Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine and An Herbal Timeout!!

My Variegated Herbal Corner of My Garden!
Sometimes you get to the end of summer and you can't think about your design for the next season.  My latest guest blog for The Herb Companion magazine will hopefully give you inspiration for next year.  It's called Designing Your Garden with Herb Vignettes.
An Herbal Timeout!
I know some of you have just started to follow my blog and others have been reading me for a while now, but I need a little break!  I have been blogging almost every day for quite a while.  Loved every minute of it, but just need an herbal timeout!  I'm leaving The Herbal Husband behind to take care of the garden.  He is my herbal rock.  Trust me I'm a spoiled herbalist!  We don't usually take a break this time of year.  Too much goes on!  I'm off to England for ten days and I promise to have lots of brilliant adventures to share with you when I return.  I don't multitask too well like others we know, Taylor's Outback blogging from laundry rooms in Alaska!  So talk amongst yourselves and I will be back before you know it!  Talk to you soon!  Cheers!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Shy Monarch and Another Butterfly Hanging Around!

The Herbal Husband has left a lot of stray butterfly bushes around my herb garden!  The butterflies are enjoying the extra nectar!  I don't think this one in the bottom photo is a monarch.  Will have to get my butterfly book and check!  It is very hot here for the end of August.  Although I remember going back to school in the heat when I was young!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Celebrating with Cinnamon Basil Jelly and Dinner!

Well, today's the big day!  Yes, 50 plus years ago I was born!  Made 12 jars of cinnamon basil jelly and The Herbal Husband is taking me out to dinner to the Cross Keys Inn.  Will have photos for you later.  My best friend and her daughter, Miss C are coming over with a gift.  So I got to run.  It has been a beautiful day here.  Hope it's nice wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Here are some photos from dinner!

Spinach Salad with Warm Chevre Cheese, Golden Beets and a Sherry Basil Vinaigrette!
Pittsburgh Wedge, Iceberg Lettuce Served with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Egg with Ranch Dressing!

Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops with Sweet Crab, Corn & Potato Chowder Sauce!
Roasted Amish Chicken Breast with Herbs & Garlic Stock Reduction with Mashed Potatoes!

Didn't get a very good picture of dessert, but it was very good.  My creme brulee had a candle in it and The Herbal Husband had tiramisu.  The Herbal Husband left part of it.  He was stuffed!  I actually ate the rest of his dessert.  Only on my birthday!  Can't do that again until next year at least!  If you are in the Pittsburgh area, give the Cross Keys Inn a try.  The atmosphere is very relaxing, the service efficient and the food was delicious!  Miss C is coming back tomorrow to dig potatoes with The Herbal Husband.  I have more jelly to make!  Yikes!  Will it ever end?  Yes, I'll either run out of jars or Certo!  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Beautiful Morning in the Garden!

Volunteer Sunflower Blooming Wildly!
I'm not in the garden as often as I would like this time of year.  The harvesting of berries, herbs and veggies has begun.  I just finished a batch of raspberry jam.  The second harvest has begun, but we aren't getting enough rain.  Unless The Herbal Husband waters, I may not be making too much more raspberry jam.  Here is a volunteer sunflower hiding the bird feeder in the shape of a sunflower!  I know confusing!

Four O'Clocks That Can't Tell Time!
The four o'clocks that don't know what time it is!  It was about 10:00 AM.  We have all yellows this year.  And more sunflowers.  I think The Herbal Husband planted these along our back fence.  Hope you are having a great day.  The celebrating continues with a movie, Get Low with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray among others.  I think a quirky little movie and my free burger at Red Robin.  Talk to you later!
One of My Favorite Sunflowers!
Sunflower Peeking Out From Morning Glories!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tooting My Own Herbal Horn!

The Herbal Husband Celebrating My Award!
Had a great surprise in my Hotmail inbox last evening, an herb blog award!  Online Schools.org sponsors this award and they give out a lot of them in different categories!  I should also thank you the readers because I was nominated by some of you!  So thank you for reading my blog!  You can click on my award over to the right and check out the other herb blogs who won!  Can't be any more of a Diva than I already am!  Oh, maybe I can be an Herbal Diva!  Oh, I already am that!  I just looked at the badge I picked with that big TOP on it!  I'm pretty low on the list.  Maybe it's in alphabetical order!  Stop whining you made the list!  Well, my day has been great.  Hope yours is as well.  Going to take Jim and LaVerne on the Turnpike over to Hoss's for our birthday dinners!  Remember he is 94 and I'm 29!  Ha, I'm sticking to that story!  Going to be a little chilly tonight, but right back up in the 80's over the weekend.  Talk to you later!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Almost Missed This Blooming!

'Lord Baltimore' hibiscus
And you're saying to yourself, she must be preoccupied with other garden matters to have almost missed this!  It's something like that!  This is a hardy hibiscus named 'Lord Baltimore'.  He is much less boisterous than in the past.  He is the last one to wake up in the spring and you may think you have lost it.  It gets hibiscus sawfly worms and I have fun smashing them!  I'm glad to see the Lord blooming.  Hope you have had a great day.  Talk to you later.  Check out the updated shots of the blooming rosemary in my Sunday, August 22nd post!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Echoing FlowerLady's Words!

Just read FlowerLady's latest post and you should read the article that she has posted!  It's an eye opener.  I'm on the other side of the state and it may end my blogging if it gets across the state to Pittsburgh!  Here is a link to the article.  It's ironic that Philadelphia where our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is trying to silence the bloggers with a privilege license!  I'm irate too, FlowerLady!  Please if you are at all bothered by this, post it on your blog!  Most of us do this because we enjoy it not to make money!

The Celebration Continues!

Fig, Feta Cheese and Arugula Salad
The Herbal Husband fixed one of my favorite dinners last night.  He made a new salad because of the abundance of figs this year.  It was a fig cut in quarters, feta cheese, arugula and balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a nasturtium flower.  Then we had tuna cakes, potatoes and wax beans from our garden!  Nothing quite like growing and eating your own food!  It was delicious!  Had the last of the apple pie warmed up!  The Herbal Husband is already asking for another pie! 

One of my favorite birthday dinners
 The Herbal Husband cut one of the last 'Brother Cadfael' roses for my birthday and said, "Now you can make your own bouquet!"  So I did!

A Birthday Bouquet!
Besides the 'Brother Cadfael' rose, there is lemon balm, calendula, sunflower, sage, bee balm, oregano, a fennel flower, peppermint, artemesia and, of course, lemon verbena!  A different view from every side!
My birthday is still several days away.  Made dinner reservations at an old restaurant with new owners for Saturday, the Cross Keys Inn.  Have a coupon for my free burger at Red Robin and you get a free sundae as well!  It's a great deal.  We are taking our friends, Jim and Laverne out on Thursday!  Three things Jim loves Laverne, his wife,  the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Hoss's restaurant.  So we will pick them up, get on the Turnpike and go to Hoss's.  Jim was 94 in early August and I'm going to be 29 again!   More exercise to come after all this eating!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Herbs of the Zodiac-Virgo!

Bertha Reppert's Herbs of the Zodiac
Today is the beginning of the Virgo birthdays.  I just happen to be a Virgo.  Happy Birthday to my friend, Paula!  Today is her birthday!  The above photo is a great little booklet from Rosemary House and Bertha Reppert called Bertha Reppert's Herbs of the Zodiac.
Bertha writes "Born between August 23 and September 22, Virgoans are orderly, methodical and rarely impulsive.  Patience and perseverance make them accomplish a great deal especially in the fields of literature, drama or music.  Pisces is the ideal partner of Virgo.  (The Herbal Husband is a Pisces.)  They are conservative about food, food preparation and food service, enjoying simplicity and neatness."  (I would rewrite that sentence to say Virgos like to eat, don't like to cook and serve and would rather have someone else cook for them!  The Herbal Husband fits that to a tee!)  My comments are in parentheses.

An Earth sign, ruled by the planet Mercury, Virgo symbolizes the realization of hopes.  You should avoid doubting your capabilities and antagonizing others.  (Ooops!  I think I have done both of those items to avoid!)

Twelve Herbs for Virgoans are wild carrot, bay leaves (a favorite of mine), ferns, sweet marjoram (a favorite of mine), celery, meadowsweet, sorrel, almond (a favorite of mine, Bertha says to eat six every day), lady's mantle (a favorite of mine), hops, rue, and gardenia (a favorite of mine).  Had one birthday dinner last night at T.G.I. Friday's.  Free dessert and I got to eat most of it!  Vanilla Bean Cheesecake!  Very excellent!  Plan on celebrating more!  So happy birthday to all you Virgos out in the world!  Talk to you later.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Blooming Rosemary and Mint!

Love The Rosemary in Bloom!

Always exciting when the rosemary starts to bloom.  Last season we put this prostrate rosemary in a container and it wintered over as you might remember in the garage.  Now it is blooming!  Always a great thing!

The silver mint is also in bloom and the bees love it.  It is also in a container!  The only way to grow.  However, I didn't listen to my own advice!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  It finally rained last night and may cool off this week.  We need a break from the high heat and humidity.  Talk to you later.  My last Gardenline of the season tomorrow!

A Blooming Silver Mint!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes It's All About the Food!

The First Apple Pie of the Season!
It looks a little over done in the photo (I think The Herbal Husband cranked up the temperature in the oven and I keep forgetting!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!), but our friends, Jim and LaVerne enjoyed it when we went to celebrate Jim's birthday a couple of weeks ago.  It was enjoyed by all.  I had to come home and make another for us.  I use an old Betty Crocker recipe and one teaspoon of apple spice mix from Penzeys.  I use the roll out pie crusts and I know how to do Martha's crusts.  Her recipe for apple pie is one of the best because she uses a combination of apples.  She also makes her pie cold and bakes it hot.  I think that is the best tip.  We have Granny Smith and Liberty apples in our yard. You know now that I finally get the hang of the crust, he would rather have store bought crust!  It drives me nuts, but not to drink! Remember he likes CoolWhip!  Close your ears, Tufa Girl!  Enough said!

My Farmhouse Kitchen with the pumpkin post has inspired fall to arrive.  Her blog was one of the first I spied with an apple pie!  Her blog is just a favorite on my page so I can see the enthusiasm for cooler weather.   Then there was Boston Bee.  She had a big bite of delicious looking pie that her son, Will helped her eat the other day!  Great minds think alike!  Here's to a slice of apple pie or any kind of pie wherever you may be!  It is still going to be in the 90's today!  Yikes!  When will it end?  Hopefully soon.  Talk to you later!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spending The Day with Rick Darke!

Our Wild Front Garden!
Rick Darke spent the day in Pittsburgh talking about his expanded edition of the William Robinson book, The Wild Garden.  As you can see, we may be one step ahead of him.  I think we need a big edit, but for the most part, I think we are on the right track.  The Herbal Husband loves his plants and does not think we need any editing.  My friend, Shelley, who went to the lecture said, The Herbal Husband should have come along!  Ooops!  If you ever have the chance to hear Rick Darke, do it!  Very entertaining and informative and may be you will feel your garden is on the right track as well.  Another hot one today!  Looking forward to fall.  Talk to you later!

The Side Gate of the Front Garden

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheep Rooms on Thursdays and Herbs at the Zoo!

This is a cheep room in the pollinator garden at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.  Miss C and I had a fun time power walking through the Zoo.  The rhino was in a hurry trying to eat his lunch.
We barely got to see the baby elephant running back for her lunch!

Momma and baby giraffes out for a walk
I discovered not quite an herb garden, but these are chives by the gift shop to the Aquarium.  Always a good thing to find herbs in the landscape.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Herbal Fruit Salad!

We always start our day with a fruit salad of some kind.  Sometimes it is a fruit cup from a plastic container, but most times we have fresh fruit.  We are having great blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and papaya.    I have been adding some young  pineapple sage leaves chopped up lately!  Adds a little herbal spice to the fruit.  Not so much pineapple, but that sage flavor.  It is very delicious!  Try it if you are growing pineapple sage.  Ours is just getting started.  So use small, young leaves!  Hope you enjoy it!  It was a beautiful day here.  Hope you had a great day!  Talk to you later!

Just wanted to give Missy from Little Messy Missy  a photo of pineapple sage.  Here it is Missy:
Pineapple Sage Flowers Bring The Hummingbirds!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Not Summer Without....

Sweet corn and a bit of herb butter!  My dental floss is working overtime these days!  The corn has been delicious.  I think this is Silver Queen, not quite as sweet as Butter and Sugar which we have also been eating.  Here is my favorite herb butter recipe:

Herbal Butter
1/2 c. (1 stick) of butter or margarine, softened
1/2 t. lemon juice
3 T. fresh herbs, chopped (your choice) (I usually use 1 T. parsley, 1 T. marjoram and 1 T. rosemary.)
1 clove of garlic, pressed (You don't have to add this to have a good herb butter.  The garlic just adds an additional layer of flavor.)

Finely chop herbs and mix into softened butter, add other ingredients.  Put in a covered container.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before using.  Herb butter may be kept refrigerated for two weeks or frozen for up to six months.  Put butter on vegetables, pasta, fish, meat, poultry, bread, etc.
Courtesy of  Spring and Summer Sampler, p. 10.

Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Made two batches of lemon basil jelly.  Going to the Zoo tomorrow with Miss C!  Will have some photos tomorrow!  Talk to you later!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Herbal Husband Wanted You to See This!

I take so many photos and I know a lot of them are on the cutting room floor.  I forget that they exist or I try to give you the same photo and call it a new one!  The Herbal Husband was playing in the dirt the other day and asked that I take a photo.  Well, here is some finished compost.  If you aren't composting, you should be unless there are ordinances against it where you live.  If you are doing compost correctly, it never smells.  Here is a compost link from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  They used a Rodale source.  So I think it is pretty good.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Got to get to the post office with my winners' prizes.  Becca, I still need your mailing address.  E-mail it to me!  Talk to you later!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More Harvest Time!

The Herbal Husband wanted you to see his figs.  These are the green ones.  His favorites!  I do like these, but the brown ones are later and I like them a little bit more!  Don't tell you know who!  Yes, that's The Herbal Husband hiding among the plants!  Our herbal arboretum!  Well, it is still hot and humid!  We finally got 1.6 inches of rain last night!  It either doesn't rain or it rains buckets!  Hope you are having a good day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And The Winners Are....!

The Herbal Husband drew the lucky names out of my Greek cheese making basket!  Here they are:

Aunt Helen's Garden by Ernestine Perry  Carol
Calendar of a Kitchen Herb Garden by Katherine W. Wilbert   Carla
Herbal Notepad--Things I really should do before I can work in my herb garden ...  Jules@OneBook Shy
Gardening with Herbs for Flavor and Fragrance by Helen Morgenthau Fox  Becca's Dirt
Growing and Using Rosemary by Bertha Reppert  taylorsoutback
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Record-Handbook on Herbs and Their Ornamental Uses, March 1977  seanymph

I'll get around and leave a winning comment for you and then you need to e-mail me your mailing address. I'll get everything packed up and in the mail on Monday!  Thanks so much everyone for participating and reading my blog.  I love you all!  You make my life very special!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harvest Time!

Three Peppers Ready to be Stuffed!
The Herbal Husband didn't have time to grow his own pepper plants this year!  He was visiting Peru.  He did well in the pepper department though even if he didn't grow them himself!  So it was my turn to make them into stuffed peppers.
Stuffed Peppers and Couscous!
Here is my stuffed pepper recipe:

Stuffed Peppers
3 large green peppers, cut in half lengthwise
l pound lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano (or Italian seasoning)
1 cup bread stuffing croutons
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove seeds from peppers and cook in boiling salted water 5 minutes; drain.  Cook ground beef, garlic and onion in a skillet until onion is tender.  Drain off fat.  Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, croutons and 1 cup tomato sauce; heat through.  Lightly stuff pepper halves with meat mixture.  Place in 2 quart baking dish.  Spoon balance of sauce over meat and bake 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Makes 6 servings.  Preparation time:  50 minutes.  Easy, can be frozen.
(Patricia Hickey)

Courtesy of The Great Tomato Patch Cookbook.

 Hope you enjoy your pepper harvest and try this recipe.  It is very easy!  The winners of the book giveaway will be announced in the morning!  So you last chance to enter is fast approaching!  Hope you are having a great day!  Talk to you later!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

My guest post for The Herb Companion Magazine is all about nasturtiums.  In the photo above, we have our blossoms for this year.  The very pale and dark colors are from Territorial Seed and are called 'Night and Day'.  I also wanted to show another side shot of a nasturtium with a spur.  It's the long pointy thing off the back of the flower.  Insects love to hide in there.  That's why I like 'Whirlybird' so well because it doesn't have a spur.  I got the 'Whirlybird' from Renee's Garden Seeds.  You can see a photo of 'Whirlybird' in my guest blog.
So here is a link to  Edible Delights: 3 Nasturtium Recipes, my latest guest post and hopefully you will be growing some new varieties of nasturtium next year and some different recipes for your summer parties.  Going to finally make that apple pie for our friend Jim.  He turned 94 on Tuesday!  Our neighbor's son turned 16 on the same day!  He is driving!  Look out world!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  The ickies and stickies are still here!  Talk to you later.  Only a couple more days to enter my book giveaway for my second year anniversary!  Don't forget to comment!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Passing Out the Awards-Thanks MoonCat Farms Meanderings!


Please remember I'm just passing on the awards.  Don't worry if you don't accept awards or can't participate right now - I just want you to know that I think highly of you.

OK, the rules:

1. Thank the one who sent it your way.   I thank you so much, Jules from MoonCat Farms Meanderings for your friendship and your blog that makes me laugh and remember that life is to be enjoyed!

2. Sum up your blogging motivation, philosophy, and experience using 5 words.  How about:
Passion, joy, herbal, fun and adventure

3. Pass it on to 5 others who blogs who you feel have real substance.  I hope you all know how much I admire everyone who visits and blogs with me.  Here are my choices in no particular order:

These ladies are sharing their lives day to day and making me laugh and recall my life and above all sharing life experiences together.  That's what is so great about the blogging community.  Thank you ladies for sharing your experiences with all of us and making my life better.  Please visit their blogs when you can and hopefully, you will make a new blogging friend. 

I really understand if you don't want to participate, but hopefully, you will understand what blogging has meant to my life and how you play an important part!  So if you participate, please pass this award on to 5 others who blog who you feel have substance!  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When It's Hot I Go to Phipps Conservatory!

A Hot Landscape at Phipps Conservatory!
I took my friend, Miss C, for our annual visit to Phipps!  She is my best friend's daughter, the one who won her science fair with the seed growing project.  We had a great time, but my, was it hot!  We toured inside and then had a little lunch and finished in the outside gardens.  In the end it was a good plan because by the time we got outside it was really hot!  Have I mentioned it was hot yet!  Here are some photos from our visit:

The Butterfly Garden
We visited the Children's Discovery Garden of which the Butterfly Garden is a part.

Monarda 'Jacob Kline'
Phipps has lots of herbs sprinkled in the Discovery Garden for children like the Monarda above.  It is one of the best edible flowers, spicy flowers and leaves.  Is used in tea blends.
Gargoyles in the Garden
Gargoyles are the theme this season.  Here are some hanging out in the garden landscape.

The interesting Vanilla Orchid

I never remember that vanilla comes from an orchid.  Every time we go to Phipps, I have to remind myself that it is an orchid.
The 50 year Agave Bloomed!

This is the remains of the agave bloom.  It actually snapped off in a storm and they duct taped it together.  Here is the base of the plant.
So Huge It Needs Two Photos to See It!

Phipps Herb Garden
Of course, we had to end up in the herb garden.  It was a hot one, but very neatly trimmed.  Very lovely.  Hope you have a public garden like Phipps to visit.  Miss C and I are off to the zoo next week.  Yikes, forgot about the awards.  Got to get that together tomorrow!  Stay tuned!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Don't forget to enter my anniversary giveaway!  Talk to you later.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Don't Do This At Your House!

This is my work table in the basement.  How do you work at this table?  I just throw herbs and products on the table to be dealt with later!  Not a good way to operate!  I think we visited this subject last year or maybe the year before.  It's a reoccurring theme!  It actually looks better than this already.  I'll post a picture of it slightly cleaned up!

Looking a little better, I think!  Hope you comment to win a book or notepad in my two year anniversary giveaway!  We have the ickies and stickies back again.  It gives me a headache to think about it!  Was at Gardenline this morning on my own.  Always an interesting process.  I actually had some answers this morning.  Some weeks not so much!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be on the planet.  Talk to you later!