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Harvesting a Bowl of Comfort

May 31st, 2012

Every year I add a few more herbs to the gardens of Chiot’s Run and learn how to use them. A few years ago, chamomile was added and my gardens will never be without it again. Even if I didn’t harvest it for calming teas, I would grow it because it’s a beautifully graceful plant.

My chamomile plants are about 18-24 inches tall and blooming profusely with hundreds of tiny white daisy like flowers. These plants grow right by my driveway. They were only supposed to be 8-10 inches tall and I was planning on them spilling over the rock wall. Not the case, they grow upright and are a bit leggy. In the future I’ll grow in among other plants to help cover up it’s skinny legs.

Mixed in the with the chamomile the ‘Lady’ lavender is blooming as well, together they make a wonderful night time tea that’s delicious, comforting and certain to help lull you to sleep. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have a quart of dried chamomile for the pantry this winter.

What’s your favorite kind of herbal tea?

Looking for some great books about growing/using herbs & spices, here are a few of my favorites:

A great source for herb plants of all shapes, colors, flavors and sizes is Richter’s Herbs. Most of the herbs in my garden have come from them.

Mushroom Harvest

May 30th, 2012

Last spring, I inoculated a bunch of logs and some wood chips with various mushroom spawn. I was lucky enough to harvest a big batch of oyster mushrooms last fall but this spring has been super hot and dry, so no mushrooms harvests yet. Watering the logs would stimulate growth, but I really don’t want to do it and I don’t have a container big enough to soak them in.

The Garden Giant spawn that was used in the wood chips was spread in the walkways of the new lower garden. Every time I water my onion patch a few winecap mushrooms pop up in the walkways. I have completely missed seeing them until they’re too big and slug eaten to harvest – until yesterday.

Even though I inoculated the wood chips and these mushrooms are growing right where I did, I was still a bit leery of harvesting them and eating them. After spending some time on google and finding this great website with identification tips, I decided they were indeed Winecaps and into the pot they will go. Last night we enjoyed them cooked into some Hungarian Goulash made with lots of garlic scapes and venison.

Sometimes when we add some new edible to the garden we can be a bit leery of proper identification. When in doubt, spend some time searching for proper identification or ask a seasoned gardener/grower.

Have you ever had a harvest that you were leery of eating?

Pausing for Peonies

May 29th, 2012

Over the past couple years I’ve added about 15 peonies to my gardens. Some of them came from my mom, some of them I purchased. Most of them are just getting to the point where they’re starting to bloom and they’re stealing the show in the garden!

I simply love peonies. They’re so easy once established. I don’t really have to do much of anything to mine, every spring and fall they get a little chicken manure to keep them blooming beautifully. They’re drought resistant once established, I never have to worry about watering them during dry spells.

Unfortunately, the weather turned HOT as soon as they started blooming so they won’t last long in the garden. That’s OK, I’m taking lots of photos and enjoying them while they’re here.

How’s the weather in your garden?

Poppies for Remembrance

May 28th, 2012

I always remember people selling little red paper poppies at the Post Office when I was a little girl. My mom usually purchased one since my grandpa was a veteran of WW II. There are no poppies in my garden, so these are my mom’s.

I did some research and found that Moina Michael conceived of the idea of wearing poppies for remembrance. She made some to wear herself and sold them to her friends to raise funds for servicemen in need.

She also wrote this lovely poem:


Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
In Flanders Fields we fought

This Memorial Day weekend, take some time to remember those who have fought and given their lives so give the rest of us the freedoms we so enjoy! Our flag is at half staff until noon in their honor.

How do you celebrate Memorial Day?

Quote of the Day: John Ruskin

May 27th, 2012

All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed.

John Ruskin from (The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty)

Take some time to notice the beautiful imperfections in the world around you today.


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.