Monday, May 25, 2009

Catbirds in the Vitex

I ran outside with the camera a few minutes ago to take a photo of the Valerian. It just started flowering today and the sunlight is on it in a perfect way. I thought it would make a wonderful blog photo. So, I made my way around the back of the labyrinth to get just the right angle. The plants are lush, so I was watching my step, not wanting to tromp on Wood Asters. When I got to just the right spot I stopped & looked up, finding myself face-to-face with a pair of Catbirds! I said hello & took their picture! I don't have a zoom lens, so I hope they're visible in the photo.

And here is the photo of the Valerian, which drew me into the back of the garden i the first place.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Harvest of Sweet Cicely

Monday was the first harvest day for Sweet Cicely from the labyrinth garden. Eli and I bundled many armfuls of it in small bunches and hung it to dry in the garden shed. I might have mentioned that here already. Anyway, my friend Tina, publisher of the Essential Herbal magazine stopped by on Friday morning & took a photo of it, which she sent to me via email.

Yesterday was a long day for me at the Baltimore Herb Festival, and I brought home some Carroll County strawberries and rhubarb. Lancaster County strawberries are not quite ready yet.

So, this morning I'm making a puree of Strawberries and Rhubarb, lightly seasoned with Sweet Cicely! It will be delicious later poured over some plain yogurt!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baltimore Herb Fair this coming Saturday

Each year, we pack the car full of herbal goodies and drive to Baltimore for the Baltimore Herb Festival, a one-day herb fair. It's held in Leakin Park from 10am until 3pm. A whirlwind of a day for us, and a delight for all of the senses! We never know exactly where we'll be setting up our booth, so if you come to see us, you'll have to wander the entire loop, looking for our banner. It's part of the fun.

In addition to all of my herbal products, and the clothing I dye with plants, we'll be bringing lots of African market baskets, fair-trade from Ghana, and some Swarovski crystal sun catchers for your windows - handmade by Lisa Mercer, the silver-haired gypsy. Also, some gorgeous garden smocks & sun hats handmade by Christine Marie.

Baltimore Herb Festival
May 23, 2009 - 10am-3pm
Held in Leakin Park
1900 Eagle Drive
Baltimore, MD 21207

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Poppies & Cornflowers blooming today!

When I woke up this morning & looked out the window, I saw that the first of the Oriental Poppies had bloomed! These are delicate flowers on tall curved stems, with petals like tissue paper. We're excited each year when they open up. They are so beautiful, it seems almost impossible. So, I threw on my robe & silppers, grabbed the camera & ran outside for this photo.

Oh the far side of the garden shed, where I can't see from inside the house, I saw that the Cornflowers had started to bloom, too. Beautiful, aren't they?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

American Woodcock in the Garden

After a long day yesterday at the Landis Valley Herb Faire, where we had a wonderful time, seeing herb friends and meeting many new ones, Nicki & I came back to my house, where she'd left her bicycle early in the morning. We walked out to the labyrinth garden to relax for a few minutes and received quite a treat. An American Woodcock was pacing back & forth under the Viburnum! It's quite an unusual bird. Most people probably never see one.
This is actually the second time one has spent time in my garden (that I am aware of). Two years ago, I looked out the window and saw an otherworldly creature sitting under the Oak tree. It looked like a cross between a rabbit and a long-beaked bird. I sat & watched it through binoculars for over an hour, and then decided to go find my Petersen's Guide. That's when I learned it was a Woodcock.

They nest on the ground, so I'm wondering if the bird we saw yesterday was looking for nesting sites, or perhaps even guarding a nest. Wouldn't that be exciting?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tamari Roasted Almonds

We like to have a few healthy, organic snacks available in the shop. Dogoba chocolate bars, crystalized Ginger, and Tamari Almonds. Since we're going to be at Landis Valley Herb Fair this weekend, we'll need an extra supply. So, they're roasting now! What a wonderful aroma is filling the air!

You can always find them at my shop, but if you'd like to make your own, it's a very simple process.

Start with 1/2 pound of raw organic almonds. Put them in a baking dish. Pour 1/8 Cup of Tamari Sauce over them & stir to coat evenly. Put in the oven at 250 degrees F. Bake for about 1/2 hour, then stir to recoat the almonds with Tamari Sauce. Bake another hour, stir again. Bake another hour, or until slightly crispy. don't burn them & don't take them out before they're fully roasted. Cool, store in a jar until eaten!

Landis Valley Herb Fair this Weekend

Each year on the Friday and Saturday of Mother's Day Weekend, we set up a booth at the Landis Valley Herb Fair. This herb fair is held on the grounds of the Landis Valley Farm Museum, just north of Lancaster city. You'll find Herbs from the Labyrinth in the Isaac Landis House, which is just across the path from the Old Hotel. We'll have all sorts of wonderful herbal products, including our array of salves & balms, tinctures, teas and oils, as well as hand-dyed clothing (using plant dyes), African market baskets (Fair Trade), and handmade wire baskets fitted with glass vases for decorating your outdoor spaces. Look for our banner on the Isaac Landis House & come visit us!

Join me, as well, at 11am on Saturday morning at the lecture tent, and we'll wander over to the Landis Valley herb garden to see what they grow in their traditional herb garden. Here's the full schedule of talks for the weekend:


NOON What are Heirloom Seeds? – Heirloom Seed Foundation
1 P.M. Wild Foods – Free, Tasty and Fun by Tina Sams, The Essential Herbal
2 P.M. Herb Gardening Basics – Susanna Reppert, The Rosemary House
3 P.M Barn Stars – A unique look at farming architecture – Fred Will, Sugar Grove Herbs

11 A.M A Look at the Landis Valley Herb Garden with Sarah Campbell of Herbs from the Labyrinth
NOON Creating a Sustainable Back Yard – Homegrown Edible Landscaping Company.
Natasha Herr and Wilson Alvarez
1 P.M Growing Mushrooms - Brushwood Farm – Diane Wiest
2 P.M Medicinal Herbs you can grow – Maureen Rogers, Herbal Net
3 P.M Wild Foods – Free, Tasty and Fun - Tina Sams, The Essential Herbal

Friday, May 1, 2009

Week 10 of the Herbal Blog Giveaway

Torchsong Studio will be hosting the 10th and final week of our blog contest.

Maryanne is offering something a little different to close out the contest.

A lead-free pewter garden pin with a little glass ladybug charm in the middle and garden tools on either side.

Just comment on this, or any of the other blogs participating for a chance to win one of ten pins to be given away. MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE A CONTACT email.

Remember all of the blogs below are participating, so visit all of them and post to increase your chances of winning.

Aquarian Bath
The Essential Herbal
Herbs from the Labyrinth
Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Nature's Gift
Torchsong Studio
SunRose Aromatics
Garden Chick
Our final contest - check back on May 8 for the list of winners!

Thanks everyone for participating and for playing!