Sunday, October 25, 2009

Herbal Honeys, Bees and Organizing

Today is simply a gorgeous day! The sun is strong, the winds mild and just a sprinkle of rain once in awhile. I did go out this morning and say hello to the world. Patted our maples, noted a darling pine sapling that must be relocated next summer. She is two now and strong enough to handle the move well. Also noted the things i can get a last harvest of and jotted down the things that would need divided and shared with others. I have to get back outside before tomorrow and “weed out” (not a phrase i am found of), a few more of our prolific violet friend. A couple of years ago i went around and transplanted violets all around our little pond and she loves it there! She keeps popping up anew and i might actually get a few more leaves of new growth to save and use. She reminded me of herself today while i was organizing the cabinets. There she was time and time again. In jellies in the food pantry, and in the medicinal cabinet as well. Not to mention she has been replicated through art in many of my everyday usage items like teacups etc. I wandered to the back of comfrey cottages gardens to say hello to the bees and to bring them a gift. I had a hive not make it last winter and i am certain it was due to them getting too wet in the fall,and not disease. i had saved back all their brood box frames that had honey in them. A good idea to always save back such honey as a rule, in case your bees need the honey fed back to them. I fed them back two of these frames today just for fun really. Oh, it will used by them, for certain, but i had fed them back the honey super that was just full of mostly uncapped nectar over the course of this last week, so i really don’t think they are light on winter foods. I did it just to share the joy of sunlight with them and to pay homage to them. I love my beautiful sunshine bees. They are in for another treat soon as i strained off some lemon balm honey and i have a plate of the strained balm and i am going to go out and share that with them when i am through with this post!

So, i suppose i should have been outside more today but i chose to open the windows wide and pull aside all the curtains and straighten my various cabinets before i got to work on a few things that needed done.

This is the cabinet i store mainly the dry herbs, roots etc.



and in the bottom of it i store the kitchen appliances and tools like the sprouted. all the dried beans, grains, flours etc plus the seeds for sprouts


this cabinet is mainly for the herbs and things i use for culinary reasons, foods as medicine reasons, smudging, and glycerites, vinegars, etc etc you get the idea


that is my beekeeper suit hanging on the door there. plus lily’s little blue apron:)

to the left on the cat ledge, violet joy supervised. the milk jugs on the floor are kept refilled and the lid left off of them so the chlorine can evaporate. cats are healthier with dechlorinated water. we almost lost of kitty earl of eight a couple of times before i discovered that trick! now he is thriving and healthy.


and the yellow cabinet. this has all the jars full of herbal oils and tinctures waiting to be used and to be stores in some of the containers you see. this cabinet has alot of containers and also where i keep the seeds i have collected for next year. i found this cool metal cabinet for a real deal at 10 dollars. the downside was the paint the peeps had on it just smelled foul, so hubby and i stripped it and he repainted it one of my favorite colors:)



and david gould, my friend, if you will note the bag hanging to the left of the screen, it is the wonderful bakery bag you gave me last christmas. big hugs to you and liz:)


now that i have taken the time to sort out from the helter skelter of summer, and organize, i can work more efficiently and know what just i do and don’t have on hand.  the whole experience was just grand with the sun shining through the windows, the breeze gently carrying the scent of the outdoors and our pine, and the whole aromatherapy experience of being immersed in dozens of herbal and spice smells at once… well i was just giddy i swear!

this is a picture of the lemon balm honey and the hops and honey straining.  i feel so empowered making lovely, healthy things for myself and my family and close friends. i am certain this hops infused honey will be a great treat and benefit for someone this winter with bronchitis. and the lemon balm will be a special joy on some wintery day when someone is feeling a bit blue or non vibrant. i am thinking it will be a great benefit to one who is in the process of recovering their strength from illness also.

the next cabinet has my microwave on top of it, but the drawers and cabinet is used for mainly my canning things. I am a bit ocd in always sterilizing every container, even when they are not going to be used specifically for canning foods.



this taking time to organize and take stock has really helped me already, while in the process of doing it. i managed to strain off some honeys, catch an awesome herbal buzz through all my senses and feel some satisfaction with my learning process this year, as many of the herbs in the herbal cabinet and on the seed shelf are the results of my own gardening or wild harvesting this year. i love my wild harvest friends val and katee:)

my lovely val shared some pears with me last sunday. I have been eating a few but they were going soft quickly so decided to make a nice pear jelly which i infused with star anise, cinnamon, and tarragon. very nice! did the trick of replacing some of the juice and sugar in the recipe with honey again and really love the results:)

well i am off to check on the bees and offer them the strained lemon balm:) i have a friend stopping by at 6 to get some of my feverfew to try for her headaches. I am going to offer her a healing touch session as the same time so i must go rest up a bit too!

herbal and honey blessings and hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages. and please do share your pics of where you store your things sometime! i love to have visuals when i am sending blessings to you all:)


Anke said...

You were very busy today. I got tired just reading it. :-)
How long have you been "working" with herbs and making tinctures and stuff? Is there a book (or two) you could recommend for beginners? So far I always concentrated on culinary herbs, but I really want to expand next year and add medicinal herbs as well.

Comfrey Cottages said...

i got into herbs for medicinal purposes a couple years ago and just read everything i could;) i have special favorites of course, and sometime i will write more about them. for now, especially with the children, i highly recommend kristine brown's monthly pdf called herbal roots zine
if you look at my blog roll you will find both the above mentioned page for the zine and also under dancing in a field of tansy, the lovely illustrator and authors blog. the price is MORE!!! than reasonable for what you get and you and your girls would all enjoy it:)
you will also find a blog listed as the essential herbalist. tina and her sister maryanne put together an awesome magazine. and their blog rocks and is on facebook (as is herbal roots zine).
i also have joined an online herbal community called herbmentor. again, more than reasonably priced and just an invaluable tool and learning resource. i could go on and on anke and if you want you know you can email me anytime for further reference material:)

Comfrey Cottages said...

didn't really finish answering you anke. i started planting herbs specifically for medicinal reasons into my own gardens a few years ago. and just in this last year have i got into the wild foraging for them as well as "working" with them:) i am just having the time of my life:)

janet said...

wow, you really have an awesome collection of herbs, oils and tinctures!

Comfrey Cottages said...

oh janet, it is so nice to hear from you! for some reason i can't seem to post a comment on your blog since you revamped it! are you getting comments from others?

*Ulrike* said...

How I would like to be at your house and smell all the different things! I can close my eyes now and picture it! You have given such good advice on many things, and I am definitely going to look into a few of the pdfs and other things you have mentioned. I believe there is so much that one can do although they are not instant such as other things these days!
Take Care!! Ulrike

Comfrey Cottages said...

oh thank you for visiting ulrike:) i wish we were neighbors so you could stop over and smell it all for yourself:) yes do enjoy checking out the links and pdf, herbal roots zine, i mentioned in the blog. they are great:)

Rita M said...

That was quite something to read Leslie, very nice and interesting.
I have 2 herbbeds in the garden from this year - but not much spice, the summer was a little to hot I think.
Big herbal hugs to you my friend :o)

Rita M said...

Leslie, I was kinda reading in your blog and came to this post.
I'm curious :)
The first picture, what are you doing?

Comfrey Cottages said...

That is a picture of hops infused in honey. and hops infused in vodka, Rita. the honey hops is very good for the type of cough that won't quit! and of course a little hops tincture helps quiet the cough reflex and help you sleep when you have a cold or bronchitis also:) xxxx
I had found a wild growing hops vine! I would love to grow one in the garden. Dried, the hops are good in dream pillows also:) love you rita!!

Rita M said...

Thanks for the explanation Leslie.
I will try to find some hops this summer,and then I call you my sweet friend, to help :)
Big hugs Leslie - love you to

Comfrey Cottages said...

You welcome my dearest Rita xx I just fill the jar with alternating layers of hops and honey. I let mine just sit on the counter and infuse a few weeks:) I hope I can find a plant to put in my gardens. The wild plant I found is not in a real easy spot to get too;-D