Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Wishes

Now we're into the down season for gardening. Although, having said that I've already ordered starter plants and seeds for next spring.

Next, I‘ll work on orders for tags and pots and soil. So even though the calendar says winter, I'm thinking spring. I'll start my first batch of seeds in early January. All this spring oriented work helps me survive the cold weather. There‘s something magical about seeing baby seedlings growing inside in the depths of winter.

The eternal promise of spring never fails to inspire. I must say though, that I kind of enjoy the forced slowdown winter brings. l think it‘s Mother Nature's way of telling us to slow down and enjoy a break, There are also cold weather pleasures of brewing herbal tea and baking bread from scratch.

A great winter pleasure is curling up with perhaps, a cup of that herbal tea, and browsing through seed catalogs. If you haven't received any yet, they'll be arriving soon. The beautiful pictures and glowing descriptions always have me longing for spring. I get ideas for new plants to add to our inventory from several places- customer requests, reading reference books and perusing seed catalogs. Nearly every year, I find something to try in a catalog. Either a picture attracts me or the write-up sounds so good or they throw in that foolproof word for me-fragrant-and I'm ready to try it.

We still have some copies of the 2911 herbal calendar for sale.
Beautiful prints, herbal tips and recipes, too.

If you suffer from dry skin in the winter, here's some products to try:
Goat's milk lotion-very moisturizing and helps your shin retain moisture
Solid lotion bars-Fragrant, moisturizing, but not gloopy
Whipped shea butter-super moisturizing for your face

The farm is closed beginning Dec 24 for the holidays. The shop reopens Jan. 6 and will be open Thursday-Saturday 9am-5pm.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanks to All!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our recent holiday open house.
We had a great turnout both days and everyone was so nice with their comments. One regular customer came with her two teenagers and they said visiting us was on their list of fun things to do. With so much competition for people's time and attention, we appreciate the fact that everyone made the effort to stop by. Also, congratulations to our open house prize Winners. Megan Sweigart won the gift certificate and Rick Hamm won the soap sampler.

We have live myrtle and rosemary topiaries in the greenhouse and a selection of potted culinary herbs-basil, thyme, parsley, chives, etc. These will be available through December 25 during our regular hours~Tuesday-Saturday §am-5pm. lf you need something green and growing and fragrant to get through the winter, stop by. After Christmas, we shut down the greenhouses and will not have plants available until the greenhouse reopens in April.

New that we've had a hard freeze, the growing season is done for another year. But this year, I had roses, Jupiter's beard, snaps and calendula blooming at the beginning of December. That's even a little later than last year. <<< The poor calendula finally gave up the ghost after our last hard freeze.

I've been happily going through Tina Sam's new book, By the Hearth.
It‘s a compilation of the best from the first five years of her Essential Herbal magazine. I've gone through it several times, picking out articles here and there to read. New I'm focused on the kitchen section. Let me tell you, there are some great recipes in there. I've already marked some to try after the holidays.
It's a great gift idea for the herbies in your life.

It's been so cold these last few mornings that even Lucy doesn't dawdle to our walks. I'm glad she doesn’t want to stop and smell individual blades of grass!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thoughts on a late fall day

If you have rosemary planted in the garden, you still have plenty of time to enjoy and harvest it. Although not reliably winter hardy here, it will tolerate quite a hit of frost. Mine is almost always productive until Christmas, at least. Since it gets fairly big even in one season, it seems to take an extended period of cold to kill off the roots. This generally happens during a cold snap after the new year. Maybe the Winter will he mild enough so it will survive. If you‘re trying to overwinter rosemary in the house, choose a bright, cool location away from heat sources. If it dries out inside, it usually dies.

I'm enjoying Tina Sams' new book, "By the Hearth," along with her previous book, "Under the Sun," it's a compilation of the best of the first five years of The Essential Herbal, the bimonthly magazine she publishes. Whether your interest in herbs is gardening, cooking fragrance or medicinal, this book has something for you. Similar articles are grouped together, but you can also just open the book to any page and read an interesting article. Lots of recipes too, which l love. Makes a great gift for you or an herb lover you know. We have both books available in the shop

Lucy celebrates her fourth birthday in December. We've had her three years, as we got her from the Humane League when she was a year old. If you‘re considering a pet, please, please consider a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue organization. These are wonderful animals who desperately need a loving home. You don‘t need a purebred dog to get all the breed‘s good traits. Lucy's a black lab mix, but she has the sweet, friendly temperament of a lab. She is the sweetest dog and there are lots more like her waiting for a good home. Think about a black dog or cat. They are the last to be adopted!

Now that the leaves are off the trees, I'm seeing bird's nests up close. The mockingbird's is rather random, very angular and twiggy. The robin's is much more finished, almost woven. Later in the season a robin took over an abandoned mockingbird‘s nest and remodelled it-weaving over the twiggy base. A tiny woven nest in the magnolia must have belonged to a sparrow or wren. And I can see a couple leafy squirrel nests at the top of the tallest trees.