Thursday, October 30, 2008

Erb or Herb?


No matter how you say it, herb (silent h) or herb (hard h) it's the same. But what is the difference between an herb and a spice? Here are two definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


Main Entry: herb
Pronunciation: \ˈərb, US also & British usually ˈhərb\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English herbe, from Anglo-French, from Latin herba
Date: 14th century
1: a seed-producing annual, biennial, or perennial that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season
2: a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities

— herb·like \ˈ(h)ərb-ˌlīk\ adjective
— herby \ˈ(h)ər-bē\ adjective


Main Entry: 1spice
Pronunciation: \ˈspīs\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French espece, espis, from Late Latin species product, wares, drugs, spices, from Latin, appearance, species — more at species
Date: 13th century
1: any of various aromatic vegetable products (as pepper or nutmeg) used to season or flavor foods
2 aarchaic : a small portion, quantity, or admixture : dash b: something that gives zest or relish
3: a pungent or fragrant odor : perfume
— spice·less \-ləs\ adjective




It's important to note that there are divisions within the herb categories, also.
Many plants cross over between medicinal herbs and culinary herbs and one such herb is sage. Fresh sage has a slight lemony flavor, but when dried it is much stronger. We often think of this herb when we think of turkey and stuffings/dressings. As a medicinal herb it can aid in digestion, soothe coughs, and is also an antiseptic. Besides all of this sage has beautiful blue and lavender flowers in the spring. If you intend to harvest it, it is best to do so before flowering, then cut back the plant after flowering and continue pruning throughout the season.
If you're like me and already planning on next spring's plantings, you might want to keep sage in mind.









Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Herbal Giveaway


Here's your chance to get started growing herbs right in your own kitchen. Diane at dkMommy Spot is giving away a medicinal herb garden kit from HerbsKits.com It looks like it's just right for a beginning or an experienced indoor gardener. I didn't want you to miss out on this great contest, so I decided to pass it along even though you'll be competing with me. Hurry, the contest ends on October 30th. Good Luck!


Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Sore Muscles

Many of you have been following along with my quest to dig and divide my daylilies. I think I have finally had to give it up for the season, unless we have another warm spell. It has been dark and rainy and cold for days. Today it is suppose to have a rain/snow mix. Yuck!!

I'm now ready to stop digging yet, but my body is shot; sore muscles, and an aching back. The only good thing about this is it gives me an excuse to have a nice long soak in the tub. A few candles, a glass of wine, some soft music and I'm ready for my alone time to forget about the troubles of the day.

Here is an infusion I am able to make with ingredients from my herb garden. I don't have access to juniper berries, but they can be purchased at the local health store. This infusion is also said to be good for arthritis pain and inflammation.




1 t. dried juniper berries
2 T. fresh or dried peppermint
2 T. fresh or dried spearmint
2 T. fresh or dried lavender

Place all ingredients in a muslin drawstring bag or disposable tea bag. Add the bag to your bathtub and fill the tub with hot water. Relax and soak for 20 minutes.





Aaah, I can almost smell it now, and I feel better just thinking about it. How about you?

This also works as a good mix with all dried ingredients as a potpourri/air freshener in an open bowl or dish.


Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday -- Friends


Today I'm thankful for friends.

Recently, I have had my eyes opened to the many friends I have. Sometimes I, like my husband, start to think that we have many acquaintances but not many good friends. I know it's important to only have a few truly good friends, rather than to just surround yourself with lots of people who don't really care.
Last night friends came over to buy some garden items from me, and they lent a helping hand while they were here. Tuesday night we went out to dinner with friends we have known for years, and they offered their help with moving a few pieces of furniture. Sunday we spent the afternoon with our church car club and had a ball driving in a caravan of classic cars on a color tour, then ended at the finish line with lots of fun at a restaurant. We have neighbors that will come to our aid if we need it, and I have several close women friends who have been with me through thick and thin even though I don't see them on a daily or even weekly basis.
Moving to a new location will be hard at this stage of my life. Friends are not easy to come by now. But I know that some of the people I am close to here will still visit and maybe I'll be able to meet new people, also -- next door neighbors, new church people, and another car club.
I am thankful for the friends I have now and for the friends that I know God will provide to me in the future.
Visit Rhondi at Thankful Thursday for more Thankful posts.




Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lovely Lavender Lip Balm


I love lavender; I love the color, I love the smell, and I love the way it makes me feel. Famous for its relaxing properties, it makes me feel calm, relaxed, and feminine. I know some say it's for grandmas, but guess what, I'm a grandma. Anyway I think lavender is timeless and for all ages.


If you've read Happenstance House you've seen one of my bedrooms decorated in shades of lavender.

In the summer I get very wrapped up in my daylilies and sometimes take my poor herbs for granted. But I've had a very productive herb harvest. My jars are full of dried herbs waiting for to be used in soups, stews, sauces, and even cookies and cakes. I'll use lavender in several desserts, even muffins!

In Michigan, as in all states that experience cold harsh winds, we have to take care of our lips. Moisturizing is important for comfort and for a luscious-looking mouth.
I just came across this wonderful recipe to make my own lip balm using lavender essential oil, and I'm so excited.
I can't make this with anything I've grown in my garden. It will take a trip to a health food store. Luckily for me, there's one very near by. The recipe seems simple enough so I'm going to give a try, and I thought you would like to try it, too.
What you'll need:

2 tablespoons almond oil
2 tablespoons jojoba oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
10 drops lavender essential oil

Combine almond oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax. Warm gently over very low heat until beeswax melts. Remove from heat. Add essential oil and stir thoroughly. Pour into small wide-mouth lip balm containers (those little metal pill containers work well) and cool, stirring occasionally if necessary to keep the mixture from separating.
That's it!! Easy? Let me know how it works for you, then let the lavender soften your lips and take you away to a dreamy place of warm gentle breezes.

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Look What I Found!




Look what I found! A quilt giveaway! Of course, that is right up my alley, and if it's yours, maybe you should enter, too. I don't mind a little competition!

Elizabeth at Pigtails and Snails is giving away a wonderful quilt that she designed herself. She's also giving a second and third place prize -- the pattern for this very quilt so you can make it yourself. Either way, I'm excited. I love yellow, one of my favorite colors, so I hope I win, but I just wanted to tell you about it just in case you're interested also.
See the sidebar to enter the giveaway. Hurry, the deadline is Oct. 17th.!

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Daylilies Get a New Home

I haven't been blogging much lately. Why? Because I'm giving my daylilies a new home. Well, most of them.


I have started to divide each and every plant in my garden so that when I put the house up for sale in the spring, I will have a piece of each of my favorite plants. And the new home owner won't even know they are gone.
I dig each one up and put it into a bag with a tag or marker. Then off it goes to it's new home.






My son-in-law has made a new garden at his and my daughter's home. They brought in 16 yards of black dirt and spread it along their driveway. Their house is only a few years old and they have been working very hard on the yard. They decided they wanted to house my daylilies for me until I am ready to move into a new place, wherever that might be. Then if the daylilies have multiplied enough, we will divide them again. I will take my half and leave them a fan or two and they will have a daylily garden, too.

So far, we have planted over 70 daylilies plus several peonies, hibiscus, lilies, and Siberian irises. We have 60 more daylilies to go. My back has been bothering me,(any wonder?)so I only do 5 or 6 at a time. One day my son-in-law dug 17 and I had done 16 earlier so he took home 33 plants. I wish someone like me was around when I was building my garden!

Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thankful Thursday -- Answered Prayers.



It's Thankful Thursday, and once again I was not ready. I had to really look into my heart to see what I am thankful for. Sometimes I feel bad that these thoughts don't come readily, but I know a lot of it has to do with my state of mind at the time, because other times I am bursting with joy and thankfulness. Today is not one of the bursting times, but maybe that is good. It has forced me to study my daily life and take a good look at what is going on.


We are in the middle of putting my beloved Victorian home up for sale. The story is told on my blog called Happenstance House. Because of this decision, I have a lot of unanswered questions. Where will I move, when will I move, how will we handle the move at our age, will I make new friends? I am thankful that I am learning patience for the answers. Although, my husband and I made this decision after lots of thought and prayer, we know this is the right thing to do. I am trusting that we will be led in the right direction and shown another house of our dreams, a little smaller and easier to manage. I am thankful that I will have an opportunity to create another garden, start from scratch so to speak. That will give me lots of joy. And with God's blessing, I will be able to spend as many years or more in the next house.

I don't usually quote scripture on this blog, but today I felt that I needed to.
But looking at them, Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God;
for with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27

Thank you, Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses, for hosting Thankful Thursday. Click on the daisy in the sidebar to find more posts.






Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.