Garlic & Texas

Now is the time! September is garlic planting time in Texas!

The Making of a Home

As we get out and about now selling our herbs a Farmer’s Markets and Garden Festivals, I am frequently asked if I have any garlic.  When I ask questions to clarify just what the customer is looking for, I am surprised that they are looking for seedlings so that they can grow their own Garlic.  How marvelous!  Just one problem…

If you want to grow garlic in Texas you need to plant is in September, the same with strawberries- but that is a whole other blog and soapbox.  Once planted in September, the bulbs will sprout and grow all winter long then in June or so, the tops will start to turn brown and it is time to harvest.  Yes, no matter where you live garlic takes that long to grow.  But, it is so worth it and it really is easy.

To get started, you will need something to…

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Compost Tea

Here is a great post on compost tea- the best liquid fertilizer for your plants

The Making of a Home

Compost Tea
For blooms like this, all you need is compost tea. It makes great vegetables, too!
If I had to pick one thing that was essential for a good garden, aside from the soil, it would be compost tea. Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer, mild insect repellent, and a mild fungicide. The ease of application and production makes this potion hard to beat.
Everyone should have a compost pile going somewhere on their property. Even if it is just a pile back in the corner that you add to when the leaves fall, you bag the lawn clippings, or you have veggie scraps from the kitchen. If you would like more information on composting, see the gardening category at the side. Down at the bottom of this pile will be finished or almost finished compost. To make the compost tea, you simply take some of this finished compost…

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The Dandelion

From my blog- enjoy

The Making of a Home

“She turned to the sunlight

And shook her

yellow head,

And whispered to

her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne

I have always loved dandelions.  Blowing the seeds was a wonderful pastime when I was a child.  Little did I know that I was spreading the love- dandelion love.

Now I love dandelions for a whole different reason.  It is such a joy to see their little sunny faces shinning in the sun.  This always signals that the deep of winter is over.  But the real beauty of the dandelion is in the healing properties that the plant possesses. Even without reported healing properties, the dandelion has a high amount of vitamins and minerals.  The University of Maryland Medical Center has this to say:

While many people think of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a pesky weed, it is chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D…

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The Dandelion

“She turned to the sunlight

And shook her

yellow head,

And whispered to

her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne

I have always loved dandelions.  Blowing the seeds was a wonderful pastime when I was a child.  Little did I know that I was spreading the love- dandelion love.

Now I love dandelions for a whole different reason.  It is such a joy to see their little sunny faces shinning in the sun.  This always signals that the deep of winter is over.  But the real beauty of the dandelion is in the healing properties that the plant possesses. Even without reported healing properties, the dandelion has a high amount of vitamins and minerals.  The University of Maryland Medical Center has this to say:

While many people think of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a pesky weed, it is chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make wines.

Herbalists recommend dandelion for liver cleansing and ridding the body of toxins.  You can drink tea made from dandelion leaves and blossoms, take a tincture made from the plant and roots, or you can take supplements found in your local health food store.

If your looking for dandelions in your own gardens, look for the yellow blossoms suspended on a single stem, the yellow blossoms on branching stems are not true dandelions.  They are actually called “false dandelions”- how creative.

 

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Dandelion

 

In the photo above you can see the single stem with one flower.  When I harvest dandelions I want to get as much of the root as possible.  To do this, I use an old finished weed popper.

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Weed-popper, works like a charm

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Harvested dandelions

Once the plants are harvested, I wash the soil away and let them air dry.  Once dry, the plants are then chopped and covered with vodka or brandy.  The mixture will steep for six weeks and then be strained.  After the liquid is strained it is now a finished tincture.  I use this for my family anytime our immune system needs a boost.  This post is not intended to be medical advice, just for information- you do your own research and then make your own health decisions.

Even if you don’t choose to use dandelion for your own benefit- leave them for the bees.  Dandelions are one of the first sources of pollen and nectar for the bees in the spring.

Vegetable and Herb Seed Germination Chart

I was just talking about this on Facebook @ Hollyberry Herb Farm. This is a great chart, Thank you Town and Country Gardening.

Town & Country Gardening

Temperature, it’s all about the soil temperature.
Soil temperature is almost never to warm, however, soils that are to cool and damp at worst can cause your seed to rot in the ground and at best take many days to germinate. Seedling in cool soil grow slowly and often do not develop into healthy productive plants.

vegetable seed germination chart

herb seed germination chart

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Mary- Did You Know

joy our redeemer lives

See Video Here

During the Christmas season when we focus on celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I can’t help but think of the Crucifixion as well. They are inseparable, without either one there would be no salvation and redemption.

Growing up in church I was told many times how God gave His Only Son. He did, this is truth but I always thought that Mary kind of got left out- Jesus was her son, as well.

For many years I pondered on Mary, what it must have been like for her. The joy of bringing the Son of God into this world. The bitter sadness of bringing the Son of God into this world. Being the Jewish girl that she was, she knew the prophecies, she knew what lay ahead, she knew the sacrifices she and Joseph had already made to get this baby here. This was her son, too. She loved him as any mama loves her baby. Given all of that, I always wondered why she didn’t get more credit. She gave her son as well as God.

God gave his Only son, Mary of course had more children, but did that really mean it was no big deal that she gave Jesus? Then it came to me- when all of the events of Jesus’ death began to happen and as she stood there and watched him die on the cross- as a human, she could do nothing. It was out of her control. She certainly sacrificed, felt the grief, and was probably so angry she could have spit nails, but all said and done she had no control. Jesus was a grown man and he made his choice to follow God’s path and set us all free from eternal death and restore us to our Creator.

Now God, on the other hand, He was Almighty God- Commander of the Angel Armies.  At one word Angels could have swooped in and took Jesus home to Heaven

He could have stopped the pain with a thought. He could have said “enough” and Jesus’ and His own suffering would have been over.

As God, he was in control and he had the power to stop the whole horrible day.

But, He did not.

He gave his only son.

How much He must  love me and you. He could have stopped his child’s suffering, but He saw the big picture- our redemption- and He restrained himself and let Jesus die. What a sacrifice, what hurt. God felt the same pain, grief, and anger as Mary. We are made in His image, we have feelings and emotions -so does He.  But He endured the pain and hurt so that you and I could be restored, forgiven, and set free.

Could it be that the pain of seeing all of us lost to the evil one and separated from our heavenly father was more painful than watching his only son- the perfect one- die on the cross?  He wants a relationship with us that bad…  Mind boggling that the creator of the universe, the Alpha & Omega likes me that much.  I don’t know about you- but that motivates me to live better and love more.

God gave his only son…. So Celebrate this Christmas- Our Redeemer Lives!

Christmas Parade

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What A Farmgirl's Night Out Looks Like

This past year has been one of great transition. Two daughters, the ag loving ones, moved out completely and one got married.  I tool a full time job outside of the home and that was quite a change.  I had it in my head that maybe the season of the farm animals had past.  We would just have a few chickens and that would be that.

I told myself that it was okay, in due time the farm animals would come back but to just be happy with so little responsibility.  No wondering during a storm if everyone was okay, no fighting a biting North wind to feed and water, no more middle of the night checks because someone made a “funny” noise in the barn.  Just enjoy a good night’s sleep.

After all, we only have one acre and I don’t drive an F250 anymore and we don’t have a livestock trailer- you see it’s just not that season.

But, the problem you see, is that once you have had the experience of seeing goats born in the middle of the night, or had the pleasure of a bottle calf thrive as you care for them, or tasted the meat and eggs from animals raised with love and good food- you just can’t forget it or leave it.

So, two weekends ago my husband and I had planned a date night in the city- Dallas, TX to be exact- complete with a hotel and nice dinner and nice breakfast the next morning.  So he calls me the day before and asks if I want the night in the city or if I want to go to the family auction that sells small livestock…

I choose the livestock auction.  So our date consisted of sitting in bleachers bidding on chickens, quail, dairy calves and the like.

I had more fun than I have had in many moons!

This is what makes my heart happy.  I have just come to accept that glamorous for me is a pair of great fitting bluejeans and Ariat boots.  I have dreams of perfect makeup and hair with done nails- but in the end, this farm and the animals that call it home bring me such joy that I just can’t escape it- irregardless of the work it entails.

jersey calves 2

Meet 46 & 48- two bull dairy calves.  These fellows are riding great in the back of my Nissan Pathfinder- on cardboard of course.  For those of you who have ever transported cattle of any kind know how they like to poop in transit- but God was smiling on me and nobody pooped.  Had they relieved themselves the cardboard would have made no difference and my Pathfinder would have never been the same.

chickens on the ride home

 

We have a trio of Mille Fluer D’Ulcce and three Rhode Island Reds.  The Rhode Island Reds are already laying large brown eggs for us.  The Mille Fluer are bantams and have their own precious little house that I will show you latter.

new satin rabbit

This little lady – a Satin Doe- got to ride in the front seat as I sat in the back to prevent the calves from crawling all over the SUV.  Not pictured are 8 quail.

We didn’t have enough cages, but not to fear, the auction sells those, too.  Really, it can be a dangerous place.

More information and better pictures are coming as I talk about the roles of the animals on such a small holding and how we do buy and have good success from auctions.

 

 

The Winter Solstice

Beautiful Paperwhites on January 29th.

Beautiful Papperwhites

It’s been awhile since I was here typing up a new post.  2015 was a year of great changes and new territory and I didn’t blog for a few months as I have been trying to keep up.  But here we are with the year drawing to a close and what a great year it has been.

I am, of course, looking forward to Christmas and seeing my family- but I am also looking forward to the winter solstice.  It holds no prominence in my religion or anything of that nature, but I love that solstice.  The longest night. For me and so many other farmers and gardeners, it is the day with the greatest opportunity for rest.

Working with the land is a hard job, so many things can go wrong, so many things are out of your control and winter is a time of rest.  More than New Years or the first day of school, the winter solstice resets the clock.  From this day forward the days will get longer, spring will be fast approaching and then the summer solstice- the longest day of the year.  I don’t notice that day quite as much because I am moving like crazy to keep up with the gardens, herb shows, and markets.  Grass grows faster than you can pull it and the weeds are formidable adversaries.  At that time, the slow pace of winter will be as distant a memory as the pretty little narcissus bulbs that were flowering when all else was grey and bleak.

But for now, the winter solstice is approaching giving us ample time to sit quietly and reflect- a new year is coming what will it hold?

Well, Hello

This site in under construction and will be up and running shortly.  If you are interested in ordering any of our products, just leave me a comment and I will be right with you.

Thank You!

Herbal Folklore

Check this post out- it is very interesting. I love the colorful history that herbs have and I also love that science it starting to prove that some old wives tales are true.

Sanctuary Gardener

Fantasy forest house via 1ms.net SG

Tuesday evening, I attended my first meeting of the South Carolina Herbal Society here in Charleston. Because I’m very interested in learning about herbs and herbal medicine, I brought my membership form and annual fee with me. After the first meeting, I can already say that it is going to be worth it! The leader of the meeting is an experienced herbalist, and she shared for an hour and a half on herbal folklore. As we know, there is usually a thread of truth underlying “old wives’ tales” or folklore, so it was interesting to learn how people used herbs centuries ago. Although she couldn’t possibly touch on every herb and its folklore in that short period of time, she did speak about the most common herbs. I’d like to now share with you some of what I learned.

I took pages and pages of notes during the meeting, writing furiously to…

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