Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and I found an article discussing interesting facts—most I did not know!

Interesting Aquamarine Facts

By Iskra Banović

April 6th, 2018

Whether you’re attracted to the tranquil blue shades or the crystal clear facets, aquamarine has a way of capturing its audience. It’s no surprise then that aquamarine is arguably the most popular colored gemstone on the market. Not only that, its ancient history makes it one of the oldest. Discover some of the most interesting aquamarine facts and begin to understand the intricacies behind the mesmerizing March birthstone.

Aquamarine Means Sea Water

Aquamarine has such an enchanting name. It reminds me of a mermaid with long turquoise hair and piercing blue eyes. Though, the name is based on the old Latin term aqua marīna which roughly translates as water of the sea. Seawater can either depict a dirty, undesirable gulp of saltwater or a crystal clear beach in paradise. I think the latter is a better fit.

Aquamarine is the Official Birthstone of March

Aquamarine has been the official birthstone of March since 1912. It is also linked to the 19th wedding anniversary and the zodiac sign Scorpio among others.

Sailors Love Aquamarine

Since the days of myths and chariots, aquamarine has been linked to the sea. Sailors would take fancy carved aquamarine pendants and tokens with them on long sea voyages in the hopes that the stone would protect them from seasickness and uncertain death. I know there have been many treasures and jewels uncovered at the bottom of the ocean, but how many of them happen to be aquamarine? If the legend is true, I would guess not too many.

Anxiety? Wearing Aquamarine Could Relax You

Not only does aquamarine dispel seasickness and act as a protector on the high seas, but it also is a calming stone used in meditation. The stone is thought to relax the senses and aid in calming the nerves.

The Largest Gem-Quality Aquamarine Weighs 244 Pounds

There are a lot of unique famous aquamarine gemstones, and many of them are big and colorful. The largest stone on record weighs 244 pounds and was mined in Brazil in 1910.

Aquamarine is Heat Treated

Unfortunately, a lot of aquamarine on the market today is heat-treated. Some stones, like blue topaz, are virtually colorless before they undergo treatment to transform completely into a deep and different color. Aquamarine isn’t like that. The stone comes out of the ground with a particular tone and hue. The stone’s hue doesn’t become deeper or change when it goes through heat treatment. All that happens is that, if successful, all green undertones are removed.

Sky Blue is the Most Desirable Shade of Aquamarine

Over the course of aquamarine’s history, the desired shade has varied from turquoise green to sky blue. Right now it seems like the jewelry industry and consumers favor a pure sky blue aquamarine color. Because of this, heat treatment to remove green undertones is so common that it even happens right on-site at the mine before the rough is even cut.

Some Aquamarine Loses Its Color in Sunlight

There is a variety of beryl on the market that goes by the name of maxixe aquamarine. This stone comes in a very deep, beautiful blue tone. There’s a catch, though. When this stone is exposed to sunlight, the color slowly fades to light yellowish green. Buyer beware!

There are A LOT of Fakes

Even though there are no synthetic aquamarine gemstones on the market, there are a lot of simulated ones. Many of these are marketed as a fancied name aquamarine.

Learn more about simulated aquamarines in our aquamarine buying guide.

Aquamarine is Durable Enough for Engagement Rings

Ranking between 7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness puts aquamarine in the “everyday wear” range. Careful, though. Aquamarine can still scratch on its surface, especially by other harder gemstones like sapphire and diamond.


Spring Has Sprung!

What does Spring mean to you? An end to winter?

Time for fun and games?

How about Spring cleaning? Are you pro or con?

If you are going to spend your time cleaning, remember to first get everything out of your way.  It will be easier.

But when you’re finished, everything will be in its place!

But then you can rest!


What Shall We Make Today

Today we’re making Savory Potato Skins!


4 large baking potatoes (about 12 ounces each)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Optional: Sour cream and chives


Preheat oven to 375°. Scrub potatoes; pierce several times with a fork. Place on a greased baking sheet; bake until tender, 1-1-1/4 hours. Cool slightly.

Cut each potato lengthwise in half. Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in.-thick shells (save pulp for another use).

Cut each half shell lengthwise into quarters; return to baking sheet. Brush insides with butter. Mix seasonings; sprinkle over butter.

Broil 4-5 inches from heat until golden brown, 5-8 minutes. If desired, mix sour cream and chives and serve with potato skins.



The ocelot also known as the dwarf leopard, is a wild cat.

Ocelots live primarily in the rain forests of South America. They also live in Central America, Mexico and even some as far north as southern Texas.

Ocelots are found in a variety of habitats, including tropical forests, savannas, grasslands, mangrove forests and marshes, and thorn scrub regions.

Their primary habitat requirement is dense vegetative cover. Ocelots are found in open areas only when it’s cloudy or at night when there is a new moon.

They generally live at elevations below 3,937 feet, but have been sighted at 11,482 feet as well.

Average lifespan of ocelot is 10 to 13 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.

Ocelots range in color from light yellow to reddish gray, with dark spots and stripes. They have dark stripes on their cheeks and their tailed have rings of dark fur.

The ocelot ranges from 27 to 39 inches in length, plus 10 to 18 inches in tail length.

Weight for females is from 14.3 to 25.3 pounds, and for males is from 15 to 34 pounds.

Ocelots are nocturnal, meaning they’re most active at night. During the day, they rest in the hollow trees, on the branches or dense vegetation.

Like all small cats, ocelots have very good vision and hearing.

Their eyes have a special layer that collects light.

They use their sharp vision and hearing to hunt: rabbits, baby peccaries, young deer, rodents, iguanas, frogs, fish, monkeys, sloths and birds.

When they’re ready to eat, the wild cats don’t chew their food—instead they use their teeth to tear meat into pieces and then swallow it whole.

Ocelots have raspy tongues, which successfully remove every little piece of meat from bones.

Although predators themselves, ocelots occasionally become the prey of harpy eagles, pumas, jaguars, and anacondas.

Ocelots spend most of their time on the ground but are strong swimmers and good climbers and jumpers.

Ocelots communicate with each other using body language, scent marking, and vocalizations.

Ocelots are territorial and solitary creatures.

Ocelots are very active,traveling from 1.1 to 4.1 miles per night. Males traveling nearly twice as far as females.

Their home ranges are between0.7 and 12 square miles, depending on habitat. Male ranges are larger than females and do not overlap with those of other males. But male ranges tend to overlap with those of several females.

Female ocelots are called Queens while male ocelots are called Torns.

Males and females gather only during the mating season. In tropical areas, ocelots can reproduce throughout the whole year. In temperate climate, ocelots mate at the end of the summer.

An ocelot family is made up of an adult female and her young. After breeding, the male and female ocelots go their separate ways. The female is pregnant for a little over two months before she gives birth in a hollow tree, rocky bluff, cave, or secluded thicket to usually 1 but sometimes up to 4 kittens.

The kittens are born with their spots but have gray coats and blue eyes that turn golden brown when they’re about three months old.

The youngster begins to walk when it is 3 weeks old. As the kitten grows, the mother ocelot teaches it how to hunt, usually at four to 6 weeks of age, and the kitten is able to eat solid food at 8 weeks, although it may continue to nurse for 6 months.

By the time it is8 months old, the youngster’s adult teeth are in, and it can hunt for itself, but may stay in the mother’s home range for up to 2 years.

From the early 1960’s to the mid 1980’s, Ocelot fur coats sold for $40,000.00 and the live animal as a pet sold for $800.00. At one time, more than 200,000 ocelots per year were killed for their coats. Today, with laws prohibiting hunting for the fur trade, there are no Ocelot coats for sale, and the “pet” Ocelot is a thing of the past.

Today, the Ocelot is listed by the IUCN as being a species that is of Least Concern of becoming extinct in their natural environment in the near future. Although some populations are small and unstable, the Ocelot is widespread but the general population trend is now decreasing. This is mainly due to habitat loss as vast areas particularity in the Amazon, are subject to drastic deforestation and no longer provide the dense cover and adequate food supply that the Ocelot needs to survive.

It is estimated that there are anywhere from 800,000 to 1.5 million left.

Salvador Dali frequently traveled with his pet ocelot Babou, even bringing it aboard the luxury ocean liner SS France.

Its name came from the Mexican Aztec word tlalocelot, which means field tiger.

The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped animals and often depicted the ocelot in their art.

The Belizean name for the ocelot is the same as the margay – ‘tiger cat’.

The collective name for a group of Ocelots is a clowder or clutter.


The Fountain of Youth

Most People Don’t Know There’s A Fountain Of Youth Hiding Deep In Pennsylvania’s WoodsTucked away in the woods of North Park near Wexford, Pennsylvania lies an attraction that relatively few know about: a Fountain of Youth. It borders on mythological, yet this small designated stone structure has become a landmark for photographers and explorers alike. Here’s more on this spring house structure and how you might find it:The Fountain of Youth is located in North Park, at 10127 Kummer Rd, Wexford, PA 15090.

The springhouse was constructed in the 1930s in the style of a Roman cavern, complete with an archway made of stone and, of course, the center disc which reads “Fountain of Youth.”

The structure is home to a spring, which until the 1950s was used as a local water source. Today, visitors will notice a warning sign that the water has not been treated.

Step inside to the cool, cave-like interior and on the back wall, you’ll notice the space where the pump was broken off after the water was considered unsafe.

You’ll then exit the space facing west, the direction that, according to local folklore, represents the struggles of middle age, the sacred feminine, and the power of water.

Whether or not you believe in the healing properties of this site (as the water itself is not safe to drink), there’s no denying its fascinating history and symbolism.

If you plan on visiting the Fountain of Youth, you’ll be in for a bit of a hike. Be sure to wear shoes that you can walk through the woods with.

The best way to access the Fountain of Youth springhouse is by parking along the small gravel pull-off and continuing along the path leading down to the creek.

SOURCE: onlyinyourstate

No Blarney

15 St. Patrick’s Day Facts

St. Patrick’s Day always falls on the 17th of March.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in America—not in Ireland.

The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is the world’s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States.

Chicago began its annual tradition of turning the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s Day in 1962.

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day had been viewed mostly as a religious observance, and up until the 1960s, they even had laws that forbid bars from being open that day.

It wasn’t until 1798 (the year of the Irish Rebellion) that the color green became officially associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Before then, another color was originally associated with St. Patrick (see the trivia below!).

St. Patrick’s Day switched over from a strictly holy day for Catholics to an official Irish public holiday in 1903.

Although St. Patrick’s Day falls within the period of Lent—a time when the Catholic Church prohibits eating meat, the ban is lifted on this specific day of celebration.

The annual shamrock ceremony in the White House started in 1952.

Each year, 5.5 million people visit New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Before St. Patrick became a missionary, he had been kidnapped at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave.

St. Patrick is said to have been buried in the town of Downpatrick, County Down, in Northern Ireland.

There are two autobiographical writings from St. Patrick himself, including Confessio and Letter to Coroticus.

Traditionally, Catholic families go to church in the morning on St. Patrick’s Day, and partake in a meal that includes cabbage and Irish bacon.

Dublin’s first official celebration of St. Patrick’s Day did not occur until 1931.

15 St. Patrick’s Day Trivia Questions

Question: What’s another name for St. Patrick’s Day?
Answer: The Feast of Saint Patrick.

Question: Where was Saint Patrick actually born?
Answer: Roman Britain (What is now either England, Scotland or Wales).

Question: How many hours does the NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade take?
Answer: Over five hours.

Question: How many pounds of green vegetable dye are now used to turn the Chicago River green?
Answer: 40 pounds.

Question: What do some historians believe was St. Patrick’s real name?
Answer: Maewyn Succat.

Question: According to legend, what happened during one of St. Patrick’s sermons on the Irish hillside?
Answer: Legend has it that while he was speaking, all of the snakes were driven out into the sea.

Question: What color was originally associated with St. Patrick?
Answer: Blue.

Question: According to legend, what did St. Patrick use to describe the Holy Trinity?
Answer: The shamrock.

Question: What is another term used for Ireland?
Answer: “The Emerald Isle.”

Question: What does St. Patrick’s name mean?
Answer: “Patricius,” or “Patrick,” comes from the Latin term for “father figure.”

Question: Why did it take until 1998 for the city of Belfast (in Northern Ireland) to have a St. Patrick’s Day parade?
Answer: Because of Protestant hostility toward the display of Irish national symbols.

Question: According to Hallmark, how many Americans exchange St. Patrick’s Day cards each year?
Answer: 12 million Americans.

Question: Why was St. Patrick’s Day once celebrated in May instead of March?
Answer: In 2001, a foot-and-mouth outbreak ran rampant in Ireland, so Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was moved to May (with a great turnout of 1.2 million!).

Question: From 1927 to 1961, where was the one place in Ireland that legally allowed drinking on St. Patrick’s Day?
Answer: The RDS Dog Show.

Question: Is St. Patrick’s Day the most popular drinking day in America?
Answer: No, it’s actually the fourth most popular (behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas Day and the Fourth of July).

Source: Parade


Beautiful daffodil flowers adorn countless gardens around the world. Delicate and fragrant, they are a true embodiment of the fragile natural beauty. They require some care, which, of course, does not stop stubborn gardeners who want to decorate their home or summer cottage.

Interesting facts about daffodils

They got their name in honor of Narcissus, one of the characters of ancient Greek myths, who was so beautiful that he fell in love with his own reflection.

Botanically speaking, daffodils are herbs.

Daffodils are poisonous flowers, an attempt to eat any of their parts can lead to fatal poisoning.

Perfumers have been making fragrant essential oil from narcissus flowers for over 2,000 years.

In the language of flowers, the daffodil symbolizes selfishness and false hopes.

The ancient Greek goddess Persephone is usually depicted with these flowers.

In total, there are 113 types of daffodils in the world.

Daffodils grow wild only in Europe. The only exception is a single species that grows in Asia.

There is a surprisingly interesting place in Ukraine – the Valley of Narcissuses, a huge nature reserve overgrown with these plants. It is under the protection of UNESCO.

In the modern perfume industry, natural essential oil from daffodils is almost never found. It was almost completely replaced by synthetic.

The English call daffodils spring lilies.

Daffodils bloom for a surprisingly long time, if, of course, you take care of them properly. In this case, flowering can last up to 5-6 months.

The juices of this plant are able to kill the rest of the flora, therefore, before adding daffodils to a bouquet with other flowers, they are first cut off and kept separately for about a day in water so that the poison comes out.

Animals practically do not eat daffodils for the same reason – poison.

In ancient Rome, daffodils were given to commanders who returned victorious from the battlefield.

It is the daffodil that is the symbol of the county of Wales.

On New Year’s Eve in China, daffodils are the main decoration and symbol in general.

According to surveys, in the UK, daffodils are the favorite flower of most residents. Roses are in second place.

What Shall We Bake Today?

I was so intrigued when I saw this picture, I just had to see the recipe!  It seemed easy enough, although I have not attempted it myself yet.  (I will update if I do by post time.)

Shamrock Pound Cake


2 packages (16 ounces each) pound cake mix

10 drops green food coloring

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 to 5 teaspoons 2% milk


Preheat oven according to package directions. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Prepare one package cake mix according to package directions, adding food coloring and extract before mixing batter. Transfer to prepared pan. Bake and cool as package directs.

Cut cooled cake into 1-in.-thick slices. Cut slices with a 2-1/2-in. shamrock-shaped cookie cutter (save remaining cake for another use). Stand shamrock slices at an angle in a greased 9×5-in. loaf pan.

Prepare remaining cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter around and over shamrock slices. Bake and cool as package directs.

For glaze, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, extract and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Pour glaze over cake, allowing some to flow over sides.

The Magnificent Monarch

I found an interesting article about Monarch butterfly facts on the Birds and Blooms website!

11 Fascinating Monarch Butterfly Facts

Emily Hannemann

Updated: Jan. 31, 2023

Learn facts about the monarch butterfly, including how to tell male and female monarchs apart and if monarchs are poisonous.

Monarch Butterfly Host Plant

There’s only one host plant for a monarch butterfly—milkweed! Choose native varieties for your area such as common milkweed, butterfly weed, swamp milkweed and showy milkweed. Create a monarch haven with our complete guide to growing milkweed.

Not All Orange Butterflies Are Monarchs

Soldier, queen and viceroy butterflies all are mostly orange and black and look similar to monarch butterflies. But they all have differences that set them apart. Monarchs have bright orange wings with multiple black veins. Their wings are edged in black with white speckles.

Male Monarch Butterflies

The easiest way to tell a male monarch butterfly from a female monarch is by looking for two dark spots on the hindwings—the female butterflies don’t have these spots.

A Female Monarch Butterfly Lays Hundreds of Eggs

A female monarch in the wild can lay up to 500 eggs on milkweed plants throughout her lifetime. Butterflies raised in captivity can lay even more.

Are Monarch Butterflies and Caterpillars Poisonous?

Caterpillars eat only milkweed, which contains a poisonous chemical that protects them from predators. The chemicals stay in their system to make even the adults taste bad. Bright orange wings let predators know that monarch butterflies are poisonous.

How Long Does a Monarch Butterfly Live?

These gorgeous butterflies are a welcome summer sight, but unfortunately, most of them don’t live long. The adult monarchs you see fluttering through your backyard when the weather’s warm typically live only about 4 or 5 weeks — just long enough to mate and produce the next group. It takes four generations of monarchs to complete their annual migration journey before ending up in your garden again. However, the fourth “super generation” that overwinters in Mexico can live for as long as eight months.

How Fast Do Monarch Butterflies Fly?

It’s all about speed for these butterflies. Monarch butterflies can flap their wings up to 12 times a second when flying at their fastest.

How Far Do Monarch Butterflies Migrate?

Here’s a fun monarch butterfly fact. These amber beauties could fly circles around other species. Monarch butterflies fly a long distance during fall migration, farther than any other tropical butterfly—up to 3,000 miles.

Monarchs Have a Great Sense of Direction

Monarch butterflies don’t need a GPS to locate their migration destination. Many of the gorgeous travelers find their way to the same exact location, perhaps even to one particular tree, where previous generations have wintered before. 

Monarch Butterfly Wings Need to Stay Warm

Monarch butterfly wings are fascinating and complex. In order for these delicate creatures to fly, their wing muscles must stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where Do Monarch Butterflies Live?

You can find monarchs everywhere from cities to rural fields and mountain pastures. When breeding, they prefer open areas.

SOURCE: Birds&Blooms


Nutmeg is the common name for a dark-leaved evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans, that is cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit, “nutmeg” and “mace.”

The nutmeg is the oval-shaped seed, and mace is the bright red webbing that surrounds the seed.

The tree is native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia.

Nutmeg is known to have been a prized and costly spice in European medieval cuisine as a flavoring, medicinal, and preservative agent.

Saint Theodore the Studite (ca. 758 C.E. – ca. 826), was famous for allowing his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their pease pudding when required to eat it.

In Elizabethan times, it was believed that nutmeg could ward off the plague, so nutmeg was very popular.

Around1600 it became important as an expensive commercial spice in the Western world and was the subject of Dutch plots to keep prices high and of English and French counterplots to obtain fertile seeds for transplantation.

Until the mid-19th century, the Spice Islands, was the only location of the production of the spices nutmeg and mace in the world.

As a result of the Dutch interregnum during the Napoleonic Wars, the British took temporary control of the Spice Islands from the Dutch and transplanted nutmeg trees, complete with soil, to Sri Lanka, Penang, Bencoolen, and Singapore. From these locations they were transplanted to their other colonial holdings elsewhere, notably Zanzibar and Grenada.

Today, Indonesia and Grenada dominate production and exports of both products, with world market shares of 75% and 20%, respectively. Other producers include India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Caribbean islands.

The nutmeg tree is a small evergreen tree, usually 16–43 ft tall, but occasionally reaching 66 ft. The tree may bear fruit for more than 60 years.

The alternately arranged leaves are dark green, 2.0–5.9 inches long by 0.8–2.8 inches wide with petioles about 0.4 inches long.

The species is dioecious, i.e. maleorstaminate flowers and “female” or carpellate flowers are borne on different plants, although occasional individuals produce both kinds of flower. The flowers are bell-shaped, pale yellow and somewhat waxy and fleshy. Staminate flowers are arranged in groups of one to ten, each 0.2–0.3 inches long; carpellate flowers are in smaller groups, one to three, and somewhat longer, up to 0.4 inches long.

Trees produce smooth yellow ovoid or pear-shaped fruits, 2.4–3.5 inches long with a diameter of 1.4–2.0 inches. The fruit has a fleshy husk. When ripe the husk splits into two halves along a ridge running the length of the fruit.

Inside is a purple-brown shiny seed, 0.8–1.2 inches long by about 0.8 inches across, with a red or crimson covering (an aril).

Nutmeg has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog.

Mace’s flavor is similar to nutmeg but more delicate; it is used to flavor baked goods, meat, fish, vegetables and in preserving and pickling. The more delicate flavor of mace makes this spice much more expensive than nutmeg and also because its yield is about ten times less that of nutmeg.

Nutmeg is known to impact health in many ways because of its nutritive content of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds related to the essential oils. These beneficial components include dietary fiber, manganese, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, copper, and macelignan.

The health benefits of nutmeg include ability to relieve pain, reduce insomnia, detoxify the body, helps digestion, brightens skin, protect the teeth and gums, helps lower blood pressure, increases circulation, prevents leukemiand and protect cognitive functionality against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Nutmeg butter is obtained from the nut by expression. It is semisolid, reddish-brown in color, and tastes and smells of nutmeg.

The essential oil obtained by steam distillation of ground nutmeg is used widely in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.

Nutmeg contains myristicin, a natural compound that has mind-altering effects if ingested in large doses. The buzz can last one to two days and can be hallucinogenic, much like LSD.

Exactly how much nutmeg you can tolerate before becoming ill depends partly on your body mass. In one case, an eight-year-old child ate just 0.5 ounce of nutmeg and died from the effects, according to A.K. Demetriades, M.D., of University College London Hospital. From 1 to 3 tbsp. of nutmeg powder, or 1 to 3 whole nutmeg seeds, causes illness in most people.

Nutmeg is highly neurotoxic to dogs and causes seizures, tremors, and nervous system disorders which can be fatal.

Connecticut’s nickname is the “Nutmeg State because its early inhabitants had the reputation of being so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell wooden nutmegs. Sam Slick (Judge Halliburton) seems to be the originator of this story. Some claim that wooden nutmegs were actually sold, but they do not give either the time or the place.

Source: JustFunFacts