Sunday, March 7, 2010

I see green, and adventures!

Well we are warming up a bit, and have had a bit of rain, and a bit of hail! i am in illinois you know, where if you don’t like the weather, well… just stick around. it’ll change soon:) so seeing more green in the landscape. in the cottage’s gardens i am seeing st. john’s wort, horseradish, strawberry, lemon balm, horehound, mullein, skullcap, lavender, black cohosh and angelica all emerging in the last few days.



seems kind of funny to see some of these plants before some of the others that live here. but in my little ecosystem, the above particular plants are in the sunnier spots, so even though one might think they would emerge after say, the crocus, well, the early things are in some of the shadier spots that are still covered in snow:) i’ve mentioned before my home gardens are like living just inside the forest. still a few sunny spots, but mostly shade to semi shade. here is a picture i took looking up at the geese through the trees near the hives


2 mature maples and a mature tulip tree in that picture. there are 3 other mature maples and a 10+year old white pine also. so, like everyone, my home environment has its own uniqueness, challenges and attributes:)

yesterday was a wonderful day. we had our annual master gardener’s big day at our local college. we got offered our choose of different sessions. the first one i took was on community gardens. lots of good info and now hoping to maybe get a spot in it to grow some sunny loving veggies. the school where there is going to be one start is just a few blocks from my house and i could easily walk there this summer:) i will keep you posted about that:)

the second session sucked. called the amazing bee and the only amazing thing was how bad it was. the presenter was nice enough, but i wasn’t really into looking at those sad almond groves in california, with there napalm looking rows where roundup had killed everything but the almond trees. seeing that freaked me out as i boycott almonds personally just because i despise their monoculture, chemical, unnatural way of farming them! gag! and the poor bees! fed corn syrup early in the year to build them up to truck them out to pollinate those  post apocalyptic  looking fields….! need i say more? i’m getting rebummed. honestly just bout walked out of that session…

but the third session on raised bed gardening rocked as did the compost session. those were both great sessions and i learned new things from both. really liked this idea for composting. they just took a normal trash can, drilled holes top, bottom and all around, threw on the ground and rolled it around once in awhile and ta dah, compost!


i guess i should have took time to photoshop and make bigger for you, but i didn’t so just click on it and magnify yourself if you want to see it better. :) we got a compost pile we turn, but thinking this might be a bit neater. to have a few of these, and where our pile is, is a bit too close to the poison ivy anyway. i am thinking to make one raised bed garden and use the compost i have now for that, and in the future, just do a few of these cans:)

my brother and my buddy val went with me to the event. i was fortunate enough to win a door prize and here is a pic of val and i


had a really nice time at the event, but was itching to get home as the sun had came out and it was near 50 degrees! when i did get home i dashed out to check the bees and open up their hives some.

here is a pic of where my hives sit in my yard. not an ideal spot with all my trees, but the best i can do:)



bees march 6th 2010

now today. my brother and i went out to our friend dan’s house, and just had a ball taking a tour of his farm and acreage. he was kind enough to let me harvest some cottonwood bark to work with. this will be my first time and i will keep you posted about that too. this is eric, dan and dan’s 3 goats that follow him around like the dogs did.


dan and his wife have a very wonderful home. they sell at local farm markets a variety of produce, flowers and honey:) we met dan through our beekeeping group and i really enjoyed getting to know him better, visit his farm and thank him so much for sharing with me:)

earlier this week, my husband had ran down to the river hunting. we still have lots of ice and he said it had scoured out alot of the willow, but he did bring me home some to do some herbally things with ( tell ya bout that when i do it). the river is a wonderful place to find unusual items floating around or mysteriously brought from afar by ice, etc. so the black box in front of these willow branches is a butterfly house! figured it wasn’t a bat box as the inside doesn’t have the screening you usually find.


whew, been a busy week and i need to get off here and get chores done before monday gets here again. tomorrow is my friend katee’s birthdays and dylan and i are going to pick her and her granddaughter sicily up for our monthly lap sit at the library.

rosie continues to improve and dylan and i have been working hard learning new things, and having lots of fun too:)



and lily, evan and i have started a new of me once a week going out to their school to pick them up at the end of the school day. they really love these days they get to be “car riders”! and i love spending some special time with them




big herbal and honey hugs to all of you who visit comfrey cottages:)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rosie’s good news, plants and plans

well rosie’s good news is she is walking, using her litter pan, and even sneaking into my arms in bed at night:)
that’s rosie and young dandelion.
whew, i lost the month of february folks. sending you all love and apologize for missing out on so much you all did in blogland! i spend about 8 hours a day at dylan’s house during the week, and when i was home and had chores done, i spent alot of time in this closet with rose marie. when she was still so crippled she drug her legs, i shut the door during the day (its louvered), just because i was so afraid she would get hurt worse if dande decided to play chase with her again. when i was home, i would leave it open and was able to  monitor. at first, she was totally incontinent both ways and that was an around the clock effort to keep her both clean and bathed and the laundry done! as she seemed stronger, did gentle little exercises with her legs and feet, and nice whole body massages. when she made those first overtures at trying to stand a bit, i put a small shallow box with the side out in the far corner of the cleaned out closet for her litter tray. what a celebration it was when she first went poop in it:) and then when i found her bathing her own nether regions… i was over the moon.  than i started gently holding her up with my hands under her weak rear end and gently putting the lame leg in the proper stance, while supporting it, thinking to help train those muscles and nerves. with rosie being older i figured she probably had a bit of what some older people get with an injury. those times when she would move without thinking and the times when she still acted like she did when it first happened. slowly, slowly she improved. then suddenly… she disappeared! yup folk, just up and disappeared on me! well….. last week i woke up at 4 in the morning ( i tried to get up every two hours to turn the heating pad back on in her little bedroom closet), stumbled into my den and no rosie. the basement door was cracked open as the cats can run around down there also and apparantly she decided to take a walk! i hunted for 45 minutes down there and up here and never did find her. she just suddenly came tearing ass up the basement stairs kind of running on the bum leg and kind of dragging it! wow, did i feel more grey hairs. i am trying to keep that door closed unless i am right here in the kitchen till she gets a bit better. well now she is walking around a bit steadier and kind of jumping clawing her way in bed with me and i am feeling better about her recovery. she still has a little bit of urinary incontinence (hope that doesn’t happen in my bed!) i stopped giving her comfrey when she first started to walk a bit and have eased off her couch grass/cleavers and am going to explore something to help tone her bladder/urinary tract now that we have forestalled a uti(still being watchful of that though). will keep you all posted on how she does and might even be able to catch up a bit with you all now that i am not constantly in the closet!lol i guess the kind of herbalist i am is like graham greene’s character, leonard, in the series northern exposure! lol i gotta keep close to my patients;)
on to plants…. the gardens aren’t doing much yet. still alot of snow. but i did find…fern
several kinds of mint
…and some lambs ear (natures bandaids)
lambs ear
we had our second herb club meeting and it was great. several more people showed up and everyone showed genuine enthusiasm for herbal medicine and wildforaging:) we each chose an herb to talk on next month and i chose dandelion and violets as most folks knew a bit about dandelions and really nothing about violets, and both should be going good by then.
i have been rearranging things around here for my convenience on my herbal studying also. i have moved my puter right onto the kitchen table from my den. that way it is right here when i need to look up something while doing my chores, or to listen to one of the many herb videos available on the net. convenient to be able to listen to the herbmentor videos and lessons.Also moved some of my books onto a shelf that used to have knick knacks on it
i already had managed to squeeze a few book shelf spots into the kitchen before
my den is right next to my kitchen, but my kitchen is where i hang and any steps i can save, is more time to be either cooking or studying;-) anyway, i was running out of shelf space on the den bookshelves, lol. need to get in that room and do some more stuff before i post pics of it. i have taken so many book and put them in boxes in the basement. alot of my nature story books and others i can’t bare to part with, but need the space for my bee and herb/wildforaging books in there now.


got to see my first 3D movie this weekend. my husband knew i loved the movie avatar when i saw it, so took me to see it in 3D! totally cool! got about 12 inches cut off my hair the day before so here is me in my 3D glasses and with a new hairdo!
little things can brighten a day this time of year. we are just now starting to have a few sunny days and a bit of melt. this little dust pan i found at the goodwill made me smile ( i needed it too!)
spring is coming! there are so many reassuring signs. one being the snow geese migration
well, i must go make our supper now. i am having squash with hickory syrup:) making my hubby some wild caught salmon. sent him shopping at the river for cottonwood bark and willow branches. i haven’t even had time to the herbal recipes and projects from february’s issue of herbal roots zine yet! love and hugs to all of you who visit comfrey cottages