Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I NEED VODKA! Uhhh but not why you would think

This year I finally broke down and said I was tired of trying to start herbs from seed and I was going to just buy perennials at the store and divide them later as the need arises.  I had such good luck with my lemon balm I wanted to see what else I could try.  I tried Thyme, Rosemary, Mint, and Oregano.  I didn't realize how well they would do in their own bed, nor did I realize that when they are happy they like to spread.  Here is a pic of my mint as of about 2 weeks ago it has grown to about twice this size since
On the other side of the mint is my oregano and it has added quite a bit since this was taken.  Anyway, thanks to my prolific herbs, I am needing to find a way to use them in a hurry.  I started doing some research on the herbs to see if their were any benefits besides the obvious cooking ones.  I was amazed at what I found.  Rosemary oil can be used for pain relief, hair care, respiratory problems, helps relieve stomach cramps, and rosemary teas can be used on the scalp to help delay hair loss.  Thyme has anti fungal properties.  Mint can treat dandruff and lice as well as has antiseptic properties and you can apply a drop to your forehead to help relieve headaches.  Mint is also a natural pesticide.  Yay!  Oregano is both and anti fungal, anti viral,and antibacterial herb.  It is also an anti inflammatory herb.  It can help with eczema, psoriasis, athletes foot etc.  Those are just a few of the benefits to these herbs. Now I don't have any idea how true these claims are,  but with an abundance of herbs I am willing to look into it.  If nothing else these herbs smell wonderful and the essential oils from these herbs would make a wonderful addition to a bath or a simmering pot.  I am willing to give it a go.  I am always trying to find healthier things for my family.  I will keep everyone updates on what I find, but for now that is why I need the vodka.  I need it to make tinctures and extracts.  I already have olive oil for the oils.  I am going to play a bit to see what all I can do.  I am going to go to the library sometime soon and see about getting some more books on the subject.  Right now I am just learning and am in no way an expert.
So aside from that, the garden up date is: 60lbs of potatoes this year.  I still have about 5 more plants in the ground that looked good so I am letting them grow a little longer, but so far it is 60 lbs potatoes.  For my calculations it comes out to about .34 lb.  Not bad.  It isn't as good as 2 years ago when I got about twice that, but considering it got so hot so fast, and something got my plants( I think), then it isn't too bad at all.  I still came out ahead of buying them at the store so I am happy.  They are beautiful potatoes though.  I love red potatoes and that is what these are. Once the potatoes were up I planted more corn.  I would like to be able to get enough corn to can quite a few pints.  Broccoli is done and I have ended up with about 12lbs of that in my freezer so my calculations on that are .66lb and that is without the waste you would normally end up buying if you got it at the store so happy there as well.  Blueberries are starting to come in.  I figure I will be able to pick about a quart by Friday.  Looking forward to that.  Last year I got about 35lbs.  I would love to get at least that this year as well.  I was pleased to find three little baby blueberry bushes that had come off the mother bush.  They have since been clipped from mama but they are still planted and mulched in her shadow.  Once they go dormant in the fall I will move them to where their new home will be.  Hmmmmm where will that be?  I have to think about this.  So aside from all that life is great.  I have my worries like anyone else, but my main thing is to remember God is in charge and He knows the plans for me; numbers the hairs on my head, my name is written in His hand.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  He is forever faithful.  With a friend and heavenly father like that how can I fear.  I hope you guys have a really blessed day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

UGH! It's so hot!

Well we had a warmer than normal winter and now we are having a hotter than normal spring.  So here we go again trying to keep the house cool without breaking the bank.  Yesterday the temp was 87 degrees in the house with the AC running.  Not good.  Today I have covered the sliding glass door, which ironically faces the sun at its height.  I am hoping that will help, but hate the fact that I can't look outside and see my pretty garden. (pout).  I have also been trying to cook more outside using the grill and a crock pot.  It has worked so far.  I am thinking come canning time I will be using the grill for some of my canning.  I read an interesting tip the other day on energy savings during canning. The tip was to put your canner outside in the morning and let the sun heat the water for you.  That way it doesn't take as much energy to bring the water to boiling when you can.  I think I will go one further and put my jars in there as well.  I am going to try this experiment once my canning starts.  I have gotten some things form my garden so far.  Mainly spinach, lettuce, and broccoli.  I dug up enough potatoes yesterday to have for dinner, about 21/2 lbs.  They were the new potatoes.  Love those.  I put a roast, the new potatoes, and fresh rosemary and Thyme from my herb bed into my crock pot and let it simmer on the back deck. The pic above is the corner of my herb bed.  Kind of a rustic type look, but I used what I had on hand to make the bed. Works like a charm.  I also made sun tea.  In fact now that I am thinking about it, I need to put some more outside to brew.
I need t make bread, and so I am planning on making up the dough this afternoon but baking it tonight after the sun goes down.  I have been remiss lately in using my clothes line, and since a hot dryer adds to a hot house, I will be going back to using my clothes line.  Well, wish I could share some earth shattering tip that will set the blogo-sphere aflutter, but alas no such luck.  Instead I will get up from here and get started on my day as always. I hope everyone has a great day and stay cool if you are in the south!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Uhhhh YUM!

This seems a little repetitive, but I am sorry I have been away so long.  Lets face it, it is prime time gardening season and so I don't have lots of free time.  What free time I have, I have been using for sewing in order to get up an inventory of doll clothes to sell.  That being said I wanted to share something I discovered the other day that is awesome!  Homemade fruit tea.  Oh yea baby.  I have found me something goooood. Snapple aint got nothin on me.
 Last year I put up 4 quarts of blackberry juice concentrate(which is awesome by the way), but it wasn't until now that I took out a quart to prepare.  1 quart of the concentrate make about 3 liters of juice.  Anyway, I was brewing tea and thought I would try another one of my "hummm I wonder" projects.  Needless to say it is my new addiction.  I have been suckin down fruit tea for the past 2 days.  Probably not so good for my waist line, but I don't care it is very refreshing on a warm day.  Here's what I did:

My fruit tea

Enough tea bags for a 2 quart pitcher of tea
1 can fruit juice concentrate(or in my case 12 oz of my blackberry concentrate)
2/3 cup sugar(more or less depending on taste)

So steep your tea bags like you normally would for your tea.  Pour the steeped tea into your 2 quart pitcher.  Add the fruit juice concentrate and sugar.  Stir it up so all the sugar dissolves.  Add water until you make 2 quarts of tea.  Chill.
Writing this blog I am finishing up the last of the tea.  I have to ask myself if I want to make more, or be responsible and take a break for my waist line........hmmmm a conundrum(she said as she took another drink).

So updating the past three weeks.  We are finishing up school for both of the boys.  One graduates on Saturday and the other is finishing up his homeschooling.  We are proud of both and the strides they have made this year.  Our son that is graduating is a minor miracle because we were told years ago he wouldn't graduate with a regular diploma but could get a special needs diploma.  That wasn't acceptable and now he is graduating with a regular diploma and the plan right now is for him to start technical college without an IEP or special needs program.  Modifications will be made on our end at home.  We are at least going to try.
The garden is coming up and in.  My tomatoes, beans, potatoes, corn, and peppers are all getting large and lush and putting out babies.  My spinach, lettuce, and broccoli are coming in at a steady pace.  So far I have put up 8 lbs of broccoli (and eaten 2lbs), and have the little side shoots still coming in.  I have brought in about 1 lb of spinach and 1/2 pound of lettuce.  My English pea experiment was successful.  I ended up with about 2 lbs of peas.  The adjustments I am going to make for next year are that I am going to start my peas indoors around the beginning of December to put them out the middle of Jan.  I will also plant a lot more peas.  I would say not a bad return when You think I got the pea seeds for free.  Blackberry and blue berry bushes are covered with fruit just waiting to ripen.  I am about to go out and pick more spinach, broccoli and lettuce as well as do more gardening stuff.  All in all things are going pretty smooth.  So now I have to go spray my fruit trees, and get busy.  Again sorry so long since my last post.  I will try to do better.