrobe strategy. My wardrobe is made up of 40 garments. When I get something new, I simply pass on a similar item to family, friends or a charitable organization. With those 40 items, I now have a useful wardrobe for myself as a homemaker in my retirement years. I feel fairly sure that my wardrobe is correctly edited. Whether or not it represents a minimum number of pieces on a relative scale, either from a worldwide or an ecological viewpoint, is another question. (And, I don't want to think about that - at least not right now). Anyway, the 40 items don't yet constitute a capsule-wardrobe and are probably still more than I need. So, I may decide to further edited my clothes sometime in the future.

You may be interested in how I acquired this wardrobe, so I'll tell you a bit more about it. I bought many of my clothes in thrift shops. Other pieces came from discount stores. The more expensive clothes (black suit, little black dress, and leather jackets) were purchased on sale in department stores 10 or more years ago. Since these better clothes have classic tailoring, they have never gone out of style - at least not by my standards. At any rate, I stopped going to department stores about that time because I thought - still think - that we have to fight mindless consumerism in all the ways we can. Besides, for the past five years, I haven't even had enough money for downtown or mall department stores.

Other benefits
And there are some added benefits of having an edited wardrobe. There’s no need for clothes clutter anywhere since everything fits in 2 big drawers, ½ of a not-so-big, regular bedroom closet, and one suitcase (for lesser-used pieces). Accessories, like scarves, caps, gloves, sleep wear, bathing suit, yoga clothes, etc., all fit in another big drawer. And, as to upkeep economy, only the 2 suits, the dress pants, the jackets, and the little black dress need dry-cleaning. Thankfully, the better clothes are only worn on rare occasions and seldom need cleaning. Absolutely everything else in my wardrobe goes in the regular home wash.

Shoes
My shoes are also edited. I have 6 pairs of black shoes: medium-heel for dress; nice flats; tennis shoes; cold-weather, low-heel slip-ons; low-heel sandals for warm weather; and rubber sandals for around the house and in the gym shower room.

 

The whole wardrobe package - 40 pieces
Pairs of slacks  4
- Nice black, lined; black; all-season; blue, all-season; blue jeans
Capri-length pants 2
- Black; blue-patterned
Blue jean shorts  1
Just under the knee-length skirts 2
- Black, all season
- Blue denim
Sleeveless tops 6
- 3 white
- 3 solid-colored (pastel shades)
Sleeved tops 6
- 3 white
- 2 blue
- Nice patterned blouse in black and beige
Sleeved blue denim shirts  3
- Simple, long-sleeved
- Simple, ¾ sleeved
- Short-sleeved, embroidered
Nice suits (4 pieces)
- Blue suit, jacket and skirt
- Black suit, jacket and skirt (black lined slacks also go with the jacket)
Black leather jackets 2
- Nice mid-thigh-length, winter
- Sporty hip-length
Dresses 
- Nice sleeveless, little black dress
- 3/4 sleeve, all season
Nice light-weight, multicolored jacket  1
Cardigans  2
- Black
- Beige
Pullovers for cold weather  3
- Fleecy pink (also makes great sleepwear in the winter)
- Gray knitted
- Gray sweat shirt
Light-weight, black sports pants and jacket 2 pieces

"FROM-SCRATCH" RECIPE FOR MARCH

 CHEESEY PEAS AND TUNA CASSEROLE  

 8 oz.  noodles, cooked
1 can tuna
3/4 cup cooked peas
minced garlic
3/4 cup evaporated milk
dash of curry powder
1 cup grated cheese (any kind of natural aged cheese)
3/4 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste.

Cook noodles according to package. (Leftover spaghetti also works well.)  Drain tuna and stir in with pasta along with, peas, milk, seasonings, and half the grated cheese.

Pour mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle bread crumbs and other half of grated cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15  minutes. Remove from oven when cheese and bread crumbs on top are golden brown.

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