I'm proud to announce my latest effort; a series of in-depth looks at herbs. Check out http://www.homestead.org. The articles range from Artemisia to Rosemary. Ive added a new article every monthor so and now I have my very own page entitled: Gay Ingram's Herb Encyclopedia. A quick click at http://www.homestead.org/GayIngram/Borage/Borage.htm will take you there.
This page is dedicated to all herb lovers out there. I'll be sharing bits and pieces about some of my favorite herbs.
One of my biggest successes in the herb garden are my rosemary plants; actually, they've achieved the dimensions of small shrubs. Besides their usefulness in the kitchen, I look forward to the sprinkling of azure-blue blossoms that march up and down the plant's stems....in the middle of winter. In early January, my bushes beside the driveway are covered with blooms. Lovely!
Another success is my bay tree which now towers twice as tall as I am. Chopped bay leaf sauteed in olive oil, with diced garlic, onion and celery makes a perfect seasoning base. Someday I'll get ambitious and harvest enough bay leaves to create a fragrant wreath.
Just replaced my lemon balm -- got several plants. Now if I can just remember to give these thirsty guys a healthy drink of water often. Like all in the mint family, they like damp feet. Looking forward to lemon balm tea -- a fresh lemony drink that is tasty either cold or hot.
Had a funny experience with my lambs' ears. Brought back home some plants from a brother's garden when I visited him in Penn. a year or so ago. Surprised that they did not survive our winter. Got to admit it was a severe winter for Texas but nothing like central Penn. gets. So, last spring I picked up a couple more plants from the nursery. The summer heat is getting to them but they're hanging on.
Got a toothache? An ingredient, capsaicin, in CAYENNE dull pain. Combine a few drops of water with a spoonful of cayenne. With a cotton swab dipped into this paste, dab your tooth being carefull not to touch the gum (OUCH!)
Cold sniffles got you down? Just combine 1 teaspoon of CINNAMON with one cup of boiling water. Allow it to steep for fifteen minutes and then strain out the cinnamon. Drink it down.
Morning sickness got you feeling yucky? GINGER will work just as well as any over-the-counter medications. Any time anyone has an upset stomach, a tea made by steeping 1 teaspoon of ginger powder in 1 cup of boiling water for ten minutes will do the trick
Hot flashes and night sweats got you comin' and goin'? SAGE is the herb that will help that. Steep 3/4 teaspoon sage in 1 cup of boiling water; allow to steep for ten minutes, strain and drink. Three times a day will keep you happy and sane.
What's good for a cough? THYME tea makes an effective cough remedy. Add 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of boiling water, steep for ten minutes, strain and drink. If excessive coughing has made your throat sore, increase the thyme to 2 teaspoons brewed in 1 cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Instead of straining, use this mixture to gargle, then spit.
(Tale of a renegade rabbit)
Herb gardens have a tradition of being hospitable to visitors. Everyday visitors like the birds and the bees would be missed if they didnít make their presence known. And one of our cats, Frisky, can spend long hours stretched out in the midst of the lemon thyme, lazily watching the world go by.
Just imagine how startled I was one day to see a snow-white rabbit sitting upright, casually munching on a leek plant. Now wild rabbits are frequent visitors. One spring morning, my husband counted five of them sampling various herbal delights as he walked by on his way to the chicken house. But this appeared to be a visitor extra ordinaire. I soon had opportunity to get well acquainted with Nibbles, as he came to be known.
Nibbles, an outgrown pet of a neighbor child, had escaped the kept life and was enjoying a precarious freedom of sorts. My husband first spotted the rabbit on evening as it sat in the middle of our neatly-mown yard, very obviously out of place. Neighborhood enquiries revealed his origins but the former owner didnít seem too interested in the arduous chase involved in reclaiming his property. When my husband and I adventured to capture the runaway, Nibbles just scooted under the fence to home territory. So we felt he had the resources to survive. It took a week of his exploring to navigate the patch of woods separating him from my herb garden. Talk about rabbit heaven!
From that first visit, I could always tell when Nibbles had been by for lunch. My two volunteer borage plants lost their larger leaves - apparently they are tastier to rabbits than the smaller, more tender leaves favored by humans. His boldness and appetite grew. On this one day I was hard at work weeding a bed of basil, I spotted Nibbles as he passed withing ten feet of me with no visible evidence of fear. As he hopped by the Salad Burnet plant, he stopped to sample. He didnít seem alarmed by how close by I was. It was only my yelling at him to stop eating my herbs that sent Nibbles on a run. Hopping like made, he never slowed down until heavy foliage hid him from view and provided safety.
These encounters continued. He ambled in to munch; I yelled at him to leave. I came to realize I would either have to give up the herb garden or cage the hungry rabbit. Being the wily escapist that Nibbles was, it took the combined efforts of several people and more than one aborted attempt. Nibbles was finally cornered and lost his freedom once more.
Thereís a postscript to the story: Nibbles turned out to be a she and got on famously with our resident buck rabbit. In fact, we are expecting a little of little "Nibbles" any day now.