Friday, 20 May 2016

Attempting to bring order........

I am all painted out.
I never used to mind decorating back in our UK days,
but here I find myself getting impatient and wanting to do other things.
But the room is getting done,
and it does look nice,
but for today I needed to be outside.
No rain today, nor chilly winds,

just sunshine.
So off outside I went,
with scythe in hand and dogs following on behind,
the project being to sort out this jungle....

....which used to look like this,
but now does not.
Because we moved on to the larger vegetable paddocks,
and left this one to go its own way,
which it most surely has.
And in amongst the jungle of rampant growth are several young fruit trees,
which need to be got to so they can be watered.
So instructions were given by Himself,
that if I had time, would I go and clear the space.
Of course I had time.
The sun was shining,
so ******* the paint brushes!
Instructions had also been given from Himself,
that the spearmint needed harvesting,
so perhaps to do that as well.
Lester used to be a tea drinker,
but a few days ago he became converted to herbal tea,
spearmint in particular,
and enthuses endlessly about what a great drink it is.
For myself, I find it too strong for my stomach,
but he has developed a passion equivalent to the passion he once had for red wine.
(He still does love red wine but it does not like him)
But the dehydrated store of spearmint (harvested 2014)  has now come to an end,
and now more needs to be cut and dried.
I am now on my way to doing just that.
I did find some spearmint....
.......not as much as there used to be because the stronger growing grass is threatening to overwhelm the mint,
but I did fill the dehydrator trays with leaves to dry,
except that Himself was already raiding those leaves so he could have his cup of spearmint tea.
Normally the incoming harvest, once prepped for storage,
is then put away until the winter.
I don't think that is going to be happening with this harvest.
I did try him on the other type of mint growing here,
but definitely not, he said, it has to be spearmint.
Journeying on through the tangle,
and I came across a patch of yarrow.
I already knew it was there, and had planned to use it as a plant dye.
To confirm that it could be used as a dye,
I did a quick internet search only to find that it is a superb herb as well,
and that it could also be used as a herbal tea.
With this thought held in my mind,
and thinking that Lester might be coaxed into converting to yarrow tea to slow down his rate of consumption with the spearmint,
I scythed through the patch of yarrow.
I hope it grows again, but this time I shall look after it.
I so wanted to dehydrate it, but the spearmint took up all the room in the dehydrator,
and since the stems were wilting badly I had to put aside my thoughts of using it as a herbal tea.
It is now chopped up and soaking in water ready to be cooked tomorrow,
the destiny of this particular harvest being to dye our spun wool yarn.
There is another patch of yarrow in the first vegetable paddock,
but I shall leave that to make more of itself,
and perhaps  'borrow' snippets to dehydrate for future herbal use.
Continuing on with the scything,
and I arrived at a large patch of fennel.

This could not be cut down and harvested yet, so I will have to work my way round it.

...and a patch of borage, unusually tall.
I shall try and work round that as well.
Borage is a herb as well, but I have as yet investigated its uses.
Meanwhile, the mallow is just about to burst into flower,
and we have left that to grow wherever it wants to,
which is everywhere.
Soon we shall be gloriously swamped with purple flowers as it launches into bloom.
Alack and alas though,
I missed the nettle harvest....

I wanted to dehydrate the leaves, but things (bad weather, painting, etc) got in the way,
and before I knew it the nettles were up and away and are now flowering.
Nettles have to be harvested before they reach knee height,
and these are nearly head height.
Apparently, once they get past knee height,
 the leaves get bitter but also have a chemical
(calcium something or other I think) which is not good for us.
They nettles could still be used as fertiliser, but we have not got round to making a brew of that horrendously smelly liquid yet this year.
We have lots of nettles around, and I shall be cutting most of them down to ground level soon.
Hopefully they will continue on with growing by sending up some new shoots,
and these I shall definitely harvest for use as a herbal medicine and herbal tea.
I might even be able to convert Lester to nettle tea!
Bye for now,


PioneerPreppy said...

Nothing quite as sexy as a woman who knows how to use a scythe. Unless it's maybe if she works to the accompaniment of a bag piper ;)

Cro Magnon said...

I have just done my Mint too. I simply hang it in bunches and it dries quite quickly.

Vera said...

PIONEERPREPPY, ummmmm, perhaps you are thinking of the tractor girls swinging away with scythes, so I do not wish to disappoint but I really do not look like that sexy when scything! And the bag piper? He is busy selling his French home so he can move to Majorca so the days of playing along with him are not so many!

CRO MAGNON, I could hang the mint up to dry, but it was easier to get it dehydrated and out the way. Good idea though, and will use the slower method of drying mint another time.

Kerry said...

Love your attitude to the paint brushes, I feel like too on a sunny day. What an adventure though, wondering what you might find under the undergrowth.

Coco said...

I didn´t think anything crowded out mint. I planted some in a pot.

I think you can put borage flowers in salads. And candy them with egg white and sugar, but that sounds very fiddly.

That veggie garden shot makes me sigh with envy.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

You have been busy! Time had a way of getting away from you when so much is ready to harvest at once! I am trying to grow some mint this year.

Vera said...

KERRY, ....I actually found one of the fruit trees this morning, and it was almost submerged beneath the vegetation!

COCO, having a veg plot is good for the soul, but it does take a lot of looking after. As for the mint,....we have another sort of mint which grows everywhere and that does crowd out everything, but the spearmint does not seem to do that. As for the borage....I think I shall leave any experiments with eating the flowers until I have more time to fiddle about!

LISA, good luck with the mint. Once it gets a hold there will be no stopping it and it will grow everywhere!

DUTA said...

Congratulations on having finished painting the room! I'm also contemplating wall painting , but I think this time I'll take a professional as I wish to reinforce the ceilings.
Someone has probably highly recommended the spearmint tea to Lester and he fell for it.
No problem, just beware of plant toxicity when trying to deal with the leaves.

Rhodesia said...

Sounds like you are doing a great job clearing. I have to agree herbal teas are amazing, but we are both still hooked on ginger and lemon mainly though I also like spearmint. The weather today has been amazing and I took off to see some of the countryside I have not been to before. I thought cycling was great for viewing things I did not notice in the car, but walking on tracks I would never go near with the bike has a whole new outlook! Enjoy the weather and good luck with the clearing Diane

Vera said...

DUTA, The room is looking nice....still doing finishing off bits, but then I am on to the best bit and that is furnishing the space!

DIANE, I like ginger and lemon as well, but need to remember to buy both the ginger and lemon as they don't grow here, but spearmint does so it is easy to go and get! I love walking but don't do it much now that Boolie (our Springer) is getting older. I could take the two rottweiller girls but they have to stay on leads and that would be a miserable walk for them and me. But on the plus side I do a lot of walking in the house and on the farm! And it has been a lovely couple of days weatherwise, which seems to have boosted up our energy levels no end!

Kirsty Udall said...

Vera, I love that you know what all the plants are. I find that I am so familiar with all the 'weeds' in the garden but have no clue as to their names and as such can't put them to good use. I think I need to buy a wild flower book.

Leon Sims said...

While things grow profusely in your neck of the woods, down here we are having frosts and the trees are becoming bare. One recent morning it was minus C.

Vera said...

KIRSTY, it takes time to learn about what is growing 'wild' and which is safe to eat, and we are still at the early stage of doing so. Supermarket training, that's what it is........if it comes off a shelf then it is safe to eat, only it isn't because the food will be full of chemicals, but I used to feel nervous about eating wild food because it did not come from that handy supermarket shelf!

LEON, oh dear, winter is on its way for you! Hope it is not a severe winter, and when you are through and on your way to Spring then we shall be doing the reverse and sliding down into our cold time!