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I went for a walk in the park yesterday and picked a pocketful (I did not have anything else to put them into) of spruce tips. “Why on earth?” some might ask. They taste so good and are packed with vitamin C!

When I finished picking the tips I felt I had to thank the tree, and I did. This was the best walk I’ve had in months!

I surprised my 4-year-old spruce-tip-lover with a plate full of these beautifully green tips on the table when he got home from kindergarten. Needless to say, he was at the table right away munching the tips and making a wry face when the taste got too sour.

What are spruce tips? 

The spruce buds are those tips of the spruce branches that emerge in spring. They have the prettiest green colour I have ever seen.

Why should you eat spruce tips?

  1. Spruce needles are exceptionally high in Vitamin C – frozen or dried spruce tips are good source of vitamin C during wintertime.
  2. Spruce tips also contain carotenoids.
  3. Spruce tips are rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
  4. Spruce tips have long been used by indigenous tribes for relieving coughs and sour throats.
  5. Spruce tips contain plenty of chlorophyll, which helps growing and healing tissues, controlling cravings, as well as transporting oxygen to cells. It also neutralizes free radicals, keeps blood sugar balanced, accelerates wound healing and bonds poisonous metals present in your body.

What to do with spruce tips and needles?

  1. I like to keep it simple and just eat them as they are or
  2. Add to smoothies and salads. For example add them to Kiwi-Avocado Smoothie
  3. Use dried tips for tea, which soothes throat and upper respiratory ailments.
  4. Use spruce needles as rosemary.
  5. Add chopped spruce tips to drinking water and let it sit for an hour or so – water absorbs all the goodies from the tips.
  6. Season your soups, pastas, stews, curries etc. with chopped spruce tips. It is also a great way to enhance mineral absorption from grains and legumes. Recipe ideas: artichoke-bean stew, tortilla bowls.
  7. Prepare a pesto with spruce tips, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and oil.
  8. Should you require something fancier, try out sautéed mushrooms with spruce tips and chives.

Some people like to prepare spruce tip syrup. However, I would not recommend it as syrup calls for tons of sugar, which just kills the benefits of those great vitamin-rich tips.

Where to pick? 

Choose a spot at least 100 metres from any roadway.
It is also advised not to pick too many from one tree.

Sources: A. Kizhedath, Suneetha V, Journal of Pharmacy Research; W. Bowles, Total Health; Nutrimed

Thanks to MJS

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tr-Time to rest your weary branches-MJS

They don’t snore, but might creak during their slumbers. For the first time, trees have been shown to undergo physical changes at night that can be likened to sleep, or at least to day-night cycles that have been observed experimentally in smaller plants.

Branches of birch trees have now been seen drooping by as much as 10 centimetres at the tips towards the end of the night.

“It was a very clear effect, and applied to the whole tree,” says András Zlinszky of the Centre for Ecological Research in Tihany, Hungary. “No one has observed this effect before at the scale of whole trees, and I was surprised by the extent of the changes.”

Zlinszky and his colleagues scanned trees in Austria and Finland with laser beams between sunset and sunrise. From the time it takes beams to bounce back from branches and leaves, they could measure the movements of each tree, in three dimensions and at resolutions of centimetres.

Drooping in the dark

“The experiment is the first of its kind,” says team-member Eetu Puttonen of the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute in Masala. “These studies have only been done before in small plants, but here, it was possible to do it outside in fully grown trees.”

The team scanned two birch trees, one in Finland and one in Austria, each over the course of a single night. They made 11 scans of the Finnish tree, approximately one per hour, and 77 of the Austrian tree, around one every 10 minutes. Puttonen says they used laser scanning, rather than observing movement photographically, so they didn’t have to illuminate the trees with light that could have affected the outcome.

 

At night (left) tree branches droop more than during the day (right)
At night (left) tree branches droop more than during the day (right)

 
The trees may also be “resting” their branches. During the day, branches and leaves are angled higher, allowing leaves to catch more sunlight, because there’s less self-shading from leaves above. But this is energy-intensive and serves no purpose at night, when there’s no light.

So is the drooping deliberate, dictated by an active sleep-night cycle, or passive, dictated by differences in the availability of water and light? “This remains to be decided,” says Zlinszky.

Next, the team hopes to see whether other tree species “sleep”. “I’m confident it will apply to other trees,” says Zlinszky. The ideal targets would be poplars and chestnut trees, because researchers have decoded the genomes of both and identified genes linked with circadian rhythms, which could help them see which genes are involved in the behaviour.

“There have been some studies on circadian rhythms in trees, mostly studying gene expression, but this latest research is a beautiful way to watch it happen in individual trees,” says C. Robertson McClung of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. “It shows things are happening in the real world.”

McClung says that studies in sunflowers have tied circadian rhythm to the ability of water to travel in the plant’s stem. “The water supply might underlie the effects seen,” he says. “It’s reasonable to suspect that it’s not just the water supply, but that the ability of the plant to transport it might be controlled by the plant itself.” One possibility to explore the underlying mechanisms might be controlled experiments on smaller birch trees in greenhouses, he says.

Knowing more about how trees manage their water budgets could have practical benefits. Trees are easier to fell, for example, if the wood is drier. Likewise, insights into how trees manage water could help climatologists understand better the effects of forests on climate change and weather.

THIS article plus VIDEO HERE.

Journal reference: Frontiers in Plant Science, DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00222

Read more: Root intelligence: Plants can think, feel and learn

Thanks to MJS

 

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Hydrangeas

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Sprouting March 1
As we all begin the countdown to spring, we hope the arrival of these new stamps – gorgeous hydrangeas, no less – will make the wait a little easier! Inspired by traditional botanical drawings, their sumptuous colours will look great on wedding invitations and other mail.
Of course if flowers aren’t your thing, just use Picture PostageTM to create your own design!
And be sure to check out the latest coin releases too.

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Wants JavaScript for something

http://www.goodshomedesign.com/best-camping-hammock-with-bug-net/

Thanks to LST

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tree-BGR

There is no need to minimize your pain, confusion or fear. But remember that your thoughts are powerful and they keep you in chains or they set you free. We remain stuck when we accept powerlessness as fact, and we are set free by simply rejecting that concept and stepping out into the sunshine. With each small step towards the light, we are learning that we become more powerful by exercising the power we already have.

Thanks to BGR

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n-BGR

Sometimes fear holds us back in small ways, but other times it literally stands between us and the life we were meant to live. If you are not acting upon your heart’s desire because you’re afraid, the time has come to move forward. You do it one small step at a time, and you begin right now.

Photo by Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld: https://www.facebook.com/cfwphotography

Thanks to BGR

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Requires Javascript for pix?

http://www.almanac.com/content/full-moon-names

Thanks to LST

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