Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

…but all the online thingys that take up my time on my iPhone and make me wish lust for an iPad. I don’t know about most folks but I do subscribe to quite a few online newsletters the greatest percentage having to deal with knitting stuff and to a lesser degree herbs, gardening, and natural living. These newsletters usually go beyond just an advertisement for a sale of a product, most times there are announcements of new products, or free patterns, or a just released pattern.

I thought I’d share some of my favorites that show up in my inbox throughout the month. Do try to keep in mind that I also read a ton of blogs too – but that will have to be a topic for another post.

Jimmy Beans Wool I love reading this newsletter & look forward to seeing the new limited time Lorna’s Laces colors that become available (loving the March ’12 Sea Turtle Dream). They also sponsor a Stitch Red campaign to stick-it to women’s heart disease. Not only do they tell you what’s new in the shop but suggest patterns to go with the yarns. I also enjoy the staff project section at the end of the newsletter. They carry Madelinetosh onseies, be sure to check them out, but they carry fabric, buttons, notions and so much more.

elann.com This is more of a sale flier for their great bargains on yarns, pattern books, and notions. Sometimes their staff designers have re-worked an existing pattern to work with a yarn they are promoting and the results are quite wonderful. The prices have made me do a double take.

Morehouse Farm. This is a NY farm that I have fallen in love with ever since I read their book: Morehouse Farm Merino knits : more than 40 farm-fresh designs by Margrit Lohrer. Great yarns, wonderful service, beautiful and creative patterns. Every child needs a ‘critter’ scarf or set of mittens.

Knitting Daily This is the Interweave Knitting daily email. Sometimes it’s great information, a free pattern, giveaways, KAL announcements, but other times it really is just a self promotion tool for sales.

Craftsy I signed up for this one not too long ago to get more information on their new model for online classes. You set your own pace, unlimited access to the online class, notes, and online access to the instructor. Classes are available on a variety of subjects from gardening to cake decorating, plus their site hosts independent designer pattern postings for sale and some for free. Worth checking out.

Schoolhouse Press The late Great knitting Guru Elizabeth Zimmermann‘s daughter Meg Swansen now runs the company and I want to keep abreast of the latest and greatest. What more is there to say?

Quince & Co. This company has been THE hot yarn and getting hotter! The two owning knitwear designers: Pam Allen and Carrie Bostick Hoge have been attracting other popular designers like Hannah Fettig, Cecily Glowik McDonald, and Melissa LaBarre to compliment their wearable, non-fussy, classic, visions of shape and ease of design which make me and many other knitters find it hard to decide which pattern to knit first!

If you have tried yarns and love them, be sure to look up their website from it’s band. Chances are they have a newsletter or blog. Lately I have been preferring a newsletter to reading a blog post. Go figure?(the irony has not been lost)

Tahki Stacy Charles

Classic Elite

Cascade Yarns



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There had been quite a rush to get the very last of the seasons harvest in and put up. Not only did I freeze lots more from the garden and CSA this year because we invested in a huge freezer, but also because I was much more dedicated to it. I love my new freezer, but the whole family really enjoys everything that emerges from the new dehydrator!

dried sweet red and yellow peppers.

I was kindly forced to purchase a dehydrator at a yard sale by a friend I was shopping with (thanks Kristi). Since then  I have experimented with all sorts of produce & herbs, anything is fair game.

2/3 bushel of dehydrated sweet peppers can fit into a pint canning jar. FYI

I dry lots of fruit, but none of it lasts long enough for pictures. It amazes me that things the Monkeys won’t take in their lunches fresh, they jump at the chance dried: apples especially lately. I guess we all get a little over-dosed on the current seasons fresh fruit.

Dried mushrooms have become my favorite, they are a great additive to soups or sauces once I break 'em up into itty bitty pieces. If I didn't the Monkeys would be sure to pick them out.

The dehydrator has been great for the herbal harvest especially on those rainy fall days, I could still pick the last from the garden and not worry about mold. I know next yard sale season I’m hunting for extra trays for this model or looking to trade up because tonight I have requests for more apple chips and to try banana chips too.

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Herbs to tea

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The cool weather has brought most of us inside snuggling under afghans drinking hot tea or cider. I look forward to this time of year: no snow (yet), cool (but not freezing), colorful (not bland greys), apple season, tea season, squash season, crock pot season, soup season, and warm woollies to bundle up in.

This autumn has been especially tasty because Crafter Monkey has been experimenting with my herbal harvest. She’s been adding a pinch of this and that to the tea-pot and come up with some wonderful combinations! My favorite tea blend so far is one part lemon balm, one part peppermint and just a pinch of stevia.

Above you can see many of the herbal tea harvest: stevia, lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, chocolate mint, horehound, catnip, lemon verbena, lemon-rose geranium and rosemary. Some of these plants will winter indoors where I’ll try really hard not to kill them let them die over the winter months. I’ve had better luck over the years with my rosemary plants, but my limit is usually two years – fingers crossed!

All this typing about herbal tea has me in the mood to hit the favorite rocker with the tea-pot close by and some warm wool yarn on the needles…

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First herb harvest

I harvested my first cutting of lavender, my largest to date: four huge bunches! (yes, this is me bragging) At first I was going to hang them all to dry in the kitchen, they looked and smelled heavenly, but I decided to hang one bunch in each bedroom to dry. Dreamy!

Then on to cutting the lemon balm…


and dill. My basil crop is dismal this summer, I’ll be lucky to get enough for a few batches of pesto and some to dry. It’s usually a crop in which I excel, but I guess we are all entitled to an off-year. Cilantro has been my bumper crop this season. So many plants have self seeded from last year and in such odd locations that I’m surprised it seems every time I weed just where more seedlings have volunteered to spring up.

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A green thumbs up

It’s in, it’s growing, Mother Nature has taken charge of the regular watering schedule (thank you very much).

buzzing around the chives

Now let’s see if we can turn up the heat and get some consistent sunshine on these herbs and veggies!

One of my faves to add to nearly everything!

Everybody in the family checks our tiny strawberry patch daily!

I was so excited to see how glorious the bloom was on this rhododendron, orange is hard to find.

... and just when you think the garden is photo worthy, you turn a corner and find a giant weed you missed after the long afternoon of yard work!

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End of season pesto

The garden has nearly come to the end of the harvest. I just clipped another round of sweet basil, lemon balm, thai basil, parsley, rosemary and lavender. Monkey Boys job was to fill the salad spinner with sweet basil for pesto.

This will give me two batches of pesto. The Monkey Boy loves to rinse & spin while I toast the pine nuts and get out the food processor. He wants me to let him try smacking the garlic with the side of my cleaver, but I’m not ready to answer those questions at the ER yet. He enjoys drizzling the olive oil, spooning in the parmesan cheese and pulsing the processor for now, why push it?

The kitchen smells so good while making pesto and even better when you add the hot pasta & the sweetest yellow grape tomatoes!

March Family Pesto

Fresh Basil – enough to fill the salad spinner

Olive oil

toasted pine nuts

garlic – I use 6-8 cloves per batch depending on clove size

grated parmesan cheese (the fresher the better)

Add garlic and some olive oil to the food processor and chop til fine. Add half of the basil and more olive oil and pulse til basil is pulpy. Next add half the pine nuts (sometimes I use walnuts), cheese and more oil and pulse to desired consistency. Repeat for the second batch.

I’m sure you noticed I didn’t include any measurements for the ingredients, I don’t use any when I make this. I just look, taste, stir, add, taste some more until it’s just perfect. These may differ for you and your Monkeys. Enjoy the process.

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Garden Glories

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