Monday, July 9, 2012

UFH June Challenge :: Herbals

June has been a crazy month.  Trying to get loose ends taken care of at the old house and keep on top of things here at the new.  Throw in recitals and dance competitions to get ready for.  And having the yuck circulate through the house for 2 weeks. Whew!  The last few tomato plants need to be in the ground this week.  Our corn is still needing planting (thank goodness we use 60 day maturing varieties.)  Next year i am just going to plan on planting the melons and pumpkins in the greenhouse.

It was hard to take on new skills this month, but one thing i felt i could and need to do was try to make my own herbal concoction for cooking.  The beauty of moving to an established, organic herb farm, eh?  :) 

Using a book i collected a while back, Herb Mixtures & Spicy Blends by Maggie Oster, i found a recipe for something i am starting to use a lot of: Herbes de Provence.  It is a spicy mixture apparently used in the south of France, but i *LOVE* *LOVE* *LOVE* it on our chicken, and curiously enough, on buttered popcorn. :)  Ingredients include thyme, marjoram, rosemary, savory, fennel seed, and lavender.  Sage or bay leave may be added.

I can't find everything i need on the property--thankfully we were able to dig up our hardy rosemary and marjoram to transplant here.  The only things i'll need to source for this mix are the savory and the fennel seed.

And since there is an abundance of wire hangers here...i am continuing the traditions of the old owners...

When we moved our stuff into the shop, we noticed a bunch of wire hangers with paper clips dangling off of them, hanging from a wire across the span of the ceiling.  My hangers filled with the herb needed for my mix plus a few stems of lemon balm and mints will be hanging in the shop for a few days while they dry.  I thought i would experiment between that and the oven, since we have a gas oven now.  I've read the pilot light in the oven is enough to dry herbs overnight, if you remove the leaves and spread out on a rack or cookie sheet in the oven.

On the list of many things to do is to identify the numerous plants we have here in the gardens on the property and see which could be used for herbal teas or tinctures. 

Now though, i think it's time to enjoy a nice cuppa joe on the deck and enjoy the fact that it isn't 80 degrees today. :)

Have you heard about the Urban Farm Handbook Challenges? PNW authours Annette Cottrelle and Joshua McNichols have designed an ingenious series of monthly challenges, related to topics in their awesome book, that draw each of us closer to self-sufficiency. There are varying degrees of participation, yet much to be learned from not only the authours, but the participants as well. If you are interested in learning more about a more sustainable way of life, please visit Annette's website, Sustainable Eats , and sign up for the challenge. Or just follow along.

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Thanks for taking the time to read my silly lil musings. Hope you have a wonderful day!