Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Some holidays we don't mess with too much.  If it's not broke, we don't fix it!  Sooo here is a picture of last year's gate into the front door!  Some of you enjoy all of the festivities!  I have been enjoying them with you!  So Happy Halloween!  Hope if you have kids or grandkids or great grandkids, they have a fun and safe night!  Talk to you later!  I'm going to cross stitch!

We had 43 kids tonight!  Haven't had that many for a few years.  I had two candy bars left!  Whew!  My favorite comment of the night was "I love your maze!"  I can't make this stuff up!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Renewed My Vampire Protection Today!

I got my jelly done today!  Whoo hoo!  I've got a lot of vampire protection for the year as well, a whole box of  rosemary garlic jelly.  Here is a closeup of a jar.

Trust me there is rosemary in it!  It seems to float to the top no matter what I do!   Well, hope you had a great day wherever you may be!  Can't believe it's Halloween tomorrow!  Where did the year go?  I must be getting old!  Also I just passed 700 posts!  Wow!  That has flown by as well!  Talk to you later!

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Herbal Reminder!

The Herbal Husband Cut This German Chamomile to Dry!
Cut Marjoram for Drying!
We are getting to the end of the growing season.  We haven't had a hard frost yet, but I think it may happen this evening or maybe tomorrow evening.  Maybe you haven't had a frost yet either.  Maybe you already have had one.  If you haven't, get out and see what can be cut and dried.  What needs to be frozen in bags or containers and what you can put in vinegar to preserve it.  I always have some parsley that can easily be frozen in a bag or container.  Tarragon in vinegar is a favorite way to preserve it and then use the pickled tarragon like you would use it fresh.  I always have to have marjoram dried to be used through the winter.  I just put it between two paper towels to dry.  Very easy, but effective!  I will just stick the dried chamomile flowers in my paper tea bags and seal them.  Finished making the rose geranium jelly today.  Only one flavor left, garlic rosemary!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Herb Channeler, Part Five and Cheep Rooms on Thursdays!

A lot of them!  This is a dual post.  One of my favorite herb shops in Pennsylvania is The Rosemary House!  This is a building covered with birdhouses in the back of their herb garden.  I know you have heard of The Rosemary House because I'm always talking about one of my favorite herbal authors and founder of The Rosemary House, Bertha Reppert.  Now it is owned and operated by Susanna Reppert-Brill and her husband, David.  They have a lot of holiday events coming along with Nancy Reppert's, Sweet Remembrances Tearoom.  So check out their events schedules.  They have lots of fun events during the holidays for the whole family!  The Herbal Husband and I are going to be stopping by in the next couple weeks.  Can't wait!  Only getting colder here and very windy.  Just out walking and was almost blown over a couple of times!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having Afternoon Tea at Claridges, London, England!

In the Mayfair neighborhood:  Claridges
Harpist Played Music During Tea!
Tea Table Set with Limoges Galerie Royale Porcelain!
An Arrangement with Twelve Dozen Roses!
Apple and Raisin Scones Served with Marco Polo Tea infused Jelly, Clotted Cream and French Pastries!
A Tin of English Breakfast Tea Comes with the Bill!
An Afternoon Tea Menu!
Can you believe it!  I forgot to take a picture of our tea sandwiches and we were little piggies!  We had a second round of sandwiches!  The Claridges known for its art deco interiors serves tea in the foyer and reading room.    We even stayed so long that they started the cocktail hour!  Claridges has been famous for afternoon tea for more than 100 years and hopefully, it will be around for at least 100 more!  I raise my tea cup to Claridges!  Hope you are having a wonderful afternoon wherever you may be.  I think we have squeezed out one more great day here in the 'Burgh!  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Late Bloomers!

An Everblooming Climbing 'Cecile Brunner'
The Nasturtiums Look More Like a Turtle!
The 'Munstead' Lavender In Rebloom!
The Grape Vine Showing Some Autumn Color!
Thought I would make up for the little post yesterday with a multiple photo post today!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  It is going to be warm today in the 70's and rainy later!  Really in the home stretch jelly wise.  Rose geranium gets done this week and rosemary garlic this weekend for Halloween!  Talk to you later!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Final Visit from the Queen!

At the moment you will just have to take my word for it!  My computer is not cooperating!  Have I mentioned that I alternately love and hate computers?  Well, I hope you are having a better day than I am!  Hopefully I will be able to upload or download or get the photo on the computer later today!  Talk to you later!

Ooops!  Sorta of sideways!  Here she is the Queen, 'Queen Elizabeth' rose that is!  Saw her as I opened the bathroom window and knew I had to clip her before the rains came!  Hope you had a great day!  We saw Hereafter with Matt Damon.  It was very good.  Talk to you later!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Herb Channeler, Part Four!

Continuing toward an herbal Christmas, we are headed to the west coast and an herb farm called Edgehill Herb Farm owned and operated by Karen England.  These two cook booklets are chock full of good ideas and recipes.  She also writes a blog called Karen England's blog that has a lot of good herbal information as well.  So hopefully if you are out on the west coast, you can stop by or order products from Karen and Edgehill Herb Farm.  I'll have my very favorite choices next time!  So please stay tuned!

Made two batches of hot pepper jelly today.  In the herbal jelly home stretch, only two kinds to go!  Hopefully I will get it done this week!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine and Other Links!

The 'Fairy' Rose is Still Blooming!
Always looking for the last blooms in the garden before the first frost!  Here is a link to my latest guest post for The Herb Companion magazine, Discover Fall Flowers in Season.  I also forgot to mention that my guest post from last November was written up in the October-November 2010 issue.  On newsstands now!  It is entitled Recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers-Turkey Tetrazzini.  Finally, the herb editor-in-chief blogged about her encounter with The Lemon Verbena Lady.  Here is that post entitled Herbs at The Mother Earth News Fair.  The final link is from Jim Long's Garden blog.  It was titled Mother Earth.  Hopefully, Jim, we will get to talk a little more in the coming year!  Well, that should give you a little reading with your cup of joe or tea or glass of wine!  Got to go walk!  Talk to you later!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Herb Channeler, Part Three!

This next possible herbal Christmas gift is from the southern part of the country.  It comes from Ann McCormick from Texas.  She does it all in the herb world.  She has a twice monthly newsletter, a column for The Herb Quarterly magazine (She took over Jim Long's column.), an article for a local nursery, among other ventures.  The book on the left is the perfect gift for a beginner herb gardener, including some recipes for each of the ten herbs.  The book on the right is The Herb 'n Cowgirl Bakes.  I'm looking forward to using this book this winter.  Love to smell herbal baked goods in the oven!  So check out the link above.  It may be just what you need to do your Christmas shopping this season.  Off to make lemon verbena jelly.  Hope you have a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Herbal Jungle!

This was the scene last night as we scrambled to get the herbal containers moved into the house.  We had our first frost advisory.  Officially I think we were 35 degrees last night so some plants in the back of our property where there is a low area might have gotten it.  I just looked out the bathroom window and it still looks pretty good!
The Herbal Husband's report says everything is good outside!  If we hadn't moved them inside though, something would have been frosted and then the Spanish starts!  Fortunately I know when the bad words start, I leave the premises!

Well, all of the kids (herbs) in the herbal containers this season grew like weeds!  Ha!  So now we have to take everything out and trim things back and place them semi-permanently for winter.  The herbal work never ends which is a good herbal thing.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Got to go walk!  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hey Tufa Girl! Here's your Answer About Preserving Pineapple Sage Flowers!

Tufa Girl asked a question about preserving pineapple sage flowers and I have some good and bad news, TG!  Drying flowers, particularly pineapple sage flowers, are not very effective and freezing may only be slightly better.  Putting flowers in ice cube trays with water and freezing them may be the way to go for you, TG.  I would not keep them long term however.  Crystallizing or candying them may be a long term solution (they last about one year), but you have to have patience!  Here is a crystallizing or candying flowers recipes from home cooking.  The source is Texas A & M Horticulture.  I was busy in the herbal kitchen making three batches of pineapple sage jelly.  We have a frost advisory tonight!  Might be saying good bye to the pineapple sage!  It's that time of year!  Hope you have had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Herb Channeler, Part Two!

This next herbal Xmas possibility is from Donna Frawley, owner of Frawley's Fine Herbary in Midland, Michigan.  Donna has a home economics degree and has been in the herb business for more than 27 years.  She sells booklets like The Herbal Breads Cookbook and Edible Flowers and has a DVD on Cooking with Herbs.  She also sells herbal products, dried herbs, herb blends, herb mixes,  herb teas and herb vinegars.  So if you looking for herbal stocking stuffers or Christmas gifts, maybe Frawley's Fine Herbary will be your answer.

Yikes, I just read One Perfect Bite in My Favorites List and Mary is on her way to India, Nepal and Tibet and left 30 posts to automatically post each day that she is gone!  Maybe some day I will understand computing at that level!  Anyway hope you have a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting Ready for Some of the Kids to Come In!

The Rosemary is Still Blooming!
Lavenders are Looking Good Even the 'Coconut Ice' on the Left!
The Pineapple Sage in Flower is the Best!
The prostrate rosemary is doing very well in the container and will find a place in our garage this winter.

The lavenders will go on the western facing windowsill, including the little guy, 'Coconut Ice'.  We had this one in the trough that we had to replant and it languished through the summer.  I found this information from Van Bloem Gardens in Meridian, Mississippi:  'Coconut Ice' lavender is 16-18",  has dense, silvery-green foliage with spreading, uright habit. Flowers are clear pink before turning white. On the same spike more mature flowers show white, creating a stunning bi-color effect. Fragrant.

What can I say about the last photo, but what a fabulous show in the fall.  It is too bad that hummingbirds missed it!  They were gone early it seems.  It was a beautiful day in the 'Burgh.  I was inside making a batch of hot pepper jelly!  We are going down to the wire.  The temperatures are getting colder at night.  I have to work on the pineapple sage and lemon verbena jellies this week.  Rose geranium and rosemary garlic jellies will be made after that.  Our local ice cream place closes today!  We had to go and get one final ice cream cone!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just Call Me Your Herb Channeler!

As Halloween is almost here, I thought I would start giving you ideas for your herbal Christmas shopping.  I have a large herb book collection.  I am hoping to have read everything at least once before I go to the big herb garden in the sky!  This first choice is from Tina Sams across the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from us.  If you are looking for stocking stuffers or an herbal magazine subscription, consider The Essential Herbal magazine.  You get six jammed packed herbal issues for only $24.00 a year.

The three booklets on top of the magazine are three little gems.  From left to right, they are Blending Herbal Teas, Perfect Potpourris and Scented Crafts and Making and Using Herb Vinegars, compilations of readers and friends of the magazine.  Reasonably priced and again jammed with good herbal information.  She has more great products and books as well.  Check it out!  Look for more of my herbal picks for Christmas in the coming days!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Olive Branch-London, England

This is a local floral shop in the neighborhood where my hotel is in London.  They really have some nice arrangements and, of course, herb plants for sale.  Just thought you would like to see it.

Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Looks Like Pennsylvania! No, It's England!

Hay Bales in the Field

Village in the English Countryside

A Row of Houses in England
Really England reminds me in a lot of ways of my home state of Pennsylvania!  These were photos taken on the train from Exeter to London!   The transportation system in England is generally a good one.  Wish we had more chances to take trains here.  Took the train to New York once!  Oh, I took the train to New York twice!  The other time was when I was a little girl just six!  A long ride!  Well, next time we visit England, I show you some of the interesting gardens near or in London.  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some Random Herbal Thoughts!

Or maybe it's a rant!  Well, the first part anyway!  Can't seem to download any photos at the moment!  Just changed the banner page and Blogger quit working!  The Herbal Husband started to cut the ivy back from the windows.  A natural window covering!  The job is getting bigger than he can handle.  Have to find someone to help.  No one wants the job!  Sort of like getting rid of a lot of poison ivy.  Thank heavens we don't have that!  Just a bit of ivy!  Well, more than a bit!  It is creeping up on the roof.  The Herbal Husband loves it!  The sparrows do as well.  Hopefully the roof will hold another season!   The ivy protects it, right?  So thinks the Herbal Husband.

Been reading Susan Wittig Albert's Wormwood about China Bayles and the Shakers.  I know you all have read it already and have moved on to the next book.  I'm a little slower here!  I also pulled out two of my favorite books by one of my favorite herbal authors, Jo Ann Gardner.  One is called Living with Herbs and the other is called Gardens of Use & Delight and was written by both she and her husband, Jigs about their lives in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  I hope to meet Jo Ann one day.  Maybe she will come to the Herb Society meeting here in Pittsburgh next year.  Lots of down to earth information in both books.  I love the illustrations by Elayne Sears.  Well, hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Gift from Phantom!

Some time this year, MoonCat Farms Meanderings held a naming contest for the cutie in the left hand corner of this photo.  Right away I saw him as the Phantom as in Phantom of the Opera.  I won!  Today I got my prize!  What a great prize.  A couple of tote bags that have liners for hot or cold items, note cards of MoonCat Farms designs, a mouse pad and my favorite a SUPER romance novel!  I think my Phantom is growing up, but still has great spirit.  I hope some day to meet him!  Thanks Jules, Mr. Mooncat and Phantom for my gifts!  Beautiful weather here!  Hope you had a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Link for Potpourri Recipes

GailinVirginia asked in the comments section of my last post about an all green potpourri recipes.  I think I found a great link, GailinVirginia, that has all kinds of potpourri recipes and I thought I would share the link

By the way, the photo is of mountain mint (Pucnanthemum muticum).  It is an excellent herb for drying and putting the leaves in potpourri or putting in fresh arrangements.  Great for bees and other beneficial insects.

This may be the last great day for awhile!  Finally, I'm going to mow the yard.  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Herb That Is Flourishing!

I can always count on having lemon balm at this time of year.  I will be removing a lot of lemon balm early next year.  I'll just have to take it one plant at a time!  You have to use lemon balm fresh.  It does not dry well.  That little gray sign beside it is really for the tomato that is lurking off to the left of the photo.  We had a beautiful day today in the 80's, bright sunshine.  Raked chestnut hulls so I can mow tomorrow and now I think it might rain!  Oh well, have more lavender to process in the basement.  The new shelving looks great.  Working on some Christmas crafts in the coming weeks.  Hope you had a great day wherever you are.  Talk to you later. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

One Ritual I Love About England!

Afternoon or Cream tea!  Can't beat it!  I love you get to relax for a bit and the baked scones, clotted cream and jam and tea are presented.  Such a wonderful event!  This is Tea on the Green in Exeter, England.

Even though I have lost weight, I made sure I ate both of my scones.  Oink! Oink!

 They were delicious!  Hope you are having a great day wherever you may be!  Need to get outside for awhile and mow the grass.  Talk to you later!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brother Cadfael from Me to You!

Brother Cadfael is still blooming in the garden.  Wish we had smellorama on Blogger.  I was going to say smellovision.  Didn't make much sense!  Somebody work on that, will you?  We have been cool and rainy.  Finally the sun is out!  We will be dry for several days!  Whoo hoo!  Still working on the basement project.  Coming up with some projects to show you for the holidays.  Stay tuned.  Hope you are having a great day.  I was out with my friend Bonnie for lunch.  Always good to be with girlfriends!  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

White Bean and Rosemary Bruschetta, Green Leaves and Balsamic Glaze

A Gentleman Originally from Coraopolis, PA!  A Very Small World!
My latest guest post for The Herb Companion magazine is called Herbal Travels:  Spending the Day with Jekka McVicar.  I talk about a delicious lunch we had that was catered by Berry Blue and the class taught by Jekka and the plants we can't take home!  The second photo here is of a gentleman who has lived in England since World War II, but originally was from the Pittsburgh area!  It is a very small world!  Got to run and help finish the basement project.  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gardens Everywhere You Looked-More Photos of Exeter, England

Well, we are working on our basement shelving and I came upstairs to get away from the mayhem for a minute and give you some more photos from Exeter, England.  I'm not sure what this vine is.  Maybe my English Herbal Companion can help me remember what it is!  I'm trying to show that you don't have to have a big space to have a garden.
A Pear Tree in a Courtyard Garden

Beautiful Herb Garden in a Courtyard Space

More Herb Garden in a Courtyard Space

Have to Love Herbs If You Live on This Street

Room Enough for Parsley and Lavender

Always Room for Bay Laurel
Really loved Exeter.  Love its history.  Have to get back for another visit.  So much more to see.  Hear rumblings below.  Must get lunch ready!  Then it is off to get shelving put together and recycle old dried herbs!  It's always something!  Hope you are having a great day!  Talk to you later!