Monday, September 5, 2011

it's labor day!

I have a hard time wishing a happy labor day because it seems contradictory.   Labor: a physical or mental exertion, especially when difficult or exhausting; to work, toil, strive painstakingly; to process with great effort; to distress, burden; to undergo the efforts of childbirth.

Happy and Labor feels a bit off, but you get my meaning; however, this entire weekend is typically the last hurrah for summertime activities and the symbolic end of summer.  Right on cue, our area has felt "hoodie weather" as my son calls it.  You can smell it and the days are somehow crisper and brighter (and cooler.) 
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Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the contributions of America's workforce.  No one knows who started it but the first celebration can be traced back to New York City's Union Square on September 5, 1892 and designed as a way to appease city workers after numerous strikes and even violence.  Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887 and it became a federal holiday in 1894.  The reason we stop wearing white after this weekend is that in the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans to vacation to warmer climates for months at a time and light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life.  If you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you will see people in dark clothes.  By contrast, the white linen suits were a look of leisure.
We spent this weekend recovering from surgery and hubby doted on me.  I get around better than expected but cannot drive until next week so I am confined at home for a bit.  We had quite a scare yesterday as our beloved finches flew their coop for a taste of freedom but seemed to hover in our garden trees.  Somehow, someway, Wayne was able to capture one of the males in our garage and have him lure the female, which he did.  She stayed close to the house all day and after five hours she entered the cage to eat some millet. He quickly put the brother in with her and they were very happy to be in their secure nest once again. We tried to get the third brother to come back home, to no avail so far.  Perhaps today he will rejoin Lady Antebellum as I call the trio.  If not, I bless him for all the joy he brought me and wish him well.
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I have grown quite fond of these finches and cherish their soothing sounds.  I found some interesting tidbits on animal symbolism pertaining to finches.  When finches come into our awareness it is a sure sign of exciting, ebullient times ahead.  Finches are a sparkly omen of high energy and bright days on the horizon.  Consider the flight pattern, in the same way you can pick up on a person's character by his gait, we can do the same with a bird's flight.  Finches are never satisfied to just go from point A to point B.  They seem to boogie from place to place; bouncing and bobbing through air currents is big fun for these birds.  Observing them gives you a feeling of freedom and happiness.  Native Americans held the finch as a bird of happiness.  They observed their variety and colors and considered this bird to be favored because they were painted in shades of bright joy.  Joyful dispositions and freedom-loving behaviors are admirable qualities much revered by our wise ancestors.  Native wisdom holds the finch as an oracle of celebration and upcoming festivities. 
These are song birds and their music heralds the bounty of spring.  The song of the finch holds a great deal of symbolism.  When the finch sings to our awareness it is a beckoning to unleash our own song.  If we've been concealing our brilliance from the world, the finch is a sign to start making our value more audible and available to others.  The finch will sing lightly to your heart, and guide you on a bouncy path of creativity.  If the finch comes into your life it may be a sign to get more involved with social activities.   The flight of finch is full of zeal and zest and the message here is enjoy the journey!  Their color is derived from food source (finches don't produce their own pigment.)  The quality of their food determines their brightness.  Better food, better color.  The message here is you are what you eat!  Feed your body good stuff and let it flourish brightly.  Finches feed their young plant matter (not meaty worms like most birds) and this message is nourish your body with good greens from the earth.  Did you know finches have, on the average, 12 tail feathers?  Twelve is symbolic of structure, particularly in matters of time (our 24 hour day is halved by 12, twelve signs of the western zodiac, twelve months in a calendar year)  Tail feathers are the rudders, so the finch may be telling us to navigate time wisely.  Finches are happy to nest anywhere.  They are extremely opportunistic (even using discarded nests from other birds) and seemingly easy to please.  The message appreciate what you have, and make the most of it!

Apple~Pineapple Pie

This is perfect pie weather.  Today I share a new creation based on my eldest son's favorite ingredients.  He loves apple pie, and he loves anything pineapple, so I decided to create a dish to satisfy all his taste buds.

1 package refrigerated piecrusts
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
2 large cooking apples, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Fit 1 piecrust into a 9" pieplate according to package directions, gently pressing out fold lines.  Combine pineapple and next 3 ingredients; stir in sugar and next 3 ingredients.  Spoon into prepared piecrust.  Cover with remaining piecrust.  Trim edges of pastry, seal edges and crimp.  If you like, mix one egg and little milk and lightly brush on crust.  Cut several slits in top for steam to escape.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 1 hour or until golden.

Be bright in your day...just as the finch encourages us to be! xo