[Homestead] Herbs and flowers and a mystery
erthnsky at bellsouth.net
Tue Apr 14 00:23:06 EDT 2009
Robert Walton wrote:
> Yes...that is what I'm seeing. My friend gave me some herb plants
> last year and I started a bed. I'm seeing the lambs ear taking up
> about double what it did last year.
> Rob - Va
I meant to answer this earlier...
I have personally used lambs ear as a bandage when I stupidly snipped my
finger while snipping my asparagus fronds. Very soft. I just wrapped it
around my finger and held it. It absorbed the blood and was quite soft.
I know it was called All-heal or self heal in the old days. I can't say
that it stopped the bleeding as I was applying pressure, too, but it was
nice and soft and the cut did not get infected.
I read something on lambs ear not too long ago, but now I can't remember
where I read what. I think it was about fever reduction. I remember
being surprised at just how many uses it had. Oh, oh....I was thinking
earlier today that it might make a good toilet paper substitute if you
had a whole patch of it, which you could definitely have in a few years
and good soil in a large bed.
Upon reading my new favorite website, the Garden Path,
I realized this evening that the smaller leaves were edible raw. I knew
that the flowers were edible, and I recalled that the plant could be
cooked as a green, but I did not remember that the leaves could be eaten
raw. I have an area near the garden that is literally all violets, about
20x50 in size. The area is just covered with gill 'o'er the ground and
violets. At any rate, this evening, I was a bit short on lettuce, so I
went out and picked some fresh lettuce and mesclun from the garden. I
also grabbed some spinach, and on the way back to the house, also tried
a violet leaf. To my surprise, it had a good flavor, not bitter at all,
so I picked a handful of heart shaped violet leaves for the salad, along
with some flowers. Needless to say, we had a great salad this evening.
Most people put herbicides out to kill the violets in their yard not
realizing how great they are to eat! BTW, you can also eat mouse ear
chickweed, portulaca(purslane) and of course dandelion, but you probably
already knew that. I've also planted a bunch of peppery nasturtiums for
salads, and tonight I learned that nasturtium seeds can be put in a
pepper shaker and ground as fresh pepper. Apparently they did this in
war when they could not get pepper. The nasturtium seeds are also used
as a substitute for capers. When it comes to edible flowers, don't
forget borage. Don't forget too that you can candy flowers. Pick a
borage or violet flower and with a small, fine paintbrush, paint on some
egg white. Then, lightly sprinkle on superfine sugar and place the
flower on wax paper to dry. It may take a day or two to dry, but once
they are dry you can eat them out of hand or use them as garnishes on a
plate or even as cake decorations. Kids love to make them and eat them.
I've candied borage flowers and rose petals...violets will the next.
Okay, so now maybe someone here can help me solve a mystery.
I had seeded several herbs last month and yesterday we planted some of
them into the new herb bed. One of the new herbs was rue. This is the
first time I have ever had rue or tried to grow it. The plant was about
3-4 inches tall with several true leaves. We planted it on the edge of
bed, near the corner, oriented so that as it grew it would make a nice
background plant. To make sure we did not accidentally pull it as a
weed, I set it out with a plant marker about 2" from the plant. Now mind
you, there was also a 32" tall metal garden fence at the edge of the bed
to keep the dog from cutting through.
This morning, as DH left for work, he noticed that there was a plant
marker laying on top of a landscape timber. He walked over to discover
that it was the marker for the rue. He also noted that the plant was
missing, and there was a hole where the plant had been-just a 4" deep
Now what would eat or take the whole plant, roots and all?? Deer?
What would pull the marker out and lay it on the landscape timber??
Now, here is the really weird part....
In reading up on rue to try and determine what animal might have eaten
it, I came across this passage in my Herbs book by Norma Jean Lathrop:
"Greeks also believed that the secret of getting rue to grow well in
your garden was to steal it from a neighbor."
Can you believe that?
Fact #1 No one, not even my best friend, knew I had rue
Fact #2 I am the only person around here that likes growing herbs, and
I can not imagine someone stealing a plant as obscure as rue. If I have
to mark it, it is not exactly a commonplace herb.
I'm having a hard time believing that someone stole it, but what animal
would neatly dig up only the rue, leave no tracks, and lay a marker on a
I am considering two other possibilities...
1. That I sleepwalked out there and dug up the plant-God only knows what
I would have done with it....it is nowhere to be found
2. A ghost dug it up
So, my friends, help me solve the mystery of the missing Rue..it is a
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public
debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered
and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed
lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of
living on public assistance."
--Cicero, 55 BC
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