Friday, June 25, 2010

So I go to clean out the drying shed yesterday, and find a crowd of interested equines.

A customer arrives, adn I go to tend to them, and come back, and look what happened. The Minis are SOOOOOOO curious!!

I also started harvesting stuff to dry yetserday - some mixed flower and herb bouquets, and LAVENDER! This is our entire lavender crop - which is much bigger than it usually is. It smells divine!

some friends brought us black raspberries, which are HUGE and extra-delicious this year!

We also finally got the still up and running - distilled catnip - and did a ton of mowing and some planting. It's nice to finally have a lovely sunny day at the farm!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So, we have been having rain, rain, storms, rain, more rain, and still more storms and rain....for weeks. The ditches are full of water, the rivers are high, there are flash flood warnings galore, and I found algae growing in my back yard (no joke). Donna is starting to twitch and has developed a nervous tic (and mayyyyyyyyyyyy be getting a titch grumpy although I will deny saying that to my dying day) because she can't garden and weed. However we are still much luckier than our farmers in Southern Iowa who have had even more rain than we have. Like, crops molding/dying in the field bad. :( And when the sun does come out - HOLY HUMIDITY! Yesterday (after our morning storm), the sun came out and we had temps at about 100 with a heat index of 106. NOT PRETTY. We Iowans are getting a little grumpy!!!

In other news.

 it is mulberry season!!! I hope to get out and pick some today. Do you have  mulberries in your bit of the world??

Mulberry pie (this makes me wish I could make a decent pie crust!)

Mulberry liqueur (or spice it, perhaps?)

Mulberry Jelly

Mulberry Wine (sweet or dry)

and I think Mulberry Vinegar would be a really fun and interesting treat; it would be great in an old-fashioned switchel recipe (I always wonder why health-conscious exercise type people drink artifically colored, high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened drinks such as gatorade? Switchel or lemonade is my idea of a drink, if I need something other than water!). But I didn't find any recipes I liked online, so, here is how you make mulberry vinegar.

Take a clean class jar (pint or quart mason jars are my container of choice), and loosely fill with mulberries. Cover with vinegar. You can use any kind, but I prefer an organic apple cider vinegar, as it's less harsh than regular white vinegar and has extra good stuff for ya. Cover, and let sit in the sun (or wherever..) for a week or two. Longer is fine. You can tell when the vinegar is "done", because it will be a rich berry color and the berries will look kind of colorless and sad. Strain out the berries and compost them; rebottle the vinegar and label. Yum!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Soooooooooo the lemon balm is going insane, yeah? It's that time of year. If you have lemon balm in your garden,  you know what I mean. So, what to do with it? Drink it as tea, hot or cold - delicious! You can use it fresh, or dry it for later. Add a few springs to your jar of sun tea, yum! 

Or how about making a delicious lemon balm pesto? This freezes beautifully; you will welcome having a few jars of this in your freezer over the winter. (A wintertime staple "fast food" at my house is pasta tossed with pesto from the freezer, then you can add any other ingredients you like - leftover veggies or meats, some cream or cheese, sundried tomatoes or a jar of home-canned get the idea, right? A glass of wine and dinner is served. Add some bread and salad if you want to be fancy, but.... really, the pasta usually plenty for me).

I have a recipe that I found online years ago, for a lemon balm liqueur - I don't even know where, but I copied it to my files. Why haven't i made it yet? I don't know, but I'm going to remedy that RIGHT. NOW.

Liquore Di Erba Cedrina (melissa liqueur)

1 kg. grain alcohol
140 g Lemon balm leaves (fresh)
1 kg. white sugar
1 kg water

Cut fresh lemon balm leaves and put in a glass jar. Cover with alcohol and leave 20 days in a cool dark place; shake every other day. Strain out herbs and  place infused alcohol in a big bowl. Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup by mixing the sugar and water and boiling for 10 minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved into the water. Let cool to room temperature, then mix sugar syrup and alcohol. Bottle, and store in a cool dark place for 2 months. This allows all the ingredients to combine together, at perfection.