I brought my thyme plants inside for the winter. I have beautiful pots for them. I thought I could enjoy a little fresh herbs this winter. That is until Boo (our cat) discovered they were there. Apparently Boo finds the plants quite tasty.

Never Enough Garlic

The garlic harvesting has begun in my little corner of the world, and I'm delighted. The only downside is that I really didn't plant as much as past years. But then again, even when I plant more - much more - it's still not as much as I would like. I mean - really … can you ever have too much garlic?

I still have a half pint of garlic honey I made last year. I only used it once during the winter, when I thought a cold was taking hold. I think I only took one or two spoons full on a single day and promptly forgot about the suspicious symptoms - because they vanished. I made the garlic honey by crushing fresh garlic, placing it in a glass jar, covering with good, local honey and simply let it sit an macerate for a few weeks. Actually, I probably put it in my dehydrator on low heat for a few hours each day for several days … but I can't remember. In any event, either method is perfectly respectable.

And, for the record, it's good on toast too. That's how I used the other half pint!

New Moon in June ~ A Weed Walk

Motherwort blossoms ...

... valerian blooms ...

... comfrey flowers ...

... cleavers bloom and seed ...

... elderberry buds ...

... black currant ripening ...

... red currant too ...

... blueberry making its way ...

... strawberry offerings ...

... potato buds ...

... egyptian onions.

CHA HerbFest 2010!

Just click on the images to open larger views of the program.

Hope to see you there!

my babies are up!!!

all the little seeds i planted have sprouted!!! (well, maybe not ALL of them... but LOTS!!!) just had to share!!!

Nettles are Up!

While clearing and burning the cut brush from under the cedar yesterday we discovered the beautiful Urtica dioica - nettles! - flourishing away. The tallest of the plants are about two inches high and I suspect that when I get back from easter travels they'll be ready for a first full harvest for a nice nutritional simmered side dish. Oh, how nice to have this to look forward to when I return!

Bud Walk

The time has arrived for my daily bud walks. Each day I walk around my little yard and see what is peeping out of the soil or budding on the trees. The bulbs I planted last fall are popping up in front of my deck with buds heavy and almost bursting into bloom. The star magnolia received some TLC this weekend and I was careful not to touch her heavy buds. Soon, soon white star flowers will burst along her bare branches - this is my youngest daughter's "God tree."
What's starting to bloom where you are?

speaking of leeks

last night, my Book Group ladies came over for our monthly meeting. it was a bit of a spontaneous decision to have it at my house, and i wasn't planning on making much of an elaborate meal. but it was so wet and rainy and just plain miserable, i thought the ladies who were brave enough to come down the driveway deserved something in the way of a reward.

i foraged around in my fridge, and this quick and delicious soup waiting for them:

Cream of Leek n' Spinach Soup

3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs minced garlic
6 - 8 leeks, chopped thin
2 bags fresh spinach, baby preferred
2 boxes organic veggie broth
2 cups light cream

croutons for garnish... i like pumpernickel because i think they look nice against the soup.

chop the leeks into thin little rings and saute in the olive oil with the garlic until soft and transparent. add the broth and allow the mixture to come to a slow boil. reduce heat to a simmer. add spinach. when spinach is bright green, add a few tablespoons of broth to the cream. allow to mix, then add cream to soup in small batches. DO NOT ALLOW SOUP TO BOIL once you add the cream. if you wish, you can puree this soup.

only one of us read the book but everyone loved the soup!

The Wisdom of Garlic

It's a season of mixed emotions. For me anyway. Not sure how the other Listeners feel. Anyway, the leek seedlings are thriving and the celery and celeriac are sprouting nicely. That's wonderful. Even so, I'm down to my last heads of garden garlic. That's sad. I have a dozen or two left from last season. And that's good. But my point is - every March I am amused and tickled at how the garlic knows - deep in its heart - that the days are lengthening and that spring is coming. They begin to green and some start sprouting.

Every March I pick through my heads of garlic to sort those that are swelling in anticipation from those still hanging in, so that I can use them before they really begin to sprout. So today I made a batch of Mojo de Ajo and as it roasted my kitchen - heck, the whole hut - smelled of divine allium.

There be some garlic infused vinegar in my future too!

Leeks are Up!

My leeks are just poking their little heads up and I started more seeds today - fennel, peppers, onions, impatiens and wormwood.

baby lust

she did it again. i happened to be having breakfast with a Certain Someone and she mentioned the s-word.... seeds.

im going to be starting mine, she said, in an off-hand, off the cuff kind of way, that makes gardeners with only pale green thumbs like mine turn chartreuse with envy.

and then i read the previous post, and almost drooled. since our breakfast, there's been a seed tray and soil, and packets of seeds sitting on my kitchen table, awaiting inspiration.

tomorrow, when my grandson comes over for his weekly visit with nana, i think we have a Project to work on.

happy march!

Nature's Foreplay

Here in my little corner of the world we are somewhere in the vicinity of 9 weeks before the last winter frost, and as I assimilate the meaning of this projection I tingle with anticipation. For dedicated gardeners, this is the season of Nature's foreplay - torturous and delightful.

I am blessed with a south-facing full-glass sliding-door and so I set up my shelves there and begin my seed-starting efforts. Today I started two little flats each of celery and celeriac. The seeds of both are tiny, though not the tiniest that I've worked with. To give you a sense of scale, the spoon you see here is neither serving spoon nor soup spoon, it is a tea spoon.
I make slight depressions in the center of each planting cell with a chop stick - my seed starting magic wand. In that depression I gently drop, with a blessing, about three of those celery or celeriac seeds.
I lightly shift the starter soil to barely cover the seeds and water them in with a gentle dribble. Now ... I wait. I wait not only for these sprouts to make their appearance, I wait to start planting more. I think tomorrow I'll start some leek seeds, and the day after some onion, and the day after maybe some cabbage for an early planting - though that may be pushing it. I may have to hold myself back.

A little strategic seed starting every day this early in the season helps to temper - for me - the torture and the delight that I experience as winter begins this shift to spring.

An Autumn Cordial

Yesterday I strained and decanted the apple-cardamom cordial that I started in autumn when I was blessed to pick all those wonderful organic apples with a new and wonderful friend. The chopped apples and cardamom seeds have been macerating in brandy since October and the fragrance is truly divine.

Generally it is at this stage of cordial-making that I will add sugar in one form or another. Yet at first taste of this elixir I knew that the apples had already added the perfect balance of sweetness.

So into the cork-bottles it goes, to be labeled and shelved for a several more months where all the constituents may mingle in free-flow, get to know one another intimately, and mellow out to become a most delightful autumn beverage. Or summer. Or whatever.


PS Hey you whisperers - you know who you are (see the list over there on the upper-right ~~~>) ... what green blessings are you witnessing and experiencing these day? Hmmmmm?