Monday, July 23, 2012

Herbs, Knits, Honey, & Veg

Today was very warm -- averaging around 85 degrees all day.  It was 82 by the time I got out of bed, but no matter, we had chores to do!

Agastache foeniculum (L) Scutellaria laterifolia (R)

Scutellaria laterifolia in vodka for tincture

Cherry tomatoes

Harvesting honey:

Four frames yielded approximately 1.5 gallons of honey

I am further along than this photo indicates, since I took the picture this morning.  I now have two inches left to knit, some blocking to do, and some seaming up the back before it's finished.  Perhaps Thursday I'll have a finished object to share. 
Wolfbait knitted in Cascade Magnum "Lichen"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Knitting

The weather may be warm, but it's never too warm to have wool entwined in your fingers! Here is what I am knitting on tonight ---> Wolfbait (appropriately named, as it is a "riding hood for the modern little Red").  I'll have a picture up tomorrow when the sky is bright again.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Turnips & Autumn Planting

Hooray! We finally got some rain! It's been nearly six weeks, and with the soaring temperatures (in the 90s), the world was in desperate need of water.  With the rain came cooler temperatures, and I took this as my cue to get out and do some serious harvesting and autumn planting.  Though I only got two rows of beets planted before I was completely drenched from the rain, I did pull up every single last turnip to go into the stock pot for fermenting.
I'll be tackling this monster pile of turnips tomorrow.

Here are a couple of photos of "highlight" turnips that I pulled up -- they're monsters! 

check out that taproot! 

Hopefully the rain keeps coming! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I picked my first cayenne pepper the other day. It was bright red and absolutely perfect looking.  After I picked it I smelled it and dang, that thing smelled spicy!
caliente cayenne!! 

I have four things that I plan to do with these peppers -- I plan to use some fresh, dry and crush some, dry and powder some, and infuse some olive oil with some for a great, stimulating ointment.  Since I only have one pepper so far (there will be more to come within the next two days), I had to choose wisely as to what I wanted to do with the first one.  

The answer:
cayenne - infused olive oil

One of my grandmothers has been having rheumatic complaints, sciatica included, so in four weeks I'll be able to make a fantastic ointment for her out of this oil.  I've also got some St Johns Wort infused oil that will be ready in a week, so she'll get to try that out as well. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good morning!

After a late night at work, it was a welcome thing to wake up, go outside, and find this:
calendula officinalis

and this

red hot cayenne!

and this, and this, and this...


busy pollinating a male cucumber flower

cucumbers abound! 

Thank goodness for the little things that take a tired mind and bring it so much joy. 

Friday, July 13, 2012


Our biggest watermelon is getting bigger . . . see?

We're getting a little relief from the hot sun today.  It is still quite warm, but with some clouds in the way it definitely makes the heat more tolerable. We are still waiting on the rain, however.

Do a rain dance tonight for me! ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Busy as Bees

Summer is in full swing, the garden is abundant with food, and the bees are busily making honey.

a golden drip

I took a piece of comb for my own enjoyment... the bees weren't ready to part with it.

a cayenne turning red! 

watermelon ... we ought to have a lot this year.

a little lavender harvest

12 lbs of blueberries picked 

my sleepy dog, Klaus

Today we went blueberry picking at a patch that is no longer being sprayed (it's been 5 years), thank goodness. There aren't any organic "u-pick" sites in the area, so it is just perfect for us that this field is no longer being blasted with pesticides.  I am finding more and more that there are lots of different farms that practice growing organically but don't have certification to show for it.  Certification for a small farm is quite expensive, so I don't blame them.  It is just so easy to ask your farmer whether or not they use pesticides and other environmentally unfriendly techniques. Plus, it's fun to get to know your farmer. :)

After picking blueberries, Michael and I went into both of our beehives for a light inspection.  We had one of our hives swarm the other day, so we wanted to see what was going on inside.  There wasn't anything out of the ordinary occurring, but we did see lots of capped honey! It was so tasty and warm from the sun.  Our honey is fragrant and tastes a little bit minty. I can't wait to do a full harvest in the autumn! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Final Weekend

This upcoming weekend marks the end of my medicinal herbalism course.  As much as I anticipate not having to study, make medicine on a schedule, and drive 3 hours to school, I will miss it.  That class brought together so many like-minded people and I'm not used to being immersed in such true calm.  I have a tendency to feel that I need to argue with people until they see the path that I think is correct -- yes, I am working on it.  Being at that school with those people, though . . . I'll tell you, I never felt the need to argue with anyone! It was a beautiful feeling.
Comfrey salve

Milkweed Flower Essence -- mother tincture, stock tincture, and remedy tincture

St John's Wort tincture -- so beautiful!

Stay cool in the heat and have a safe celebration of the 4th! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

New Growth

Thank you, Mother Earth for providing so much abundance to us! We enjoyed green beans and zucchini this morning to accompany our egg breakfast.

 red kuri squash

 watermelon ... you can see the little dark green stripes! 

 leek flower with what I like to call a "Pear Insect" on it

 honeybee pollinating a borage flower

 ground view of the borage ... the sun is so bright!

 white sage

 making flower essences -- from top and clockwise:  borage, milkweed, thyme.

below:  poke just coming into flower