Ward House

Cordials are brewing

Yesterday, Kathie inspired me with her cordial comments; so much so that before heading out to class I started two cordials, raspberry and one with lemon balm and lavender.  The lemon balm is only a half pint as the heat has caused the lavender blooms to turn brown (don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen before) and mint bugs have been munching on the lemon balm (planted next to).  No pix, sorry.  The recipes I am using can be found on the right side column under Must Remembers titled *Hic.

This morning, Ronnie harvested three cherry tomatoes from the garden – yippee!  This is a hybrid plant so there can be no seed saving – these little fruits are pretty.  And tasty.  Again, no pictures.  With classes consuming much of my time, garden time has been not as frequent as I would like.  The next semester, that begins the latter part of August, will have mostly at home studies thus allowing more time outside while the sun is shining and then study time inside when the sun sets.  Potatoes have not done much this year and we are not sure why – a load of manure, tilled under and allowed to sit over the winter, will correct many of our gardening challenges (or so I believe); dill is blooming, beans growing, grapes ripening, etc.

While on the cordial kick, JoyceAnn of Feather Spirits introduced this next website to me.  Her article about plantain reminded me that we have a slew of this herb growing in the yard and… I believe I can make some salve.  This recipe seems easy enough:

Healing salve: In large non-metallic pan place 1lb. of entire Plantain plant chopped, and 1 cup lard, cover, cook down on low heat till all is mushy and green. Strain while hot, cool and use for burns, insect bites, rashes, and all sores. Note: used as night cream for wrinkles.

Walmart carries lard; perhaps I can snag some this weekend.  Why not now, you ask?  Cause tomorrow we are headed out on the bike to ride; no particular destination, just ride and stop when we are ready.  Other bikes are joining us so it will not be quite as spontaneous as if Ronnie and I were going solo, still be a nice, cheap get-away.  We will return on Sunday, about the time when the girls are returning from spending a week with their dad.   I hope to have more soon, including my current knitting project.  Perhaps a delayed post for tomorrow or over the weekend.


July 15, 2010 Posted by | Cooking, Gardening, herbs, recipes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crystal bowls and a repurposed jumper

Class last night was amazing.  Our instructor purchased a set of crystal singing bowls and brought them to class for us to check out.  One of my classmates was smitten; sound therapy is a modality he wants to pursue.  Amazing is all I can say.  My other classmate and I could feel the sound circling us – almost palpable; it definitely lifted the funk cloud that has surrounded me for these last few weeks.

Some excerpts from this site:

Everything that moves vibrates, from the smallest molecule to the universe itself. As long as it is vibrating, it is making some kind of sound. We may not perceive the sound, as it may be below or above the threshold of our hearing. The human ear can hear sound vibrations between 20 and 20,000 cycles per second, although we also perceive sound by skin and bone conduction, ingesting and consuming it with the whole body.


Scientific studies show that sound can produce changes in the autonomic, immune, endocrine and neuropeptide systems. Every atom, molecule, cell, gland, and organ of the human body absorbs and emits sound. The entire body, as well as our brain waves in a relaxed state, vibrates at a fundamental frequency of about 8 cycles per second, literally entraining and attuning us to the basic electromagnetic field of the earth itself!

There is much information online about sound therapy and, after class yesterday, I can say there is something to it.  Yes, this goes against conventional medicine and, the disclaimer is that it is not to replace consulting with a medical professional.   I’d love to have my own set of bowls – the sound and feel is just incredible.  I can only imagine the healing that can be done with these beauties!

Rain for the last two days has done immeasurable good for the garden.  It is unreal how a ‘natural’ rain benefits  in ways that a sprinkler cannot.  My boss says that tilling before watering is helpful; that and watering with non chlorinated water (which I have).  I’d love to use a pair of dowsing rods and see if there is a water source, within reasonable drilling distance, on the property.

The Dollar General battle continues with the Board of Stupervisors meeting tonite to set a meeting day to discuss the matter.  Umm.  Have a meeting to set a meeting?  Sounds redundant to me; just have the meeting already.  What gets me is that even if the Board approves the rezoning of this piece of property (which is in the development corridor as determined by said County) does not mean Dollar General can actually build there – ordinances need to be reviewed..  Seems to me that, if the Board is going to hold to their plan, the rezoning would be non issue.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | politics, self sufficiency | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fungus amongus

I thought this was caused by the dog pee’ing in the garden; that appears to be incorrect.  Surfing the web has brought to light my potato plants may have a fungus; a vascular wilt.  Fusarium to be exact.  Apparantly this organism can live in the soil, without a host (my potato plants) for several years.  Not encouraging.  The tops of these taters cannot go into the compost pile as they are infected and could infect parts of the garden that are currently ok.  Looks like more fodder for the burn pile.

vascular wiltBeans and corn were planted in this corner of the garden last year and I notice no problems so am curious how long this organism has been hanging out?  Potatoes were placed in this spot for this season so as to rotate. There are several articles online, about studies showing the effects of compost tea with disease control in plants – specifically potatoes.  The one article, to which I wanted to link, is no longer available.  =(

I dug up the wilting plants and found that the potatoes beneath were just fine, though not the same size one would find in the grocery.  Tasty nonetheless.  One of the seed potatoes was still intact and a slimy, stinking glob when dug from the ground.  huh?  What happened here?

Oh, and tomatoes are not immune to this type of cootie either.

What advise do more experienced potato growers have for me?

July 9, 2010 Posted by | Gardening | , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodie goodie!

It was an enjoyable though hectic holiday weekend.  The giveaways arrived from Zed and Ana, we were able to take a few motorcycle rides (one to pick strawberries and the other to Lowes), and I planted several herbs into the sides of the garden in an attempt to attract beneficials.

For the giveaways, Zeds package included goodies from Turkey – Thank you so much Zed, the goodies are amazing!  Most of the sesame sweets are gone!  The little evil eye stickers do not appear in this photo as these have been stuck to almost everything.  =)

I received notice of Ana’s package arrival on Saturday, after the post office had closed; that package I picked up today – Ana, you guess my tastes correctly!

Thank you both for shipping international – I am grateful!

This is my 2nd and final week of CPR/First  Aid class and to say that I am grateful to be at the end is an understatement.  You’ll be glad to know that I passed the CPR part with 100% on ventilation and 98% on compressions.  *whew*

I’ll have more pictures and such for you soon!

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 7 Comments

Frozen tomato plants

Earlier I posted about my half dead garden, the toddler plants struck down haphazardly.  In desperation I emailed Sadge of Firesign Farm (she still has snow this late in the season) to see how she handled the sporadic cold snap.  She had several great suggestions that she ended up posting hereQuick hoops, discussed by Eliot Coleman over at Mother Earth News may be the best way for me to go.

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Gardening | , , | 5 Comments

How did they do it?

Before the advent of weather.com and other forecasting software, how did the old timers know when it was ok to set out plants?  Is the almanac that accurate??  We have had weeks of really warm weather; around here it is safe to plant after Mother’s day.  That appears to no longer be the case.  I took this picture when home for lunch and, if you look closely, you will see the seedling (that was started inside) is OK while the plant purchased at the local garden store is not.  The same thing appears to be true with these pepper plants.  How can one be OK and the next not?  We knew that it would be close yet the wind was too strong for us to cover the plants and have the covering stay.  In retrospect, would straw have done the trick?  If we wet it down?  *sighs*  If I remember correctly that almanac was not proving to be ‘dead on’ which causes me to think that perhaps “close” is good enough.  Ronnie said that just because the ‘ok’ plants looked fine that these would droop later.  Can any of you give me hope?  So much work and all to loose it in one breezy night?  Now if the breeze had kept up, the plants would have been ok as the frost could not have settled. The grapes were also hit; not all, just the upper clusters.  *crosses fingers*

In other news, here are a few pictures from prom – these are of A16 and her date.

A16 & date

pre-prom foot massage

red carpet affair

Some arrived on horseback and others in stretch limos.  From what I’ve heard, a good time was had by all!

May 10, 2010 Posted by | family | , , , , , | Leave a comment