Monday, April 26, 2010

Power-Up Your Water Needs~

rain water rushing into the bog today
It's true...Spring brings the delightful action of outside activities, from water slides to the patio pots....lots and lots of water usage.

Water is one of two major resources that allows the world to keep being the other. All other resources, although mighty important, can be altered, manipulated and stretched to the limits of far reaching ends.

Food and water has to be somewhat virgin...and we have long since passed that stage.
Now is the time to start mending as much of the broken links as we can.

One of the greatest gifts we can give back to Mother Earth is the responsible use of water.
Rain-water is one of the most wasted resources we have.

We all know how chemically treated our water supply is that comes from the house faucet. It isn't good for our system and neither is it good for our gardens.( which ultimately ends up in our system)

What to do?...install a Rain-barrel system, affordable and easy...what's not to do.

Most local Home Depot, Lowes, or any garden supply co-op will have what you need, along with help to install if that is needed.

Here is one link that will appeal to those who wish to do it from scratch....

The photo I've shared is of the bog area on our homestead...when we have rain it brings a lot of water that keeps a certain area damp for weeks after the rain, this allows us to grow boggy plants that we would otherwise not grow because of the excessive amount of water we would need to supply.

Rain is a gift from mother we use it is a gift back to her.

Happy Gardening~

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In Search of Scent~

Do you know that scent triggers memory and enhances it.

The best fragrances are those that have special meaning to you.

But...despite the effects of plants aromas on humans, we are not the plant's intended target.

Flowers exude their signature scent to attract specific pollinators.
Leaves are fragrant for a altogether different reason. Plants often emit volatiles ( aromatic compounds ) from the leaves when they are injured...akin to a human tear when hurt.

Wintergreen and Rosemary release compounds to make their leaves unpalatable to feeding insects.

The scent of a flower to you and I is a simple pleasure. For the honeybee, the hawkmoth, and other pollinators...and the plant itself, it is a matter of survival.

So remember when planting, think not only of your own wishes and expectations, but also of the beneficial insects that will checking out your garden for food and habitat.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

International Dawn Chorus Day~

A little know fact, "International Dawn Chorus Day" is the first Sunday in May.

You may be awakened to the sound of a soloist, " Cheer-y Cheer-y Cheer-Up," followed by another, " Hey-Sweetie Hey-Sweetie Hey." Soon a whole glee club erupts.
It's before dawn and the winged chorus is spreading morning cheer.

The males of the bird kingdom mainly produce the break-of-dawn racket.
The refrain may start at different times depending on light, but the species enter the chorus in the same order every morning.

A bird's voice box is a double-membraned organ called a syrix. He can alternate exhaling between the two lungs and harmonize with himself.

Ad that's an impressive feet bound to attract attention from the opposite sex...which is in fact the the aim.
Another less known fact...Long ago Mother Nature played matchmaker and crossed water mint with spearmint to make peppermint. The natural hybrid sports perky, dark green leaves, nectar-rich flowers that bees love to nuzzle, and a tempting fragrance.

Morning cup of tea....

Bring 4 cups of cold water to a boil
Remove the water from the burner and let settle for a minute
Place 1 tablespoon of loose green tea leaves, 2 tablespoons fresh peppermint leaves, and 1/4 teaspoon Stevia ( or 2 tablespoons honey ) into the water, allow to steep for 4 minutes.

Strain and enjoy while listening to the morning bird songs of flirtation~

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trees~A Passion.

I know you've heard the term "tree hugger" I could easily, and actually thought of by some to be one.

Trees are so precious, so very much a must in the makeup of a balanced eco-system.
Trees serve as buffers between earth and elements.

Each year I look forward to the type of trees we can add to Sage Hill's collection.

So far we have the Southern Magnolia, Norway Spruce, Tulip Magnolia, Golden Maple, Bradford Pear, Wild Plum, Japanese Maple, White Pine, Burdock, Spring Apple, Apricot, Pear, Peach, Crape Myrtle, Holly, and Cedars.

What is your favorite tree and will you plant a tree this year ?
Wild Plum in bloom~

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lavender Loves~

Lavender seems to evoke deep and lusty thoughts in the mind, yet with playful and light accents on the surface.
Lavender is romantic, sweet, special, and speaks it's own language.

Many subspecies of Lavandula officinalis are easily cultivated in home gardens, but care should be taken with drying, this concentrates the essential oils and it's often true that after being dried ( unless care is taken as to the how and the length of time of the process ) that one can experience a soapy taste if the essence is too strong or too much is added to a culinary dish.

When using Lavender in cooking, infuse flowers in cream or stock to temper the potency.
The intense character that is sometimes hard to identify in Lavender is faint pine and cedar flavors.

The most loved sweetness is found only in fresh spring growth.

Don't be afraid to experiment with this delightful is a pure pleasure in whatever form you choose to try.

Pretty little sprigs tied with a dainty ribbon serves as lovely place card holders at any sit down function.

Throw lavender buds at a wedding instead of rice..or mix the two.

Place a handful in any room of the house for a fresh and sweet aroma that last for days and days.

(Lavender Lemonade)

3-1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar ( or ) 1/2 teaspoon Stevia ( sweet herb )
5 fresh lavender flower heads, or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
4 springs fresh lavender, for garnish

1..Combine 1 cup of water with the sugar in a medium saucepan over a hot flame and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2.Add the remaining 2-1/2 cups water and the fresh or dried lavender and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
3.(If using dried lavender, put it in a tea ball.
4.Remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes, or until it has a light lavender taste.
5.Strain the mixture into a pretty pitcher, and stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate until it is cold.
6.To serve, pour the lemonade over a glass of crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh lavender and a lemon slice.


Lavender Tips~

A cold compress of lavender or a few drops rubbed into the temples will stop a headache in a short time.

Lavender repels insects, and if you are bitten, rub a small amount into the bite and the stinging stops pronto.

Lavender is great for healing minor burns and for washing scrapes ad cuts.


Sage Hill Farms grows the "English and Munstead" varieties, why not try some and start spring off with a delightful experience.

I will be making lavender biscuits for breakfast...served with whipped butter and honey...yummy~

Happy spring~

Bea Kunz

Monday, April 05, 2010

Characterization of Taste~

I'm often asked what does it taste like~when in conversation about most any herb.

Cilantro is an herb many don't even want to try. At some point in time someone said it had a soapy character, it stuck and has followed down through the culinary ages.

Actually it has a bold citrus overtone and a slightly sharp character.
The aromatics are a blend of pepper and mild rosemary or pine.
Frech Tarragon is another not so common on the dinner table herb.

Mint, anise, and licorice all merge with a mild numbing effect when tasting true French tarragon.
Fenugreek, over 4,000 years ago this herb was grow for the feeding of livestock.
Over time it has graduated from barn to the kitchen.

The fresh leaves taste spinachy with distinct slightly spicy notes of peanuts and caramel.
Dried, the green essence is muted and nutty flavors dominate.
Turmeric Root, fresh turmeric has intense, mustardlike overtones and a light peppery character.
Dried forms exhibit these flavors when fresh, but tend to lose potency quickly.
Gilroy Garlic, if you haven't had this garlic roasted you are missing a delicious event.
Notably more pungent than other sources. Gilroy can be sharp, almost hot, when eaten raw. The sweetness blossoms when roasted.

More to come....stay tuned.

Bea Kunz

Saturday, April 03, 2010

An Easter Blessing~

In whatever way you find special meaning in this day-a wish for joy and gratitude from me to you~

Happy Spring~

Bea Kunz