Monday, November 30, 2009

Winners in the Garden!

We go from winners of herbal books to beets and one lone carrot!  The Herbal Husband was out in the garden harvesting before we get snow later this week!  I think we had a pretty good harvest this year.   They are already cooked and ready to go for salad.  Now we don't have our own tomatoes or lettuce!!  Always works that way!  We will savor every bite of these lovely vegetables!  Hope you are still enjoying harvests of your vegetables wherever you may be!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And The Winners Are!

The winner of the Bertha Reppert book, A Heritage of Herbs is....

and the winner of the Culinary Herbs and Condiments book is. . .

I will be getting in touch with both of you shortly to get your addresses.  I just want to thank all of you for participating.  I love writing this blog and all of your kind words is the greatest blessing to me.

Thanksgiving Clouds!

Here in western Pennsylvania, we are coming into our gray period, winter.  So on Thanksgiving while the turkey was roasting in the oven, the clouds were on the move!  We actually had some blue sky that day.  We cherish blue sky and sun in the wintertime!  Hope you are enjoying blue sky and sun wherever you may be!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

This was early Thanksgiving day when the pecan pie had just come out of the oven.  Here is my post with my favorite recipe to use your leftover turkey.  Hope you enjoy it!   DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE HERBAL BOOK GIVEAWAY POSTED ON NOVEMBER 21, 2009!  WE'LL BE DRAWING THE WINNERS TOMORROW!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Trying to be Invisible!

The peanut caddy and suet are back on the Japanese maple.  The Thanksgiving feast was enjoyed by bluejays, cardinals, a woodpecker, a crow (He waits below for a bluejay to throw him a peanut.  I know I would not have believed it, but I have seen it.) and, of course, the gray squirrel.  Click on the picture to get a better view!  We need to get a bird cam so that you can see them all in action.  They fly when I come outside to take picutres.  I have tried through the window and it is not the same.  Hope you all are stuffed with good food and stories from family and friends.  We had a great day! DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE HERBAL BOOK GIVEAWAY POSTED ON NOVEMBER 21, 2009!  WE'LL BE DRAWING THE WINNERS IN A COUPLE OF DAYS!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Christmas Cactus Says "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Once again our Christmas cactus is confused and blooming early!  Natural decor for the Thanksgiving table!  Such a beautiful bloom!  Can I get one more exclamation point in this story?   I guess I can!  The Herbal Husband and I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Will talk to you later.  Have to go check on the defrosting of the turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our High Wire Artist!

Around this time each year, we have an interesting visitor.  I wrote about it last year.  I said it is in disguise!  It's the black squirrel.  We have all types of squirrels, gray, red and this black one.  I'm always amazed that the animals know how to use those wires to their advantage!  Well, the turkey is thawing in the refrigerator, but still hard as a dented bowling ball!  It will be taking a swim in the pool tomorrow to finish its thaw!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Herbal Lightbulb Moment-Mexican Mint Marigold in Tea Blends!

Had an herbal lightbulb moment while I was exercising this afternoon.  The Flower Lady and I have been having a discussion about tarragon and tea.  Well, Flower Lady, I came up with the option for you if you want a tarragon flavor in your tea blend, it is Mexican mint marigold or Tagetes lucida.  It dries very well and I used it in my first tea blend!  Duh!  I used it as a highlight.  Sometimes I have so much information in my brain, I can't see the herbs for the trees!  Mexican mint marigold is grown by folks in the south who can't necessarily grow tarragon.  I think it is also easilly grown from seed if you can't find the plant.  I don't always have enough space or time to grow the seeds and I can't always find the plant in western Pennsylvania.  It is becoming more available in our area.  Also I wanted to show you the photo of the book I use as a jumping off point for my tea blends.

Is It Really November?

I do remember picking raspberries into November other years, but this is ridiculous!  We were working in the back 40 yesterday and we found these beauties.  They were savored in our fruit salad this morning!  Delish!  A mostly unusual season, but it has its perks, doesn't it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Honeycomb of Tea! (UPDATED)

Well, I was busy again over the weekend.  I did not get much dried herbwise this season.  Sooo I'm taking what I dried last season and I am making tea bags.  Lemon Verbena Lady Blend II is made up of lemon verbena mostly, a little orange peel, orange mint and rose geranium.  I had some last night and mostly got lemon verbena and rose geranium in the flavor.  I'm going to have a second brew this afternoon or later this evening and maybe I'll have a different opinion.  I'll let you know.  UPDATE:  I did have a second brew of the first tea bag and my opinion hasn't changed, mostly lemon verbena (a favorite) and rose geranium and the first time around there was a hint of orange mint.  Because I have GERD (reflux disease) I shouldn't have too much mint!  Mint and herbs are forever connected.  It makes it tough when you want some in your tea blends.  So I use one herb as a foundation and a couple of other herbs as extras or highlights.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Came Up With A Name For The Cat!

This is our cat for the moment.  It resides somewhere around our garden.  It is here most every day.  Sometimes chasing birds.  The Herbal Husband does not like that.  The other day I drove down the driveway and it was stalking a squirrel!  The squirrel escaped up into the dogwood tree and flipped its tail at the cat!  Like take that!  It was funny.  So the moles, voles, mices and other vermins, including a few chipmunks are under control.  Which is a good thing!  Oh, my name for the cat is Kitty.  Can't get too attached with that name.  Made some more tea bags yesterday.  Will share them with you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Herbal Book Giveaway!

Just in time for the holidays, I'm giving away a couple of herb books.  Actually this first book I bought in the early 1990's, but it was first written by Bertha Reppert in 1976.  The bottom description on the cover reads: "Includes step-by-step instructions on herb gardening, over 75 modernized antique recipes, a how-to list of 50 useful herbs and summaries of over 230 native herbs."  Some of the chapters include:  "The Herbs The Colonists Found Here", "Early American Gardens", "Colonial Herb Gardens", "Heritage of Herb Gardening and Recipes", "Today's Public Herb Gardens" and "Garden Herbs at a Glance."   This book was won on one of the fabulous bus trips of The Rosemary House.  It is a reprint of the 1976 original.

The other book is a Dover reprint of a 1934 edition of Maude Grieve's book Culinary Herbs & Condiments.  It has three different parts, "Part I-- Sweet or Culinary Herbs--Their Cultivation and Propagation--Plant List", "Part II--Herb Beers, Wines, Liqueurs, and Teas" and "Part III--Condiments, Etc.  It will be a great addition to any herbal library.

Please post a comment on this post.  This contest is open to everyone.   One entry per person.  Please note which book you are interested in and give me your contact information.  The winners will be drawn at 10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, November 29, 2009.  GOOD LUCK!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Season of Giving!

Yes, it is present time.  In this house, we look forward to figs around this time of year.  An early holiday present.   Nothing like a fig warmed by the sun!  This brown fig has no leaves, but it is still giving figs!  My favorite!  It was even holding on to the figs while we were visiting the beach!  I think this particular tree has given about 30 figs this year.  Not a record I'm told by The Herbal Husband, but still pretty good, I think.  Hope you are able to have fresh figs in your life.  It is a deliciously wonderful fruit.  The season of giving continues over the weekend!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Herbal Plant Explosion!

Well, if you have read my previous posts on lemon verbena, this is NOT supposed to happen!  It has just taken off!  Most of the time, it loses its leaves because the plant is mad it has to come inside.  Sometimes we have leaves that hang on for dear life.  This time it just went CRAZY!  I guess it needed a vacation from us as well.  This is one of three windows that has a southern exposure in our house.  It likes it there!!  I foresee several lemon verbena breads in The Herbal Husband's future.  He will be herbally happy!  If you missed the bread recipe the first time, here is the post again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Herbal Kids Got Some Sun!

I am always amazed at how well herb containers exist in our garage in the winter.  Even when we were gone a week in Miami, they did very well.  Across the back of the bench are two containers full of 'Logee's Snowflake' scented geraniums.  This is their third year and they continue to thrive! The other herb that is doing just fine in the garage is the sweet lavender which is tender for us.  It would not survive in our winters.  The Herbal Husband loves his lavenders.  I think we have at least one more upstairs in a western facing window.  It has lots of flowers and blooms on it!  You won't believe the lemon verbena!  I'll show you a photo tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Have Just Barely Sat Down!

Well, I can't think about seeds yet. Although I got a call from my best friend's daughter last night and her science project is about botany!  She wants to grow herbs from seeds!  So I got busy and made a short list and we will have to have a meeting and pick out seeds.  The project is due in April.  Thank God!  She sometimes calls and needs an idea by the end of the week!  Whew!   So getting a seed catalog is the appropriate subject for today's post.  Even though we are just finishing this year's garden.  Next year's awaits!  Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog has gotten better over the years with color and more selection.  Maybe some of you think they are more mainstream and not as different as they once may have been.  They do have very inexpensive seeds and high quality ones as well.  Do you have a favorite seed catalog?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

There is a wonderful botanical garden at the beach!  So if you are like me and can't be on the beach all day, there is hope for you too!  So here is the post from my latest guest blogging for The Herb Companion magazine concentrating on herbs.  The garden is right across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center.  It is a city block, but there are lots of different spaces and varied plants.  Here are some different looks!   Water is a necessary element and it was 90 degrees on the day we visited!  They have a small Japanese inspired garden.  The cactus from the Southwest reminded me our anniversary trip last year.  The final two pictures are of an orchid wall behind a small stage where they hold special events.  If you ever get the chance to go to Miami Beach, check out the Miami Beach Botanical Garden!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Herbal Sculpture!

This is an 'African Blue' Basil.  I had to make the photo X-large to emphasize the beautiful flowers that are still hanging on.  I'll get a closeup later for you.  The Herbal Husband has been babying this plant, because it would have been long gone if it had been in the garden!  When it is out on the patio, the bees are still going crazy for it.  Hope you have great fall weather where you are!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last Blooms of the Season!

Can't believe I'm sitting here in shorts and a t-shirt in November.  Last year was also a great day and I even made a small herbal bouquet for the table.  I still haven't gotten up in our attic for my winter clothes.  Glad the semi-warm weather has hung on!  Working on the laundry as well.

I mentioned the nasturtiums hanging on the retaining wall, so the first flower is a nasturtium.  I had it in my salad last night.  Of course, next is the 'Fairy' rose.  I went back this morning and it is still hanging in, but I think it is about done.  The tansy bloom (TANSY IS NOT AN EDIBLE FLOWER) is next and I fondly remember all of the ladybug activity this year.  It was exciting!  Last but not least is the mighty calendula.  I have them everywhere now and they are a great fall bloomer.  So I think will go out and make an herbal bouquet for the table!  Talk to you later! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thank You Laura of Wildenblue Farm Journal!

It must be the rule of the Friendship Award to give it to bloggers who are having busy times in their lives!  The Herbal Husband and I were away in Miami Beach when I spied my Friendship Award from Laura of Wildenblue Farm Journal.  Thank you so much Laura!  As it made your day, it made my day from far away!
So I needed to think of six blogs that fit the rules.

The rules of this award-

This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming.

These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.

They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.

Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

Please give more attention to these writers.

Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award.

So here are my choices for the Friendship Award.  The girls who started my blogging experience, Nancy and Susanna and who feel like family from Rosemary's Sampler; my British friend, Alan from Seeking Episteme, he was a follower of mine from early on and has beautiful views of where he lives and childhood memories from England; Cindy, who is high energy and who writes to her sweetie and lets us read over her shoulder at Texas Tufa; Jules who writes about her life, her love (he sometimes writes too), her family and her animals at Mooncat Farms Meanderings; Martha, the hostess with the mostest (I don't need to say more!) at Lines from Linderhof and Julie, the artist, designer extraordinaire from Julie's Jabbers.  Hope you all know how special you are and give me a smile, a laugh out loud and sometimes a tear!  Please give this award to six other bloggers who have impacted you in some way!  Let's keep it going! Be sure to check out the six I have selected.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Herbal Highlights in November!

The bright silver plant is a sage Salvia officialis 'Nazareth' from Sal Gilbertie Herbs in Connecticut.  The great thing is that a few local nurseries are starting to carry unusual herbs from Gilberties'.  Yeah!  Hopefully, it will stay through the winter.

Most of my scented geraniums are gone, but this one has survived, the apple scented.  I know a lot of you take cuttings, but we don't even have room for those!

The Dutch nasturtiums are toast, but some of the other nasturtiums on the retaining wall are still green and producing a flower or two!  Hope your herb garden has some highlights as well!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering Veterans!

These are our wonderful friends, Jim and Laverne visiting our garden this summer.  Today we are taking them to see the movie "Amelia." and going out to dinner.  Remember to honor those who serve our country every day and remember those who lost their lives at Fort Hood!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's Behind Those Blinds?

OK, we are back, barely!  I'll let you know later what's behind these blinds!  Stay tuned!

Yes, dear readers, we went to Miami Beach, specifically South Beach.  If you really knew me, you would ask why?  Most of my master gardening friends were shocked!  I got to pick our anniversary trip last year to Arizona.  So it was only fair that The Herbal Husband got to pick this year.  If you want a foreign vacation and don't have a passport, Miami will work for you!  The Herbal Husband splurged for a ocean front room.  It was really beautiful.  Oh, almost forgot we stayed at the Winterhaven South Beach.  We would recommend it highly.  It is away from all the craziness and noise down the street.  It is located on 14th Street and Ocean Drive.  We also got a great rate on the ocean front room from  It was a beautiful room with a view.  This is the hotel and another view from the roof deck where you can go to get that golden tan!  I was covered up most of the time!  I want to thank Laura of Wildenblue Farm for my friendship award and I will get my act together shortly and both comment and do a post to share the friendship award! 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Taking An Herbal Timeout!

Now that I have finished my flowers, The Herbal Husband and I are going to take a short break from blogging.  We will be back in a flash.  So talk amongst yourselves and enjoy my favorite blogs in my sidebar.

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

Now that I have whined about Christmas before Halloween.  I sent my post for The Herb Companion magazine about Thanksgiving!  They posted it before Halloween!  Do I eat crow?  Maybe I have to eat these lovely sage flowers!  Edible flowers remember?  Hope you enjoy my post about Peru and Thanksgiving a few years ago.