Sunday, April 26, 2009
Your plants require tweaking in early spring to flourish and give back a 100%.
Herbs are very tolerant of snipping, in fact the more you snip, the more new and hardy growth you will have. So don't be afraid to cut them back. Even if you can't use the trimmings just let them fall to the ground and they will compost back into the soil for another level of good plant health.
Thyme, sage, oregano, and rosemary will get very woody too quickly if not kept trimmed back to a tidy form. Woody means too much stem between the base and the top of the plant with no green growing there. The closer to the soil your thyme, oregano, and sage can grow the better.
Rosemary will make a lovely bush form by spreading out instead of up if you keep it trimmed properly.
My sage beds are about 18" high, a good height for balance and to keep it from bolting...going to flower too quickly.
Once your herbs bolt they think the growing season is over and will start the process of dying back. So be very careful to keep the tops pinched in order to avoid early bolting.
Sage Tea is wonderful in the spring...helps control the pollen/allergy effect of congestion from sneezing and drainage.
A handful of clean sage leaves.
2-4 cups of boiling water.
Steep the leaves for 6 to 8 minutes.
Strain and add a small amount of stevia or honey.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Earth Day is all about celebrating what we practice all year.
Learning about; healthy ways to live without doing harm to Mother Earth.
Growing our food, tending our land, and caring for our family in sustainable ways.
If you haven't celebrated Earth Day in the past, a very good way and place to start is in the kitchen. Design and prepare a very simple and healthy meal. Think carefully about each item you choose to integrate into the fare...is it grown locally-if not by you, is it chemical free, is it GM free ?
When we start with our food sources it is very easy to filter into other areas as we move forward...because, when we are eating healthy we feel better, look better, have more energy and more desire to do more , learn more, and share more.
We will be hosting a group of wee ones around the farm at different times tomorrow. Planting seed, inspecting seedlings, and sampling all manner of delicious and healthy foods.
Whatever you have plans for...make it "earth friendly."
Plant a seed...in the garden, in a cup, or in a mind~
Happy and Safe Earth Day~everyday.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The Time-line of the Easter Holiday~
Easter ( the name ) comes from Eastre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess.
In pagan times an annual spring festival was held in her honor.
Some Easter customs have come from this and other pre-Christian spring festivals. Others come from the Passover feast of the Jews, observed in memory of their deliverance from Egypt.
The resurrection of Jesus took place during the Passover. In the early days of Christianity Easter and the Passover were closely associated.
Prior to A.D. 325, Easter was celebrated on different days of the week, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In that year, the Council of Nicaea was convened by emperor Constantine. They issued the Easter Rule which places Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox (first day of Spring). Therefore, Easter must be celebrated on a Sunday between the dates of March 22 and April 25.
Lent, preceding Easter Sunday is the 40-day penitential season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding at midnight on Holy Saturday. Lent is a season of prayer, abstinence, and fasting. This is observed in memory of the 40 days' fast of Christ in the desert.
Lent is observed for six weeks and four days by the Western Christian churches that include Saturday and Sunday into the total.
In Eastern Orthodox churches Lent is 50 days since they do not count Saturdays or Sundays.
Shrove Tuesday, the day before the beginning of Lent, was designed as a way to "get it all out" before the sacrifices of Lent began. Known the world over as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Carnival. It is celebrated in many cities, the most famous American city being New Orleans, LA.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, gets its name from the practice, mainly in the Roman Catholic church, of putting ashes on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them that man is but dust.
Holy Week-Palm Sunday: This is held on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. It recalls Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem one week before his execution.
Holy Monday: commemorates Jesus' cleansing of the temple, when he assaulted money changers and overturned their tables. Some believe that this triggered his arrest and crucifixion.
Holy Tuesday: recalls Jesus' description to his disciples on the Mount of Olives of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Holy Wednesday: (once called Spy Wednesday) recalls Judas' decision to betray Jesus in exchange for 30 pieces of silver.
Maundy Thursday: commemorates the Last Supper, Jesus' agony in the garden and his arrest.
Good Friday: recalls Jesus' death on the cross. The origin of the word "good" has been lost. Some claim that it is a corruption of "God" and that the early Christians called this day "God's Friday." Others claim that "good" refers to the blessings of humanity that Christians believe arose as a result of Jesus' execution.
Holy Saturday: (a.k.a. Easter Eve) is the final day of Holy Week and of Lent.
Easter Sunday: commemorates Jesus' resurrection. In the early church, converts were baptized into church membership on this day after a lengthy period of instruction. This tradition continues today in some churches.
Many Easter symbols and customs come from the Old World.
The Cross is the symbol of the Crucifixion, as opposed to the Resurrection. However, at the Council of Nicaea, in A.D. 325, Constantine decreed that the Cross was the official symbol of Christianity. The Cross is not only a symbol of Easter, but it is more widely used, especially by the Catholic Church, as a year-round symbol of their faith.
The white lily symbolizes the Resurrection. Yet, lillies have long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with reproduction. It was considered a phallic symbol!
The Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny also originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.
The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
The Easter Egg
The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians. The egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers.
In today's line-up of holiday celebrations, Easter is, as always , something a little different to many of us.
Our teachings and our commitment to those teachings makes the celebration meaningful and something to pass forward into the new generations.
Happy Easter to you all.
Our day will include early sunrise church services then on to a day with the children/grand-children, traditional foods of the holiday, the Easter Egg hunt with grand prizes for the unscrambled message on the eggs.
And of course a little history lesson about the day.
Have much fun whatever you plans are.
To April Awareness~
Monday, April 06, 2009
To garden organically means using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
And remember....it's not just about what we don't do-but more about adopting a more holistic and natural system that rewards us as individuals and builds a better eco-system.
Starting with your soil-get it tested, or , you can purchase the small inexpensive soil test kit and do the testing yourself. Just know what you have and what you need and the rest is easy.
After the growing season has ended for most things, early in the fall start applying any organic nutrients, lots of organic humus-rotting and composting leaves, grass, kitchen waste...such as-egg shells, vegetable peelings, coffee/tea grinds...nothing cooked or any animal products such as bones and grease.
Fully composted animal manure from any non-meat eater is a great additive-horse, cow, chicken, rabbit, etc.
This should compost for at least two/three months before planting in the soil.
( be sure to build your compost pile in alternating green(nitrogen) and brown(carbon)
layers with a thin layer of soil in-between each layer.
Top the pile with about 6" of soil. Water to keep it slightly moist...not wet.
This will encourage microbe action. You will have good compost ready to use in 2 to 3 months.
Built and maintained properly a compost pile does not smell and will not attract critters or ants. If it does then you need to add more dry carbon to your mix. (leaves, straw, sawdust etc.)
It's always a good idea to keep the compost pile covered. This helps the cooking process and keeps any unwanted invaders away.
At least once a week the pile should be turned and tested for successful decomposing.
When your compost has finished cooking you will have everything you need for planting and growing a healthy and abundant garden.
PS: We compost directly into the beds we will be planting in the spring.
This bed was about 24" high with composting material in November of 2008...it cooked all winter and is now a level bed of nothing but good rich organic soil...no tilling, no weeds, no insects.
This bed will soon be abundant with more lavender plants.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Two of the greatest joys in my life are watching my herb gardens and ny grandsons grow. The two together is nothing short of amazing !
Herb gardens can be any size, shape and/or design that you are attracted to.
Herb gardens are readily changeable, if you plant thyme in this spot and next year you would rather have sage in this same spot, just dig it up and replant in another location. Seldom do you lose herb plants from transplanting.
They are so anxious to grow and please us they just put down roots wherever we wish to place them.
They are very neighborly, the closer the better with many species.
Herbs love to be in the spotlight, just add a few special garden fixtures and you will soon have a touring location that will be the talk of the town.
Birds, bees, butterfly's, and other interesting and beautiful creatures will add to the show on any given day.
Herbs love to be snipped on a regular basis, even if you don't have use for all the cuttings, just allow them to fall to the ground and presto...they will add rich and healthy compost to the soil for the continued growth of their fellow plants.
Herbs make a lovely bouquet for the summer table, and the extra benefit is the aroma they will waft throughout the entire house.
Small, large, formal or a crazy and wild mix-an herb garden is one of the greatest pleasures one can experience on a daily basis.
Happy herb gardening~