Thursday, June 4, 2009

Use What You Have: Strawberry Leaves

The strawberries here are done and gone. We did actually get a few this year, but the birds and rabbits got the majority. I think I want to pot them up next year, but that's a discussion for another time. What we're talking about today is not the yummy, juicy, ruby red berries of yesterday (can you tell I miss them just a little?). What we're talking about now is the LEAVES.

Once the plants have fruited, I move right on to harvesting the leaves. Most people say that the leaves are most flavorful when the plant is in bloom, but you can (and I do) harvest them all spring and summer. They get bunched and dried and, for the most part, made into tea. It does, surprisingly enough, taste quite a bit like the berries, which means it's y-u-m-m-y. It does, of course, have added health benefits (iron, vitamin C, calcium, and other minerals). I'm finding that it really helps to boost my milk production, very important in these early months of nursing.

As with any summer tea (lemon balm and mint are among other summer favorites), I like to drink it iced. I've also been using it to make popsicles for the kids.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Homesteading Legos

We went to my in-laws' house this past weekend since we didn't get out there for their Memorial Day celebration. It rained, so we were stuck inside. The boys decided to dive into my brother-in-law's old Legos. Not to be outdone by their spaceships and boats filled to the brim with guns and lasers, I spotted a horse and inspiration struck!

There's a rain barrel, windmill, compost bin (actually a treasure chest) and garden (they had only one plant, so use your imaginations here, folks!). The work horse is there for manure, of course. ;)

I'm SO pitching this to the Legos people... :P

What's Blooming in My Garden-- June 1, 2009

The buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) cover crop is coming into its own and beginning to pull in the beneficials.

Two species of Stellaria here. On the left is Stellaria graminea, otherwise known as Lesser Stitchwort. On the right is the much more common and far tastier chickweed (Stellaria media).

A second unidentified peony (Paeonia spp.).

Here you can see the lesser stitchwort growing under our front maple. That's Annie's hand in the background to give you some idea of just how teeny tiny the flowers of this particular herb are.

Still blooming from last week: raspberries, onions, chives, sage, unidentified yellow flower.