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Archive for May, 2014

I was out in Palm Springs a few weeks ago to do what I could to help a friend. I was able to run a lot of errands, cook meals, and just be there when she needed me.

Popcorn popper

Popcorn popper

We have a lot of great memories together, one of them being popcorn. We used to work together and every now and then, on a Friday, we would alternate bringing some sort of food into the office to share. I would bring sun dried tomato and chive cream cheese with bagels, and would bring it in on a Friday morning so the service guys could grab one before heading out for the day. A few Friday’s later, usually a payday, and she would make a huge batch of popcorn and bring it in after lunch so the service guys could grab some when they stopped in to pick up their paychecks.

One afternoon I made popcorn when when I was out there a few weeks ago, another one of our friends (we also worked together) was stopping by. I didn’t make just one batch of popcorn, but 5 batches! The air is so dry there, that it stays nice and crispy, crunchy for several days.

We all munched on popcorn through our tears and laughter. And we munched on it for the next few days along with other family members.

I am used to using a pan on the stove-top for making popcorn at home, but she had this nifty popcorn making pan. After a batch of instruction, I was on my way! Batch after Batch!

Are you a popcorn eater? How do you pop yours?

Sincerely, Emily

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Yesterday was the first day I harvested something from our garden this season.image

Zucchini!!!

Peppers!! Serranos, anaheims, and banana. Sorry, I forgot to get a photo of those.

I also picked three peaches in hopes that they will ripen off the tree. The squirrels are already competing for those. Grrrrr.

What is growing in you garden??

Sincerely, Emily

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My German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has been growing very well this year. I had a few plants come up form last years seeds and I planted a few more to increase my harvest.Chamomile 2 (Matricaria recutita)

The flowers really make me smile. The plant is so delicate looking with pinnately divided leaf – almost feather-like and small white disc flowers. I love seeing them bloom. I harvest the flower and enjoy a cup of tea using the fresh flowers, but most of them I dry to use later. When I am picking the flower heads I can’t resist giving them a sniff because they give off a nice light apple fragrance.

Chamomile, a member of the aster family (asteraceae), is native to Europe and western Asia and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It is one of the most popular herbs used in the Western world.  I grow and use German chamomile. I dry the flowers to store and use when I need them.

Growing German Chamomile:

  • German Chamomile is a cool-season annual. In my area S. Texas, it will reseed itself. I usually help it along by crumbling up a few dry flowers in the late fall when I scatter seeds for larkspur and poppy. Be frugal, be sure to save a few extra for more seeds later, or share with a friend. The information I find on it says to “sow the seeds outside 4-6 weeks before your last frost, or as soon as the soil can be worked” or “late fall when the soil is too cold for seeds to germinate.” You can also start with a plant from your local nursery or start your seeds inside 8-10 weeks before the last frost in your area.
  • You can grow German Chamomile in the ground or in container. Whatever works for best you.
  • Can get very bushy and stand about 3′ tall. Mine is about 2′ tall
  • I likes full sun. Since we get so hot here I have planted mine where it will get afternoon shade. The plants will get very leggy if there is too much shade.
  • They don’t need a lot of water, but will benefit from it during dry conditions, and when they start to flower.Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

My plants are done for the season already. they are not putting on anymore fresh blooms and the bottom foliage is starting to turn yellow. We are well into some summer-like temps and have already hit 98F this season. I will leave the rest of the blooms on the plant to help re-seed the area, but like I mentioned above, I will save some seed head for sowing later. the reason I do both is that I will still be putting a layer of horse manure and/or other compost on all the herb gardens and then a thick layer of mulch and a lot of those seeds will get buried too deep, so I will need to sprinkle those seeds later in the fall to ensure that I have plants popping up next spring.

So, what can chamomile be used for?  Anxiety, insomnia, canker sores (mouthwash), irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and heartburn, acid reflux, gastrointestinal complaints, treat skin conditions and mild infections. What do I use it for? Mainly to relax in the evening to help with sleep and stress, but also for an aid with digestion. How do I use it? As a tea.

Whether you grow German chamomile to harvest the blooms or not, it is a very pretty plant and adds a nice bloom to your spring garden.

Do you have German Chamomile growing in your garden? What do you use it for?

Sincerely, Emily

 

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Spring, in term of nice Spring temperatures, seem to be a thing of the past in my area. We hit 100F a few days ago. UGH! Spring, in terms of things blooming and growing , is still happening.

There are so many things blooming and emerging out there. Some things are absent since we are so, so dry, but others seem to be thriving.

I never seem to be lucky enough to have Mullein (verbascum thapsus) growing in our yard. I seem them in our neighborhood and even have been known to pluck a few dried stalks to spreads those tiny, tiny, tiny mullein seeds in my yard, but still now have emerged. So, I get to enjoy them elsewhere. There is a beautiful one growing at my neighbors. Big and beautiful. You can also see Dakota Vervain (glandularia bipinnatifida) in the forefront of the photos (purple bloom) and some very young Mexican Hat (ratibida columnifera.) I have one that has flowered in our yard, and they will be the next spring flower around here.

mullein (verbascum thapsus)

mullein (verbascum thapsus)

This spring Antler Horn (asclepias asperula – in the milk weed family) seems to be particularly abundant. I seem to see its beautiful, showy flowers all around right now.

antler horn (asclepias asperula)

antler horn (asclepias asperula)

What do you see emerging and blooming this time of year in your area?

Sincerely, Emily

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