Good Morning & Long Time No See….

Good Morning dear friends,

I was just made aware of the fact that the professor or main-man-in-charge had took off to do some research overseas. He does that occasionally, especially when his curiosity about a certain subject grabs his attention. He will be back later on this Summer I am told.

Until he returns, I wanted to make a suggestion to you especially if you enjoyed the daily astrology and daily horoscopes I posted. I have recently opened up a new site called, “The Witchcraft Chronicles.” I am well aware that not all of you are interested in witchcraft but….you can always stop by and grab your horoscopes for the day and see what the planets are doing, then leave if you want. Right now, the site is just get up and running so there is not that much info on there right now. But I guarantee you that will change very quickly.

So if you are interested in stopping by and visiting your friendly witch and grabbing your horoscopes, I would be glad to see you. Just give us to Monday, June 10th and we will begin our regular posts for the day. Till then we will be gathering info like mad.

Hope to see you soon,

Have a very blessed Thursday,

Lady of the Abyss

The Witchcraft Chronicles

Today’s Funny for May 3: Irish Joke

Irish Joke

John O’Reilly hoisted his beer and said, “Here’s to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!” That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night!

He went home and told his wife, Mary, “I won the prize for the best toast of the night.”

She said, “Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?”

John said, “Here’s to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife.”

“Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!” Mary said.

The next day, Mary ran into one of John’s drinking buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, “John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary.”

She said, “Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised meself. You know, he’s only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come.”


–Turok’s Cabana

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for May 3: 100 WAYS TO AVOID DYING



By Tim Clark

Doctors and scientists are always telling us ways to live longer. Usually they involve a healthier diet or lifestyle: that is, eating fewer carbs and more vegetables, getting more exercise, or giving up smoking. Instead, here are 100 ways to avoid dying according to folklore!

We wholeheartedly endorse the rigorous and unpleasant methods of extending life suggested by doctors, but our research into centuries of American folk wisdom has turned up 100 EASY ways of avoiding death by observing a few simple rules in everyday situations. These beliefs come from all over this country and were actually collected by students of folklore and anthropology.

None of them were made up. Just remember: if you fail to observe these rules, we won’t be responsible for the consequences!


1. Don’t take ashes out of the fireplace or wood stove between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
2. Never place a broom on a bed.
3. Close umbrellas before bringing them into a house.
4. Avoid sweeping after sundown.
5. You mustn’t wash clothes on New Year Day.
6. Don’t shake out a tablecloth after dark.
7. Never wash a flag.
8. Don’t turn a chair on one leg.
9. Keep cats off piano keys.
10. Don’t hang a dishcloth on a doorknob.
11. Sweeping under a sick person’s bed will kill him or her.
12. Don’t ever, ever rock an empty rocking chair.


13. Never add-on to the back of your house.
14. You mustn’t cut a new window in an old house; the only way to avoid fatal consequences is to toss your apron through the new window, and then jump through it yourself.
15. Never drive a nail after sunset.
16. Don’t move into an unfinished house.
17. Avoid carrying axes, shovels, and other sharp-edged tools through a house; if you must take one inside, always take it out by the same door.
18. If you move out of a house, don’t move back into it for a year.
19. Don’t hang your sweetheart’s picture upside-down.
20. If a picture falls from the wall, don’t pick it up.
21. Never carry a peacock’s feather into a house.
22. Keep cut flowers out of bedrooms overnight.
23. Don’t ever carry a bouquet of wildflowers indoors before May 1.


24. If you cut out a new dress on Friday, you must finish it that same day.
25. Don’t make new clothes between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
26. Never hold a stick in your mouth while sewing.
27. Always sew cross-stitching on your underwear.
28. Don’t walk around in one shoe.
29. If you see a will-o’-wisp while out walking at night, turn your coat inside-out.
30. Never wear another’s new clothes before they have worn them.
31. A woman who makes her own wedding dress will not live to wear it.


32. Never set three lamps on a table at the same time.
33. Don’t set the table backwards.
34. Never serve 13 at a table.
35. Avoid drinking coffee at 5 o’clock.
36. You mustn’t write on the back of a dish.
37. Never return borrowed salt.
38. Don’t ever cross knives while setting the table.
39. Be sure that someone else cooks your birthday dinner.
40. Don’t put two forks at one place setting.
41. Never, never turn a loaf of bread upside down.



42. Sleeping with your head at the foot of the bed is surely fatal.
43. Don’t sing in bed.
44. If you hear a dog howl at night, reach under the bed and turn over a shoe.
45. Don’t count stars.
46. A man should never dream of a naked woman; a woman should never dream of a naked man. (You know who you are…)


47. Never rub soap on your skin on a Friday.
48. Don’t look into a mirror over another’s shoulder.
49. Avoid combing your hair after dark.
50. Absolutely no haircuts in March.
51. Let a baby’s hair and fingernails grow until their 1st birthday.
52. Don’t let two people comb your hair at once.
53. Never shave at night.
54. NEVEREVER share a razor used by a dead man.


55. Never hold a funeral on a Friday.
56. When a person dies in a house, you must immediately cover all mirrors and stop all clocks.
57. Children should not pretend to have funerals.
58. Don’t ever try on a mourning veil.
59. Always remove a dead body from a house feet first.
60. Never ride in a hearse, unless you are the driver.
61. Don’t count the cars in a funeral motorcade.
62. Avoid wearing new clothes to a funeral, especially new shoes.
63. Pull the shades in a room where a funeral service is taking place; if the sun hits a mourner’s face, he is the next to die.
64. When walking in a funeral procession, don’t look backwards.
65. Never point at a grave.
66. Try not to step across a grave.
67. Never leave a grave open overnight.
68. Don’t ever be the first to leave the graveyard after a funeral. (And hope that not everyone else follows this rule, too…)
69. If a corpse lies unburied on Sunday, another in town will surely die soon.
70. Wait a year before putting up a tombstone for a family member; if you don’t, another family member will go before the year has ended.



71. Drink May rainwater.
72. When sick, don’t look in mirrors.
73. Don’t give a person a peony.
74. Never measure your own height.
75. Try not to imagine it’s Saturday when it’s not.
76. Don’t count cars on a passenger train.
77. Never whistle in a coal mine.
78. Avoid measuring a person who is lying down.
79. Don’t walk backwards.
80. You mustn’t allow a candle to burn itself out.
81. Never sell a dog.
82. Try not to kill a crow; but if you do, be sure to bury it while wearing black.
83. If you transplant a cedar tree, you will die by the time it is big enough to shade a grave.
84. The same is true of a willow tree (as in 83)
85. Don’t ever hang your hoe on a tree branch.
86. Don’t skip a row when planting corn or beans.
87. If you watch a person out of sight, you’ll never see them again.
88. Avoid stepping over a person who is lying down.
89. When your name is called, don’t answer the first time—it may be the Devil calling you.
90. Never shake hands through a window or over a fence.
91. Try not to sit with your back to the fire.
92. Don’t burn sassafras wood.
93. If you walk with your hands locked behind your head, it will kill your mother.
94. Don’t even THINK of mocking an owl. (Who?)
95. Don’t store your shoes above your head.
96. Never kill a locust.
97. Never kill a lizard.
98. If you hear a hen crow, you must kill the hen.
99. If you are on a train when a woman boards, dressed in black, get off.
100. Whatever you do, don’t let a lizard count your teeth. (Seriously, just DON’T.)



Originally published in The 1990 Old Farmer’s Almanac





Indoor and outdoor allergens can wreak havoc on your sinuses!

In most regions of the nation, spring brings on a pollen assault. For days, sometimes weeks, pollen fills the air. It dusts the car and buildings, the surrounding landscape. Many of us don’t have to see it to know that pollens have blown in: Our stuffed-up sinuses deliver the message.


Those affected snort, cough, sneeze, blow their noses all day and can’t breathe all night. Their eyes may itch and swell shut, their faces get puffy, their jaws and even their teeth ache. They get hit around and just behind our eyes with blinding headaches. Sometimes they can’t smell or taste much.

And that’s just the seasonal allergies. Other folks suffer from year-round post-nasal drip, frequent colds, or recurrent full-blown sinus infections that just won’t quit.

If any of this misery describes you, you have a lot of company. What medical specialists who study and treat inflamed sinuses call rhinosinusitis is among the most common diseases in the U.S.  Chronic rhinosinusitis afflicts 15 percent of the population, and 30 million of us will come down with acute (short-term) rhinosinusitis this year.


The paranasal sinuses are air-filled spaces in the forehead, behind and around the eyes, behind the nose, and under the cheekbones. They produce mucus that drains into the nasal passages.

The functions of these holes in our heads remain something of a medical mystery, although scientists say they help humidify the air we breathe in, may contribute to immune function, and provide strength and structure to facial bones.


Setting aside chronic illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and asthma, inflamed sinuses have a variety of causes, including infections (usually viral, but sometimes bacterial or fungal), allergies, environmental irritants, a deviated septum, nasal polyps, infected teeth, even stress.


Specialists suggest toughing it out for the first week to 10 days of an acute bout with stuffed-up sinuses, since most sinusitis comes from a viral infection and clears up without medical treatment.

See a doctor if your stuffiness lasts more than a couple of weeks, if you spike a high fever, if you experience chronically inflamed sinuses, or if you fall prey to recurrent respiratory illnesses.

Don’t be quick to beg your doctor for an antibiotic to treat your sinus inflammation. Infectious disease experts say only a small percentage of cases result from a bacterial infection that may respond to antibiotics. Most rhinosinusitis results from a cold virus, and antibiotics don’t treat viral infections.

Using antibiotics when you don’t need them helps promote antibiotic resistance, a serious global threat, which means that antibiotics may no longer work to treat serious bacterial illnesses.

Depending on your symptoms, physicians have an array of drugs to help manage your sinus problems. You’ll also find a dozen or more decongestants and antihistamines on pharmacy shelves that work in various ways to alleviate clogged sinuses (though they effect no cures). But all prescription or OTC congestion-relieving products have side effects, some serious.

People with chronic illnesses, or who take other prescription medications, should check with their doctor before using over-the-counter sinus relief products. Longterm or too-frequent use of some OTC products can worsen your symptoms or interact with other medications.


Many simple, drug-free self-care practices can help relieve acutely or chronically inflamed sinuses:

  • Try one of these safe, quick tricks for immediate (though temporary), relief. Amazing!
  • Especially when you have a cold, stay well-hydrated (lots of water and warm tea).
  • Humidify the air in your home, and if you’re really stuffy, try a good, old-fashioned steam (hold a big towel over your head to catch the steam from a pot of simmering water). You might also try a personal steam inhaler, available at pharmacies.
  • Irrigate your sinuses and nasal passages with a warm saline solution to clear dust, pollen, and excess mucus. If you choose to try this ancient sinus-irrigating technique of the neti pot, please read and follow these FDA instructions to the letter. It’s especially important to use only boiled or sterile water in your pot.
  • Before sleep, slap on a Breathe Right or other brand of nasal strips. These band-aid like devices gently pull open the nasal passages and keep them open through the night.
  • If allergies are causing your sinus congestion, try allergy-proofing your home. (Serious work!)


Many people find relief from seasonal allergic rhinitis or chronic sinus inflammation with herbs, (including me).

First, the caveats:

  • Chat with your doctor about trying an herbal remedy. Remember, if an herbal product is effective, it works as a drug. You may experience an allergic reaction or side effects, and the herb may interact with other drugs or herbs you’re already taking. Your doctor will have access to information that might not be readily available to you.
  • Unless you’re under the supervision of a medical professional, don’t take any herbal products if you’re pregnant or nursing, or if you have a chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma.
  • Tell your doctor about all herbs or supplements you take.
  • Don’t take more than what’s recommended on the label of the product you choose.

Indigenous peoples have used, and modern herbalists still use, many native herbs to treat both short-term and long-term congestion. Among the best-known and most widely used: stinging nettle and butterbur. Small clinical studies have shown positive effects for both these herbs.

  • Stinging nettle has been used for centuries as a remedy for allergic rhinitis (and many other ailments). Modern freeze-drying apparently concentrates the compounds that soothe inflamed nasal passages and sinuses.
  • Some research has shown that butterbur eases allergic rhinosinusitis (and also migraines), though the unprocessed herb contains potentially toxic compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). If you want to try butterbur, use only a product that’s certified PA-free.


After years of intermittent severe pain in my left upper molars, and repeated visits to endodontists who couldn’t detect anything wrong, a dental hygienist finally diagnosed the problem from an X-ray.

“Oh, look!” She exclaimed, pointing. “See how the roots of these molars extend way up into your sinus cavity. Whenever your sinuses swell up, they press on those roots and cause your discomfort.”

I’ve suffered from an irritating post-nasal drip for decades, which may (or may not) be related to pollen, woodsmoke, wood ashes, sawdust, and careless housekeeping. My colds lasted for weeks.

I tried OTC antihistamines, prescription steroid sprays, and a Chinese herb that gave me heart palpitations. I used neti pots and steamers. I drank copious amounts of my homemade mix of dried goldenrod-yarrow tea all winter (works well to open stuffed sinuses, but the results don’t last long.)

After reading recommendations from two herb-friendly medical doctors to take freeze-dried nettles for sinus congestion, I decided to try them. I knew I wasn’t allergic to the plant, since I’d pulled and eaten the young leaves in large quantities every spring for decades. (They flourish as weeds in my raspberry patch.) I don’t take any prescription medications, so I didn’t worry about drug interactions.

I started one spring morning with a single 300 mg capsule. Within minutes, my airways cleared, my head stopped pounding, and my eyes stopped itching, without any of the uncomfortable dried-out feeling I get from antihistamines.

Ever since, I’ve taken one or two 300-mg capsules whenever I start feeling stuffy, every few hours if needed. I know stinging nettle won’t work for everyone with a sinus problem, but it’s been life-altering for me.



“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

Old Farmer’s Almanac






Herbs and natural remedies can help calm anxiety and stress. Here’s a list of ways to relieve anxiety naturally.

First, attempt to calm thyself. If gardening or another relaxing activity doesn’t calm your nerves and make you sleep well, you’ll have to try some of these other tips involving herbs for anxiety and anxiety remedies. If gardening does help, you can grow some of these herbs so that you can beat your anxiety in two ways.

Insomnia can often be caused by stress or anxiety, or insomnia can lead to anxiety. For this reason, we include some natural remedies for insomnia here as well.


  • Teas of chamomile, basil, marjoram, sage, or mint help ease stress. Use about 1 ounce fresh herbs (half of that if dried) for every 2 to 3 cups water.
  • A tea of elderberry flowers is considered relaxing to the nerves and is sleep-inducing, too. (Caution! Avoid if pregnant.)
  • For insomnia, drink bee balm. It acts as a mild sedative, calming the nerves and aiding sleep. Take an infusion of 2 teaspoons chopped leaves in 1 cup boiling water.
  • Drink rosemary tea to alleviate melancholy or depression.
  • Native American tea ingredients for insomnia included lady’s slipper (decocted), yarrow, mullein, hops, and purslane (decocted).
  • Valerian tea (or capsules) is a natural sleep aide. In infusions, 1 ounce of the roots in 1 pint boiling water is a common recipe, consumed by wineglass as needed. (Caution: Too high a dose may lead to negative side effects!)


  • First, do not eat your final meal late in the evening, and keep the meal light.
  • Eating lettuce with your dinner is supposed to be calming, helping you to sleep and have pleasant dreams. Some say you should not have vinegar with your lettuce.
  • Mandarin oranges are soporifics, so consider adding them to your evening meal to help insomnia.
  • Native Americans reportedly ate raw onions to induce sleep. (They also used a variety of herbal syrups and poultices, but they’re a bit too complicated for most of us today.)
  • Trying to remain relaxed but alert? Some studies suggest that the smell of apples, apple cider vinegar, or spiced apples have this effect. The right smell can make all the difference.
  • Adding some calm-inducing foods to your diet can also be helpful. Try this collection of herb recipes to see if you can incorporate beneficial herbs into your meals.


  • Massage your temples with lavender oil.
  • A warm bath with a couple of drops of chamomile oil aides sleeping. Add a splash of lavender oil for a relaxing aroma.
  • For a relaxing body rub, soak equal parts finely chopped dandelions, burdock (roots and/or aerial parts), yellow dock, and lobelia in a mason jar of vodka for two weeks. Apply externally (and avoid the temptation to drink the solution).


  • Strew lavender in the linen closet to scent your bed sheets with this mildly narcotic herb.
  • Try putting a few drops of lavender oil in or right under your nose—gently, with a cotton swab (Q-tip).
  • Sprinkle infusions of dill on your pillowcases and quickly iron them dry or fluff them in a clothes dryer.
  • Dill will also lull cranky babies to sleep. Add dill infusion to the bath, sprinkle on a baby’s blanket, or use as a hair rinse. (We all know babies can cause stress—if they can sleep, maybe you can sleep, too!)
  • Sage is considered a “ghost medicine,” used to prevent stressful nightmares. Strew it on the floor or in the bed.
  • Keep in mind: Not every fragrant herb is suitable for a good night’s sleep. Some can have the reverse effect. You may wish to consult an herbalist.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.
–Irish proverb


This page was first published in 2009 and is regularly updated.





The Old Farmer’s Almanac for May 3: THE MONTH OF MAY 2019: HOLIDAYS, FUN FACTS, FOLKLORE




Celebrate the gorgeous month of May! The Sun is warming, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the garden is growing. See what fun and interesting days May has to offer—from holidays to history to advice.

Oh! fragrant is the breath of May
In tranquil garden closes,
And soft yet regal is her sway
Among the springtide roses.

—William Hamilton hayne, American poet (1856–1929)


May is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants.

  • May 1 is May Day. Mark the return of spring by bringing in branches of forsythia, lilacs, or other flowering shrubs from your region.
  • In Hawaii, May 1 is celebrated as Lei Day. Leis are garlands or wreaths that are often made with native Hawaiian flowers and leaves. Nowadays, they are given as a symbol of greeting, farewell, affection, celebration, or honor, in the spirit of aloha. Lei Day originated in 1927, when poet Don Blanding proposed a holiday to recognize the lei’s role in Hawaiian culture. Writer Grace Tower Warren suggested May 1 for the date because it coincided with May Day, a celebration also linked to flowers. She coined the phrase, “May Day is Lei Day.” The first Lei Day observance occurred on May 1, 1928. The following year, it was made an official holiday in the territory. (Hawaii did not become a state until 1959.)
    Today, Lei Day celebrations may include music, games, exhibits, and lei-making demonstrations and contests.
  • May 5 is Cinco de Mayo (“The Fifth of May”). This day celebrates the victory of the Mexicans over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862.
  • May 12 is Mother’s Day! Do you have something planned to show appreciation for your mother?
  • May 20 is Victoria Day in Canada. This holiday celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria.
  • May 27 is Memorial Day—a poignant reminder of the tenacity of life. It’s tradition to post the flag on this day.

“Just for Fun” Days

May is Get Caught Reading Month and National Good Car-Keeping Month. Here are some more wacky things to celebrate this May:

  • May 1: School Principals’ Day
  • May 2: World Tuna Day
  • May 5–11: Root Canal Awareness Week
  • May 8: No Socks Day
  • May 14: Dance Like a Chicken Day
  • May 28: Slugs Return from Capistrano Day


  • The wedding season is almost upon us.
  • Don’t get stressed!
  • Spring cleaning? See homemade cleaning remedies and other tips to help you around the home.



  • See our free vegetable, herb, and fruit growing guides for tips on planting, growing, and harvesting your most popular crops.
  • In May, enjoy new life by attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden!
  • Celebrate a new season of flowers by planting window boxes!
  • Mid-spring is also the time when moles start coming out.


A dry May and a leaking June
Make the farmer whistle a merry tune.

A snowstorm in May
Is worth a wagonload of hay.

Among the changing months, May stands confessed
The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed!

–James Thomson, Scottish poet (1700–48)



  • May’s full Moon, the Full Flower Moon, occurs on Saturday the 18th, at 5:11 P.M. (EDT).
  • See the May 2018 Sky Watch to find out what to look for this month and the May 2018 Sky Map to navigate the night sky from your own backyard.


Taurus: April 21 to May 20

Gemini: May 21 to June 20


May’s birth flower is the Hawthorn or Lily-of-the-Valley.

The hawthorn means hope, while the lily-of-the-valley symbolizes sweetness or the return of happiness.

May’s birthstone is the emerald.

A few fun facts about emeralds:

  • The emerald is a green type of beryl. Its color ranges from light to rich green; the more saturated hues are more valuable, especially if pure- or blue-green.
  • Natural emeralds are flawed, with fractures or other materials mixed in, called inclusions, which may appear as needles, columns, or cubes of minerals or bubbles of gas or liquid. Sometimes oil or resin is added to fill fractures and improve appearance.
  • Some of the best emeralds come from South American mines, although perhaps the oldest known came from Egypt. The emerald was a favorite gem of Cleopatra.
  • The emerald symbolizes rebirth and fertility and was thought to grant foresight, cure various diseases, soothe nerves, improve memory, and ensure loyalty.


May 23: What’s Your Name?

On this day in 1707, Swedish botanist and naturalist Carl Linnaeus was born. One of his major achievements was the formal introduction of a system of classifying and naming organisms according to genus and species, called binomial nomenclature. The method uses Latin words (a language commonly used by scholars in his day). For example, humans are classified as Homo sapiensHomo, meaning “man,” is the genus and sapiens, meaning “wise,” is the species. Several species may exist within one genus, but each species only has one scientific name. Scientists today use a modified version of Linnaeus’s system. Because the same naming convention is used throughout the world, it eliminates much confusion when discussing organisms.

Did You Know?
Carl Linnaeus originated the use of 0 (the symbol for Mars) to mean male and 1 (the symbol for Venus) to mean female.

May 26: Terrifying Twisters

On this day in 1917, tornadoes struck central Illinois, killing 101 people. Originally thought to be just one tornado that wreaked havoc along a 293-mile-long path, the outbreak was later determined to be four to eight tornadoes. One of them lasted 4 hours and followed a track 155 miles long (including the distance traveled while in the air). Mattoon and Charleston were especially hard hit by an F4 tornado (original Fujita scale). In Mattoon, almost 500 houses were destroyed.


According to newspaper reports:

  • straw was driven ½ inch deep into a tree
  • a flagpole with flag was blown four blocks and planted upright in the ground
  • books and other items were carried 50 to 70 miles away


According to astronomers, what is a Julian day?

Answer: The term “Julian day” can be confusing because it has several meanings, including being a date on the Julian calendar. In astronomy, however, the Julian day (or Julian day number) is the number of days that have passed since the start of a Julian period. The Julian period is a year-numbering system developed by 16th-century French astronomer Joseph Justus Scaliger. He determined that the current Julian period began on January 1, 4713 B.C. of the Julian calendar; every 7,980 years, the count of years restarts.

For dating and comparing the timing of astronomical events and observations, John Herschel and other astronomers created a day-numbering system based on Scaliger’s Julian period. There are no months in a Julian day system; it simply counts the days, and fractions of days in decimals, since the period began. Julian day 0 occurred on January 1, 4713 B.C. The Julian day starts at noon Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time) so that nighttime astronomical events occur on one Julian day.

A Julian date includes the fraction of a Julian day. For example, on May 1, 2016 (Gregorian calendar date), at midnight (the start of the day on a common calendar) the Julian day number was 2457509, and the Julian date was 2457509.5. On May 1, 2016, at noon, the Julian day number changed to 2457510 and the Julian date to 2457510.0.

–Old Farmer’s Almanac

Holidays Around The World: Washington State Apple Blossom Festival

Washington State Apple Blossom Festival

The oldest blossom festival in the United States, this event has been held annually in Wenatchee, Washington, since 1920 (with the exception of the World War II years). It began with a suggestion from Mrs. E. Wagner, a Wenatchee resident who wanted to see something similar to the celebration held in her native New Zealand when the apple orchards were in bloom. Originally called Blossom Days, the event grew in size and popularity until it reached its current status as an 11-day festival drawing up to 100,000 spectators.

In 1947 the name of the festival was officially changed from the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival to its present name, although it continues to be held in Wenatchee, the “Apple Capital of the World.” In addition to seeing the Wenatchee Valley orchards in full bloom, the events include parades, a foodfest, a marching band competition, and sporting events. In 1967 the Aomori Apple Blossom Festival in Japan became Wenatchee’s “sister festival,” and the two towns have exchanged visitors a number of times.

Washington State Apple Blossom Festival
2 S. Chelan Ave., Ste. A
P.O. Box 2836
Wenatchee, WA 98801
509-662-3616; fax: 509-665-0347
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 326
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 89

This Day in History, May 3: Nellie Tayloe Ross Becomes First Woman to Head US Mint (1933)

Nellie Tayloe Ross Becomes First Woman to Head US Mint (1933)

Nellie Davis Tayloe Ross (November 29, 1876 – December 19, 1977) was an American politician, the 14th Governor of Wyoming from 1925 to 1927 and director of the United States Mint from 1933 to 1953. She was the first woman to be sworn in as governor of a U.S. state, and remains the only woman to have served as governor of Wyoming.[1]

Ross was born in St. Joseph, Missouri[2] to James Wynns Tayloe, a native of Tennessee, and Elizabeth Blair Green, who owned a plantation on the Missouri River. Her family moved to Miltonvale, Kansas in 1884, and she graduated from Miltonvale High School in 1892. She attended a teacher-training college for two years and taught kindergarten for four years.

On September 11, 1902, Ross married William B. Ross, whom she had met when visiting relatives in Tennessee in 1900. William B. Ross was governor of Wyoming from 1923 to his death on October 2, 1924. Ross succeeded her late husband’s successor Frank Lucas as governor when she won the special election, becoming the first female American governor on January 5, 1925. She was a staunch supporter of Prohibition during the 1920s. She lost re-election in 1926 but remained an active member of the Democratic Party.

In 1933, Ross became the first female Director of the United States Mint. Despite initial mistrust, she forged a strong bond with Mary Margaret O’Reilly, the Assistant Director of the Mint and one of the United States’ highest-ranking female civil servants of her time. Ross served five terms as Director, retiring in 1953. During her later years, she wrote for various women’s magazines and traveled. Ross died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 101.

Early life and education
Born Nellie Davis Tayloe in St. Joseph, Missouri,[2] Ross was the sixth child and first daughter of James Wynns Tayloe, a native of Stewart County, Tennessee, and his wife, Elizabeth Blair Green, who owned a plantation on the Missouri River.[3] In 1884, when Ross was seven years of age, her family moved to Miltonvale in Cloud County in northern Kansas. This relocation happened after her father’s old family home back in St. Joseph burned, and the sheriff was about to foreclose on the property.[3]

After Ross graduated from Miltonvale High School in 1892, her family moved to Omaha, Nebraska. During this time, she taught private piano lessons and attended a teacher-training college for two years. She then taught kindergarten for four years. Two of her brothers sent her on a trip to Europe in 1896.[2]

While on a visit to her relatives in Dover, Tennessee, in 1900, Ross met William Bradford Ross, whom she married on September 11, 1902. William Ross practiced law and planned to live in the American West. He moved to Cheyenne and established a law practice, bringing his wife to join him. Ross became a leader in the Democratic Party in Wyoming. He ran for office several times unsuccessfully, losing to Republican candidates each time.[4]

Governorship of Wyoming
In 1922, William Ross was elected governor of Wyoming by appealing to progressive voters in both parties. However, after little more than a year and a half in office, he died on October 2, 1924, from complications from an appendectomy. The Democratic Party then nominated his widow, Nellie, to run for governor in a special election the following month.[5]

Nellie Ross refused to campaign but easily won the race on November 4, 1924. On January 5, 1925, she became the first female governor in the history of the United States.[1] As governor she continued her late husband’s policies, which called for tax cuts, government assistance for poor farmers, banking reform, and laws protecting children, women workers, and miners. She urged Wyoming to ratify a pending federal amendment prohibiting child labor. Like her husband, she advocated the strengthening of prohibition laws.[6]

Ross ran for re-election in 1926, with the help of Cecilia Hennel Hendricks, but was narrowly defeated. She blamed her loss in part on her refusal to campaign for herself and her support for prohibition. Nevertheless, she remained active in the Democratic Party and campaigned for Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election though the two disagreed on prohibition. At the 1928 Democratic National Convention, she received 31 votes from ten states for vice president on the first ballot. She also gave a speech seconding Smith’s nomination. After the convention, she served as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as director of the DNC Women’s Division.[7][8]

Director of U.S. Mint

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Ross as director of the U.S. Mint on May 3, 1933, making her the first woman to hold that position.[9] Ross and the Mint’s Assistant Director Mary Margaret O’Reilly, “the Sweetheart of the Treasury” who had worked at the Mint since 1904, had mutual suspicions to overcome.[10][11] Ross, who had endured poor relations with Eleanor Roosevelt and others on FDR’s campaign, did not trust the career staff. O’Reilly saw another political appointee with no experience at the Mint Bureau replacing Robert J. Grant, who had been Denver Mint superintendent before his directorship.[10] After a brief period, the two women came to appreciate each other’s merits.[12]

Ross and O’Reilly soon came to the usual division of labor between director and assistant: the director would handle public affairs and make policy decisions as needed, while the assistant dealt with the day-to-day business of the bureau. Ross undertook a heavy travel schedule, visiting Mint facilities, making speeches backing Roosevelt, and campaigning for Democratic candidates in Wyoming. This left O’Reilly running the Washington office as acting director. The two women carried on a businesslike but warm correspondence during these times, with O’Reilly writing to Ross (who had embarked on a tour of the mints) “I am so anxious to have your mind at ease about the office here [in Washington] that I have resorted to rather frequent telegrams. They are so much more direct and up to date than letters … my love to you and every good wish for the success of your visits to our beloved mint institutions.”[13] Teva J. Scheer, biographer of Ross, suggests that O’Reilly would have found Ross’s reports from the field valuable; they showed how the Mint recovered from the initial years of the Depression, when relatively few coins were produced, to the mid-1930s, when strong demand for coinage led the bureau to run the mints with two or even three shifts.[14]

O’Reilly’s Retirement
In 1935, O’Reilly reached the mandatory federal retirement age of 70. Ross requested that President Roosevelt exempt O’Reilly from mandatory retirement because her knowledge of bureau affairs was so extensive and was badly needed. A special order of President Roosevelt gave O’Reilly an extra year in the Mint Service. During the extension, Ross hired Frank Leland Howard of the University of Virginia, who had a background in accounting, as O’Reilly’s prospective replacement. Howard replaced O’Reilly when she retired on October 29, 1938, after two more extensions.[15]

Ross’ tenure saw the Mint in 1944 investigate how several 1933 double eagles, never officially released, had come onto the market.[16] She is known for establishing the Franklin half dollar and starting the making of proof coins for public sale.[17] Ross served five full terms until her retirement in 1953 and was succeeded by William H. Brett, whom President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated in 1954.[18] Read More….


Inspiration for the Day for May 3: Self-reflexology






Exploring our feet through self-reflexology can be an easy and free way to support our mind, body and spirit.

Our feet are home to literally thousands of nerve endings and almost seventy acupuncture points, which is why foot reflexology is so effective. By massaging and stimulating specific areas on the soles of our feet, we can provide general support for our entire body, improve sleep patterns, increase physical and mental wellbeing and also alleviate chronic conditions such as sinusitis and digestive upset. Although it is wonderful to work with an experienced foot reflexologist whenever possible, we can also develop a practice of treating ourselves to a self-reflexology treatment if we take some time for this purpose before we begin our day or in the evening to relax before going to bed.

There are a number of different ways to work the soles of your feet, including walking barefoot on river stones, rolling each foot over a golf or tennis ball, or just using your fingers and hands to massage your feet. When starting a reflexology session, it’s a good idea to begin with loosening up your ankles – rotate each foot clockwise then counterclockwise about ten times. You might also want to pinch the end of your toes, which can increase circulation and drainage in your sinuses and stimulate your pituitary and pineal glands. Then you can begin massaging the ball of your foot, the arch, and the heel. If you find that an area is tender, it may indicate some distress or dysfunction occurring in the corresponding area of the body. You may want to explore what is going on with that organ or system.

Whether we are able to spend just a few minutes a day on this kind of self-care or a full half hour, our efforts are never wasted. By taking responsibility for our own health and taking time every day to connect with our body, we can not only assist our body in letting go of stress and dysfunction, but we can also continue to support an ongoing sense of wellness and vitality.


–Daily OM