Tag Archives: Rome

What do Allergies, Herbs, and History All Have in Common?


Me.  Most definitely.

Being passionate about the past, I relish a connection to those who’ve gone before us.  I’m fascinated with history and love old homes, historic sites, all that ties us to the richness of bygone ages.  Intrigued with herbal lore, I often use it in my writing.  Herbs influenced every facet of life in pre-modern times and have changed little over the centuries.  When I hold an aromatic sprig of rosemary in my hand, I’m touching the same plant beloved by the ancients. Some heirloom roses hail from the glory days of Rome.

Amazing.  Awe inspiring.   At least to me, and I suspect to many of you as well.

To further that sense of oneness, and for their many uses, I grow a variety of herbs.  Thyme, basil, sage, and chives are a few in my kitchen garden.  Lavender and scented geraniums are wonderful for their scent alone.  Ladies once wafted the delicate perfume of toilet water.  Porcelain bowls filled with colorful potpourri scented musty parlors.

Before taking the leap into penning historical novels, I wrote vignettes on rural life. I’ve compiled these into a memoir on gardening and country life, Shenandoah Watercolors, a 2012 EPIC eBOOK Award finalist available in kindle at Amazon.

At one time, I had a modest herb business and gave talks on herbal lore to local groups much as Julia Maury did in my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love.

Back to my herbal enterprise, with the faithful assistance of my long-suffering mother we grew and dried herbs and flowers for wreath making and potpourri which we sold in the fall.  Herbs and heirloom flower seedlings were raised in the small greenhouse my hubby built me and sold in the spring.  Any profits were swiftly overrun by subsequent visits to the allergist,whom I’ve seen regularly for years now and still get four shots at a crack.  It seems I developed every allergy latent within me by exposure to all these pollens.

*Note, If you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid an herb called Sweet Annie and the Artemisia family.  But I’m considered to rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, so what are the odds of that?

After being run indoors and my gardening curtailed, I took up writing and have used my love of plants there.  I’m still an avid gardener, though with shots, meds and limits.  Is it spring yet?  My nose says yes. :)

Herbal Lore, History, and Allergies


Being passionate about the past, I relish a connection to those who’ve gone before us.  I’m fascinated with history and love old homes, historic sites, all that ties us to the richness of bygone ages.  Intrigued with herbal lore, I often use it in my writing.  Herbs influenced every facet of life in pre-modern times and have changed little over the centuries. When I hold an aromatic sprig of rosemary in my hand, I’m touching the same plant beloved by the ancients. Some heirloom roses hail from the glory days of Rome.

To further that sense of oneness, and for their many uses, I grow a variety of herbs.  Thyme, basil, sage, and chives are a few in my kitchen garden.  Lavender and scented geraniums are wonderful for their scent alone.  Ladies once wafted the delicate perfume of toilet water.  Porcelain bowls filled with colorful potpourri scented musty parlors.

Before taking the leap into penning historical novels, I wrote vignettes on rural life. I’ve compiled these into a memoir on gardening and country life, Shenandoah Watercolors, a 2012 EPIC eBOOK Award finalist available in kindle at Amazon.

At one time, I had a modest herb business and gave talks on herbal lore to local groups much as Julia Maury did in my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love.

Back to my herbal enterprise, with the faithful assistance of my long-suffering mother we grew and dried herbs and flowers for wreath making and potpourri which we sold in the fall.  Herbs and heirloom flower seedlings were raised in the small greenhouse my hubby built me and sold in the spring.  Any profits were swiftly overrun by subsequent visits to the allergist,whom I’ve seen regularly for years now and still get four shots at a crack.  It seems I developed every allergy latent within me by exposure to all these pollens.  *Note, If you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid an herb called Sweet Annie and the Artemisia family.  But I’m considered to rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, so what are the odds of that?

After being run indoors and my gardening curtailed, I took up writing and have used my love of plants there.  I’m still an avid gardener, though with shots, meds and limits.  Is it spring yet?  My nose says yes. 🙂

The Ides Of March and The Old Farmer’s Almanac


I love The Old Farmer’s Almanac website and their interesting newsletters.  Free, btw.  Today’s subject is the Ides of March,  spring tonics and recipes for St. Patrick‘s Day…

In a nutshell, what they say about the Ides of March (March 15th) “has long been considered an ill-fated day. Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C. Historians note that it is likely that a soothsayer named Spurinna had warned Caesar that danger would occur by the ides of March. William Shakespeare included the phrase “Beware the ides of March” in his play Julius Caesar.”

Outside of falling down my steps and skinning my knee, so far the Ides of March have been uneventful here.  And that happened yesterday, so technically it wasn’t The Day yet.  I’ll just sir tight and avoid assassins.

For more on the Ides of March and the Old Farmer’s Almanac click here.

Early history of the Old Farmer’s Almanac:

“The first Old Farmer’s Almanac (then known as The Farmer’s Almanac) was edited by Robert B. Thomas, the publication’s founder.

There were many competing almanacs in the 18th century, but Thomas’s upstart was a success. In its second year, distribution tripled to 9,000. The cost of the book was six pence (about four cents).

To calculate the Almanac’s weather predictions, Thomas studied solar activity, astronomy cycles and weather patterns and used his research to develop a secret forecasting formula, which is still in use today. Other than the Almanac’s prognosticators, few people have seen the formula. It is kept in a black tin box at the Almanac offices in DublinNew Hampshire.

Thomas also started drilling a hole through the Almanac so that subscribers could hang it from a nail or a string. Subscribers would hang the Almanac in their outhouse to provide family members with both reading material and toilet paper.

Thomas served as editor until his death on May 19, 1846. As its editor for more than 50 years, Thomas established The Old Farmer’s Almanac as America’s “most enduring” almanac by outlasting the competition.”

We’ve gotten the annual Old Farmer’s Almanac for years and find that it’s weather forecast is usually right.  Interesting to note that “in 2008, the Almanac stated that the earth had entered a global cooling period that would probably last decades. The journal based its prediction on sunspot cycles. Said contributing meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, “Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future.”

With the exception of the blistering hot summer of 2010, this would be true of the Shenandoah Valley.   So far, March has mostly been chilly here, and I see the Almanac is calling for a cooler than normal spring, also a slightly cooler than normal summer. We shall see, but they’re probably right.


A Fragrant Connection to The Past Through Herbs&Heirloom Flowers


Being passionate about the past, I relish a connection to those who’ve gone before us.  I’m fascinated with history and love old homes, historic sites, all that ties us to the richness of bygone ages. Intrigued with herbal lore, I often use it in my writing.

Herbs influenced every facet of life in pre-modern times and have changed little over the centuries. When I hold an aromatic sprig of rosemary in my hand, I’m touching the same plant beloved by the ancients. Some heirloom roses hail from the glory days of Rome.

To further that sense of oneness, and for their many uses, I grow a variety of herbs.  I suppose they’re most well known for their flavorful addition to many foods, herbal teas…Parsley, basil, sage, chives and dill are several in my kitchen garden.  Lavender and scented geraniums, to name a few, are wonderful for their scent alone.

Ladies once wafted the delicate perfume of toilet water.  Porcelain bowls filled with colorful potpourri scented musty parlors.  Medicinal herbs comprised the bulk of ones health needs and still do for some individuals.  Not to mention all the herbs in supplements and medicines today.  I knock back Oregamax and herbal tea to build up my immunity.  Plus, plus.

Then there’s the mostly forgotten language of flowers.  Herbs were tucked into nosegays not only for their beauty and fragrance but their significance…such as rosemary, the herb of remembrance.  A sprig of thyme symbolized courage.  Violas, also called ‘heartsease,’ were used in love potions.  And so on.

Before taking the leap into novel writing, I had a modest herb business.  I also gave talks on herbal lore to local groups much as Julia Maury did in my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love.  And I was active in the garden club, but found it too much on top of all my writing groups.  I was also one of the only members in that club who actually did her own landscaping, such as it is, and got down and dirty.  It doesn’t impress me to tour your yard and be shown what the landscape designer and his or her staff has put in for you.  Get out the shovels and enlist your family.  Make your yard and garden a homegrown project.

My younger daughter is Elise is a huge help to me now, but she’s been by my side in the garden since infancy.  Now the grandbabies are coming along to ‘help.’

Speaking of family support, with the assistance of my long suffering mother, I used to grow herbs & flowers for making dried wreaths and potpourri to be sold in the fall.  Herbal and heirloom flower seedlings were raised in the small greenhouse my hubby built me and sold in the spring.  However, any profits were swiftly overrun by subsequent visits to the allergist whom I’ve seen regularly for years now and still get four shots at a crack.  Seems I developed every allergy latent within me by exposure to all these pollens.

*Note, If you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid an herb called Sweet Annie and the Artemisia family.  But I’m considered to rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, so what are the odds of that?

After being run indoors and my gardening severely curtailed, I took up writing and have used my love of plants in my novels.  I’m still an avid gardener, though with shots, meds, and limits.

“Loveliest  of lovely things are they,
On earth, that soonest pass away.
The rose that lives its little hour
Is prized beyond the sculpted flower.”
~William Cullen Bryant

*My favorite rose, Abraham Darby, by English breeder David Austin.  Picture by my daughter Elise.  I highly recommend David Austin roses.  He combines the best of the old world fragrance, form, and durability with the repeat bloom of modern cultivars.

“The perfume of roses are like exquisite chords of music composed of many odor notes harmoniously blended.”
~ N F Miller

For more on my work please visit my website at: www.bethtrissel.com