From left: Cilantro, Thyme, Flat Leaf Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Curly Parsley. My herb garden has done very well for me! I have to trim them back so they keep producing but that's fine with me :) I love cooking with fresh herbs but can't use them all so I dry the rest to enjoy throughout the rest of the year.
Veggies are coming in! The tomato here is Black Krim. I planted two of these plants that I started from seed and sold the rest at the Farmer's Market- If you get the chance to grow these, they are fantastic!! They are a strong tomato taste with a sweet and salty background. The cucs here are three different varieties; Summer Dance, Iznik & Muncher. They are all fantastic- Iznik is a mini pickling, summer dance is a burpless English, and muncher is fantastic to eat straight from the garden and on salads. More and more veggies are coming in from the garden each day- It's time to start canning the fresh produce :)
Essential oils are expensive! Much more so than fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are man made scents to mimic smells we remember. Many times fragrance oils are needed to get a specific scent we like (perfumes etc). Essential oils are plant derived. Which is why they cost more. But you can make your own very easily with blending the herb of choice and a carrier oil! Especially with summer in full swing and an abundant supply of herbs out there! Here's how. In this demonstration I will be making peppermint oil/sweet almond oil.
What you need: A small bottle (4 or 6 oz) to store your essential oil 3, 4" sprigs of mint- take leaves off the stem small piece of freezer paper 4-6 oz carrier oil, I like almond oil but you can use grape seed or jojoba as well. Mallet for smushing the mint 1. Place leaves between freezer paper. Close freezer paper with the mint between the paper (wax side with the leaves). 2. Mallet the leaves releasing the oils- don't pulverize the leaves too much. 3. Take the smushed leaves and place them in the container. 4. Fill with your carrier oil. Shake. 5. 2 days later remove the leaves if you chose to (I leave mine in making it stronger). 6. Use for back rubs, stress relief, hot bath, or perfume :) *Note - you can use ANY herb in this recipe to create an essential oil you like. It's fun to mix and match too like Lavender Mint, Rosemary Mint, Basil Oregano (in grape seed oil so you can cook with it), Tomato Scent - VERY popular right now...and the list goes on. Some people have noted that this only lasts a couple weeks, however- I have mine on my counter in my basement which is 70 degrees and some are over 6 months old. Oils are a preservative making the natural oils/leaves last longer. ** IF you want your oils to last even longer, dry the mint leaves first until they are cripsy (see my blog on how to dry herbs) then add them to your carrier oil. Will last up to a year that way :)
You can purchase at the Buffalo Farmer's Market this Saturday from 8am - 2pm or if you want any shipped please fill out the contact form under the 'talk to me' tab and I will create a label for you to purchase/shipping. These are NOT typical Day Lilies. $6 each, nice roots and most of my bundles are 2-3 plants (some, 1 very large single). These are the varieties I have and what they look like in bloom.
Chaga is a mushroom, a parasitic chunk that looks like the remains of burned wood on the side of a birch tree. Chaga is predominantly found in Poland, Western Siberia, and throughout North America. Even in the most prime Northern regions, Chaga conks are somewhat rare. Chaga is the most nutritionally dense of all tree growths. Known by the Siberians as the “Gift from God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality,” this vibrant growth has been used by humans to support health for thousands of years. The Japanese call it “The Diamond of the Forest,” while the Chinese deem it “King of Plants.” For the Chinese that is saying a lot, since they have an immense history with countless plants. Chaga has been a part of folk medicine in China, Russia, Poland and numerous Baltic countries for many centuries. It has been documented by Chinese herbalist Shen Nong in his writings as early as the first century BCE. Chaga is incredibly high in antioxidants and also contains numerous B vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, minerals, and enzymes. It is also one of the world’s densest sources of pantothenic acid, which is needed by the adrenal glands as well as digestive organs. It also contains riboflavin and niacin in significantly high amounts. It also contains wild-source minerals and is particularly high in calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron. Yet, its most potent ingredient is a special substance known as superoxide dismutase (SOD). This is an enzyme with great potency. Its function is to halt oxidation, especially the toxicity of a free radical known as singlet oxygen. This is the type of oxygen which is responsible for oxidizing and damaging the tissues, which results in aging. The University of Minnesota is currently doing a research study on Chaga. You may ask why haven't I heard of this before? It is pretty rare and only limited places you can find it. You must also know what you are looking for as some mushrooms are deadly. It is also important to note that their is no money in natural medicine. The FDA/USDA supports money generators and something that is high in natural antioxidants etc is not a pill and their really is no money in it- in fact, it more so looses money to continue to spend money on studying it. BUT their are places that are trying to replicate chaga in a lab. It has yet been impossible. Moscow’s Medical Academy of Science discovered certain plants help your body fight the effects of stress and disease. They called these plants adaptogens. They discovered that chaga is the most potent adaptogen known. This is why it is the basis for the fight against premature aging and for prevention of serious diseases. This is a rare opportunity to experience the health benefits of wild, 100% organic Chaga. How to use Chaga: Mine is ground to a fine tea grind. You can add 1 tsp to 8 oz. boiling water and let steep 4+ minutes. Chaga is safe to consume without heating but to get the release of anti-oxidants, vitamins etc. you need to heat it which is why making a tea is the easiest way to consume. However, it has such a light/no taste you can add it to your coffee grounds, add mint leaves to it to make a nice mint tea, or add your own favorite tea bag with it for flavoring. See also my blog on how to make a Chaga tincture :) (month of September 2013). **Click the ‘Country Store’ tab to purchase your own Chaga.
Needed to add another box to each hive to keep my bees making honey. If you don't allow them to continue to make honey while the season is in bloom, they will swarm (leave) and find somewhere else to do their honey business. Cleaned up a few boxes I got from another bee keeper (scraped, bleached, and re-painted) to add one more box to each hive.
After opening the hive, this is what it looks like:
And this is what the hive sounds like: Quite loud :)
Production is doing well, when they have to make comb and honey, it takes them a bit longer. I am going to try to only take the cap off the honey when I go to extract it so next year, they will spend most of their time making honey instead of both.
After facing a very late winter followed by never-ending rain, we have sturdy ground to build our much anticipated Pallet Chicken Coop! Kris (my amazing husband who accepts payment of peach iced tea) has worked the past two weekends building what we have so far... the flooring, framed the walls, and cut 2 doors out for me (back and front entrance). He will be working on the roof tomorrow. This thing is coming together so nicely! It's 12X20 and about a month ago he did the dirt work to cut it into the side of our hill overlooking where we keep our other free range animals. I love the size, I can house lots of birds and have part of it sectioned off for little chicks or other birds I want to add to the homestead (turkey, maybe some quail, more chickens). He's making the roof a single roof line so the water runs off easily. Plus, the way it faces, East, will get the morning light. Can't wait for this to be complete but just seeing it take shape is very exciting. I will be posting more about the progress as it goes along :)
Well, it was OK. I certainly thought a farmer's market in the city of Minnetonka would have been quite a bit busier than it was but here's hoping it picks up. I did however sell out of my spaghetti sauce and eggs! I have a lot people wanting SCOBY mothers for Kombucha making. If you are one of those people- PLEASE fill out a 'talk to me' contact form and let me know you'd like me to bring one. They are sensitive and I want them to be fresh for those that really want them :) Thanks for all the people that came! I love telling my story and helping others along their self-reliant ways.