Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have to say it.
I had a complete meltdown Saturday. We have put off building our house and starting our farm for months. We have been in our middle of town IN a second story APARTMENT for 1 and 1/2 yrs. ONE AND ONE HALF YEARS.
We had driven out to our property that day to broadcast some red clover . Afterwards we went to sit on a little hill to watch the sun go down. It was a perfect, warm spring day.
I just broke down and couldnt stop crying.
My husband, who doesn't do any of the gardening (past the tilling and tractoring) could not understand the rush of emotion that I was feeling.
"What is it?" he said.
I said, " Kyle, it's spring and I can't tolerate or live with the fact that I'm going to spend another season in that apartment. If I had known we wouldnt have started building right away I would have never let you sell that farm!"
He thought a minute and said," Honey, you know the economy is bad here ,to start our farm over right now is very risky. Just building our house is risky right now. I'm afraid we could lose everything."
Looking over at him with my dirty teary face I retorted, " I will die if I can't start this house and build up the farm now, this year." I threw myself on the ground and starting wailing in earnest.
He didn't say anything, just walked away to finish sowing the seeds. (He is a wise man. He knows you can't reason with a woman who has just thrown herself face down in the grass.)
After the sun went down, he came back, picked me up off the ground and drove us back to town.
I thought, "He's heartless. He can't see my heart is breaking."
Well, of course, I was wrong.
He told me to call the contractors yesterday and make an appointment to buy our houseplans.
I am a little embarassed now about the meltdown, but I am happy that he will at least try to help me be a little less hopeless. Spring makes me feel a little nuts. Without my gardens and dirt in my hands, I don't know who I am.
I am grateful that he loves me. He is a good man.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It must be spring, I've got the hand weights out again..

Spring Report:
I have just finished watering my little seedlings of basil, cilantro,anise hyssop and will be transplanting them this week. Will let the small tomato and pepper plants stay in the house for awhile longer, they do not do well in strong wind and cold.
All of the new leaves of lemon balm are coming up very green and pretty. The little heart shaped leaves are very romantic looking and oh so fragrant.
I think nothing is as beautiful as the first flush of lemon balm and basil. This year I may try to do some water colors of these beautiful herbs.
The comfrey, yarrow, mints, oreganos, thymes are all doing very well, covering the ground with their new growths. Our Sassafras tree is budding out very nicely and never fails to amaze me when it begins to put on it's little leaves. I thought I saw the Pineapple sage and St. John's Wort peeking out from the mulch, tomorrow I will pull it back and see for sure.
If you are a novice and wish to plant, please remember that April and May are very windy months in Louisiana, plant only things that will be out of the wind for now. Some herbs have tender stalks and will not be able to withstand these windy months. It feels like spring, but I have been fooled many times.
It's time to spruce up your garden area, turn over the soil, add manure,mulch and new soil in beds. The ground is just warming up, do not plant anything that needs 7 or 8 hours of sun.
Cilantro, dill, chervil all love the cool temperatures and can be planted now. Mints can be planted, they are very hardy and do not mind cool temperatures.
What to do while you wait for the season to really begin in earnest?
Sharpen and oil your tools. Dust off the old pots, cleaning them well with a little bleach and a lot of water. Get an unusual seed catalog and order something that you have never planted. (some of my best herbs have come from this idea) Find a pretty pair of gardening gloves and get a great hat. This year I plan to get a new toolbelt and hang all my favorite gardening tools around my waist.
If you like to wildcraft, (forage in the wild) look for nettles, dandelion, cleavers, coltsfoot, docks, chickweed. They are all in abundance now.
Be sure that you are harvest responsibly, do not take all that you see. We must leave enough for growth next year. A good herbalist respects the earth, taking only what he or she needs. Many American herbs have been wildcrafted into near extinction by over zealist amatuers. A true, nuturing herbalist will remember this and let that small patch of red clover live to be picked another year.
If you are unsure of what are foraging for, take an identification guidebook with you. I made many mistakes my first few years of foraging. Identify your plants with more than one point. Look at the shape of the leaves, the color of the stalks, the roots, the type of flower it produces. These points will give you correct identifications and keep you safe. Many plants look alike but are not what you believe them to be. Never eat or make medicine with what you are not 100% sure of what it is. A good book to refer to is "A Modern Herbal", by Margaret Grieve. There are many pictures and the plants are all thoughly described. It is an online site also.
Will be doing some light weight lifting to get my back and arm muscles into shape. I often lift big bags of dirt, manure and mulch over my back, forgetting to use the wheelbarrow!

It must be spring, I am dreaming of chervil omlets.......