Archive for June, 2010
|photo by Pawel Kabanski/Flickr|
Welcome to my nightmare! I really, really have a thing about grasshoppers. If they’re the itty-bitty type, I will squish them in a heartbeat. The giant ones send me flying into the house and then begging Mr. MoonCat to go out to extinguish them. The sad, sad thing is that I can tell you exactly when this trauma-induced phobia started. Please shelter the children from this story of horror….
It was a warm summer day when my mom, my sister and I were driving up into the foothills to visit my Gramma. The fields were all golden brown with the breeze causing ripples that looked like waves int the dried grass. We had the windows down, the sunroof open and were enjoying the trip…until..a GARGANTUAN grasshopper decided to terrorize me and end my “live and let live” lifestyle forever.
|photo by DRB62/Flickr|
This mutant terrorist (easily over three inches long) was on his assignment to GET JULES when he bounced off of my arm and landed inside the car. He was on the headrest behind me and managed to get tangled in my hair. I was screeching for some help, but my horrible, unfeeling mother and sister were laughing too hard to assist me. The foul creature then decided to travel down the back of my tank top, scratching me all the way! (If you look closely at the photos of the horrible creatures above and below, you will see their hooks, claws, and spurs…) Anyway, his mission was obviously a one-way trip as he made the fatal mistake of continuing his path south and ended up IN MY UNDERWEAR! (So you don’t think I was riding around in just a tank top and undies, my Wranglers tend to gap at the small of my back and my undies follow suit sometimes.)
|photo by Bossco/Flickr|
Once we got to Gramma’s house, she was the only one who showed me any sympathy. That is until Mom looked at my back. I had vivid scratches all over my back with a couple of them even a bit bloody. I think she felt a bit bad after that, my sister didn’t.
So, now you know the cause of one of my most irrational fears. This is also why Mom didn’t say a word this morning when we were at the kitchen table and I suddenly went screeching at top speed outside with my basket of herbs. Something similar to the photo below was sitting on top of my catnip, LOOKING AT ME.
|Hopper from A Bug’s Life/California Adventure|
It seems like I’ve missed several of my regular “What I See Wednesday” posts lately so I’ll catch up a bit today with some pictures of what we’ve been up to around MoonCat Farms.
Congratulations to Nydia! You’re the winner of this lovely book, Anjan by Larus Einarsson. I’ll email you shortly for your mailing address. Thank you for all for your comments and great summer reading suggestions – I’ve added them all to my list!
Don’t forget to enter the drawing for The Love Ceiling which ends 6/30. We’ll also have the contest to name the colt Wedgie coming up for my 200th blog post – stay tuned my friends 🙂 Congrats again Nydia.
For those of you who didn’t win this time, Anjan is available HERE from Amazon.
Jean Davies Okimoto has graciously offered a copy of The Love Ceiling to one lucky MoonCat Farms reader. I will announce the winner on June 30th. Please leave a comment letting us all know what the last book is that you read. PLEASE BE SURE TO LEAVE A WAY FOR ME TO CONTACT YOU. You can gain extra entries by blogging about, tweeting, and/or posting about this review and drawing on Facebook. Just be sure to let me know what you’ve done to get the extra entries! If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, The Love Ceiling can be purchased on-line. It would make a thoughtful gift for the women in your life.
Mr. MoonCat and I really enjoy being outside, especially in the evening. Our wedding was held in the great outdoors and the photo below shows a couple of the hanging lanterns we used:
These hung from shepherd’s hooks, trees and fence posts. We really enjoyed them, but they’re not practical for everyday use. It was really pretty, but fire was a concern due to the candles in the jars. Plus, once the temperatures go up – the candles go down and melt away with the heat. The paper lanterns were lit with led lights and tiny batteries. They were cute, but time consuming and a bit pricey to put together considering how fragile they can be.
We loved this basic look so we’re searching around for similar alternatives for our garden. The exterior of our house has very very minimal, basic lighting. We want something with a little ambiance and charm (and let’s face it – more light to keep ME from falling on my face.) This search brought me to CSN Lighting which is one of the over 200 shops in the CSN Stores family. You might remember them from the review I did on the EarthBox Garden Kit earlier this month.
So here are just a couple of the candidates I found on their site:
I like the idea that all of them are listed in the Eco-friendly category too. So what do you think?
|photo by Krassy/Flickr|
I know, you’re going into shock – I’ve gone from posting sporadically to TWO in ONE day! What is the world coming to. Well, there’s a story here. After getting my Anjan review on the way to blogworld, I decided to clean out my files. I found my long-lost recipe for this luscious, yummy dish – Strawberry Soup. I haven’t made it in a loooooong time because after trying and experimenting on several different variations of this wonderful treat before hitting on THE ONE, I misplaced/filed it away for safe-keeping 🙂 None of the others I’ve come across really did it for me so I’ve pined until today for this little gem. (I’m practicing being dramatic.)
Anyhoo, since Father’s Day is tomorrow and it IS strawberry season, I thought you might want a little extra something special to prepare for Dad or hubby or yourself/ME. This is a dish best prepared the day before serving so without further ado….the not-so-secret recipe:
5 1/2 cups ripe strawberries
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Port wine
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cardamom
Strawberries and/or mint for garnishing
(dollop of sour cream for garnish if desired as well)
Puree strawberries, sour cream, and sugar together. Mix wine and water in a saucepan, add pureed mixture. Heat on low and allow to simmer for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cardamom and vanilla. It’s not crucial, but it is best if you allow it to chill overnight so all of the flavors can mingle and set. When ready to serve, pour into individual bowls and garnish with the extra strawberries, mint, and/or a dollop of sour cream. Yummy.
So I hope you all enjoy Father’s Day with your loved ones and let me know what you think if you get a chance to try this recipe.
|photo by Snapzdc/Flickr|
THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Many centuries ago, Roman scholar Pliny wrote of the benefits and uses of the herb elecampane. To this day, it is still being used in many of these same applications as well as in new formulations.
Latin Name: Inula helinium of the family asteraceae
Alternate Name(s): horseheal, elfdock, scabwort, elfwort, wild sunflower
Description: Elecampane is a hardy perennial with tall softly hairy stems that can grow up to 6ft tall. Pointed leaves with toothed edges showcase yellow flowers that are similar to shaggy daisies or some varieties of sunflowers.
Habitat: Likes damp, moist soil in a sunny location. Propagate by division of roots in spring or autumn or by seed which is much slower to germinate than many of the other herb seeds. pH levels are acceptable from almost 6 down to 4.5
Growing: It usually blooms in late summer and is fairly easy to grow, even for the novice herb gardener.
Harvesting: Elecampane roots can be harvested after the 2nd year of growth, while the aerial parts can be used immediately after the first blooming. As with most harvests, it is best to do it early in the morning after the dew has dried and before the heat sets it. This will ensure more of the oils will still be up in the aerial parts of the plants.
Uses: The roots and flowers are both used (both fresh & dried) and are usually combined with other herbs. Many of the old herbals showed various uses as cough syrups and remedies as well as tonics. The roots were often candied like ginger root and used as a digestive aid by ancient Greeks and Romans after their meals.
In my researching of this plant I have come across many, many listed uses for elecampane. As with all of my articles and posts about herbs – I am not suggesting or promoting their use for anything. I am simply sharing what I have been told or have found during my studies. Always talk to your doctor or do your own research before trying something new. Even things found in nature in their natural state can be deadly. Now, back to my findings: Elecampane has supposedly been used as a natural sweetener for diabetics (interesting to find out how it compares to Stevia). It seems to have many uses for respiratory distresses such as infections, coughs, asthma, bronchitis, etc.
One of my favorite tidbits was that early veterinarians used this herb in both horses and sheep very effectively. It has also shown to be useful for kennel cough in cats and dogs as well as having fungicidal and sedative qualities. I found it on several lists of herbs for expelling worms too. Very interesting little herb!
1 oz elecampane root
1 pt water
Simmer the root and water together for about 20 minutes. Let cool before drinking. This tea is said to be a great remedy for coughs and other minor respiratory ailments as well as having sedative properties.
Notes: People with allergies or sensitivities to plants in the sunflower (asteraceae) family have been shown to also have problems with this plant and should avoid its use.
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational, informational, and recreational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease. It is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider before taking any supplements, herbs, or other substances.
Sorry about being pretty quiet for a whole week! I’m back to spurt-blogging (that sounds almost nasty, but it is pretty appropriate.) It seems like we are outside most of the time now and I have tons to do before I can take the time to sit in front of the computer. So I’ll give you an all-around update on life at MoonCat Farms where, as the picture below shows – all is well:
|The MoonCats doing what cats do best|
Mom is doing pretty well. She has gained some strength and has decided to take up scrap booking. She’s making lists (and lists and lists) of supplies she wants from the crafts store. My niece and nephew were here on Friday and they all three had their heads together plotting their next few projects. We’re really looking forward to them being around a lot this summer while they’re out of school. They’re great kids and a lot of fun to have around. Mr. MoonCat and I took advantage of them being here with Mom and ran off to do some shopping together and take in a show (Prince of Persia – cute movie and even cuter Jake Gyllenhaal.)
I am way behind on my crafting, my photography, my letter writing, my blog visiting, my bookkeeping, and pretty much everything that isn’t related to the garden. But we’ve been eating some yummy squash, peas and onions the last few days. Of course dinner hasn’t been until 8pm or after 🙁
I have a book review coming up that you’ll not want to miss. I was thrilled to be asked to participate in a TLC Book Tour for Jean Davies Okimoto‘s The Love Ceiling. My stop on the tour is scheduled for June 23rd when I will post my review and GIVEAWAY ALERT: the lovely, lovely author has generously provided a copy of this fabulous book for one lucky MoonCat Farms reader! It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down so I’m tickled that one of you will get to enjoy a copy for yourself. Be ready to get your entry in!
Speaking of upcoming giveaways…For my 200th post in the next week or so, I will run that contest I mentioned to officially name Wedgie. Keep your eyes open and you could win a special prize! (I really do enjoy giveaways – especially ones that involve wearing thinking caps..) Lemon Verbena Lady has already put her hat in the ring with the very creative “Phantom” which could be very interesting when combined with the parents’ registered names…..More info coming soon.
Here’s a gratuitous photo of Wedgie who is becoming quite the little ham – notice the swishing little broom tail:
|Is this my good side?|
Mr. MoonCat got to spend some quality time with his folks last weekend as they were visiting in the area. We’ll all get to see them sometime later this week and return the pan that his mom brought filled with delicious lasagna. YUM. I’m not a big fan of regular over-tomatoed lasagna, but his mom’s is the bomb. We always look forward to it and it never lasts long! Mom really enjoys it too which is great since her appetite is still more off than on.
The mad scientist, aka Cindy my sister-in-law, is coming up for a day of soap and paper making. We’ve both been gathering supplies like crazy so we’ll have many hours of crafting and creating. We’re really looking forward to it and then to going out for sushi that evening with our hubbies.
So that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Tomorrow I am getting back in the groove with one of my A-Z Herbs posts: E is for Elecampane. I may just get to the middle of the alphabet by the end of the year 🙂