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Newsletter #102 - June 17, 2005


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Greetings everyone!  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers!

Hope you are all keeping well! We are getting a bit worried, it's nearly mid June and we have had no cold weather to speak of yet! Will it be a mild winter or are there some surprises waiting for us?

Big news from my side is that the eBook we have been working on is finished at last! I have always been intrigued by the origin and uses of Boererate (Traditional South African home remedies) for years now. Well, I started collecting them and have put about 2000 of them together in an eBook in Afrikaans. I think it can become a collector's item and that I am in a small way helping to preserve a part of our heritage. If you would like a copy, please click here. We are in the process of putting together an English version as well.

Who would have thought that vinegar can be so versatile? The following was sent to me by Welma:


1. Kill grass on walks and driveways.
2. Kill weeds. Spray full strength on growth until plants have starved.
3. Increase soil acidity. In hard water: one gallon of tap water for watering rhododendrons, gardenias, or azaleas.
4. Deter ants. Spray vinegar around doors, appliances, and along other areas where ants are known.
5. Polish car chrome. Apply full strength.
6. Remove skunk odor from a dog. Rub fur with full strength vinegar; rinse.
7. Keep cats away. Sprinkle vinegar on areas you don't want the cat walking, sleeping, or scratching on.
8. Keep dogs from scratching his ears. Use a clean, soft cloth dipped in diluted vinegar.
9. Keep chickens from pecking each other. Put a little in their drinking water.
10. Tenderize meat. Soak in vinegar over night.
11. Freshen vegetables. Soak wilted vegetables in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vinegar.
12. Boil better eggs. Add 2 tablespoons water before boiling eggs. Keeps them from cracking.
13. Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting. Dot the irritation with vinegar and relieve itching.
14. Relieve sunburn. Lightly rub white vinegar; you may have to reapply.
15. Condition hair. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to dissolve sticky residue left by shampoo.
16. Relieve dry and itchy skin. Add 2 tablespoons to bath water.
17. Fight dandruff. After shampooing, rinse with vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
18. Soothe a sore throat. Put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow.
19. Treat sinus infections and chest colds. Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer.
20. Feel good. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, with a bit of honey added for flavor, will take the edge off your appetite and give you an overall healthy feeling.
21. Deodorize the kitchen drain. Pour a cup down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.
22. Eliminate onion odor. Rub on your fingers before and after slicing.
23. Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards. Wipe with full strength vinegar.
24. Remove fruit stains from hands. Rub with vinegar.
25. Cut grease and odor on dishes. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to hot soapy water.
26. Clean a teapot. Boil a mixture of water and vinegar in the teapot. Wipe away the
27. Freshen a lunchbox. Soak a piece of bread in vinegar and let it sit in the lunchbox
28. Clean the refrigerator. Wash with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.
29. Unclog a drain. Pour a handful of baking soda down the drain and add 1/2 cup of
vinegar. Rinse with hot water.
30. Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal. Make vinegar ice cubes and feed them
down the disposal. After grinding, run cold water through.
31. Clean and deodorize jars. Rinse mayonnaise, peanut butter, and mustard jars with vinegar when empty.
32. Clean the dishwasher. Run a cup of vinegar through the whole cycle once a month
to reduce soap build up on the inner mechanisms and on glassware.
33. Clean stainless steel. Wipe with a vinegar dampened cloth.
34. Clean china and fine glassware. Add a cup of vinegar to a sink of warm water.
Gently dip the glass or china in the solution and let dry.
35. Get stains out of pots. Fill pot with a solution of 3 tablespoons of vinegar to a
pint of water. Boil until stain loosens and can be washed away.
36. Clean the microwave. Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in
the microwave. Will loosen splattered on food and deodorize.
37. Dissolve rust from bolts and other metals. Soak in full strength vinegar.
38. Get rid of cooking smells. Let simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution.
39. Unclog steam iron. Pour equal amounts of vinegar and water into the iron's water
chamber. Turn to steam and leave the iron on for 5 minutes in an upright position.
Then unplug and allow to cool. Any loose particles should come out when you empty
the water.
40. Clean a scorched iron plate. Heat equal parts vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub
solution on the cooled iron surface to remove dark or burned stains.
41. Get rid of lint in clothes. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
42. Keep colors from running. Immerse clothes in full strength vinegar before
43. Freshen up the washing machine. Periodically, pour a cup of vinegar in the machine
and let in run through a regular cycle (no clothes added). Will dissolve soap
44. Brighten fabric colors. Add a 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
45. Take grease off suede. Dip a toothbrush in vinegar and gently brush over grease
46. Remove tough stains. Gently rub on fruit, jam, mustard, coffee, tea. Then wash as
47. Get smoke smell out of clothes. Add a cup of vinegar to a bath tub of hot water.
Hang clothes above the steam.
48. Remove decals. Brush with a couple coats of vinegar. Allow to soak in. Wash off.
49. Clean eyeglasses. Wipe each lens with a drop of vinegar.
50. Freshen cut flowers. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar for each quart of water.

First recorded use of vinegar:

Hannibal's Elephants - 228BC
Frequently, the passage across the Alps was too narrow for Hannibal's huge elephants, as he marched across the Alps to Rome. Hannibal's solution was for his soldiers to cut tree limbs and stack them around the boulders which blocked their way. Then the limbs were set afire. When the rocks were good and hot, vinegar was poured onto them. This turned the stones soft and crumbly. The soldiers could then chip the rocks away, making a passage for the troops and elephants.

A blonde lady motorist was about two hours from San Diego when she was
flagged down by a man whose truck had broken down.

The man walked up to the car and asked, "Are you going to San Diego?"
"Sure, " answered the blonde, "do you need a lift?"
"Not for me. I'll be spending the next three hours fixing my truck.
My problem is I've got two chimpanzees in the back which have to be taken to the San Diego Zoo. They're a bit stressed already so I don't want to keep them on the road all day. Could you possibly take them to the zoo for me?

I'll give you $100 for your trouble. "

"I'd be happy to, " said the blonde.
So the two chimpanzees were ushered into the back seat of the blonde's car and carefully strapped into their seat belts. Off they went.

Five hours later, the truck driver was driving through the heart of San Diego when suddenly he was horrified! There was the blonde walking down the street and holding hands with the two chimps, much to the amusement of a big crowd. With a screech of brakes he pulled off the road and ran over to the blonde.

"What the heck are you doing here? " he demanded, "I gave you $100 to take
these chimpanzees to the zoo. "
"Yes, I know you did, " said the blonde, "but we had money left over---so
now we're going to Sea World

Vinegar is made by two distinct biochemical processes, both the result of the action of microorganisms. The first process is brought about by the action of yeasts, which change natural sugars to alcohol under controlled conditions. This is called the alcoholic fermentation. The second process results from the action of a group of bacteria ( “Acetobacter” ) upon the alcohol portion, converting it to acid. This is the acetic, or acid fermentation that forms vinegar.
Proper bacterial cultures are important; timing is important; and fermentation should be carefully controlled.

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I love a good read, my friend Iris sent me this one and I would like to share it:

Minor travelling unattended

Right before the jetway door closed, I scrambled aboard the plane going from LA to Chicago, lugging my laptop and overstuffed briefcase. It was the first leg of an important business trip a few weeks before Christmas, and I was running late. I had a ton of work to catch up on. Half wishing, half praying I muttered, "Please God, do me a favor; let there be an empty seat next to mine, I don't need any distractions."

I was on the aisle in a two seat row. Across sat a businesswoman with her nose buried in a newspaper. No problem. But in the seat beside mine, next to the window, was a young boy wearing a big red tag around his neck: Minor Traveling Unattended.

The kid sat perfectly still, hands in his lap, eyes straight ahead. He'd probably been told never to talk to strangers. Good, I thought.

Then the flight attendant came by. "Michael, I have to sit down because we're about to take off," she said to the little boy. "This nice man will answer any of your questions, okay?"

Did I have a choice? I offered my hand, and Michael shook it twice, straight up and down.

"Hi, I'm Jerry," I said. "You must be about seven years old."

"I'll bet you don't have any kids," he responded.

"Why do you think that? Sure I do." I took out my wallet to show him pictures.

"Because I'm six."

"I was way off, huh?"

The captains' voice came over the speakers, "Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff."

Michael pulled his seat belt tighter and gripped the armrests as the jet engines roared.

I leaned over, "Right about now, I usually say a prayer. I asked God to keep the plane safe and to send angels to protect us."

"Amen," he said, then added, "but I'm not afraid of dying. I'm not afraid because my mama's already in Heaven."

"I'm sorry." I said.

"Why are you sorry?" he asked, peering out the window as the plane lifted off.

"I'm sorry you don't have your mama here."

My briefcase jostled at my feet, reminding me of all the work I needed to do.

"Look at those boats down there!" Michael said as the plane banked over the Pacific. "Where are they going?"

"Just going sailing, having a good time. And there's probably a fishing boat full of guys like you and me."

"Doing what?" he asked.

"Just fishing, maybe for bass or tuna. Does your dad ever take you fishing?"

"I don't have a dad," Michael sadly responded.

Only six years old and he didn't have a dad, and his Mom had died, and here he was flying halfway across the country all by himself. The least I could do was make sure he had a good flight. With my foot I pushed my briefcase under my seat.

"Do they have a bathroom here?" he asked, squirming a little.

"Sure," I said, "let me take you there."

I showed him how to work the "Occupied" sign, and what buttons to push on the sink, then he closed the door. When he emerged, he wore a wet shirt and a huge smile

"That sink shoots water everywhere!"

The attendants smiled.

Michael got the VIP treatment from the crew during snack time. I took out my laptop and tried to work on a talk I had to give, but my mind kept going to Michael. I couldn't stop looking at the crumpled grocery bag on the floor by his seat. He'd told me that everything he owned was in that bag. Poor kid.

While Michael was getting a tour of the cockpit the flight attendant told me his grandmother would pick him up in Chicago. In the seat pocket a large manila envelope held all the paperwork regarding his custody. He came back explaining, "I got wings! I got cards! I got more peanuts. I saw the pilot and he said I could come back anytime!"

For a while he stared at the manila envelope.

"What are you thinking?" I asked Michael.

He didn't answer. He buried his face in his hands and started sobbing. It had been years since I'd heard a little one cry like that. My kids were grown -- still I don't think they'd ever cried so hard. I rubbed his back and wondered where the flight attendant was.

"What's the matter buddy?" I asked.

All I got were muffled words "I don't know my grandma. Mama didn't want her to come visit and see her sick. What if Grandma doesn't want me? Where will I go?"

"Michael, do you remember the Christmas story? Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus? Remember how they came to Bethlehem just before Jesus was born? It was late and cold, and they didn't have anywhere to stay, no family, no hotels, not even hospitals where babies could be born. Well, God was watching out for them. He found them a place to stay; a stable with animals."

"Wait, wait," Michael tugged on my sleeve. "I know Jesus. I remember now." Then he closed his eyes, lifted his head and began to sing. His voice rang out with a strength that rocked his tiny frame. "Jeeesus looooves me--thiiiiiis I knowwwwwww. For the Biiiiiible tells meeeeee sooooo....."

Passengers turned or stood up to see the little boy who made the large sound. Michael didn't notice his audience. With his eyes shut tight and voice lifted high, he was in a good place.

"You've got a great voice," I told him when he was done. "I've never heard anyone sing like that."

"Mama said God gave me good pipes just like my grandma's," he said. "My grandma loves to sing, she sings in her church choir."

"Well, I'll bet you can sing there, too. The two of you will be running that choir."

The seat belt sign came on as we approached O'Hare. The flight attendant came by and said we just have a few minutes now, but she told Michael it's important that he put on his seat belt. People started stirring in their seats, like the kids before the final school bell. By the time the seat belt sign went off, passengers were rushing down the aisle. Michael and I stayed seated.

"Are you gonna go with me?" he asked.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world buddy!" I assured him.

Clutching his bag and the manila envelope in one hand, he grabbed my hand with the other. The two of us followed the flight attendant down the jetway. All the noises of the airport seemed to fill the corridor.

Michael stopped, flipping his hand from mine, he dropped to his knees. His mouth quivered. His eyes brimmed with tears.

"What's wrong Michael? I'll carry you if you want."

He opened his mouth and moved his lips, but it was as if his words were stuck in his throat. When I knelt next to him, he grabbed my neck. I felt his warm, wet face as he whispered in my ear, "I want my mama!"

I tried to stand, but Michael squeezed my neck even harder. Then I heard a rattle of footsteps on the corridor's metal floor.

"Is that you, baby?"

I couldn't see the woman behind me, but I heard the warmth in her voice.

"Oh baby," she cried. "Come here. Grandma loves you so much. I need a hug, baby. Let go of that nice man." She knelt beside Michael and me.

Michael's grandma stroked his arm. I smelled a hint of orange blossoms.

"You've got folks waiting for you out there, Michael. Do you know that you've got aunts, and uncles and cousins?"

She patted his skinny shoulders and started humming. Then she lifted her head and sang. I wondered if the flight attendant told her what to sing, or maybe she just knew what was right. Her strong, clear voice filled the passageway, "Jesus loves me -- this I know..."

Michael's gasps quieted. Still holding him, I rose, nodded hello to his grandma and watched her pick up the grocery bag. Right before we got to the doorway to the terminal, Michael loosened his grip around my neck and reached for his grandma.

As soon as she walked across the threshold with him, cheers erupted. From the size of the crowed, I figured family, friends, pastors, elders, deacons, choir members and most of the neighbors had come to meet Michael. A tall man tugged on Michael's ear and pulled off the red sign around his neck. It no longer applied.

As I made my way to the gate for my connecting flight, I barely noticed the weight of my overstuffed briefcase and laptop. I started to wonder who would be in the seat next to mine this time...And I smiled.

~By Jerry Seiden~

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A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled up clay and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him.

As he strolled along the beach, to pass the time, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could throw. He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock

Inside was a beautiful, precious stone. Excited the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left, then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time.

He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he just threw it away.

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it, we see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person !

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth. May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

~FunkyMunky Top Tip~


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The Herb Section -  ALOE VERA

Hieroglyphics and paintings on the walls of Egyptian temples prove that aloe vera has been around for over 3000 years. In the 4th century BC Aristotle reportedly asked Alexander the Great to conquer the island of Socotra to assure a constant supply of this herb.
Aloe vera gel contains so many nutrients. The protein contained in aloe vera includes 18 of 20 amino acids found naturally in our bodies, and is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E.
Aloe vera must be in the full sun, and needs daily watering. Feed twice yearly with good compost to ensure vigorous growth. This is a tender plant, so shield it from frost or severe cold winds.
Cut off the base leaves with a sharp knife, remove the bitter skin, and you are left with a transparent "fillet" which can be sliced and used fresh, or added to animal feeds.

Aloe vera gel is excellent for skin ailments as it contains anthraquione glycosides and polysaccharides, as well as other components that stimulate the healing of wounds.
Stabilised juice, bought from health shops or pharmacies, helps arthritis, rheumatism, stomach ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure, circulatory disorders, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, gout, kidney stones and inflamed joints.
The yellow liquid in the outer casings of the leaves contain anthraquiones, which are dangerously laxative, therefor it is essential to use only pharmaceutically processed aloe vera internally in the form of juice.
External application of the juice and gel is immediately soothing.

Aloe vera restores the PH balance of both your skin and hair.
Hyaluronic acids in the gel help rid the skin of toxins, blemishes and sun spots.
Gel is also used to clear clogged pores, speeding up circulation and exfoliating dead cells.
There are many products on the market containing aloe vera, but to be effective, the product must contain at least 50% aloe vera.

Aloe vera is great for animal ailments, including arthritis, stiffness and constipation.
A little gel added to your animals food is very beneficial, but no more than 2 teaspoons for a large dog, and 1 teaspoon for a small dog or a cat.
Elderly horses will also benefit from gel being added to their food.

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Self catering accommodation in St Lucia South Africa on the shores of lake St Lucia. Garden cottages set in a tropical garden close to shops and restaurants. We arrange all tours in the area of the Wetland Park.

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When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now,
Take care,

If you are ecer in the Ceres area why not take a break and enjoy a great cuppa coffee!...and send friends and family back home an email greeting!


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The Recipes
See Links for Metric Converter

  Vinegar pudding

120 g cake flour
pinch salt
50 ml sugar
12 ml margarine, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
25 ml vinegar
50 ml apricot jam
125 ml milk
175 ml boiling water
125 ml sugar

Sift the cake flour, salt and sugar together, then add the margarine and egg. Mix well. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the vinegar and stir. Add to the flour mixture. Add the apricot jam to the mixture and stir until the apricot jam is well distributed but not completely incorporated. Mix all the ingredients for the syrup and microwave for 4-5 minutes on 100 percent power. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the syrup and microwave for 3-4 minutes on 100 percent power. Serves 4.

Vinaigrette dressing

50 ml white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
15 ml dry mustard
salt and black pepper
pinch of salt
50 ml finely chopped mixed herbs
150 ml sunflower oil

Mix together all ingredients except the oil. Slowly whisk in the oil until thick, adjust seasoning. Add more vinegar for a sharper taste. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar can be used as a variation.

Winter curry

700 g stewing mutton, cut into pieces
30 ml oil
1 beef stock cube
1 litre boiling water
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
250 g fresh green beans, sliced
30 ml seedless raisins
3 potatoes, cubed
1 onion, sliced into rings
10 ml strong curry powder
pinch ground cloves
50 ml vinegar
3 bananas, sliced
15 ml cornflour
50 ml water

Brown small quantities of the meat in the heated oil. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and pour half the stock over the meat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is tender. Add extra stock and salt and pepper if necessary. Add the green beans, raisins and potatoes. Simmer until the vegetables are nearly tender. Meanwhile fry the onion in a little oil until golden brown. Add the curry powder and stir-fry for about 2 minutes more. Add the curry mixture to the meat mixture, along with the cloves, vinegar and bananas. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until cooked and warmed through. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and stir into the curry. Bring to the boil and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the gravy thickens slightly and is cooked. Serves 6-8.

Marinated biltong

65 ml wine vinegar
125 ml olive or salad oil
10 ml salt
freshly ground black pepper
65 ml chopped fresh parsley
80 ml chopped spring onion
500 g biltong, thinly sliced

Mix all the ingredients, except the biltong, to make a French salad dressing. Pour the dressing over the biltong and marinate for 4-6 hours. Drain and transfer the biltong to a small dish. Serve with a dip

Malva pudding

50 g butter or margarine
125 ml sugar
1 extra-large egg
15 ml apricot jam
5 ml white vinegar
250 ml cake flour
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
250 ml milk
1 x 410 g can evaporated milk
125 g butter
125 ml sugar
5 ml vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180 °C. Lightly grease a medium-sized ovenproof dish.
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, beating until light and fluffy. Mix in jam and vinegar.
Sift dry ingredients and add milk, beating until smooth.
Spoon into the ovenproof dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Heat the evaporated milk, butter, sugar and vanilla essence in a saucepan over stove until boiling.
Pour sauce over top of pudding as soon it is taken out of the oven. Serve hot.

Kingklip with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

800 g fresh or frozen kingklip fillets
60 ml flour
30 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
30 ml butter
60 ml balsamic vinegar
salt and milled pepper
rocket leaves
2 lemons, halved

Dust fish with flour. Heat olive oil and butter in a frying pan and gently fry fish for 2 minutes on each side. Remove fish from pan and drizzle each fillet with balsamic vinegar and a little extra olive oil. Season and serve with rocket and lemon halves.

French pickles

8 carrots, scraped and cut into pieces
250 g green beans, topped and tailed
small head of cabbage, sliced
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
15 ml turmeric
5 ml mustard powder
60 ml white grape vinegar

Boil all the vegetables, except the onion, in a little water until just done but still crisp. Drain.
Sauté the onion in a little oil until soft. Add the turmeric and mustard powder and mix. Add the vegetables and vinegar and boil for about three minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Spoon the vegetables into a clean jar and store in the fridge.
Makes 750 ml.

Herb vinegar

40 g chopped fresh herbs of your choice (eg a blend of thyme, savoury, basil, origanum and a bay leaf; or
750 ml cider or good quality vinegar
sprigs of fresh herbs for bottling

1. Mix the herbs and vinegar together in a sterilised bottle. 2. Seal and leave in a warm place for 2 weeks, shaking often. 3. Strain the vinegar through cheesecloth or coffee filter paper. 4. Pour into sterilised bottles and add 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh herbs to each bottle. 5. Seal with acid-proof lids or corks.





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