Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Foraging and gardening, A Family Affair!-blog party entry :)

Been a roller coaster of activity both with foraging away from home, and gardening! Whew! I apologize for not writing sooner this month, but with all the activities with children, gardening, foraging and just the usual hum drum daily chores and minor crisis, I am barely squeaking this post in by my own deadline for our UK Herbarium blog party!

The planning stage and repair of equipment  has taken a lot of time this month. Eric and I’s nephew Scott and his wife Dawn, invited us to start a vegetable, fruit garden in their sunny back yard!


(Scott and Eric)

We were so excited as both Eric and I’s yard’s are much more woodland, and so we just have a small vegetable garden at Eric’s house, and I just have to stick things in amongst the flowers and herbs and do a few pots at my home. So, this is gardening on a much bigger scale and has required a bit of planning to choose and buy plants and seeds for. I will be adding some of the herbals over in this garden, aside from the different vegetables and brambles I will contribute. Especially wanting to add burdock to a tillable and thus easier to harvest site than the wild! Adding it to our veg area will allow me to introduce it to more members of my families diet. Thinking maybe to put in there also might be a few mullein, yellow dock and other things that like some sun and room to grow. As you can see, we have the vegetable plot marked off with black paint


We are putting  brambles, peas, and other climbers along the fence, and as you can see, there is lots of room to expand for the things I mentioned above:)

Of course, starting a new patch out from scratch is time consuming, and difficult due to mechanical matters and rain. My hubby has took tiller to shop once already, and just took it back yesterday! We are hoping to really get at it this Saturday, weather and equipment permitting!


( I must make time to harvest all those lovely dandelions before dig day!)

Around Comfrey Cottages, there are all sorts of things growing! ( included in picture album, is a picture of my buddy Ron, home for a visit from Alaska, showing off a jar of his first ever violet jelly! We compared the color of a jar of my last years batch and his, and then compared flavor! Also a picture of the bees being fed last years honey combs, and my new benches, plus the bee/gardening little shed, that I desperately want to get cleaned up and put flower boxes on!)

I went all out ordering herbal seeds this spring. I got a new toy and am starting some of the seeds in there, hoping to get a head start, some in the garden amongst other things, and some I saved for Scott’s yard, (I think this makes that gardens Comfrey Cottage’s #4. See where the s at the end of cottage comes from?). And then me being me, I saved a few back just in case of failure, I can try again. This is my first time working in a greenhouse type of environment!

I still need to get tray affairs set up to put these seed trays in, and I am not finished yet, but thought to share how far I am in with it.

Eric and I managed to sneak away and forage in the woods the other day. We harvested a good bit of cleavers, and noted many other spring time things growing such as spring beauty, toothwort, wild mustard, wild roses and other brambles just starting. Still no hawthorn leaves to try.

Eric got busy chopping up the cleavers we harvested for putting in vinegar and alcohol. We want to go back and get some more to try to do other things with cleavers too, such as succus. 


We have managed to harvest some violets also. So a couple of jars of violet infusion are on the counter waiting to be made into jelly. This jelly will truly be a family affair, with Eric, granddaughters Lily and Ariana, and grandson Colin and myself, all contributing to the picking. Although Colin age 4, said to me when I asked him to help me to continue picking one day, “ Well Grammie, I have picked like a hundred!!!! How many do you need?”. This being said after he contributed two dandelions to the basket asking me to make jelly from them! lol  Lily is coming over after school to help make the jelly today and two year old Ariana is due to arrive within the hour, so I must get to it and leave you all with a few pictures. The first one is the counter full of spring herbal harvest goodness (the large white bowl in the background holds a lovely infused oil of the end of last years comfrey oil, fresh new comfrey leaves, and calendula, just waiting to be made into herbal salves and creams!)


I have enjoyed sharing with you all how someone like me, just a  daughter/wife/ mother/grandmother/ aunt/ friend/sister/ beekeeper/ and full time granny/nanny manages to weave a bit of herbal and nature into daily activities and involves all who all I interact with:)

Big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx


Jennifer said...

Sounds like you have been very busy! Can't wait to see the garden a few months down the road. I understand mechanical problems, our riding mower had become more of an ugly lawn ornament. (sigh) Hope to get it running again someday too! Good luck with your tiller!

Anke said...

Wow you've been very busy! I love all your photos and can't wait to see pictures of the new garden.

Rita M said...

You have been very busy Leslie,
'm curious how your new garden will look like.
Have fun

JoyceAnn said...

Wow ~ You've been very busy , it's been the same at my house. Hope your garden blesses you all with much yummy goodness. I've got two qts of violets infusing , the grands love that jelly.

~ Bee Blessed ~

Comfrey Cottages said...

oh Jennifer, good luck with your mower! disappointing to think we could start and then that. just when we had everyone lined up with a day off and blue skies too! drat! xx
i have just been catching up a bit at your blog Anke! you are just as busy as usual also:) your garden is looking so good this year!! xx
hugs hugs to you Rita:) i will post more garden pictures for you soon!!
very good having 2 quats of violets infusing! yea! i know, don't the kids just adore that jelly?! yesterday, 6 year old lily and 4 year old colin got ahold of my last jar of violet jelly (it was about half full) and got spoons and ate the rest like ice cream!! i would have been upset, but they told me since we were making more it was okay grammie!! lol xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,
How exciting! Your veggie patch looks like it will be great. How lovely that your family want to share this passion with you.
I'm looking forward to the updates of how it progresses.

Comfrey Cottages said...

thank you Lucinda! I hope we do well for all the work it will entail! lol xxxx

Anonymous said...

What an exciting endeavor for the veg and fruit garden! And so great that it will be a family affair :) I love that you will be growing burdock too, so great! How lucky your family is to have you to introduce the more "weedy" wonders. Please do share your recipe for the violet jelly! It sounds so yummy :) Your post makes me think how an herbalist can never be bored!!


Comfrey Cottages said...

I will make sure and post pictures as we go along Lucinda xx You are so right, there is never a boring moment:) I will post the violet jelly recipe for you in the next day or two :) xxxx

Herbaholic said...

Inspirational post Lesley :) Looking forward to seeing the new garden progress, I've been weeding and digging in my garden today but the wind was so strong I had to give up!

I have to say..."just a daughter/wife/ mother/grandmother/ aunt/ friend/sister/ beekeeper/ and full time granny/nanny" phooey there's nothing 'just a' about it, you're a very special person who covers many roles and is a source of delight and inspiration to many people. Thanks for hosting this months blog party, sorry my entry was so late! I envy your grand children with that jar of violet jelly, I never get enough to make a jelly though I would dearly love to, maybe one day!

Herby Hugs - Debs xxx