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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Letuce eat salads

My baby lettuce are growing. I knew I planted them late and used seeds left over from last year but I can dream can't I? Here they are happliy raising their little lettuce arms to the sun.
baby lettuce


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My basket in the Sun (a little vent)

I very much want to move so I can get on with my life. I know I don't have to have the farm I want or even the house in the country to be eco friendly or slightly self sufficient. But it's so frustrating that I can't do some of the things I want to do living here.

My garden has to be in containers and movable, I have zero control over when the lawn maintenance people come, when they mow, what and where they spray, they even knocked over and spilled my rain barrel, (it wasn't full at the time).

I was reading Building Green by Clarke Snell & Tim Callahan. There is a section where they write about Housing Design, that a cat found a basket by a window in the sun and loved to lay in it. When the basket was moved slightly the cat had no interest in it but when the basket was returned to it's original spot the cat crawled back in. They're using that story to illustrate the point that you want your house to suit your needs. They call it your "basket in the sun". I want my basket in the sun!

With all this complaining I don't have it all that bad, I guess. I have some privacy granted by a fence overgrown with Japanese honeysuckle, I have a nice big water oak tree for shade, I'm able to recycle and have a small compost can outside, the farmer's market in my small town is open for the season (although there isn't much there yet), and I discovered a store that sells extracts and essential oils relatively near by. I wish there was a CSA near here, (the nearest on is at least an hour away by car), I'd like to be able to by raw milk, but it's illegal in this state and so are cow shares.

I dream of that house with a bountiful garden, a kitchen table covered with canning jars full of all sorts of things, a spinning wheel near the stove, and a content family enjoying each other's company.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Our garden

We're not able to plant things in the ground where we live so everything is in containers, but here is what we've got going so far.

This is oregano left over from lat year's garden. It spent the winter on the kitchen windowsill and it happy to be back outside in the fresh air.

Basil and Lemon Balm
This is basil and lemon balm. I'll probably re pot the lemon balm in a bit. We grew basil last year but it didn't survive our inexperience and the drought.

Bell peppers and Jalepeno
These are the two pepper plants we bought. Green bell peppers and jalapeƱo peppers. We grew both of these last year but we started them a bit early, the plants bolted a bit and we got small fruits.

and this is garlic. It's our first time with it too. It's been growing all winter and it's very hard to wait not knowing what's going on under ground :)

We also planted some leftover seeds from last year. Banana peppers, lettuce, sage and thyme, I hope the seeds still have enough get up and go to get up and go :)

Garlic and Onion Honey for Honeygar

I want to make honeygar. It's simply a little honey and a little cider vinegar mixed with a lot of water. It can be a simple refreshing drink or it's said to have several health benefits.

I decided to pack as much oomph into it as possible. I infused my honey with garlic and onion. Fill a small jar with honey, chop half an onion and a few cloves of garlic and let it steep for a little over two weeks. I had to shake it the first few days because the vegetables wanted to float but as the honey sucked their moisture out they began to blend. The honey really became diluted with all that added moisture. I wish I'd taken pics of the whole process but, honestly, I didn't think about it. I will next time. I strained the mixture into a measuring cup, threw the spent veggies in the compost and poured the liquid back into it's jar.

Garlic and onion are said to be beneficial to those who have colds, honey is soothing to sore throats and helps reduce cough. Now when one of us gets a cold or the sniffles. I can mix my infused honey and a little Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water.

I'm actually thinking of infusing the vinegar with something as well to pack even more into this mix but I haven't decided what to use yet.

April Progress on my Goals

These are the things we've done in April

  • Shopped at the Farmer's Market when it opened. There wasn't much to choose from just yet, but I'm sure there will be abundant choices as the season goes on.
  • Convinced Sam and John to try some Chickweed (Stelleria media). Sam was much more open to it than John :P
  • Listened to the song birds immediately get quiet when a hawk screamed.
  • Identified the back yard tree as a water oak.
  • Filled a jar with honey, chopped an onion and a few cloves of garlic and let it steep for 2 weeks. It's to be used alone and with Apple Cider Vinegar for colds.
  • Bought several plants, Basil, Lemon Balm, green bell pepper, and Jalapeno pepper. Planted seed we already had for lettuce, banana peppers, sage, thyme, and watermelon. (more on this in another post)
  • I've learned that there are also mock strawberries, mountain knapweed, catchweed, wood sorrel, white clover, and wild garlic in the yard. (See March's progress on goals to see others.) And still more to be identified.
  • Designed an expanded chart for what vegetables are in season when for my area.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lincoln County Farmer's Market opens April 19th

The Lincoln County, NC Farmer's Market opens April 19th 2008! The market will be open on Saturdays only until May31st. Starting May 31st it will be open on Saturday, Tuesdays and Thursday mornings. The market hours are 7am until noon or sell out so come early!

The new shelter is finished so there is no worry about being rained on :)

An article in the Lincoln Tribune

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Friday, April 11, 2008

One herb at a time

When I was 'studying' herbs before, I was very into gaining knowledge. I bought and half filled a journal with random bits of information about many different herbs and plants. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I can't tell you anything of substance that I wrote. I wrote it, but I didn't absorb it.


Now that I'm more seriously studying herbs and plants and nature in general, I'm taking my time with each thing. I'm learning all about an herb, how it's leaves grow, what it smells like, what it can be used for medicinally and culinarily (is that a word). I'm taking time to really stop and listen to the herb and I'm absorbing so much more.

I guess patience really is a virtue :P

The difference

At Herb Mentor there is an 'herb of the month' each month. Last month was Chickweed (stellaria media) . There is plenty of chickweed around here. I could go outside and touch it, smell it, taste it and use it. I learned a ton about Chickweed.

This month's herb is Stinging Nettle (Urtica diocia). It doesn't grow near me. It grows in my state but not in my area. So I haven't been able to go out and experience it in the flesh as it were. I didn't think it would matter much, after all I've not got every herb I'll be using growing in my yard or garden, but it really seems I need that hands on experience. I need to touch it, taste it, use it.

In the past I've had no problem getting and retaining information just from reading it in a book But this herb thing is different and very frustrating to me. Yes, I'm still learning about the herb and it's medicinal and nourishing properties, but I"m not getting that personal relationship with it that I had with the chickweed.

LOL that sounds a bit kooky but it's absolutely how I feel.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It feels right

There is a song by Moving Breath and a rendition by Robert Gass that consists of these lyrics

Ancient Mother, I hear you calling
Ancient Mother, I hear your song
Ancient Mother, I hear you laughing
Ancient Mother, I taste you tears
These words are really speaking to me lately. I've always wanted to be able to walk through the woods and identify the plants. I've always wanted to know which plants are food and which ones can be used as medicine and for what. Since I've started really studying those things, it's like some primal part of me is waking up. It feels right, in a way that I can only assume is similar to religious feelings. It just feels right to walk through the weeds.

I've never liked modern medicine. I've shied away from doctor visits whenever possible and suffered through the headaches rather than popping a pill. It's wonderful to know that I can drink herbal teas or take drops of herbal extracts to mend my ills and those of my family.

I'm getting more in touch with my body lately as well. I know that sounds weird. How could you live in your body and be out of touch with it? But trust me, it's possible and I was doing it. I'm noticing how what I eat affects my moods and energy levels.

I was always a proponent of not subduing a cough, your body is coughing because it wants that stuff out. Not coughing is counter productive to healing. Although I am willing to take something for the cough at night when it interferes with sleep. The same is true for a slight fever. When you have a fever that's part of the body's defense system. It's elevating the body temperature to make it a more hostile place for the bacteria. Quashing a fever messes with that line of defense. It's wonderful to find that the way I've always felt was right is indeed right.

I wish there was a wise woman type person around here that I could talk with and absorb some knowledge from. I hope I can be the wise woman, the crone for the future people who feel as I do.

Resistance is futile

I'm a quiet person. I'm totally content to be alone with my thoughts in glorious silent solitude. Of course occasionally I cut these ties that bind me and babble and twitter on and on about the most inane things, just ask John :) But the majority of the time I don't speak unless I have something to say. I don't usually post to message boards unless I have something to add that's of substance, and I don't do blog memes. But I'm also getting the odd comment that my blog isn't updated often enough and some of these things look slightly entertaining so What the hell?

We shall begin with one that is at least slightly herbal. What Kind of Flower Are You enjoy :P

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chamomile Tea for the eyes

I have itchy, red, swollen eyes, it's caused by allergies but I'm walking around looking like I have pinkeye :P I decided to try an herbal remedy and since I'm new at this I decided to go for something simple. I brewed a cup of chamomile tea, let it steep for 20 minutes, covered, allowed it to cool and then dabbed it on my poor eyes with a cotton ball every hour on the hour, Saturday evening. I also dripped some drops directly into my eye as an eye wash. It smelled great and was very effective. It relived the pain almost immediately and the eye was better that night and the next day. Of course I was too silly to keep applying it when the eye was feeling better so now it's all red and irritated again on Tuesday. But I'm going to start the treatment again and keep with it this time. I'm going to look into getting some bee pollen soon and I need to grab some local honey. I hate allergies.