It’s been a while since I posted, have I mentioned spring is a busy time?  The local Farmer’s Market opened in Boonville a few weeks ago, and while the cold spring has put a damper on my early garden, I have still been bringing my jams and body care products, which have all been well received by customers who are just as anxious for an excuse to get out into the spring sunshine as me!  My favorite thing to do this time of year is go for a wildflower walk, here is some of what I’ve found lately:  

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Dutchman’s Breeches, adorable!

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Spring Beauty, I’m lovin’ those pink stamens

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Erythronium albidum

 

The final flower in the series, white fawn lily, was a new find for me last year.  Someone contacted me after seeing a photo I took on Flick’r, asking me to send them a specimen as they are doing research on the species.  I haven’t found enough of them to feel comfortable digging one up however, so I think I will leave them in peace.  

Here’s hoping you are all out making the most of and enjoying the spring!

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April Showers

Rainbow!

Rainbow!

Okay, this photo was actually taken in March, but it still applies today as I listen to the hail pounding on our roof. These are no gentle spring rains we’re having now, the creeks are churning and swollen with debris. We showed 2 inches in our rain gauge this morning, but I’m sure we had more than that as the wind probably blew the gauge around a bit.  Storm totals in our area are  rumored to be 4-6 inches, and tornadoes were reported south of us.  The Midwest might not always be at the bleeding edge of culture (and living on a country road as I do only exacerbates matters), but the weather is never dull out here! They have a saying that really is true here in Missouri: If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it’ll change.  From one year to the next, conditions are very different too.  Notice how brown the land is in the above picture.  Soil temps are only in the 50’s.  Last year was a whole different story.  I’m a little concerned about the seeds I sowed last week.  Have they been washed away by the torrent?  Time will tell, I may have to re-sow the whole bed of greens and radishes.  If I were really on top of things I would have mulched immediately, but nobody’s perfect, right?

 

Unscented cream

Unscented cream

I was approached by someone on Etsy a few days ago with my first custom order request!  She had dry sensitive skin and wanted me to make her an unscented cream. As a woman who lives in a world of scent (admittedly both pleasant botanical scents, and unpleasant animal and kid related scents), I was mystified at first, why would you NOT want scent?   Once I held the cream in my hands, I was won over by its simplicity and purity.  Here, after all, is a gentle nourishing balm for any number of sensitive individuals: anyone whose nerves are fried and overwhelmed by our hectic and often overstimulating world.  Consider it a blank slate upon which you may do whatever you wish:  use it as a primer for use under makeup, or as an unassuming-yet-fortifying overnight moisturizer at day’s end.  Because it includes elasticizing cocoa butter, it would even be suitable to use as a balm for the pregnant belly, and would be gentle enough for baby as well with the inclusion of healing calendula oil.  It would work as well for men who don’t want to smell like a French whore OR like that nasty smelling stuff with the awful misogynistic commercials we’ve probably all seen (so…hot women are inexorably drawn to smells that could strip the paint off a wall, dull lackluster attitudes, and painstakingly messy hair does?  Mmmmkay), but would still like something to smooth on after shaving.  So versatile, a quality which I value more and more with the unpredictability of life!

Revival

After the long silence of a brutally cold winter, the cacophony of this spring is outrageously wonderful. Even the nights are conspicuously noisy with the peeping of frogs and the peenting of woodcocks (also known by the adorable name of “timberdoodle”) These unusual birds have such a comical look, with long bills and tubby bodies held up on stubby legs. Each evening a small group of them has been overnighting in my garden, probably drawn to the earthworms, their favorite food.  Bluebirds have returned to our area too, with the brightly colored males sweetly declaring ownership of their chosen perch. They have been showing interest in the birdhouse that my children made with a little help from their papa as well! My chickens have taken notice of the changing seasons too, and we are finally finding eggs in the nesting boxes again after a long hiatus. I am always taken aback by the differences when I crack open the first home grown egg of the year after a long winter of store bought eggs. The shells are thicker, the yolks are dark gold rather than pale yellow, the flavor is rich and delicious with just a little salt and a few drops of Sriracha. Would you like to see a demonstration? Of course you would:

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Store bought egg is on the left, home grown egg is on the right.

Green eggs!

Green eggs!

Notice the green shells of my Ameracauna eggs. This breed is one of my favorites, in fact if I could keep only one breed this would be it! The coloring of the hens is varied, their personalities are friendly, and they are hardy and low maintenance.  And they have the cutest fluffy cheek patches!  It gives them a charming salty-sea-dog sort of look.  Yaaaarrrrrr!   I also have Barred Rocks, New Hampshire Reds, and Cuckoo Marans.  Soon I will be getting more chicks, and maybe I will discover a new favorite breed, but until then these girls are hard to beat!

Ameracauna pullet, Miss Gingersnaps

Ameracauna pullet, Miss Gingersnaps

Spring Fever

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Lovage seedling

Sick children have taken precedence lately, but I will try to squeeze in a quick post while I catch my breath momentarily!  I’m afraid that whatever the children have rather resembles the stomach flu, and I’ve come down with a terrible case of spring fever as well! Springtime in Missouri is a tumultuous time. Bluebirds are scoping out this year’s nesting site, geese are flying high overhead, and my chickens are showing renewed interest in the tiny sprouts of grass that are peeking out through last year’s dead sod. The wise native trees have yet to show any greenery, they know full well that today’s gentle warmth could be cruelly cold and re-frozen in the next moment. I went to a fruit tree pruning workshop recently with the Young Farmer’s Group, and gained the confidence to make some well placed cuts on our young orchard.  I have finally started a few flats of seedlings (mostly herbs, greens, cabbages, eggplants, and peppers), and still need to clear the winter’s accumulated clutter and fire wood out of my greenhouse to make way for the oncoming deluge of transplants.

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Roselle

I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of my roselle seed, which sprouted the day after sowing despite the fact that the seed is about 3 years old! I bought the seed from Baker Creek Seeds, and if you’ve never heard of them you are in for such a treat! They have an incredible selection of heirloom seeds, and have signed on to the Safe Seed Pledge, so you can be sure it’s all non-GMO.  Roselle is a kind of hibiscus, and the calyces are used to make Red Zinger tea.  The tea has a pleasant sweet-tart taste and a gorgeous red colour.  It’s such a fun plant to grow, and in our summer heat and humidity can grow dramatically huge, flowering in the fall with pretty cream coloured hibiscus blooms.  Perhaps this year I’ll also try making a jelly out of it.  I still have a freezer full of last year’s berries that are waiting to be dealt with however…