Just…Summer

Summer solstice is just past. I wanted to have a smart outdoor ritual this year, but life got in the way (and so did some cool, rainy weather) so it was the typical “light a candle” kind of thing.

It’s still High Summer and for me that means getting outside as much as possible. Maybe that is really my ritual – being present in nature.

Twice a day, I walk through our local park. Twenty years ago they planted a group of trees on one side. Today, I call it my grove. There’s a buckeye tree there that pre-dates the other trees and I greet this one in particular each time I walk that path. It’s an old tree with knots and holes in the big trunk.

There’s a group of turkey vultures in our neighborhood. They inhabit one particular tree and in the mornings when the sun hits a certain level, they spread their wings, like a giant greeting of the day. I love to watch them ride the air currents. Yesterday, I saw one sitting in my neighbor’s yard, making the other birds crazy. Turkey vulture did not care.

The garden is blooming and I planted some herbs in containers so I can take them to work in the fall.

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“Take your plant to work day” LOL. I’m leaving the oregano in the ground, but used containers for rosemary, thyme and sage.

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I considered trying to bring a basil inside – it’s my favorite herb – but I’m not sure that’s going to work. Still thinking on that.

This summer is definitely cooler than our last two. It’s reached the 80’s a couple times, but we’ve had an almost daily wind (more than a breeze) that makes it feel cooler. I’m a hot weather girl, so if it were mid-90’s with a wind, that would be great. it’s also been rainy – all of this was in the 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac, so I will definitely get the 2018 edition.

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We did not plant tomatoes. The last couple years I didn’t can. I miss having the smell of the tomatoes when I open the jars. There’s a large flea market a couple towns away where they have really nice produce, last year people were offering boxes of bruised tomatoes for $7 at the end of the season, so I plan on canning again.

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My favorite thing about summer is enjoying the backyard, watching the clouds from the lounge chair and sitting under our trees when it gets really warm.  What’s your favorite summer thing?

 

Fire Cider

Last month I made Fire Cider. This is a really old herbal remedy, so there are a zillion variations on the recipe. The one I modified is from The Mountain Rose Blog, from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also purchase a Fire Tonic from them. They ethically harvest their seeds and plants, so this is my “go – to” if I’m not growing it myself.

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You basically have a lot of hot ingredients that marinate in Apple Cider Vinegar for about a month. You decant it, compost the remains, and then store it. You can add some raw honey to sweeten it. I didn’t but based on my husband’s gagging, I should have.

In this batch I chopped onions, 10 garlic cloves, grated a ginger root, chopped some jalapeno peppers and shook in some Tumeric. It called for 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper which I misread as a 1/4 cup. Yeah. It’s THAT hot. Obviously, the capsaicin plus the apple cider is what you’re going for in this recipe.

So far, I am happy with this because at the first indication of sniffles or sneezing, I take about a half-shot. It really clears out the sinus. A friend suggested I take a teaspoon daily as a preventative. I may do that, as two people at work are out with pneumonia and bronchitis.

My second batch is marinating and will be ready in January.

Just a reminder in case you need it:

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Findhorn Gardens and Plant Communication

I started communicating with plants during a drive to learn all I could about medicinal herbs.

I typically go down the rabbit hole on any new project, reading everything I can get my hands on, researching, etc. And in the case of plants, I actually followed through with some amazing gardens and a Master Gardener’s certificate.

It was “Findhorn Gardens” though, that startled me into an actual attempt to listen to the plants, the plant spirits and nature.

Findhorn Gardens still exist in Scotland. (Cliff Note: book details the experiences of three people in the early 1960’s who heard the voices of plant spirits. They co-created an amazing garden out of horrible soil.)

If somebody else can do it, I should be able to do it, I thought. So I started listening REALLY HARD. And trying to talk to the plants through my mind. like this ” I LOVE YOU BASIL, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE HERB.”

Yeah.

Doing anything really hard = forcing. And the results were poor.

So what I have learned is to “allow”. Allow myself to listen. Allow the plants to talk. Books tend to present the dialogue as talking. But it is just as often a picture, or a feeling. For me, with the plants, it’s less talking and more of a feeling. Your experience may differ – and that’s as it should be. We all are different in how we best communicate.

Some of the best gardeners I’ve met, operate on an intuitive level. They may or may not believe in plant communication, per SE, but they “know” on some level, what that garden needs.

Which is the bottom line. What is it, that is needed. You won’t find everything in a book. Sometimes the answers are within you.