It’s as though our yard knew just what we’d need before we ever moved in. Space for a garden. Two black maple trees to tap. And a big ole fireplace for boiling down the sap.Continue Reading
Have you been dreaming of getting your garden started? Me, too. You’ve spent the winter with your nose in those seed catalogs, and you’ve probably placed an order or two (or three).
Do those dreams include an apothecary in your backyard? You know, a place where you can grow healing herbs to dry and store. To use for balms and teas, tinctures and oils.
Next time you visit your local nursery, check out their section of medicinal herbs. Chances are the variety will be less than inspiring. Oh, you’ll find lavender and peppermint. Maybe even chamomile and lemon balm. But if your daydreams include herbs like arnica and comfrey, you’re probably out of luck.Continue Reading
Little House on the Prairie® Has a Website!
I’m afraid I’m in serious trouble.
Let me explain. I’ve spent countless hours watching the “Little House on the Prairie” television show. Any many more hours reading the “Little House” books. I can still remember the laughter as I read these books aloud to my children when they were young.
And of course, if the story mentioned making molasses candy in the snow, we just had to try it.
Sometimes our skin, particularly our feet and elbows, need a little extra lovin’ care. Moisturizing and exfoliating them goes a long way in keeping them soft and smooth.
Sure, separate soap, loofah, and moisturizer work, but where’s the fun in that when you can make your own moisturizing and exfoliating loofah soap. And they make such nice gifts as well!Continue Reading
As much as I’ve enjoyed learning to identify new plants over the years, I’ve been rather nonchalant about foraging, and especially about foraging enough for winter use.
My interest has piqued over the past year or two, however, and I’ve found myself in the position where I’ve grown to rely on certain foods, like elderberry, for example, but did not forage enough to have on hand all winter. Hard to believe when Mike foraged gallons of elderberry this past September.
Or take dandelion root. Now that I’ve learned to roast it to perfection, I really enjoy it and miss not having it.Continue Reading
What’s a hardiness zone and how do I find mine?
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in their location. The map divides the United States and Canada into zones based on the average annual minimum temperature for that area.
This information is particularly useful when purchasing seeds, plants or trees for your garden. Each plant will bear a tag indicating the zones in which it will best grow. Trying to grow plants that are not suited for your zone will generally result in weak growth, disease, and even complete failure.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Permaculturist Sepp Holzer, for example, has created microclimates on his farm that literally change the hardiness zone allowing him to grow lemons in an alpine climate. It’s exciting and encouraging to know such work is being done, but beyond the scope of this post. We’ll stick to the basics here.Continue Reading