All About Thyme
  A Monthly Calendar of Times & Seasonings

  Celebrating the Mysteries, Magic, and Myths of Herbs
Susan Wittig Albert  
September 3, 2018
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This Month's Special Days:
A Potpourri of Celebrations

Herb of the Year for 2018: Hops
Flower of the Month for September: Aster
September is Better Breakfast Month.
Week 1. National Waffle Week (10 healthy recipes).
September 6: Read a Book Day.
September 9: California was admitted to the Union on this day in 1850. The state flower: the California poppy.

Week 2. National Arts in Education Week.
September 13: National Peanut Day. Check out these pea-nutty facts. Also International Chocolate Day. We can think of several ways to pair up these two favorites.
September 16: Today is the feast of St. Ninian, especially venerated in Scotland.

Week 3. Constitution Week.
September 19: National Butterscotch Pudding Day. (We have no idea who came up with this one, but we definitely approve.)
September 20: National Punch Day (No, not that kind. Be gentle.)
September 22: The Fall Equinox and the first day of autumn.

Week 4. National Banned Books Week, celebrating our freedom to choose the books we read.
September 26: Johnny Appleseed's birthday.
September 29: International Coffee Day.

Vanilla: Worth its Weight in Silver

Watch for Susan's upcoming China Bayles' mystery, A Plain Vanilla Murder, coming in May, 2019.

Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) is so flavorful and fragrant that it's hard to imagine dessert without it. And in its native Mexico, it was so valuable that the Totonac Indians (the first to cultivate it) thought that it sprang from the blood of a princess, who was captured and slain when she fled with her lover. When the Totonac were conquered by the Aztecs, they were required to pay taxes and tributes with vanilla beans. It's fair to say that vanilla was literally worth its weight in silver.


Things to Do in September

* Remember St. Ninian by planting his special herb, southernwood, an artemisia. In Scotland, this plant is known as "apple-ringie" and was pressed in Bibles to perfume them. Also known as Lad's love, it is said that boys presented it to girls they wanted to court. However, it was also used as an astringent antiseptic treatment for teen-age acne, which may be the real reason for the name Lad's love. "Boiled with barley meal and laid unto them, southernwood takes away pimples." —Nicholas Culpeper, Herbal, 1653

* In honor of Johnny Appleseed, bake this simple and wholesome apple cake, then take the kids outdoors and plant an apple tree in your backyard.

* Celebrating Punch Day. The word "punch" derives from the Hindustani word "panch," or five. No, Punch Day is not an excuse to drink five glasses of punch! Instead, it celebrates the traditional punch recipe of five ingredients: alcohol, lemon (or other fruits), sugar, water, and spiced tea (or tea plus other spices). For a galaxy of stellar party punches, check out this collection of 17 punch recipes!

* Discover the magic of the Fall Equinox in Ellen Duggan's book, Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon. Learn to make herbal soap, cook seasonal foods, put together a homemade centerpiece, and practice spells and rituals using easy-to-find supplies. Creative, imaginative fun. We also like Ellen's companion book, Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up.

* Warm up the first week of autumn with a dish of homemade butterscotch pudding, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Or try this sinfully yummy butterscotch bread pudding with bourbon and pecans. And if you always wondered where "butterscotch" came from, read about it here.

* Find out what Susan is up to by visiting her blog, Lifescapes. Gardening, reading, writing—there's always something interesting going on at Meadow Knoll.

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Who's Susan Albert?

Susan Wittig Albert is the author of two recent memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place. Her fiction, which has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, includes Loving Eleanor and A Wilder Rose (biographical/historical novels); the China Bayles mysteries; the Darling Dahlias mysteries; the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter; and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. She is founder and current president of the Story Circle Network, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, and Honorary President (2012-2014) of the Herb Society of America. More

To find out what's going on in Susan Albert's life in the Texas Hill Country, read Susan's blog.

Follow Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & BookBub.

Who's China Bayles?

She's the beloved fictional herbalist in Susan Wittig Albert's popular mystery series, set in Pecan Springs TX. For more about her books, visit

For more about herbs and the passing seasons, read China Bayles' Book of Days.

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The Darling Dahlias & the Poinsettia Puzzle

It's Christmas, 1934, and the citizens of little Darling, Alabama, are unwrapping a big package of Christmas puzzles. You'll enjoy your holiday visit to Darling, where real people have courage, respect for their neighbors, and the dream of doing their best, even when they're not sure what that is. Preorder now, read in October, cherish all year.


Susan's latest books! Watch for our bookstore to open again in September.

Loving Eleanor

Don't miss Susan's prizewinning novel about the friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok.

"This warm, extensively researched novel will entrance readers and inspire them to look further into the lives of two extraordinary women." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Now available!

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Order from your local independent bookseller
The General's Women

A compelling novel about love, betrayal, and ambition by New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert, The General's Women tells the story of two women—Kay Summersby and Mamie Eisenhower—in love with the same man: General Dwight Eisenhower.

Available in ebook and print.

Amazon / B&N /
Order from your local independent bookseller
A Wilder Rose

Named to Kirkus' best of Indie 2013 Books! Susan's historical / biographical novel tells the story of Rose Wilder Lane's collaboration with her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder in the writing of the famous Little House books.

"Pitch-perfect... A nuanced, moving, and resonant novel... an absolute pleasure." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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