Monthly Archives: November 2010

Leafy memories and lazy composting

As I was pumping gas today staring off into the distance, I realized how annoyed I was by a landscape company’s incessant buzzing sound as they were cleaning up the parking lot. I looked towards the noise wondering what they were doing. Methodically, and must I say quite artistically, a man was blowing swirls of yellow and gold leaves into tidy piles along the curb.

Somehow, the annoying hum of the leaf blower faded as I watched the piles of leaves get higher and higher. A childhood memory floated in my mind of our yard in North Carolina. We had a huge back yard filled with tall trees, no garden-just trees, and every fall the ground was a blanket of brown crispy oak and maple leaves. My dad would rake them into huge piles and we would run into them head-first. (What is it about a pile of leaves that make people run into them without a care about what you might hit when you bottom out?)

It really was just simply joyous. Our big black dog would disappear in the piles until all you could see was a furry black nose coming through a burst of leaves. The memory is so strong that I can still remember the earthy smell of fallen leaves. My garden in the Pacific Northwest has tall towering fir trees…a much less deciduous garden where those massive piles of leaves really don’t exist like I remember when I was a child. (Really, everything is bigger when you are a kid)

I look at leaves in a very different sort of way now…mulch and compost…death and decay. A different kind of joy-garden gold.  I do love this lazy composting method by Marianne B. in her latest newspaper column. http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/11/10/1417648/fallen-leaves-are-great-source.html

Got leaves?

Rake them in a big pile,

jump in with joy,

stand up-creaking joints and aching muscles all the way

brush off random leaves

pull out a garbage bag and fill ‘er up!


Recycle!

This is a post from my former blog that is timely considering it is a chilly day and the tea kettle is whistling!

A blustery day and tea…

It seems a blustery, cold fall day sends us a signal to go inside for a hot cup of tea. One of my favorite ways to use herbs fresh or dried is to blend them with different types of black or Chinese teas.

These types of tea that are typically purchased and are really just the many ways Camellia sinensis (the true tea plant) is harvested, dried and preserved. Purchase them loose and handblend flavorful teas with your own herbs from the garden. Flowers harvested for teas include German chamomile, lavender, calendula, roses. Leaves include lemon verbena, mints, bee balm, sage, rosemary.

How to blend your own teas:

Harvest herbs from the garden and dry them. Store in glass jars. These will be like your own buffet of flavors to add to ordinary teas.

Mix a single herb with purchased tea such as Darjeeling, green or Earl Gray to create flavored blends:

Combinations to try:

Lavender buds with Earl Gray

Mint leaves with green tea

Bee balm leaves and Darjeeling

Rose petals and irish breakfast

Chamomile flowers and white tea.

To use: measure approximately 1 teaspoon of loose herb per cup of hot tea. Adjust to taste


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