Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wishing Tree

The girls and I were talking about our wishes this morning around the kitchen table, wishes for ourselves and the world and I remembered hearing of a very special way of sending your wishes into the universe.
My friend Carrie was lucky enough to attend the Fairy Festival last year and recalled taking a beautiful hike through the woods dotted with fairy dwellings. She went on to say she rounded a bend in the trail and came to a large clearing where there were several children writing wishes on pieces of torn bed sheets and tying them to a tree. I thought this would be such a cool way for the kids to send their thoughts of hope into the wind.

We tied jingle bells to the ends of our wishes and now the tree tinkles in the breeze...quite magical.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Harvest Saturday

I had such a wonderful day today! There is nothing quite as sweet as going into the damp garden early in the morning and beginning your day gathering crisp chard for that nights dinner. After I took my basket-full into the house, I was hooked. Next was the herbs...thyme, sage, cilantro, mullein, basil, yarrow, mint, oregano and dock. I spent two hours just getting them strung and bundled to dry. After that was done, I thought I would relax and take a stroll through the woods. Good thing I brought my scissors! I could barley wrap all my fingers around the stems of all the flowers! Daisies, poppies, milkweed, chickweed and corn flower.
Whew! I'm exhausted...but he kitchen smells great!

We have gathered a basket-full of swiss chard every week for three weeks now and the plants just keep on giving. Here is one of my favorite recipes:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in green onions; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Stir in garbanzo beans, and season with salt and pepper; heat through. Place chard in pan, and cook until wilted. Add tomato slices, squeeze lemon juice over greens, and heat through.

These yellow flowers are mullein blooms. I harvest these to make as infusion for ear aches. You crush the blooms, put them in a jar, cover with olive oil, cap and set in a warm place for 2 weeks. Strain before use.

Thyme is my all time favorite herb. I love the look, the smell, the taste and it's many medicinal uses.

Cilantro: I am going to try this recipe I found at http://www.fatfree.com/archive/1998/nov/msg00221.html for Sofrito

Mullein leaves:

The plant has a long history of use in many cultures. In Europe it has been used for coughs, cramps, tumors, swelling and gout. In Ireland, it is considered for all lung problems and is extensively cultivated and kept on hand. In England, mullein has been used for hundreds of years and is mentioned in almost every medical herbal. In North America the Indians soaked their sprains in mullein water to heal them and pneumonia was cured by bathing the patient in its cool essence.
The mullein leaves were steeped and the steam was inhaled to cure sore throat, catarrh, and asthma. The Indians used it to cure skin sores and eruptions. Mullein is very effective when taken in the early stages of infection, when the lungs feel hot and dry and the throat is hoarse, raspy, and when there is a slight fever present. It is one of the best herbs to use in lymphatic congestion. The lymphatic system plays a major role in cleansing the body from impurities and works continually to protect the body from toxins.
Mullein is rich in organic iron, easily assimilated to build healthy red blood, but not stored. It also contains vitamin C, bioflavonoids, B complex, vitamin A, potassium and calcium. It has a high mucilage content and contains mild saponins.

More goodies from the herb garden.....

basil and oregano...
sour dock seeds
wild daisy

I love this time of year

Potato Harvest

Hmmmm, I wonder if we have potatoes yet?
Look! A baby!

Here's another one!

I found some big ones!

I just love potatoes...

Ohhh, a white one

We have so many. Let's eat some for dinner.

washed and chopped...


seasoned and ready to eat!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Trees and Plants


I found this incredible website this morning and wanted to share it with all of you.
Here is an excerpt from the "about us" section:

Every year millions of healthy high-quality plants go unsold and are destroyed.

They go to the dump,
They get plowed under,
They get burned or buried.

It's a huge waste.

They come from the very same growers that supply many of the most
famous garden catalogs. I know because I'm an avid gardener and horticultural
photographer. I've taken a lot of the photos you see in many of those same catalogs.

I also strongly support the sheltered workshop movement. Hundreds-of-thousands
of workers with disabilities find meaningful jobs in workshops all across the country.

The ongoing problem is to find work to be done.

We started this web site to help solve both problems. We find unsold
nursery stock and have it packaged by sheltered workshops.

We give away the plants to anyone who will send shipping and processing.

Free Trees and Plants.com is not a nonprofit charity. We do not ask for,
or accept, contributions or offer paid memberships. Except for shipping and processing,
Free Trees and Plants .com is a self-supporting project.

Distribution of the free plants is on a first reserved, first served basis.

When you make your reservation, you will get a confirmation. It will show your
reservation number and what free plants you reserved.

All plants are shipped dormant and bare-root, just like most catalog stock.
We will send your free plants by standard mail.

Shipping and processing covers the cost of:

size sorting
unit grouping
hydro dipping
packaging labor
packaging materials
postal sorting
and postage to your door.

Every step is done manually.

Shipping and processing is only $7.95 per unit. Some catalogs appear to charge
less for shipping and handling. They include part of the cost in the price
of the plants, we can't.

Your plants are FREE. Every plant is as good as, or better than, those
you see in expensive catalogs at high prices. The only difference is
that, unless you want these plants, they may go to waste.

You get free plants. You help stop a huge waste. Workers with disabilities
get meaningful work and a paycheck. Everyone wins.

Happy planting,

Cheryl Richter

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Summer!

Black-Eyed Susan


bush bean flower


Day Lily

Johnny Jump-Up
Sweet William bud




Well, It's officially summertime, let's see what's blooming. Leave me a comment and let me know if you have pics of what's blooming near you.