Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If you've never read 'The Essential Herbal', now is a great time to find out more about it! Click on the link and it will take you to a free online issue. This is a great little herbie magazine with articles about herbs ranging from culinary, to medicinal, to folklore usage. The advertising is non-obtrusive and the products and companies are those that we herbal folks want and need to know about anyway. Try it, you'll like it :)
Okay, today is going to be a work related post. I have to tell you what the guys have done in the lab! We got a sample in, oh, it might have been a couple years ago now. This sample smells soooooo badly that it has earned a permanent place on the lab director's bench. Not only that, it also earned a name: Mean Joe. The guys love to open this sample from time to time to make the lab smell really really bad. Imagine the worst smelling baby diaper you've ever encountered and it is worse than that. They've been trying to have it smelling real bad like this when the Cintas guy comes to pick up our towels, but they keep missing him. This morning they made a pre-emptive strike and took the cap off the jar and left it off, letting the air in the room become so thick you have to cut your way through it to get to the door for a breath. Of course, the Cintas guy is running late. I just wanted to talk a little bit about this, it's one of the things that makes life interesting around here. I'm going out for air now!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Today Gary helped me gather horse manure. We applied it to the row I tilled yesterday - and it's actually 115'. I know because we measured it today...seems my estimating was a little off, lol. On that first row will be a 3-sisters planting every 3 feet. So that will 38 hills with 3 corn stalks each... so, 114 plants with hopefully more than one ear each. I sure hope the horses, deer, coons, and bears cooperate to let me have some corn this year! We will get the fence up before I plant anything, or I can guarantee nothing will survive.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Here's the first row of the new garden. This will be a fairly large endeavor and will supply our family and our little CSA's members with some good eating this year. The new addition measures about 100' x 30'. This is nice sandy loam, but it's low in organic matter so I will be adding amendments to make it better. Every year the soil condition will get better and every winter I'll grow a green manure to incorporate every spring. Right now it is too early to plant anything, but soon the sweet peas and beets, turnips and carrots will go in. I am collecting bagged leaves, so if you live in the vicinity and have some to donate to the cause, I will pick them up!

Here's a new blog for you to visit; it belongs to my friend Dena: http://giftsofgodherbals.blogspot.com/

She makes and sells all sorts of excellent herbal formulations. I use her super tonic and tooth and gum formulas all the time and they work great for me. She also has pretty much every single tincture you can think of, and if you happen to ask for one she doesn't have, I'll bet she can get one together for you.

Today was one of the best days I've had in a long time. The weather was perfect, not too cold and not too hot. I planted some more ginseng seeds, laid out the garden and planned what was going to go where this year, cleaned up around the outside of the house, and caught one of the new hens on the nest laying an egg. Gary brought Garrison to basketball practice, so I had most of the day to do whatever I wanted. Right now, a pot of coffee is brewing and I'm going to go outside and sit on the swing and enjoy the end of a wonderful day. I hope your day was as good as mine was ;)

Monday, January 14, 2008

I took a survey today to see what the kids wanted most out of the garden this year. Asparagus was top on the list from Gabrielle, Garrison wants carrots and corn and peas. Zack likes turnips and radishes, but both he and Gary especially want some beets. I know my daddy doesn't want onions and garlic, but I have to plant those! I have green beans and potatoes planned, so I think he'll eat those. Momma probably likes most of what I'll grow.

It's hard to not plant things too early when the weather is nice like weekend before last. But this past weekend was typical January weather and I stay inside when it's like that. Cold, drizzly and windy. Yuck! And last year's lesson stuck pretty good. That late freeze snared a lot of gardeners who thought it was safe to plant already.

The kids at Garrison's school say I'm crazy for thinking I can grow figs up here. But my fig tree is very happy sitting under the window in a pot in my living room and it is putting on new leaves. This year, it will make figs and Garrison can bring them to class to prove I'm not so nuts after all. I'm going to make sure and not put it out too soon, especially not until after mid-April. And then later this summer I will build a cage around it so I can mulch it heavy all winter and not have to bring it inside every year like that.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

If you like to write, you will be interested in this website I stumbled upon today. It is full of inspirational stories and blog entries and very useful information! It's called "Writers on the Rise" and its a site good for beginners and seasoned writers alike. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Something that occurs to me is this. Yes, it is important to be truthful in everything I say. But it is also important to know when to speak and when not to speak. That kind of discernment seems to me to be harder than simply telling the truth. If I am committed to saying only truths, then there is no judgment needed in that respect on my part. Judging WHETHER to speak sometimes is very difficult. Another difficulty is in deciding HOW to speak, what words to choose. An artist can paint a picture in many different styles, and it still portrays the same scene - but some styles are more easily looked upon than others. The same applies to the spoken word and the written word.

Those are my ponderous words to guide me for the new year :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Today is the start of a new year and a new month. I feel optimistic. The seeds came in for the spring garden and each seed represents the hope and promise of good things to come!

What is on the menu for today? I am cooking a duck gumbo to bring to work tomorrow. The guys marked it on the calendar to make sure I'd remember. It's hard to find good sausage out here, and even harder to find andouille, but I found some and that fact is very encouraging, LOL. Usually, we have family members bootleg good cooking supplies from down south, but its nice to know that I can at least get those two items locally now. But to eat for today we are having corn beef, cabbage, and black eyed peas. That is our traditional New Year's Day fare. It is supposed to bring good luck. Oh, and I'll try to make another cornbread with grits, and another pie - but this time I'm using store bought crust. It's good to know I ~can~ make it if I have to, but I sure like being able to buy it from the grocery when I'm in a pinch for time.

Plans for this year not only include an awesome garden for our CSA members and our family, but also include getting Comanche ready for me to ride. He'll be 2 in May and although I don't want to ride him much yet because I like to wait until he is 3 for regular riding, he is old enough to learn to carry my weight and follow commands. So we'll start with the ground work when the weather gets nicer and from time to time I'll sit on him and let him get used to that feeling. He's such a good boy already that I don't think this will be too hard for him. When he's 3 I want to start using him to get me and my supplies out to my ginseng patch and forest gardens. I also want to get a buckboard wagon fitted to him so I can pull a vegetable cart to the farmer's market if the economy all comes tumbling down anytime soon, LOL. But he's not a stocky horse and may not be built for that kind of labor. I'd love to have a draft horse for that sort of thing, though.