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First Herb Harvest

fresh-cut chives, catnip and thyme

I might deny I said this come the rose blossom days of sun-filled June, but I love Spring the best.

(Wait, I already have to take it back. The rushing in of summertime in the weeks around Summer Solstice is what I really love. Spring is just thrilling in a different way.)

The garden is jumping up fast and we we were able to start cutting some herbs today. Chives are always the first to fully grow out, but our well-loved Sorrel isn’t far behind. We hope to be cutting Sorrel and Garlic Chives next week, so wish us some rain 🙂

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Happy Spring!

garden tools and flowers

We’re celebrating the first day of Spring by starting our planting today. (Indoors only! There’s still snow on the ground.)

Kale is first on the list, and in a first a for us, Lemongrass.

Every year I swear off tender plants that have to be overwintered in the house, but I’m making another exception for Lemongrass.

We fell in love with Lemongrass when we saw it growing wild on the island of Dominica. It was everywhere! Blew our minds to see it growing like, you know, grass on the side of the road, instead of the hothouse plant we know it as.

And if you know Hawkeye, you know Dominica has become the place that’s first in his heart. He can’t wait to get back there. Until then, we’ll keep practicing a stuffed breadfruit recipe, drinking rum with lime juice, and catching some sights of the West Indies on these fun sailing channels on YouTube:

Wishing you Caribbean sunshine and a very Happy Spring!

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World Fire Cider Making Day!

fire cider, tradition not trademark

Fire Cider is a popular traditional herbal remedy freely shared, made, produced and sold by hundreds of herbalists across the world. The remedy has taken on many different amendments over time, somewhat like chicken soup. Many people have their favorite version, but the base consists of fresh garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish and chile peppers that sit in vinegar for the desired amount of time, are strained, and then a bit of something sweet is usually added at the end. The remedy is used to help warm up the body, and generally acts a stimulant and antimicrobial used during cold and flu season. Recently, a large company decided to trademark the name and is forcing small businesses who have made and sold it to change their product names. Some of the companies and individuals in question have made and sold this remedy for many years longer than the company that trademarked it has even existed. Many people feel this is a dangerous precedent to anyone who creates and shares recipes anywhere on the web or in books and this led to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office asking that the mark be deemed generic. Until the company agrees to freeing Fire Cider from trademark restriction, a boycott of their product has been launched.  -from the Free Fire Cider blog

February 2 is the half-way to Spring mark and is also World Fire Cider Day of Action. Join thousands of anti-trademark fire cider supporters by making your own batch and boycotting Shire City Herbals to show you believe traditional herbal remedies belong to everyone and cannot be owned.

Here’s the basic recipe:

fire cider recipe

 

I use golden cayenne peppers and substitute black radish because we grow those. I also love adding beets for that fiery red color and use maple syrup as the sweetener. Other great additions/substituitions to the basic recipe are:

  • Rosehips
  • Elderberry or Schisandra Berry
  • Elder flowers or Hibiscus
  • Leeks or Green Onions
  • Thyme, Oregano, Basil or Parsley
  • Mustard Greens or Seed
  • Astragalus or Burdock root

 

January 25, 2017 marked the 3 year anniversary of the Fire Cider trademark battle. For information about this ongoing issue and the boycott against Shire City Herbals, please go to Tradition Not Trademark’s Free Fire Cider website.

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Hand-Milled Soaps Returning

 

Now that the weather’s turning colder and the farm is slowing down, I’m able to get back to work in the bodycare studio…

Our hand-milled soaps are returning, with new ‘flavors’ and a new blend of oils that will stand up to your shower (I LOVE my old 100% Olive Oil soaps, but they do have a tendency to melt… ).

My new blend still uses Olive Oil, but it’s combined with Coconut Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Cocoa Butter, and Castor Oil, giving a firmer yet very gentle soap that won’t melt in your shower. They still have a luxurious lather (a little more bubbly than straight Olive Oil, I think), are scented naturally with essential oils, and really importantly, are *palm oil free*.

I’m cooking ’em up now – They’ll be ready in time for holiday gifting 🙂

  • Carrot & Calendula, with a herbal-citrus blend of wild carrot, petitgrain and clementine essential oils
  • Lettuce & Lavender, with a herbal blend of lavender, fennel, and marjoram essential oils
  • Cucumber & Mint, with a fresh-mint blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils
  • Shiitake & Sage, with a woodsy-herbal blend of sage, amyris, and frankincense essential oils
  • Green Tea & Lemongrass, with a lemony-herbal blend of lemongrass, lemon, and palmarosa essential oils
  • Oatmeal & Elderflower, with lavender essential oil
  • Chocolate, superfatted with extra cocoa butter ( *seasonal blend, available Winter only)

 

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A Hot Holiday Break

columbine flowers
columbine in the garden

It’s a humid 95° and I’m taking a break, hiding indoors, catching up on computer work. We’ve been planting and watering, planting and watering, for about 6 weeks. I’m starting to get pooped but the garden is so exciting right now! Birds, bees, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and a deer sighting! Flowers popping, green jumping up everywhere. Even a resident garter snake. And lots to eat! Makes me want to spend every minute there.

We’re harvesting Shiitake and Kale for market, and lots of herbs including Sorrel, Spearmint, Chocolate Mint, Chives, Garlic Chives, Tarragon, Oregano, and Sage (found an awesome recipe for Sage Blossom Pesto in my online wanderings today, btw).

Still a few things left to plant- a slew of Hot peppers and Basil mainly. I might pretend I don’t see them waiting for the next couple of days….

Hope you’re enjoying a break on this holiday weekend, too 🙂