Monday, February 6, 2012

Ah February~~~In my space grows cleavers, Chickweed and Nettles AND MUCH MUCH MORE~~~evening primrose, dandelion, prunella GALORE

As soon As I read them, I was instantly transcended to a time (or two) where I first discovered these greatest of God's gifts. This memory(s) it has not been of conscience consideration other than that it happened. I took my Mom for granted a bit. Her constant complete love was so constant that it felt like air, which is also easy to ignore until it smells funny. :D
My Personal History of Nettle
My Mom taught us about nettles when I was nine years old. We'd moved from the suburb to the country, my mom's mom's old farm. We went into the wonderFULL woods and picked nettle. As she showed us the known sting, she told us when we made it for dinner it would taste like spinach. We discussed the sting and how the water took the sting out as it was boiled. I remember it clearly, it was such a lively, interesting discussion. I am glad to have had it. We took our magicla nettle home and put into a pot of boiling water and wah lah! It was delicious! I haven't had that magicla nettle fresh much since, but am determined to harvest it ASAP!!!
Well my cleavers was a gift of last season! It was the funny kind without words. I looked up the herbal info and it was something I needed on all levels and then I found it and it was like instant love(the kind of childhood puppy love), strong and innocent. Purity, that I was drawn to like something I cannot put into words. I hung it out like a wreath(it stuck together so well that way and in fact when wound came up very well too!) and would look at it in a kind of awe. The kind of awe of knowledge that my ally would bring. Here I am with my big bountiful bag of my friend now and I am transformed and my life has taken a turn that somehow is connected, yet I haven't had the benefit of the herbal use yet. IDK...just had to say...

I think I ran across some cleaver burrs out in the woods today, but bigger than mine from last year. I will have to keep track. I know there is more than one kind of burr plant(?)(I thinks I will just keep an eye on the spots I was in).

I trod out into this new ancient woods as I am getting over my well loved woods. Moving on and bringing some of mine with me. So I was clearing out  a spot for my transplants and ended up with little burrs. No plant. But I have photos here of some I harvested last season! And had to quick make me a cup of cleavers tonight as I read my months plans! I love cleavers if I hadn't made that clear. When I grab into my HUGE bag of bountiful cleavers, I get a little bit stung, little pricklies really; and it, oddly enough, reminds me of a nettle sting. I call them kisses, really. Natures little kisses. Nettle is a BIG kiss. :D

I just had to share because upon reading the tasks I had to jump up for my latest and greatest! I was instantly inspired. I thought, aw I've got this. It's not exactly it, but it is close enough for me.

 It speaks volumes to me when this kind of taste is acquired. The Helpful regime of little natural creatures(plant style) is something to be reckoned with

 I will get into the chickweed briefly here. I was introduced to chickweed sometime back (5 yearsish). I searched and searched and by and by I found some around the light pole when I was dropping off lunch to my daughter at high school! I grabbed some. Then the next spring it was annoying my mother-in-law, so I weeded it out of her trough planters and tired to get it to grow. I should of just ate it all, but wanted to make it grow. It didn't. not so far.  But I love it too, and will continue looking around for it.


What I, myself, am most interested in is what comes in of it's own accord! I have been looking around for years because of it. I heard a saying about 17 years ago that says, 'everything you need is in your own back yard.' Even those who might not have a back yard, something that you notice growing around where you live is what is meant.

So, I have dandelions galore, found evening primrose this year near by; red clover, self heal(prunella vulgarus), herb robert, St. John's wort, plantain broad and narrow leafed, off the top of my head. I am truly blessed.

©Allisonians Please ask me for permission to use my photos or writing. Thank you! :D

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Banana This; Recycle Old Peels~ fertilizer or silver polish

There are things you can do with that old peel.

1. Do you have a green thumb? House hold plants and outside gardens require fertilization. A great way to give your plants nutrients is with a banana peel. The banana peel is very rich in potassium and phosphorus, which give that added boost to your plants soil, especially so with roses. Here is how to use a banana peel to fertilizer your soil for your plants. Remove the peel from the banana. Place the banana peel on a cookie sheet to let it air dry. Grab a paper bag or envelope. Crumble the dried banana peel and place it in the bag. Let the banana sit at room temperature for about two days. When your caring for your plant, give it a potassium treat of crumbled banana peel. Mix well in the soil to ensure the roots are fed evenly.
2. Have you been thinking about pulling out that old silver? Well there is no time like the present. Bananas peel can also be used to polish silver. Yes, polish silver. Take the old peels and place them in a blender. You want the peels to become smooth and creamy. Once they have, grab a cloth and small amounts of the creamed banana peel and begin polishing your silver. The shine will be breath taking.


Wild yeasts exist in the air around you and to some extent on the wheat berries. There are wild yeasts on grapes (unsulphured) and apples and other fruits. It is those wild yeasts which are 'captured' to make a sourdough starter. The process takes from 3 to 5 days. I wish I had specific amounts for you, but you could start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour and mix in enough warm (not hot) water to make a thin paste. DO NOT make it too soupy. That, in fact, is the trick to a good starter, according to the French bread makers, and I think they should know. And after you've fooled around with the flour and water thing, you might wish to branch out into adding those unsulphured grapes, apples, sour milk, etc as a catalyst in order to capture other strains of yeast. Each of these strains has a slightly different taste. In fact if you move to another area, you might end up with a starter that produces an entirely different flavor. For instance, San Francisco sourdough bread is well known and has a distinct taste due to the wild strains in the air there. On day one you mix the flour and water (and add any catalysts to encourage fermentation) and place in a warm spot. After 3 days, the dough should be moist, inflated, and slightly sour. More flour and water is added (mixed in) and left to sit in a warm spot. After 2 days the process is repeated. Then the next day it is done again. Note the order: 3 days, 2 days, 1 day. At this point you should be able to make a loaf of bread using part of the starter and adding back what you took out in the form of more flour and water. Rule of thumb: Use about 10% starter to size of loaf. In the case of a 2 lb loaf this is a bit over 3 oz of starter (3.2 to be exact). For a 1 lb loaf 1.5 oz would be used. A book that describes this process in great detail is The Village Baker by Joe Ortiz, copyright 1993, published by Ten Speed Press, Berkley CA. If it's not still in print, try the used books stores, that's where I got mine. Or try your local library. If they don't have it, they might be able to get it for you. ©2008 by Ernestina Parziale

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