Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I love the month of December, I love the cold, the wind and most of all the snow, when and if we happen to get it.
The farm is all covered in a blanket of straw and mulch and all things are sleeping peacefully.
This is a great time to think about how closely we are connected to the earth.
We work all year and at a certain point we must stop, take a break, maybe even a vacation, re-group and get a new outlook on things for the new year.
Mother Earth does the same thing. If you have ever tried to force something to grow and stay green past a certain point, you've discovered that it's almost impossible.
It may survive, but it will be spindly, sickly and in most cases just droop and die.
December is no doubt the most important month for preperations....whether it be doing or thinking.
So get yourself a cup of egg-nog, hot tea, coffee, or whatever makes your insides feel good. Find a comfy spot and relax until you doze, while your dozing, dream, if your thoughts are really concentrated, you will dream. May they be beautiful and peaceful.
Have a very happy and safe holiday season.
Merry Christmas! Whatever it means to you.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Not much going on in the gardens this month. Winters arms have reached out and pulled everything close to her breast for snug and safe sleep.
We have had a light freeze already and my Rosemary and Thyme are still beautiful and green, so I believe they are going to be ok. I have them mulched really well around the base and covered lightly with hay.
This is the ugly time of year at first glance simply because we are so accustomed to seeing the gardens green and in bloom, but if you look close you will find beauty in the dead and drooping plants and flowers.
After a close examination of the California poppy's I discovered they all close up in the same manner. They look as if they have their heads bowed in prayer.
I find great beauty in the colorful pumpkins among the dead grasses,straw and hay.
The japanese maple is so bare you can see right through it......but, every morning it is full of activity with cardinals, blue-jays, house-wrens and a few buntings, oh they are so beautiful....
The colors are just breath-taking!
Sage Hill Farms has a lot of ever-green trees, so we never have a shortage of green to admire during the coldest months. Plus the awesome holly tree at the end of the porch, always covered in bright red berry's.
This is the beginning of my really down time......I can sit for awhile and read a good book, browse those seed catalogs to my hearts content, sip my own blend of organic herb tea, ahhh..all is right with my world.
Please come and visit us at: http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com
Sunday, November 13, 2005
November Is For Reflecting.........
Most of the year this tree is a lovely shade of green and filled with birds and makes a lovely little shade over the side yard.
Come November it turns to daring shades of red, yellow and orange. It greets me each time I look out my office window from the upstairs of my home.
Every time I look at it I'm taken back to some point of the past year.......so many events that changed life for so many of my family and friends...and for me.
I'm so very thankful for this lovely tree that gives me hours of pleasure during the year. The green, green, spring when it's so lush and full you can't see the center.
Hot blazing summer when it's filled with Cardinal's and wren's looking for a cool place to build a home.
Shocking, colorful fall, when it's changing from day to day. Then of course the stark cold winter when it's bare and the limbs are heavy with snow and ice.
I think it has to be a very wise old tree.......It's helped me to accept changes during this last year.
Another reflection is from my gardens........well, actually from my compost pile.
This beautiful, perfect, white pumpkin grew from a seed that was tossed into the compost last year. At first I thought it was a squash, then a wild gourd, then a mellon of some sort...proof of what good things will grow from our trash. Not only one, but three of these beauties graced the compost the latter part of the summer.
Oh, and let me not forget to share this lovely little clump of California Poppy's, they just keep smiling for me every day.
This is my favorite season for so many reasons, but mostly because it just confirms and validates the collection of event's through-out the year.
Embrace your November and spend time reflecting.......It will make you smile, even through your tears.
See you in December.
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Ah, the bats are coming in for a landing!
I don't think of bats in the context of a frightening flying creature to run and hide from.To me they are a big part of pest control on the farm. Do you know they eat thousands of mosquitos in a very short period of time. They like their own space up very high, so bat houses should be as common as bird houses. They are like any other wild bird or animal, they may carry some form of mites or disease, so never ever try catching one.
Now it is getting close to the spookiest night of the year, so watch out for the little black visitors . perched on your pumpkins and in your hay-stacks. More than likely they are the friendly sort, just flying in for a closer look!
I know a lot of you do the "Trick-or-Treat" so please be very careful, take heed of all the pre-cautions and be safe.
We opted many years ago not to do the Trick-or-Treat , instead we have a back yard party, we all dress up in costume, cook chicken wings and marshmallows outside. Bob for apples and play hide&seek. Very fun in costume!
Anyone in the neighbor-hood is invited.
The only requirement is you must bring a bag of non-perishable food for the local food bank.
Enjoy your holiday, make a tradition.......pass it on.
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms (aka/herb witch) Just a little farm humor!!
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
October is the month for cleaning up, cleaning out and pre-preparations for next spring.
Does it ever slow down? Just a wee bit for a very short period of time, that happens here in Tennessee about the last of November.
We here at Sage Hill are a little ahead of the game in some things and a bit behind in others.
I suppose most farmers are in the same position. You do what you can when the elements are working with you and fill in where you must.
I was suprised this past week with a cold front, we were lucky it wasn't the first frost, so things are still fine. But it got me on the move with cleaning out beds, and adding mulch and cover for the things I want to protect from the harshness of winter.
My main focus this time of year is of course getting the things I wish to overwinter inside and protected. But aside from that is the preparation of the soil for next years gardens.
Be really careful about what you compost back into your soil. Any plants that look sick or diseased in the slightest way should be pulled up and discarded. (do not put into your compost pile) All others I allow to die back on their own and rot back into the soil.
If your like me you still have beautiful oregano, it just doesn't want to die. But I have allowed mine to flower and go to seed. It really isn't very tasty after that. I will cut it back severely in about another week or so to stop it from spreading. The flowers dry beautifully or you can toss them into a salad.
One of the ways I enjoy the very last pluckings from my gardens is to cut all the flowers and heads that do dry well and hang them upside down for about a week or two in the basement.
They dry enough to put into a vase for a few weeks as a special fall arrangement.
When your finished with them just toss into the compost pile.
Thyme should be mulched for winter protection. But you can continue to use it all year, in fact you should continue to pinch it back so it doesn't get leggy.
I like to spread a little sand around the base of my thyme for the winter, just to make sure the stems dont get root rot. This is especially good to do if you have a very wet winter.
If you wish to have an extra early spring crop of dill, you should plant it by mid November.
Bringing in your mint plants for the winter? This is the time to pot them up. Be aware that they
need at least 5 hours of sunlight a day and very little water.
Please practice being a good land steward.....don't use dangerous chemicals, instead look for and learn about the natural ways to care for your soil, it will thank you with rich and bountiful offerings. You and your family will be healthier and future generations will have a fighting chance to enjoy mother earth too.
Wishing you and yours a most wonderful autumn season.
Bea Kunz/Sage Hill Farms.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
apologizes are offered for not posting sooner...We have friends and family in the badly stricken parts of the MS. Coast and New Orleans. So without expanding further, please remember all the people there in your prayers.
Thank you and may blessings come to you in abundance!
Depending on the section of the country you're in dictates what stage your garden is in.
Here in middle Tennessee things are still growing and producing to the max. (at least my herb gardens are)
Oregano is in full bloom as well as the garlic chives. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are both edible. Toss into your salad for visual and taste pleasure.
We seem to be in a bug free stage! If it can only last!!
My Mint beds are just awesome........This year has been a learning experience for me with mints.
I have never grown Apple Mint before and I can't believe what I have been missing. First of all,
it is so beautiful! (photo above) Has big fuzzy leaves, makes a fat bush plant and the butterflies seem to love it.
I grew my Lemon Balm in a large half barrel and for some reason it didn't produce as well as all the others in the ground. Now I would normally argue with you that regardless where you plant
LB it will grow to the max. Anyone have any ideas as to why this happened? Same soil, sun and
attention. (Although mints of any kind require very little attention.) Maybe it just wanted to be in the ground with the others. Plants do have personalities you know.
Rosemary's have tripled in size already. This is one of my favorite herbs. It is just too good in the kitchen and it adds such grace to your landscape. We planted a small shrub of "ARP" for my grandsons first day of pre-school and pretty soon it will be taller than he is.
My hubby cut the white pumpkins that were growing from the compost pile and we have them in the basement until we do the fall displays. I can't believe how big they grew from a renegade
My Parsley beds have come back to life. After harvesting all I needed and giving to anyone who stood still for more than a minute, I decided to just let it die. The larva of the beautiful black
swallowtail butterfly has ceased to be,they feed on parsley. ( you should see them) they are everywhere! And the parsley is back with a vengeance. Things just don't seem to be ready to give up.
In our location I could keep things growing most of the year if I really wanted too, but I
like the break of letting things die and come back fresh and new in the spring.
It's good for the soil, gives it a chance to replenish and that's good for the next years crop.
Can't forget about the Thyme,( English and Lemon.) If your looking for a pretty ground cover,
CreepingThyme works great. Plant it along the sidewalk or just a spot where nothing else fits.
Beautiful running along rock walls and over uneven surfaces.
Sage is 'The autumn Inspiration' what would all those yummy fall dishes be without this old and dear friend. It's the herb I remember from my mothers garden. She used it in cornbread dressing for the turkey at Thanksgiving. She made sage bread and sage gravy. The best part about this herb, it's just as good dried as fresh, actually I prefer it dried. (As I do most, except the ones for salad.)
Sage tea was a must for colds or stuffy noses!
If you would like to order our dried herb blends, including Sage Tea... You may do so by visiting our web site:
As always, please feel free to contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Postal Addy: Sage Hill Farms
32 Old Petersburg Pike
Petersburg, TN. 37144
Wishing you a very 'Inspirational Autumn.'
Sunday, August 28, 2005
During the month of July, August and September
is when we , USA Southerners, have the peak of the insect season. From Japanese Beetles to tiny
Aphids, you just never know what your going get.
Learning to distinguish between the good and the bad bug is very beneficial. Grasshoppers, leafhoppers, Japanese Beetles, Aphids, Squash-bug, Slug/Snails are all very pesky and will eat a variety of plants.
PrayingManthis(as ugly as it is)LadyBeetles and
spiders of all kinds are very helpful in controlling
the bad ones. And of course if your lucky enough to have a family of wild turkeys who come for
breakfast and supper every day, they will keep the grub population under control. My hubby is not a hunter and we would never dream of killing one of these beautiful creatures. But there is a hunting season here when it is legal to kill a certain number per person who has a license to hunt, so later in the autumn they will go deep into the woods for protection. Hopefully this family will live to return next year!
The gardens are starting to slow down a tiny bit as far as new growth. Still a lot of cutting to do on the Mints and Thyme. I'm allowing one bed of each: Oregano, Basil, Marjoram and Chives to flower, and they are so pretty. Rosemary, Thyme and Sage is very hardy and will continue to produce right through the autumn months, they will also survive the winter in the ground if you protect them with a good cover of hay or light branches ,etc. The amount of protection depends of course on where you are located and the severity of your winter months.
We have dried gallons upon gallons of all the herbs and looking forward to sharing our wonderful
Herb Blends with all of our friends, family and customers , both local and around the world.
We have customers who have become 'friends' in England and Canada.
I love the connections that the Internet allows us to make. We truly are living in what will be a great time in the history of communication.
You may view the products we have for market by going to the Sage Hill Farms website.
As always feel free to contact us if you have questions or just wish to visit.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Throughout history people from every culture have been using herbs to season and flavor food.
In the 17th century, John Parkinson, the famous English herbalist at the Court of King James I,
Wrote these words, Dried summer savory leaves ground up with bread crumbs "used to breade
meate, be it fish or flesh, give it a quicker relish." Meaning that it gives it a better taste.
Herbs do taste good and smell good, they are healthy and they give us so many options to experiment with. Hard and fast rules when using herbs are very few. You can make your own
rules. Fresh versus dried is simply a matter of personal preference.
There are a few things to remember when cooking with herbs in order to get the best benefit
of the natural oils. Fresh herbs like basil, should be torn with your fingers instead of chopped with a knife. Tearing releases more of the natural oil. Any fresh or dried herb should be added no more than 5 or 10 minutes to the end of cooking time. The longer they cook, the more taste
Another little tip: When using dried-----half the amount of fresh will do in most recipes.
Too little is better than too much! Herbs can be overpowering if not used in the proper amounts.
The blending of herbs can serve a two fold purpose, adding wonderful flavor to your dish,
and allowing you to cut back or completly stop the use of salt and or fat.
Actually there is a third benefit, once you remove the salt and fat from your food, you discover
the real taste . This is always a big suprise to most people.
I'm an herb farmer and strongly believe in the powers of herbs to support, heal, cleanse and maintain the health of our bodies, minds and spirit.
But they are like everything we do that has a real purpose, we must learn about the process
and commit to a practice of when and how to best use them.
You can find more information about our farm and our products by going here:
Please visit this blog often, I will post at least weekly. This is a very busy time of year with
harvesting and getting the herbs dried and ready for market.
I would love your feedback, and if you have questions , please feel free to email , snail mail or phone me.(although phoning will get you the answering machine on most days, but I will call
back if you are in the USA.)