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It’s getting embarrassing…

fresh-cut Tulips from my garden
fresh-cut Tulips from my garden

Several people have asked me recently, “Are you still making your herbal products?”. It’s kindof getting embarrassing because I am making things all the time but no one seems to know…

My fault, of course! I’m not good with keeping up my newsletter and blog posts or consistently updating my Twitter and Instagram feeds.

It’s a busy time for us on the farm right now as well, getting all the seeds started and plants into the ground.

But I do have skin balms available here in the online shop. Made with Watermelon Seed oil, Mango Butter, and Virgin Coconut oil, they are a richly moisturizing, dry skin treat. Perfect for the rough skin of gardening hands 🙂

Salves and soaps will be coming back soon.

 

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It’s Winter Solstice- Celebrate with Sage

winter solstice sun on snow-covered conifer

Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year and the beginning of Winter. We toast days past and make plans for the year to come…

One herb I associate with Winter is Sage. It’s in lots of recipes for cold weather foods, and drinking and gargling with the tea is an old remedy for cold weather coughs and sore throats.

Probably another reason I think of Sage as a Winter herb- Sage is practically evergreen in my garden. The leaves get small and curl in the frigid temperatures but they and their stalks keep standing, even in the snow. It reminds me the garden is still there, though out of sight asleep below the ground.

But many old herbalists thought of Sage as an herb of Spring. They taught that the leaves are at their best before the flower stalks rise, so late Spring was the proper time to eat lots of Sage and drink Sage tea if you wanted to ensure good health.

Sage was considered a magical plant too, said to give protection and grant wishes. From my perspective, all plants are pretty magical. They have abilities that are so beyond me (for instance, being able to regrow their whole body when cut down to the root)! Sage does feel special, though; the textured, almost-sticky leaves with their unique gray-green color, the beautiful aroma left on your hands after touching them. Even the feeling you get when you’re hanging out with Sage. It’s so peaceful.

So tonight, as Hawkeye and I celebrate the Solstice, I’ll have a big pot of water with some dried Sage simmering on the stove. We’ll make our Solstice wish and breathe in the soft green scent of the promise of next year’s garden.

 

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Sage, Winter’s green

December = Nothing to do in the garden, devouring each seed catalog as it arrives in the mail. No snow yet so I can still see some green out there including Chives, Lemon Balm, and Sage.

Garden or Common Sage (Salvia officinalis) has become one of my favorite herbs since I’ve been gardening. Partly because it’s so easy to care for, I admit (Low maintenance perennials are gold, Jerry! Gold!).

Sage is also really beautiful, and it’s a medicinal as well as culinary herb. If you think next I’m going to say I also adore it because bees love the flowers, you’re right!

Sage makes a tea that’s especially nice this time of year as it helps ease coughs and sore throats. Some people find it a little bitter, so add sweetener if you like.

Another way to experience Sage tea is in the bath. Sage alone makes me feel refreshed and clean but combined with Rose petals, the bath becomes more fragrant, luxurious, and soothing.

(Adding Pine needles to the Sage and Rose just occurred to me. That seems a perfect Winter bath blend to remedy the melancholy dark days.)

One last thought on Sage, from the old Latin proverb, “Cur moriatur homo, ciu calvia crescit in horto?

“Why should a man die while Sage grows in his garden?”


I’ll be writing all about Sage this month, so hop on to our newsletter if you’d like to have the posts emailed to you. The signup box is at the bottom of this page. I often include extras in the newsletter that aren’t shared on the blog.

 

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Ready for Winter Downtime

Calendula still blooming in November garden

It is sad when garden time comes to a close. But we’re a bit tired after a long season and are looking forward to a little downtime.

The Hadley garden has already had frost. All that’s left are some greens growing under fleece, as well as a few Scotch Bonnet and Habanero plants still ripening their peppers under plastic cover. It’s getting cold now, though. We’re almost done.

The Northampton garden hasn’t had a frost yet. There are Calendula, Alyssum, and amazingly Nasturtium and Holy Basil flowering. Thank goodness! I’m still seeing honey bees.

That’s Calendula pictured above. Her orange-yellow color is so bright, it shines in my November garden like sunshine. This happy, pretty flower is one of the first to greet me in Spring and the last to leave in Autumn. I’ll miss hanging out with her in the garden.

Luckily, I’ve got a good stash of dried Calendula flowers to get me through the Winter!

 

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Dominica, We Love You

Dominica

Hawkeye and I love the Caribbean. There’s no place we’d rather be outside of the garden.

We were shocked, stunned, watching as Hurricane Irma destroyed everything in her path. And now, with Hurricane Maria coming so soon after, so viciously, we are distraught and depressed. It’s hard to take it all in even though we are so far away.

The photo above was our first glimpse of the island that’s become first in our hearts: Dominica, the Nature Island; land of three hundred and sixty-five rivers, mountainous rainforest, a cerulean sea full of whale and fish, unique, unspoilt beaches, and lovely, lovely people. We planned to go back this Winter but sadly now those plans are on hold.

I thought I’d share a few photos to balance the images of destruction and I’d like to reiterate what seems to be the theme of the disasters currently happening around the world: People, it’s time to come together.

 

If you are able help, please visit the Dominica Hurricane Maria Relief Fund website to donate to their hurricane relief efforts. Thank you!

 

To everyone in the Caribbean, our hearts are with you!

 

Grapefruit tree on the walk to Spanny Falls
Grapefruit tree on the walk to Spanny Falls
The black sand at Mero Beach
The black sand at Mero Beach
Produce for sale at Mero Beach
Produce for sale at Mero Beach

 

 

A song Hawkeye and I are often singing 🙂

 

 

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