Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Squirreling

It's that time of year again.  The time of year when I start tucking all sorts of goodness away for use in the Winter.  I love the feeling I get from putting things by.  It is getting quite cold up here at nights now (we had to cover our tomatoes at night already and it looks like tomorrow will be frosty up here as well) so I've decided to start gathering all my herbs for freezing and drying.
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme...and basil! ;-)
I've dried  parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and chives.  I've got basil, dill and parsley in the freezer.  That's all I have this year for garden herbs and so I've also started on wild herbs I'm finding around here.

I've just recently become a fan of Red Clover thanks to Susun Weed's books.
Mullein grows like...well, like a weed around here and so this year I decided to finally try making Mullein flower ear oil.  I picked a basket of the flowers and let them dry for a few hours to get any moisture off.
Then I put them in a jar and covered them in warm oil.  They will sit in the sunshine for awhile so the oil can absorb all the goodness from the flowers.  This is supposed to make a fantastic healing oil for sore ears.
I've been collecting nettle since we moved here and using it for different things.  I am a huge, huge fan of nettle.  Adore it.  When I was down on the property picking some on the weekend the wind picked up quite suddenly.  There was a trembling aspen beside my making a lot of noise and I thought to myself that that would make it hard to hear if a bear was nearby. 
Right at that moment I heard a loud noise and looked up to see a (not too biggish) tree falling.  I wasn't terribly concerned  because I could see that it wouldn't hit me but then it knocked into a much bigger tree and that started to come down...quickly.  I ran to the other side of the nettle patch just in time to see it thump down about 20 -30 feet from where I'd been picking.
The next day E and I went down (when it was not windy!) and he decided he would make a walking stick out of one of the branches for a gift.  He worked on it while I did some knitting and then he decided to make two more. ;-)
I also found a patch of wild mint on this property so we will use this for teas.  Love all the goodness available if you are willing to look.
And, since it was a long weekend and we had decided not to go camping, we had to be sure to make time for fun as well.  We found a new spot to hike.  We love hiking along creeks and I couldn't resist taking a snap of the guys playing a game we like to play called Sink the Boat!!  Kinda like poo sticks except then you use rocks to bomb the sticks you've thrown in. ;-)  You can see here that the biggest "boy" (AKA Dad) quite likes this game and tends to get a little carried away.
Those who were so inclined went mountain biking in mud (and a little snow apparently).  There biking clothes are sitting out in the rain with the hopes that Mother Nature will do some of the work of stain removal. ;-)
Those who were not inclined to bike in mud and snow stayed home and picked herbs, sat in the sun knitting, and took photos of pretty butterflies
The guys have  been squirreling too.  They have been cutting up large amounts of firewood to get us through this Winter.  Unfortunately there are load of dead pine trees around here (killed off by Pine beetle) but it does make it so that free firewood is not hard to come by.  It turns out that E has quite a deep love for chopping wood.  He has been chopping kindling every spare moment  he has.  He seems also to be unusually (for him) organized when it comes to wood.  He has his old wagon stacked up full and nicely and  on the weekend I noticed this box out in the wood shed area.
I opened it up to find it filled with more kindling.  Nice and tidy. 
What a gorgeous time of year.

7 comments:

Leigh said...

Great post and great photos. I just love the feeling of having things stored away for the winter. I envy all those herbs! I didn't plant any in this year's garden, but am working on a plan for some next summer.

The Thorn Tree said...

Ooo please share what you do with the nettle, I have acres of the stuff! I used to take it in powdered form (got rod of my hayfever permanently) but don't know what other things it might be good for.

sheila said...

Well, geez how do you get those herbs to look so cool and composed this late in the season? My sage looks TRAGIC - like a Jane Austen heroine.

But I soldiered on and am drying my herbs just like you. I am obedient. And right this very second I have 13 quarts of salsa sealing their little hearts out. Took me 20 minutes to pick the tomatoes and 20 hours to prepare the salsa. (dramatic? moi?)

Heather said...

Leigh, I love that feeling of things stored away too. Have fun with your garden planning. I love having an herb garden because they are so easy to take care of and have so many uses. Although in my next garden I'm going to be much more careful about how I plant my mints, lemon balm and oregano, they tend to get a bit carried away and try to take over.

Hello ThornTree - I mostly use the nettle for a daily nettle infusion I drink (1 quart a day, usually). I think of it as a fantastic preventative and cure-all. We've had cooked nettle in soup, on pizza (anywhere you would use spinach, really), for a hair rinse, fresh in smoothies, as a plant fertilzer (indoor and out), in dog food for his health and in herbal teas. THere are loads of uses for it and it is such an extremely health-giving herb. Interesting to hear it cured your hay fever. If you get Susun Weed's Healing Wise book out of the library she tells of all sorts of ways to use Nettle. Hmmm, I might have to do a post on it, a sort of an ode to nettle. ;-)

Heather said...

13 quarts!! Doesn't that feel great? Maybe you will post a photo of all your jars full of goodies so we can all drool. ;-)

The herbs always look so pretty when they are first put up to dry but then they start to wither and looks sad very shortly. I crumble them into a jar soon anyway though where looks won't matter. Don't you just feel so thrifty and resourceful with all those herbs drying around you?;-)

sheila said...

Ahem, wasn't it you who used to have a photo somewhere (my aging memory won't commit) of many many shelves of glorious canned items?

But you're right, it does. Especially since I have at least another 25 quarts ready for the canner this weekend. I love to think that we might actually make it through the winter without having to buy canned tomatoes or tomato paste (she types, thinking about that tomato passata and wondering where she can get such an implement).

Heather said...

Yes, I did used to have my much-loved cupboard under the stairs.
;-) I miss it.
This year on a tenting trip I took a store bought tin of tomatoes to use in chili. It had been years and years since we had eaten store bought ones. Blech! We could hardly stand to eat it. Now I know why people like my soups and sauces so much...it has nothing to do with my cooking skills or recipes it is only because the homegrown, homecanned tomatoes make everything taste so good.