The winter solstice is the time at which the Sun is at its southernmost point in the sky appearing at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. The winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 to 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.
The axial tilt of Earth and gyroscopic effects of the planet’s daily rotation keep the axis of rotation pointed at the same point in the sky. As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the same hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in half a year, face towards the Sun and experience summer. Since the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetary pole, as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer. More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere’s winter solstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest.
Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as “midwinter”, “the longest night”, “the shortest day” or “the first day of winter”. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.
The Benefits of Snow
A major benefit of a good snow cover is snow functions as an excellent insulator of the soil. Without snow, very cold temperatures can freeze the soil deeper and deeper. This could lead to damage of root systems of trees and shrubs.
The insulation effect of snow also helps protect perennials, bulbs, ground covers, and strawberry plantings from alternating freezing and thawing cycles. Without snow, milder temperatures and the sun could warm the soil surface, leading to damage from soil heaving, which can break roots and dry out plant parts. Snow also helps conserve soil moisture over the winter.
If you have not yet mulched perennial beds, with snow, you may not have to. If little snow is on the beds, however, it would be good to mulch. Evergreen branches are a good material choice. Straw is another suitable material. Mulches could be applied over existing snow.
Also, Snow highlights the bare architectural structure of your garden without the distraction of colorful blossoms or the various textures of plants.
“The multiple properties which are found in the earth are found in man, and the fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables contain the same elements which are in the earth, and in man. When a plant based nutrition is consumed in their proper state and not perverted and robbed of their life-giving properties in their preparation, health, beauty, and happiness will be the sure reward.” – Rasta
SORREL: (Hibiscus Sabdariffa)
PART USED: Flower.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Sorrel contains a range of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, Calcium, niacin, ribloflvin and flavonoids. Flavonoids, which give the sorrel flower its deep red color, have been recognized as a powerful antioxidant and a likely contributor to cancer health as well as improved immune function. In addition, sorrel is thought to have a mild diuretic effect and the ability to reduce high blood pressure.
“Let food be one’s medicine and let medicine be one’s food.”
PART USED: Fruit, Seeds.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Blackberries are notable for their high nutritional contents of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid (a B vitamin), and the essential mineral manganese. Also rank highly among fruits for antioxidant strength, particularly due to their dense contents of polyphenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins and cyanidins. The seeds contain some oil which is rich in omega-3 and, as well as some protein, dietary fiber, carotenoids, ellagitannins and ellagic acid.