Grandma Susan’s Almanac Calendar is an informal monthly journal that encourages homemakers to do more things for themselves - crafts, handiwork, “from-scratch” cooking, gardening, and other domestic arts.  Grandma's motto is: "Let's work together to improve our lives by simple living, self-reliance, maintaining our religious faith, and sharing the blessings of life with others."

Saying of the month 

 By all these lovely tokens
 September days are here,
 With summer's best of weather,
 And autumn's best of cheer.
Helen Hunt Jackson, September
 
 

 Recommended reading

Into Thin Air -  Jon Krakauer 

 

 

September, 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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New Moon  First Qtr  Full Moon  Last Qtr
9/8/04:30  9/14/23:50  9/23/03:17 9/30/21:52   

U.S. Central Standard Time

 

Some Bible verses for September

"We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will only last a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever."   2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 

 PAGE CONTENTS

Some Bible verses

 

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Saying of the month

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Rcommended reading        

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Shrink your carbon footprint 

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 You can achieve a healthy weight      

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Celebrate fall with a leaf-stenciled tablecloth        

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"From-scratch" recipe of the month - Curried rice pilaf

 SHRINK YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

 Many different gases contribute to environmental damage and climate change. These gases are called "green house gases" (GHG) because they tend to warm up the earth's atmosphere. CO2 is the GHG that accounts for more volume and it stays in the air for more than a century. For that reason, CO2 is the gas that is used to represent the total damage.

The carbon that is involved in the formation of CO2 comes from chemical reactions of atmospheric oxygen with natural-occurring carbon, along with that caused by human- acts -- principally with the burning of oil, natural gas, and coal, wood and dung.

The reason that everyone is so alarmed about CO2 is the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is 40 percent higher than what it was before the industrial revolution. It is generally accepted that the current levels of CO2 are creating incalculable danger for the planet.

To measure this damage, the scientists have invented what’s called the “carbon footprint.” The term, “carbon footprint,” refers to the effect of total GHG emissions that we are generating by all our activities in a given period of time (usually during one year).  These effects are estimated by data for CO2 emissions, calculated for individuals, households, businesses, regions and nations. The heavier your carbon footprint, the more impact you are having on global warming.

While there is great variation from person-to-person and from region-to-region, in general, people in the United States have extraordinarily high carbon footprints, as does the country as a whole (due in part, I believe, to our foreign wars). An interesting note is that, at least for now, the current recession appears to have ever so slightly lowered the footprint of U.S. citizens, on a per capita basis. If you are interested in knowing how much you contribute to the total CO2, you can calculate your carbon footprint for free on any of several websites.  

Plan to fly less - Unless you are going a really long distance (like 1000 miles or more) think about driving or, better yet, taking the train or bus. Chances are that there are excellent places to vacation within a day’s driving of your home. Do the research. Plan vacations closer to home.

 

Cut back on gasoline use in family cars -Trim back on your commuter miles by taking public transportation, ride sharing, or taking a job closer to your home. Stop using one of your cars, and try to sell it, if possible. If you're buying a used car, choose one that is gas saving, not gas-guzzling. If you're buying new, get a much more gas mileage-efficient car or buy a car based on new technology.

Stop eating so much red meat - If you eat red meat (all varieties are serious CO2 offenders), two or three times a day, cut back to once a day. If you eat red meat, once a day, cut back to 2 or 3 times a week. Eat more poultry and fish. Learn to enjoy vegetarian menus. Consider eliminating beef from your diet, altogether. Beef is the worst pollution offender, by far.

Cut back on home fuel use

 Weatherize your house. Windows without adequate insulation lose a huge amount of heat. Consider closing off rooms that are not in use during high fuel use months. Open your windows and use overhead fans as much as you can during the warmer months. Many people turn on the air-conditioning by habit, when they would be just as comfortable with fans.

Reduce your home electricity use

Make sure you use energy efficient appliances. Unplug electronics when you aren’t using them. Use energy efficient light bulbs.  Use your clothes dryer less by line or rack drying your clothes whenever possible.

Be a carbon-wise shopper - Buy (and consume) fewer products. Buy things that are made of recycled materials. Buy products with less packaging and recycle as much as you can. (Direct recycling is best - that's when you, yourself, use it again for some other purpose. Indirect recycling is good, too --that's when you give it to someone else to use or recycle.

 YOU CAN ACHIEVE A HEALTHY WEIGHT

Many U. S. people are concerned with being overweight. We have become an overweight nation, and that’s at least 50% of us adults. The reason is usually simple – we are eating too many calories for the amount of physical activity that we have, and we’ve been doing this for months and years. So, it would be good if we could stop doing that, right?

This leads to the topic of food. Just what are we putting into our bodies? Is it nourishing food? Are we getting enough exercise? Do we know? Do we dare find out?

The challenge that I have for you is to keep track of food and exercise during one week. Start keeping an eating journal and write down everything that you eat and drink for seven days. Include entries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with notes about overeating, if that happens.

After a week, review what you have eaten. Decide what, if anything, seems to you to be right. Did you eat nutritious food, somewhat nutritious food, or a lot of food that probably wasn’t good for you (like fried, junk and other fattening foods)? Did you binge (seriously overeat) one or more times?  Did you drink more than one drink of wine, beer, or liquor per day? Did you drink soft drinks?

Write down whatever you ate. Make yourself a pledge to continue eating more of the things that are good for you in correct portions in the next week. Then write down what you ate and drank that you shouldn’t.  Make a pledge to yourself to eat less of the food that is not good for you in the next week.

 

Evaluate your physical activity for each day of the same week.  How many days of the week did you do at least 45 minutes of brisk (work up a sweat) activity? Then make yourself a pledge to do get 45 minutes of exercise for a few more days in the next week. 

Keep your eating (and drinking) and exercise journal for the following seven days. Evaluate your progress in the second week. If you fell short of your objectives, analyze where you went wrong. Don’t give up. There is always another week in which you can reach your goals.

Don’t worry too much about your weight during these first weeks. In the meantime, don’t compare yourself to anyone else -- by inches, pounds or body type. And don’t compare your body today to your adolescent body (years ago).

Forget “get thin fast” diets. What you need to do doesn’t involve buying any special diet product or signing up for classes or a gym. What you need is more nutritious food, less junk food, and possibly some walking/running shoes- extras would include an exercise mat and a pair of 3 or 5 lb. weights. 

Remember your body is a temple. Treat it as such, with all respect that it is due – by doing more to bring about balance in your life. You’ll enjoy better health and worry less about being a particular weight. Weight loss and better physical condition is sure to come over a period of months.

 

CELEBRATE FALL WITH A LEAF-STENCILED TABLECLOTH

The fall equinox, or Autumnal Equinox, happens in September. It can occur on either September 22 or 23, depending on year-to-year variations in the tilt of the earth’s axis. On this day, there are approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. (The same thing occurs in spring with what’s called the Vernal Equinox.)

If you decide to celebrate the month of September or, more precisely, fall equinox with family and friends, you can use this occasion as a day of thanksgiving. Why wait for two more months and the “official” Thanksgiving Day? It’s a great moment for thanking God for the bountiful harvest. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a farmer or not, there are always many things to be thankful for -- like getting through the first two-thirds of the year, hopefully with everyone in good health; the glorious colors of the trees and beautiful harvest moon; and the opportunity to share some time with loved ones.

If your event is to be a special meal, be sure to have someone say grace before eating or, as an option, stand around the table in a circle, holding hands, with everyone saying some words of thanks. If you know from experience that your guests are shy about praying aloud, or if you’re not sure what their reaction might be, you can ask them to write down what they're thankful for on brightly colored paper in the shape of fall leaves. The leaves can then be taped in a circle on a wall, so that everyone can have a chance to read them sometime that day or evening.

My handicraft challenge to you is to celebrate this September and the coming of fall by making a special tablecloth. You can call it your fall equinox tablecloth, if you like. Tablecloths for the fall season generally include the colors of autumn flowers and leaves -- deep reds, sunny yellows,orange, brown, copper, and gold. If you manage to finish your tablecloth in record time, you can also make some matching table napkins to go with it.

 

Here’s the tablecloth that I made to be used for the occasion of the fall equinox. Of course, it would look good on the table any time in the fall months. Your version of this tablecloth, as you like, can be simpler or more complicated than mine.

I worked on unbleached muslin. It’s rectangular in shape, as is my table, and just large enough for the top of my table with about 12 inches hanging over the sides. I like unbleached muslin because it has a “natural” look. Burlap would be another natural-looking fabric, but you can use any material you like. I stenciled leaves in fall colors in a random pattern in the bottom 8 inches of the four sides of the tablecloth.

There were just two stencils, and they are simple oak and maple leaves that I downloaded from clip art, available on the Internet. The leaf shapes were then cut out of heavy cardboard, using a cutting tool. The colors of fabric paint that I used were dark red, copper, and brown, and I applied the three colors randomly, using a small paintbrush.

To keep this project fast and easy, I didn't stencil any pattern in the center of the tablecloth. When I finished stenciling the leaves, I crocheted a simple shell-stitch edging around the tablecloth, using copper-colored thread.

If the tablecloth you want to make has a more complicated pattern or involves a shaped border, you may need to make a chart for your stenciling on graph paper. That way, you can check to see how to fit your design to the tablecloth edges, according to your needs. 

Even if you can’t finish your leaf-stenciled tablecloth by September 22, you can still celebrate. You know how to set a great looking table with what you've already have, to which you can add a fall-inspired centerpiece. And, with a big effort, your new leaf-stenciled tablecloth should be ready by Thanksgiving. It’ll look equally great on the table for that occasion! 

 "FROM-SCRATCH" RECIPE FOR SEPTEMBER

Curried rice pilaf

In a large heavy pot, sauté ½ cup diced green pepper, ¼ cup chopped onion, and 2 minced garlic cloves in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cook until tender. Stir in  2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, 1 cup white rice, ¾ cup fresh or drained canned mushrooms, 3/4 cup cooked or drained canned green peas, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and dash of black pepper. Boil mixture on medium heat for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Take the pilaf off the fire and let it sit with the lid on for another 10 minutes or so. Serve warm.

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