Herb Garden Make-Over

BEFORE, my busy little herb garden… no more!

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My somewhat f o r m a l herb garden (located off my farm workshop) is was intricate and very ‘busy’. The footpath/aisle was really too narrow for a wheel barrow. The raised beds consisted of six main ‘gardens’ with a smaller ‘diamond’ focal point in the center. I also had raised beds around the entire perimeter/fence line. It was jamb-packed!! Over time, it became the proverbial 10-pounds in a 5-pound sack! TOO much going on!!!

Isn’t is funny how our ‘tastes’ change over time? Whether in home decor, lifestyle, hobbies, etc? Perhaps attributable to age and experience… mostly AGE??? The little voice whispering… be kinder and gentler to yourself. The realization and hopefully acceptance of the fact that YOU can’t do it all  as much as you used to?!? Priorities shift… and life changes along the way.

To that end, we ‘re-worked’ my herb garden. The raised beds needed a little help, definitely showing their age and effects of winter freeze, heave and thaw!

AFTER, my herb garden. Key feature: S I M P L I F Y !!!

garden process

We worked within the existing footprint of the garden and re-used ALL of the salvageable lumber! Only two new additional boards and additional oyster shell (for the path) had to be purchased for this make-over! YAY!

It was a matter of staging: transplanting herbs, tearing down the old and replacing with the new. One garden box/bed at a time! Oh my, the number of herbs I tossed into the chicken’s scratching pen!! :/

herb garden makeover

I kept ~ ONLY ~ one small existing garden bed as is, near the front gate entry. I also opted for THREE raised beds centered in the existing space (if you don’t count the well head/water feature). However, I did re-construct taller garden boxes, two boards high (instead of one).

my herb garden

Another view of my ‘new’ herb garden.

raised bed

My water feature, just for fun. I knew that old wagon wheel rim would come in handy! heehee

garden pump

It feels good. De-cluttered and simplified… an acknowledgement/acceptance of a lifestyle change. Thanks to my dear husband :: who without his enduring love [and tolerance] :: nothing would be possible!

Happy gardening!

furniture make-over!

Speaking of lavender…

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I make use of every nook and cranny, when it comes time to hide store lavender!! This dried lavender (occupying ALL the drawers) will need to vacate the premises sooner than later!! It’s a beautiful oak dresser that I found at the flea market last year. Katie will need a dresser when she moves into an apartment [no more dorm room!! YAY] this September!

I’m totally in L O V E with Barb Blair, owner of K N A C K. Do you know it?? Oh my, her furniture design concept is fantastic!!! She is truly an inspiration… and a gifted artist!!

I think my current planned make-over will be minimal: light sanding, stain, seal [poly or wax] the exterior shell. The drawer fronts will be sanded/prepped, drawer pulls removed, holes patched/plugged and replaced with knobs of Katie’s choice and FINALLY painted gray.

Can’t wait to begin the process!!

Smudging and Blessing Herbs

What do you do with lavender ‘trimmings’??? Make lavender & sage smudge sticks! They’re easy to make and smell… heavenly!!

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Did you know…? Throughout human history, aromatic plants have been used in the daily activities of people from every culture. In Catholicism the use of incense is likened to one’s prayer being kindled by fire in the heart, spoken by the lips resulting in the odor of Christ on the breath.

Learn more about smudging here and here.

Lavender project

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My patch of lavender got away from me [this year]. Again?? It seems like only yesterday, I did a M A J O R rejuvenation on this garden!!?? I haven’t been as committed as prior years [when I was young younger]; I would pick EACH and EVERY stem of lavender!!! NOTHING went to waste! :(

Recently, I have encouraged ‘You-Pick’ with the public which, in truth, has not been very successful.

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And so, rejuvenation of my lavender [Munstead and Hidcote] began, even this late in the season. It took me another three days to complete this task. My poor hands! I can hardly tweak or pull another weed in the garden(s). Next year, hopefully, we’ll have a bumper crop for pick’n!

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I tossed some trimmings over the fence into the sheep pen… they ate some and enjoyed the aromatherapy treatments! I think of it as ‘moth-proofing’ their wool fleece.

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I had one mighty ceremonial smudge fire… under a full moon, dancing wildly, naked!!! Oh what fun!!!

Jellymaking: red currants

Jelly making won’t wait. When the currants are ripe/nearly ripe, they need to be harvested… or the birds will do the picking for you!

So, I recently made red currant jelly.  It took me a total of three days: picking, de-stemming (is that a word?) and a full day of jelly making. F O U R batches of red currant jelly from one currant bush!!

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Cleaned, washed and de-stemmed red currants. Crushing the currants help release their juice. The recipe says to simmer on low for 15-minutes. I use a food mill and then wire mesh strainer to remove all the seeds while measuring the juice per my recipe. [I don't use a jelly bag.]

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Bring the juice to a simmer, add the sugar [and pectin, optional] and stir. Bring to a full rolling boil for EXACTLY [it sounds very scientific] one minute and fill jelly jars immediately. Since I picked enough red currants for four batches of jelly, I ‘flavored’ each batch with a different fresh herb from my garden. I used rosemary, sage and lemon thyme. I have used mint in the past [and I would really like to try basil in the future]. My favorite??? No contest!! Rosemary!!! So, I made a double batch with rosemary.

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Currants have a lot of natural pectin and sets-up immediately.

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I hot pack all my jelly.

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Viola!! We have red currant jelly! All in a day’s work… that is, three days work! YUM!

Absence

Please excuse my absence! It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you!! Truth is… my adult kids got me a mini-iPad for Mother’s Day and I’ve discovered been introduced to Instagram! I’m still learning, but, enjoy ‘playing’ with my new T O Y .  woohoo!

The summer is racing by and I barely have time to catch my breath. So much has happened with little projects around the farmyard [down-sizing for efficiency survival]!! More on that later.

The barnyard menagerie is fine. Looking for good homes for my Shetland lambs and Oberhasli doeling. Several weeks ago, Katie got a German Shepherd puppy, Zeak. He has quickly taken over our lives and stolen our hearts!

Also, we [mostly my younger sister and I, even though we have three other siblings] have decided that it is time to sell my mom’s home. She’s 89-years-old and been more seriously ‘forgetful’. I don’t believe we can trust her to live alone for much longer. We’re discussing the possibilities of rotating live-in arrangements between us? Another life change…

Our local Armada Fair is quickly approaching and so is the whirlwind of activities/responsibilities as 4-H Goat [and Fiber Sheep] Superintendent!! One more ball to juggle… all in a day’s work!

Finally…

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Matt, my post-graduate geologist, is currently working on a research project at Mt St Helens, Washington. He’ll be continuing his post-graduate work/education as a research assistant (actually ‘employed’ by MSU since May) and graduate student at MSU next semester. Katie and Matt will actually be sharing an apartment! WOOT!

More on farmyard projects soon! I promise!

wooly wednesday: just because it’s cute

sheep

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