Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And so it begins...

...our garden. The watering, tending, weeding, etc.
We've abandoned the idea and process of starting seeds indoors years ago. We prefer directly planting in May. Though we love harvesting and eating our vegetables and herbs, we're in no hurry.
Most everything has been planted. We still need to get our hands on a horseradish root, and we've still got to plant our herbs.
This little girl is beyond happy to be outside barefoot in only a dress. She lives for this weather, being outside, rolling around in the dirt.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Teach Anything: How to Make Elderberry Syrup

 Botanical name: Sambucus spp. 
Common name: Elder, Hylde Mor, The Elder Mother

Elderberries have been used in folk medicine in both Europe and America for hundreds of years. Elderberry syrup is a wonderfully delicious way to preserve the medicinal benefits of the elderberries; to create a remedy for cold and flu during winter. Elderberries contain antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. They can be harvested in early Autumn, when the bunches begin to droop down because of the weight of the fruit.

What you need: 
1 cup of fresh elderberries
3 cups of water
1 cup of local honey

First, find elderberry bush. Do your research: make sure it's elder.

Wait patiently while berries are being harvested.
Use scissors to cut the bunches. Don't forget to save some for the deer and the birds!
Pick all the berries off the bunches (this is a lesson in patience)
*Though tempting, do not eat berries that haven't been cooked!
Make sure to pick out all the little stems & any green/brown berries.
Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with water. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer for about 30-45 minutes.

Strain liquid and berries into a bowl.
Use the bottom of a cup or spatula to press all the remaining juice out of the berries.  

Add honey. Taste & add more honey if desired. 

Bottle syrup and keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 months.
Take a teaspoon daily as a preventative or take more frequently at the signs of cold.
Enjoy & be well!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hard at work

We're busy here: writing, reading, creating, playing, foraging, and planting!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Equinox.

Spring is so magical, isn't it? I still find it so, even as an adult. The first dandelion greens, nettles, violet leaves, and flowers sprouting up are so uplifting. We begin collecting and eating fresh, wild plants and best of all our work in the garden will be beginning soon. We abandoned starting seeds/plants indoors years ago, and much prefer to plant in the ground, though we harvest later. One of Alice's favorites will be first...probably next week: peas! 
Happy Spring everyone!

Our Spring nature table, curated by Alice.

I don't know about you, but the Spring Fairies visited our house :)

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Hands down, the best part of this winter (besides adopting Mango & Rainbow--see previous post) has been watching Alice's drawing abilities develop. 
After getting her a set of her own skinny markers, she has been into drawing ALL the time, even when she's mad, which is great. 
We watched her scribbles turn to blob-people, and now she even draws cats and people so detailed they have shoes and hair clips. It's amazing how rapidly her perception of people has transformed over such a short time. 

"A girl sitting"
"A girl holding a treat for her two cats with ants on her skirt."
Notice the word "TACO" in pink? That's what she wants for dinner she says.

Mango and Rainbow

After my sister adopted a cat this winter (and we visited the local twice over February vacation with her) we decided it was time for our own family cat.
We visited a local shelter and the second cat I held was our Mango (he was named Casper at the shelter) and I held him like a little baby and he purred--I fell in love and knew instantly he was my cat. 

However, little did I know that the whole time I was holding Mango Alice was eyeing a scrawny, sad little calico cat named Rainbow.After we filled out the application for Mango and we talked about taking him home Alice started bawling her eyes out. She fell in love with Rainbow--she wanted to take home and take care of scraggly, little Rainbow. I felt so guilty for not consulting her first. 
Obviously, we had to take little Rainbow home, too. We put Rainbow's name on the application too.

We let Alice name them both. For short their names are Mango & Rainbow, but their real names are Sir Arthur Treasure Mango & Lady Morgan Rainbow Diamond.
That's what happens when you let your four year old name the family pets.

So that was how we ended up with two cats instead of one. And really, what's the difference? 

We love those two cats beyond measure and can't imagine having one without the other.