Sunday, October 30, 2011

What A Difference A Day Makes And. . .!

you can have tomatoes later in the season.  Our tomato plants were planted July 31st and as you can see, we had tomato, basil (bought in the store, sorry), avocado, Feta cheese and olive salad.  The Herbal Husband picked our tomatoes green and we wrapped them up in paper and they are just getting red.  Not a sun ripened taste, but I'm just amazed we got any tomatoes this year!  The last photo is of raspberry muffins I made this morning.  Last of the fresh raspberries.

As you also can see by the banner photo, we lost our snow, but not the cold.  I took a walk and nearly froze.  Have to pull my winter weather gear out.  I'm going to try and walk outside more this winter if I can.  I've got metal in my ankle so I need to be careful that I don't damage it again.  It can't be fixed.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

An Article for Beginner Herb Gardeners

I know some of you need help on what to do in your herb garden at all times of year.  There is so much to tell.  The Herb Companion website is a wonderful resource and not just because I blog for them.  Sal Gilbertie has written a new book for beginners and The Herb Companion has put an excerpt from that book on its website.  Here is a link to the article called From Our Bookshelf: Herb Gardening for Beginners.  It won't be published until next year, but maybe it will help guide you in the short term.  I am going to try over the next months to rearrange my blog to make my labels geared to what you should be doing in your herb garden.  I have been posting for a long time so it may take awhile for the rearrangement.

Christmas Decorations in the Stores Before Halloween and Now This!

As you can see by my banner photo, we have snow before Halloween!  This is a back garden photo.  I remember one year not too long ago, we had snow on Halloween.  Sooo all I can hope for is that it changes to rain soon and gets the heck out of here!  I love snow don't miss quote me.  I just love it once the trees have lost their leaves!  This is not all that pretty and will be bad for the plants as well.  Hope your day has been snow free.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 28, 2011

So What Have I Been Up to?

I decided not to put out the Out Weeding Sign to take an herbal timeout like usual.  I just stole away in broad daylight and went to visit our old and dear friend, Jim.  He had to move out to Chicago to be closer to his only daughter.  His dear wife, LaVerne passed away last year and he also lost his older daughter last year as well. We love Jim and we wanted to be sure to see him at least one more time.  He is 95 and thinks he is 100!  Here is a photo of him with me.
He recognized us, but I don't think he knew our names.  I was just happy he remembered us from the good times we had with the two of them.  He had been married to LaVerne for 65 years!  What a loss!  He does have his lady friends (We called them his girlfriends and he corrected us.) that take care of him at meal times.  There is one lady that has learned how he likes his coffee and she always has it ready for him when he gets to the table!  It was wonderful to see him and to know he is doing pretty good.

Of course, we did a little bit of everything.  I drove 1,200 miles for your safety and mine.  450 miles out and back and 300 miles in between.  Got to downtown Chicago, the Botanic Garden, a toy show and a visit to St. Charles and the Fox River.  I was exhausted when we got home.  I think I slept most of Tuesday!  Got a new back door on Wednesday.  Had issues with the new front door.  It is tough when you order a door that isn't even in the design catalog.  It is waiting for replacement hinges and a door jam and is being stored in our garage.  Maybe after Halloween!  Finally don't have to do a hip check on the back door!  The Penguins may have been able to use me with Crosby out!  HA!  That's really funny!

Well, I have sort of liven up the surroundings on my blog home page.  The lemon verbena that was attacked by the stink bug has recovered so I'm going cut it down and make jelly today.

Because someone threw the switch again and it is COLD here.  Need to find my gloves!  Well, I hope you aren't as cold as we are!  Talk to you later.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Sad Tomato Crop for The Herbal Husband and Herbal Transfers!

Between the deer and the cooler weather, the tomato crop was a disaster this year.  Well, we weren't able to plant plants when it was a good time.  Then we went away and couldn't water or take care of them.  So these plants were purchased at the end of July!  So I guess it's a miracle of sorts that we got anything at all.  With my GERD, tomatoes have fallen from favor with me.  I have them in small doses.  Gone are the days to have a big plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce!  Boo hoo!  The Herbal Husband did bring the survivors inside and wrapped them up in paper.  One is turning and the others have remained steadfastly green.  Maybe fried green tomatoes for The Herbal Husband!

It is still windy here, but dry.  We are going to try to bring the garden inside!  Ha!  A small joke!  However, we were discussing the plants we couldn't leave outside and that list is growing by leaps and bounds.  It happens every year, the rosemarys, the lavenders, the scented geraniums, the lemon verbenas.  You see an s on the end of all of those plants names.  That means there are at least two coming in!   WOW!  Test the master gardener abilities! Hope you are having a great day.  We are going to be busy around here for the next couple of days!  Talk to you later.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"E" is for Epazote

Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides) is an annual or short-lived perennial for gardeners in the northern part of the United States.  For those of you in the south, it may be more of a perennial and may be a problem.  It reaches to a height of 5 feet and needs sun.  It doesn't need amended soil.  It grows easily in areas where it may not be wanted.  Its flowers are more seed like than flower. 

Chenopodium means goose foot and that is one of its common names.  It has a camphor smell to it.  We don't use it often, but the bottom photo shows it cut up in a pot of beans.  It is said to help lessen the musical noises after you eat the beans.  I think to a certain extent, it works!  The camphor smell is cooked away and does not affect the taste of the beans.

It is also used as a tea and is known as Mexican tea.  I have not tried it and I'm not sure I'm going to because of the camphor taste.  It is not one of my favorites.  Although in reading The Herb Companion article, it says that the Native Americans and Mexicans drink the tea to facilitate childbirth and ease painful periods among other uses.  Another common name is American wormseed because it is used as a remedy for intestinal parasites.  Yikes!  So if you making plans for your herb garden next year, maybe epazote is an herb to consider.  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More European Adventures-Graveson and Arles, France!

Pizza and Salad at a local restaurant in Graveson, France

The Herbal Husband's Favorite-Tiramisu

Lavender and Rosemary-A Staple of Southern France

The Sunflower Fields in Bloom on the Way to Arles

The Rhone River in Arles, France

Can You Believe it!  I Found a X-Stitch Store!

A Romanesque Church

The Coliseum in Arles

Cat on a Bike with Basil!

Van Gogh made a Painting of this Bridge

Our Brand New Rental Car!
We left The Netherlands by train in the morning and by the end of the day we were in the heat and sun of the south of France.  We stayed in a lovely bed & breakfast in Graveson, France called Le Cadran SolaireWe spent our first full day going to Arles and then St. Remy de Provence and then back to Arles.  The distances were so close that it wasn't a big deal.  More about Le Cadran Solaire and St. Remy de Provence in a later post.  Arles is a very ancient city from Roman times, but the Romans were everywhere at that time.  I did find a x-stitch shop and picked up a couple of small graphs.  Hope to get them finished in my lifetime!  I really have to get The Herbal Husband's sampler done of his citizenship!  It will be 20 years in February!  Well, fortunately the brand new rental car wasn't in a crash in the south of France.  They are very crazy drivers there!  It has been rainy, hailing and windy.  A wild day in the 'Burgh!  Hope you are having a great day.  Have a great weekend!  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Finishing a Trip or Two-Poulsbo, Washington!

My Cousin Has a Beautiful View!

Found Herbs at a Local Nursery

Poulsbo Harbor

Famous Sluy's Poulsbo Bakery
After seven days of beautiful weather, the rains have come and our doors have been postponed!  So instead of a door post, we'll go traveling.  I'm so far behind on sharing trip photos that it doesn't matter what I talk about!  If your memory is hazy, let me refresh it.  We went up to Vancouver, BC to visit The Herbal Husband's nephew and family.  We then rented a car and took the ferry over to Victoria and saw Butchart Gardens and had tea at the Empress.  We took a second ferry into the United States to see my cousin and his wife in Poulsbo, Washington.  They have a beautiful view of the Hood Canal and the mountains.  We even brought good weather to them.  We had beautiful days as you can see from the photos above.  We went to a local nursery and found some really wonderful herbs.  Always sad not to be able to take any home!  Had to go back into Canada!  Then we went to downtown Poulsbo and walked along the harbor and had to stop at  Sluy's Poulsbo Bakery.  Yum!  We had a great time although short visit with my family.  Hopefully we will see them again soon.  Hope you are having a dry day.  The rain will continue so maybe the traveling will as well.  Talk to you later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looks Messy, but Really Delicious!

I'm still doing my own cooking (The Herbal Husband comes home tomorrow!).  Because I have GERD, I have to watch what I eat.  I do love my seafood.  This is salmon (wild caught) with a tiny bit of onion and a small sliced fennel bulb (supposedly good for GERD) and fronds, a bit of butter and about a 1/4 cup of orange juice.  I placed it in a piece of foil and cooked it in a 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes!  It was tasty!  The asparagus recipe is in my new post for The Herb Companion and hopefully, will be posted in the next day or so.  I only will say that sage leaves cooked in butter!  Delish!  I ate most of the sage leaves before I could get a photo!  Ooops!  Our stretch of beautiful weather is coming to an end.  The Herbal Husband comes home from Florida tomorrow and we get our exterior doors on Wednesday.  So a doors post will be in the offing!  Hope you had a great day!  Talk to you later.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Herbal Jelly Handouts Here or There!

OK, I know most of you didn't get to the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, but 12,000 others did.  Still, 30 brave souls sat through my talk and you can get my handouts without having to watch me wilt!  Here is the link for The Zen of Making Herbal Jelly.  Under Real Food Stage, you will see my name and the title of my talk.  You can download them and then save to your Desktop and do the green thing and save a tree by not printing them or you can print them and not save a tree.  Up to you.  Boy, never realize what The Herbal Husband does around here until he's gone (Not dead, just on vacation!)  I'm trying a couple of new recipes tonight and hopefully, I'll be sharing them with you if they turn out.  Another great day in the 'Burgh and it's the local high school's homecoming.  People are all excited!  Going to rake chestnut hulls among other things.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Two Cap Rule!

The deer started to browse what few TOMATOES we had growing the other day!  Sooo we had to pull out all the caps.  It doesn't always work, but the deer think that there is someone working in the garden.  They are also browsing the trees that have sprouted back from the ground.  That's OK!  The Herbal Husband thinks we can train these wild beasts!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  The Herbal Husband is off in Florida visiting a cousin and wife.  They were amazed that I don't own a bathing suit.  Florida is OK, but they will talk family and enjoy eating fried fish.  The weather here is supposed to be excellent and I couldn't miss it after ten days of rain.  Already cut most of the garlic chive flowers.  They are seriously challenging my herb garden.  Well, got to go feed the birds and enjoy the day in the garden.  Will share my adventures.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

These Finally Bloomed!

The Herbal Husband loves his Peruvian morning glories.  He brought the seeds back several years ago.  Maybe when I was with him in 2006.  Always beautiful on a fence.  They were slow to grow this year because of our traveling.  They have come on strong in September and October.  It is still dreary and wet here.  My windshield wipers are so tired one came off as I was trying to put it back together.  We are supposed to be sunny starting tomorrow.  It will be a wonderful sight.  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not Your Typical Scented Geranium!

When we left for Europe in July, we had to plant most of our potted herbs in the ground.  This scented geranium wasn't doing nearly as well as it is now that it has been raining 40 days and nights (kidding!).  I just ran out to get its name for you.  It's called 'Madame Nonin'.  Of course, had to find out about the Madame.  Known for its beautiful flower and I think I missed them!  I also stumbled onto this website Hobbs Farm and Greenery when I googled 'Madame Nonin'.  Lorraine Smith has a passion for geraniums.  She is in Hope, Maine.  Need to do a road trip some summer!  I think she must have every known scented geranium!  Could stay at Sharon Lovejoy's Comfort Found Literary Lodging!  Googled Hope and it's not too far away and then there is always L.L. Bean in Rockport (Ms. Sharon reminded me it's Freeport, not Rockport!)  I so wanted to be a mapmaker when I was young.  The math kept me from it!  So Lorraine says cut it back and bring it in.  Will do, Lorraine!  Going to have warm weather here again SOON!  Hope you are having a good day.  The Herbal Husband is getting ready to go to Florida!  Talk to you later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Is Ready to Come Inside!

This sweet lavender (Lavandula heterophylla) is not hardy for us.  Gardeners in the deep south or far west and south (like Zone 9 and south) are lucky enough to put this in the ground.  I would not use the flowers from this in cooking.  I would only use Lavandula angustifolia varieties, such as 'Hidcote' or 'Munstead' as long as it says angustifolia on the tag.

The only lavender outside the angustifolia variety of lavender would be one called 'Provence' in the Lavendula x intermedia varieties.  It is mostly hardy for us.  I was in love with it and during one cold wet winter several years ago, I lost 8 plants.  It was devastating!  This sweet lavender because of its size will either be in the garage (my favorite place for herbs) or the basement.  It may not have enough light in the basement and that becomes the real issue for herbs in the house, light.  The tag along plant is a nicotiana that seeded somehow.  I don't know how The Herbal Husband does it sometimes!  Those Peruvian tricks!  Well, the air is very brisk here and we are really wet!  We have a closed low that just keeps spinning around.  My grass is like a field and the weeds that I haven't gotten to weed are going to be great Halloween decorations!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Hope you are having a great day in autumn.  Talk to you later.