Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Flower Bathing

Flower Bathing: the practice of immersing one's senses in botanical flora and experiencing all of its positive and healthful benefits.
Okay, maybe flower bathing isn't technically a true scientific practice, but the Japanese DID practice "forest bathing," spending time in green spaces/forest and received the benefits of de-stressing their lives from such an activity.  Check out a link here for more info...
I personally think it's just common sense.  To be surrounded by nature, colors, perfume and to feel all the beautiful silky blossoms of the flowers; it's certainly going to feel like a mini-vacation and be refreshing to the mind and body.  I think plants and trees were created to bring us pleasure.  So with that in mind, I went to my favorite nursery for some much needed tomatoes, peppers and various flowers to fill out my collection at home.  
While I was there, I engaged in enveloping my senses in the explosion of colors and drinking in the beauty of the place.

A new petunia; very fun, may have to come back for this one.

This was tempting; but I went for the smaller ones...

My final purchases, veggies and some flowers for the window box.

I definitely felt refreshed after this visit and here's hoping you do too.  Now on to planting and creating more green spaces for more flower bathing...blessings!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making Chive Blossom Vinegar...

Chives are some of the easiest herbs to grow.  I have a large pot of them next to my side door and also a large planting alongside the front of our house.  They come back year after year, AND even if you never use them, the flowers they put off are worth the growing.  But, did you know you can use these beautiful globes of onion-y goodness to make a super simple salad staple?
Remember those fancy herb vinegars which were so popular some years ago?  Well, they really are so easy to make and great to use as well.  I love to make my own salad dressings and by using an herbal vinegar, I get instant flavor for my dressings. I also use these as a marinade for chicken.  Plus, these make great gift giveaways as well...just remember to include a recipe!

Here's all you need...vinegar, preferably white wine or I'm using rice vinegar here.  Wine vinegar is not harsh like plain white vinegar and makes a far superior vinegar.  If you use white wine (as opposed to red wine) vinegar, you'll end up with a beautiful shade of pink. I actually used 2 and a half bottles of this size bottle of vinegar, it will vary depending on the size of your container. So worth it.  Save the red wine vinegar for basil, oregano and thyme. 

You'll also need a clean,dry and empty jar with a plastic, non-corrosive lid. The jar needs to be super dry or it can cause the vinegar to become cloudy if water is present.  If you only have a metal lid, make sure to place plastic wrap between the jar and lid.  You'll also need some kind of funnel as well.

Go to your chive flowers and pick the best ones; bees not included...

Wash your blossoms by a gentle rinse while still on the plant in early morning, then let sun dry.

Get your clean jar ready.  

Make sure all the blossoms are covered with vinegar

  Set in a sunny place for around three weeks.  

When you are satisfied with your vinegar, strain using a small mesh strainer or try a coffee filter and insert over a large pyrex glass measuring cup.  Find a clean dry and pretty jar you like and add a few fresh chive flowers to it before adding your vinegar.  Pour in vinegar with a funnel and you have yourself a delicious herbal vinegar! This vinegar should last for at least a year and doesn't need to be refrigerated (unless you make it into a dressing.)  Check out a basic vinaigrette recipe below...

¾ cup salad oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper), to taste
Opt: Add about a 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard and 1/2-1  tsp of sugar to dressing and mix well.  The mustard helps to emulsify the dressing.


Linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop , Homestead Revival Blog Hop
Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday Wildcrafting Wednesday
Farmgirl Friday

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quick Pix: What's blooming now...Dwarf Korean Lilac

This one is planted right at the corner of our house...
     Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa Meyeri 'Palibin')..a super lilac in my book.  And never mind it's diminutive size, it packs a powerhouse of beautiful lilac perfume!  
     It's barely is five feet tall (and that's full height after a decade of growth) and almost as wide, it bloomed when it was still very small AND the overall color and scent make this a star in the landscape!
     If you're looking for a lilac that is very resistant to powdery mildew, can be planted close to a building, and is completely reliable, look no further, this is your lilac...and it's what's blooming now...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Photo Walk - Rhododendrons

Went on a walk along Lake Erie today; this is my most FAVORITE time of year!  This is  when the Rhododendrons are in bloom.  They are actually two weeks early, so I am super glad I caught them on this walk.  All of sudden our streets by the lake come alive with these softball sized blooms.  This climate and soil by the lake are perfect conditions for them to grow and grow they do.  I've seen them for so many years that I forget how uncommon they are in many other places in the area.  So, if you like them or any flowers in general, stay tuned and enjoy the walk...!
I see this pot of flowers by the road every year, so pretty!
Along the lake shore...
A quick glimpse of Lake Erie
A local artist's surprise creations...
What can be better than a rhododendron bush?  How about a tree?
Almost home...

Can you believe not ONE of these rhododendrons are mine?  Our yard is way too small for one and besides, all I have to do is to take a quick walk and get my fill of them.  Hope you enjoyed the flowers as much as we did!  Blessings!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Tea Party

Because of our most recent visit to a local tea room, my sister really wanted to host a little tea party for the three of us.  She and I both love them. A tea party is so girly, it makes me feel like Anne with an "e" from Green Gables.  How can one resist such a sweet little get-away from life?  So, she got out all her tea playthings and sent me an invite to a special tea party at her house.  Just the three girls and some fabulous food, tea and conversation!
Mother's Day present of Ivy Geraniums
A beautiful Rosemary plant for sister
A blooming tea to start off the lunch!
Jasmine Green

Lunch is served! Nice mixed greens with dates and fruit

Chicken Salad on Lettuce Leaves
Mini Asparagus Quiche with Tomato
Add one wonderful Mother and you get a party!
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Special "Gemini Tea" from
Blueberry-Lemon Scones
Served with Devonshire Cream and Lemon Curd
Chocolate Sensation Pudding


Kitties like tea parties too...
Out on the patio after lunch to plant herbs...                     

Great patio talk

Life's not always a tea party; but being with wonderful people you love, having great food and tea make life's moments SO enjoyable!  So, to all you wonderful Moms out there....Happiest Mother's Day!!