Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Celebration~

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Regardless the history lets all take a moment to remember and honor the many lives lost in our military services, and, to pray for the ending of all wars.

Enjoy the holiday and be grateful for our freedom to celebrate.

Bea Kunz


Roquefort cheese, peppery watercress and organic-pasture raised beef create a burger that meat lovers thank you for. The bulgur stretches the ground beef and boosts the fiber.

Makes 4 servings-recipe can be doubled.

1/3 cup bulgur
1/2 cup warm water
12 ounces organic-pasture raised-lean ground beef
1/2 cup coarsely chopped watercress leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons crumbled Roquefort cheese (1 ounce)
4 whole-wheat buns, split and toasted

1. Combine bulgur and warm water in a bowl; let stand until the bulgur is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
2. Prepare your grill .
Add beef, watercress, salt and pepper to the plumped bulgur and mix thoroughly but lightly. Shape the mixture into eight 3/8-inch-thick patties . Sandwich cheese between the patties to form 4 stuffed burgers.
3. Grill or broil the patties on a lightly oiled rack until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register 160° F.) Place the burgers on buns and garnish with watercress sprigs.

** When forming burger patties, make them thinner at the center to prevent them from steaming as they cook.

**To oil a grill: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

**Ingredient note: Bulgur is a quick-cooking form of wheat that has been parboiled and dried. Don't confuse it with cracked wheat, which needs longer cooking.

Parsley-More Than A Garnish~

Parsley is a much neglected herb in the kitchen.

Being used for the most part as a garnish and tossed in the trash or at best back into the compost.

There are two varieties of parsley...flay leaf, also called Italian parsley and curly leaf which has a much milder taste than the Italian.

I love blending the two and balancing out the flavor a bit I find the Italian a bit heady for some recipes.

Do you know that Parsley is high in Vitamin C.

Parsley is excellent dried although the word on the street says not...

Dark Green Italian Plain is excellent for drying. Blended with Darki curly leaf produces a sweet-pungent taste that holds it flavor in cooking.

The Green-and-Black striped caterpillars will chew your parsley leaves.

I suggest protecting your main crop with floating row covers and planting an extra clump somewhere in the sun just for the caterpillars since they are the larvae for the beautiful black swallowtail butterfly.

I often just pick them off and relocate them to the carrot patch, they love those leaves too and will mature before they eat them all.

Another good to know about parsley...plant some in your rose garden and it will help to improve the health of the bushes and intensify the scent of the rose bloom.

Keep your parsley cut back or it will go to seed in the second year of growth.
Once it seeds it will begin to die back and cease to grow.

Parsley is considered a biennial, which means it will not reseed the second year.

I add a few new plants each year and that assures me I will always have a good crop.

Parsley loves to be composted, it will thrive and require no other nutrients for a good growth.

Always keep the compost or mulch at least 2 to 3 inches away from the base of the plant.

Happy Gardening~

Bea Kunz

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A New Look at an Old Favorite~

Bee Balm-beebalm~

There are two bee balm plants (or "beebalm") that are my favorites. One is for visual and the other for culinary and medicinal. They are both useful for the same purpose, I just favor the "red" bee balm)for culinary-it is often referred to as the "Oswego tea" plant. Meanwhile, bee balm plants with lavender flowers are also popular; classified as Monarda fistulosa, we usually know this plant as "wild bergamot."

Bee balm plants are herbaceous perennials and considered herbs by all culinary and medicinal standards. Bee balm plants are members of the mint family and impart a minty fragrance and taste.

Red bee balm plants produce clusters of scarlet, tubular flowers in mid to late summer. These long-blooming perennials reach 3 feet or more in height and can grown in zones 4-9.

Plant bee balm flowers in full sun to partial shade and in a moist but well-drained soil. Use soil amendments such as compost to enrich the soil for your bee balm
plants. I have great success growing this in large whiskey barrel planters.

If you simply enjoy beautiful flowers, this is a must for your garden. If attracting wildlife is your aim, yet another reason to grow bee balm. Bees of all kind, (pollinators) butterflies and hummingbirds are steady diners to the beautiful flowers.

Bee balm is used as a skin wash for rashes and other irritations." The pulverized leaves truly can be used as a "balm" to treat bee stings (thus the primary common name).

It's best to divide the plants every few years to prevent aggressive spreading. can be susceptible to powdery mildew, especially in late summer; if your bee balm plants succumb to powdery mildew at this time, it's best to trim them back to the ground and properly dispose of the cut growth. Deadhead bee balm flowers to promote re-blooming.

All in all regardless the care they might command the bloom, the aroma, and the "tea" is so worth the time and effort.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

White Tea in the News~

German researchers are saying White Tea can affect fat life cycles.

Interesting read...full article here~

And remember that herbal tisanes are wonderful for flushing all manner of toxins from our system...fat too perhaps!

"Sip Of The Day"~~Lavender buds with just a hint of Black tea and a tiny bit of Sweet Leaf (stevia ) A special way to start your day.

Bea Kunz

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tea For One~

"Tea" strictly speaking only applies to "infusions made from the leaves and leaf buds of the tea plant, or camellia sinensis." "Brews made from herbs like chamomile, lemon balm and mints are herbal infusions or tisanes." All infusions and tisanes are caffeine-free for the most part.

Since herbals are caffeine-free, they are perfect choices for bedtime. Chamomile is a long standing choice for calm and relaxation, but there are some other enticing choices to help put us in that comfortable slumber of " this must be Heaven." Fennel helps relax the muscles and settle the digestion, while lemon verbena and peppermint can also bring a restful nights sleep.

Yerba Mate is used often as a caffeine substitute, so I would suggest passing on this for a bedtime sip.

We know that green tea has about 2/3 less caffeine than black tea.

Jasmin with a bit of Rose is one of my favorites...the perfect way to end a day.

Try a cup of herbal tisane during your last hour before bed.....a good thing just for "you."

Bea Kunz

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weeds Be Gone~

Honestly, if I had to weed very much I just might give up gardening.

I simply don't like to weed and it's not that difficult to be weed free in the gardens.

My first suggestion is raised bed gardening, really cuts back on the amount of weeds you end up with.

But, regardless what method you are using weeds should be the least of your work day.

A few tried and true ways of beating the weed problem.

Mulch...Keep your soil covered to prevent light from reaching the weed seeds. Spread a thick layer of dried grass clippings or shredded leaves on your garden early in the spring and replenish it as the season unfolds.

Not only will the mulch keep the weeds out it will also nourish your soil as it decomposes, will hold moisture that your plants need to be strong and healthy after the season heats up.

Hand-pull...As much as I dislike this action it is a must at times, and it does have it's good points. If....your weed problem has already grown past the stage of mulch therapy then pull it must be.

Take a few minutes each day and pull, this is best done after a rain shower, makes the weeds much easier to break free of the soil. As you pull, cover the area with the mulch material and the second pulling is not needed.

When you pull and mulch for a season, the weed issue should be history for the coming season.

Please, please don't resort to chemical weed killers.
They might kill the weeds for a short time, but they also kill your soil, your beneficial insects, and some can even kill you if ingested.

Happy and safe gardening~

Bea Kunz

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Troubleshooting In The Garden~

The gardens here at Sage Hill as well as many around the country have been a bit water-logged for longer than a month now.

Unless your garden spots have very good soil and good drainage you may discover some plants and/or the leaves of some are turning yellow and falling off.

This is most always an indication of too wet soil, which in many cases means your drainage isn't right, which means your soil is most often too heavy.

Since we can't control the amount of rain that falls we have to look for other ways to deal with the issue.

If you decide your soil is too heavy and not draining well you can fix that by adding small amounts of sand or peat to the soil and gently working it in.

A good temporary fix is to purchase good row cover frames and material ( affordable )
and keep your plants covered during times you feel they don't need more rain water.

Yes, they will absorb some from the surrounding grounds but not nearly as much.

The row-covers are also great to protect plants from the hottest days of summer and from insect invasions. Wonderful to have when the Japanese Beetles are visiting.

I can live with most insects ...good or bad...but I have no good thoughts for the Japanese Beetle...just bad through and through !

Hope your Mothers Day was delightful if you are a mother.

~A very special offer from through the month of May.~ Any order totaling $25.00 dollars or more will get free shipping anywhere inside the USA.

Just send me your order through an email instead of placing it through the website.
I'll invoice you through Pay-pal.

Contact info can be found on the website.

Happy Gardening~

Bea Kunz

Friday, May 01, 2009

Herbs For The Immune System

Allium sativum

Garlic is not only antibacterial, but antiviral, antiseptic, anti parasitic, immune-stimulating, antispasmodic, hypotensive, diaphoretic, and anti fungal.

Regular use of this spice will keep your body toned and functioning optimally. It will help keep that all-important and vital organ, the heart toned, help keep blood pressure down, as well as help lower cholesterol. Repeated studies have shown that garlic has a beneficial effect on the heart and circulatory system.

Garlic is rich in antibiotic powers and strengthens the immune system.

Garlic in the diet has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on those dealing with cancer, stress, and fatigue. Garlic increases insulin production, and lowers blood sugar levels, thus aids diabetics in the control of this debilitating disease.

Garlic also helps increase the senovial fluids, and so is an ally for those dealing with arthritis. The sulfur in garlic helps break up the crystallization of uric acid in the joints, and so aids in the relief of gout.

While I totally believe and practice all the healing and maintenance methods that are found in herbs and herbal products, I also suggest that you get medical advice from a qualified practitioner before embarking on any new method of self treatment.

Garlic can be used in most any recipe in many different ways.

Fresh garlic is delicious sliced and lightly sauteed in a small amount of olive or grape seed oil, tossed into pasta, seafood stir-fry's, meat dishes, scrambled eggs, and even a green salad.

A sprinkling of garlic powder on toast or garlic bread is delightful.
Sprinkle a bit over your favorite nuts and stick them under the broiler just until hot.

Regardless how you use garlic, don't over-cook with any herb the longer it is cooked, the less nutritional value it will have. So...add it to your food the last few minutes of cooking and know you are getting the best it has to offer.

More to come on herbs for the building of your immune system.

Have a Mighty May~

Bea Kunz