Monday, June 29, 2009

Shake The Sugar Tree!

I had a familiar song going through my head this afternoon:

"Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush.
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.

This is the way we wash our clothes,
Wash our clothes, wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes,
So early Monday morning."

And believe me after an impromptu Mulberry picking session, wash the clothes we did!

I stopped by my friends house to plant more bean seeds and harvest the last of the summers asparagus. I mentioned wanting to check on the Mulberry trees out back when he said "Oh yea I forgot, they started to ripen just the other day!" Hate to say it but berries wait for no one...

So I called the hubby and had him gather my "stuff" for picking, and pickin' clothes for the kids and I. I use the term pickin', but harvesting Mulberries can be as easy as shaking the tree to loosen the ripe fruit. We just added a drop cloth under the tree and gathered the fruit into buckets - Having perfectly unblemished fruit is NOT ones goal when making jam!

So here I sit, blue fingers and toes (I wore sandals!) and the kids in the tub. But the fresh warm jam that was drizzled over vanilla ice cream was well worth the mess!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Egg In Our Faces???

It seems that someone has decided our caged, backyard birds is causing them grief. Today we received a letter from the association telling us to remove the girls or they would remove them - The thing is, I read the bylaws of our neighborhood and investigated the Township ordinances before moving forward (after mom presented the fluff-balls to the kids) and found nothing denying us the opportunity. Really it is fresh eggs and a HUGE learning experience.

The section of the neighborhood rules are really to be left to interpretation. It says that homes can only have (2) dogs or cats, or one of each, yet spells out later in the section that “… The term “animal” or “pet” as used in this Section 6 shall not include small domesticated animals which are constantly caged, such as small birds or fish.”

Well our girls are, and will always remain "CAGED DOMESTICATED BIRDS".

Furthermore, we are not maintaining these pets for breeding or commercial purposes, provide appropriate care, and they make little to no noise - they are certainly less noisy than many of the obnoxious neighborhood dogs! And we keep their coop clean, because I don't want nasty smells infiltrating my home and entertainment space.

So now it comes down to this one fact - How much of a fight do I want to pursue? I'm not sure of the legality of someone coming into my yard and removing anything, but that's what we have been warned of. That and of course some monetary penalty against us. Do I want this fight over fresh, abundant eggs? And what kind of learning experience will this end up being for my kids?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Attantion All Gardeners - That's a DEAL You're Smelling Not Your Compost!

A friend of mine brought this offer to my attention - Receive your FREE "green gardening book" by answering 7 survey questions. That's TOTALLY free even with the shipping!!! I answered the questions myself (took all of 5 minutes) and am now waiting for my book to be delivered.

Check it out, but hurry, the website indicates they're only giving 250 copies away. To get you're free book visit the Gardener to Farmer website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I LOVE Lavender and have several varieties throughout my garden to assure me that it will be blooming throughout the summer. I was reminded of what we can DO with it the other day as I was speaking with a friend.

She had lavender plants lining her walkway and as we stood there chatting our daughters began throwing the typical 3-year-old-I-want-attention-now-fits! That is NOT saying our precious princesses were brats, only that they were beyond tired from a day of bouncing in my friends industrial bounce-house.

My friend lamented that she had to bathe her daughter. That's when it hit. I said, "why don't you grab a big sprig of your blooming lavender, tie it into a bunch and use it for your daughter's bath?"

She tilted her head and looked at me oddly (which of course is not uncommon) then I said "Lavender in the bath sooths and relaxes and may help her sleep." That's when the light bulb went off for her!

I have used this method MANY times myself. Tie the bundle tightly together, bruise the flower buds gently to release the aroma and oils, then allow the bundle to hang where the warm running water cascades over it. You'll be surprised!

Lavender is a WONDERFUL medicinal herb - While it may be too "flowery" for the manly types out there (You know who you are!) it can REALLY help in many ways. Did you know that lavender is a general tonic or antiseptic, sedative, diuretic, and digestive aid and can be useful in treating acne and other skin conditions, headaches, and insomnia?

I'll post some great "lavender projects" in another post, but suffice to say I have done everything from adding it to honey (smells and tastes yummy), making quick and easy soap balls that smell divine, used it in baths, made lavender "wands" as a sachet or other use and have even made a lavender cheesecake (a recipe that SOUNDED awesome but unless you enjoy eating strong smelling flowers I advise against this one - I'll pass on repeating it!)... So enjoy your lavender as it blossoms and think of the many ways you can enjoy it beyond watching the buzzy-bees swirl and twirl among the buds!