What can you grow on 2 acres? We're on a mission to find out from tomatoes to green beans and chamomile to borage. We have plans to make use of every bit of our land to grow edibles to feed our family and our tea customers tea cabinet.
This year we planted a test plot of borage and it did super well! What is borage? Its a plant that tastes like a cucumber but has beautiful blue star shaped flowers. We are sharing our harvest and more details about this bee attracting plant in this weeks youtube video! Check it out below!
We missed a week of videos! Our apologies! We had our computer die on us and spent the week replacing it and then re-doing files that were lost. We are slowly getting things put back together.
How did your week go? Are you enjoying the fall weather? Hopefully there has been a bit of sunshine your way! It seems like we have had big dark clouds pouring huge amounts of rain on us. So much that it actually left a trench down our drive way.
Today though, it was beautiful, it was perfect out there. Not too hot and not too cold which bright blue skies and sunshine! A great day to get this tincture made before our milky oats start forming viable oat seed, drying out and being more useful for chickens than medicine.
Milk oats are the green seed starts on top of oats when they sprout. We blend oats into our chicken's feed and for what ever reason they left a bunch out in the garden. They buried them as they scratched around. When we planted our zucchini the oats in that area sprouted up. So while we didn't put them there or intend them to be there we are turning this problem into a solution.
Milky oats are great for feeding the nervous system, providing support during stressful times and situations as well as helping out during times of depression. These situations may be long term or just short term stress. Milky oats help with mood issues and assist with sleepless nights. They help the body cope and adjust to changing situations. Milky oats can help balance the endocrine system, and assist skin issues.
When making a tincture the alcohol helps to pull out the chemicals (known as constituents) from the herb and making it more potent. The tincture is then taken by dropper-fuls according to each persons situation and as needed. Its a handy little tincture to have around. Directions in video below and full recipe below video.
Milky Oats Tincture Recipe
1.5 cups Milky Oats (green oats not forming a viable seed)
2.4-4 cups Vodka 80 proof or higher
1.) Remove milky oats from oat stem.
2.) Pat dry if necessary.
3.) Process in food processor with 1/2 cup of vodka to break up the milky oats a little so that they tincture easier and stronger.
4.) Pour processed oats and vodka in a pint jar.
5.) Top off with remaining vodka to fill jar. Place lid on and tighten.
6.) Shake it up so that the vodka gets around all of your Milky Oats.
7.) Label jar with ingredients and ratio of ingredients. Also with the date you made it and/or the date it will be done. Tinctures are best after 6 weeks or more.
8.) After 6 weeks strain out the milky oats and tincture is ready to use. Store in amber tincture bottle and/or canning jar out of direct sunlight in a cool place.
I'm smiling because even though its really, really hot, muggy and the sky is filled with thick smoke these zinnia's are still beautiful. They make me happy every time I see them. Do you want to know why?
These beauties all came from a little packet of seed. Of course you say... all flowers come from seed. You see this gal grew up just outside of the city, while my mom had a tiny garden once or twice, and the fruit trees that came with the property, it wasn't until I met my Farmer that I really grew anything. In fact I KILLED EVERY HOUSE PLANT that came in my reach. I didn't bother planting anything at all, inside or out.
But there was this one book that lit a spark, and then the health needs of my family and myself. And then this deal on a packet or organic seeds and an ABUNDANCE of beautiful flowers. No they were not these flowers but these ones are growing just as abundantly. And SO many different colors! They are just beautiful, and useful, and make the garden and the house look pretty. And I didn't kill them.
These little flowers are a proof that if you keep trying eventually that black thumb will turn green. By the way I still kill every plant in the house, so I stick to my outdoor plants.
In-between these flowers are some lemon balm, its there hiding and grows much slower than the flowers. Today though, we were running low on lemon balm tincture. Those little bottles (1 oz) don't go very far and they are super expensive at $12 a bottle.
$2 for lemon balm seed, a mason jar and a few dollars of vodka net me a whole canning jar full of tincture with plenty of lemon balm for a few flavorful dishes in the kitchen. Join me in this video as I walk you though our process of harvesting lemon balm and how to use it. Recipes are typed out below the video.
Lemon Balm Tincture
1 C. Fresh Lemon Balm, Chopped
2+ C. 80-100 proof quality Vodka
1 small canning jar and a lid
Gather your lemon balm removing the stems from the leaves. Chop the leaves up to release the oils better in the lemon balm. Fill your jar half way up with lemon balm. More is always better than less but you want plenty of room for the leaves to move around. Fill the jar the rest of the way with your vodka. Place the lid on the top and make sure to label it not jus with the name of the tincture but also the ingredients and the date that it was made. If you want you could add the date that it should be finished to the top also. I love to use a dry erase marker paired with a white plastic reusable canning lid. Give it a good shake to mix it up and then place in a cool dark spot for 6-8 weeks. Give it a good shake once a week to make sure the alcohol is getting all the way around the leaves.
Lemon Balm Cream Cheese
1 C. Organic Probiotic Cream Cheese
2 Tbl. Lemon Balm
Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Chop 2 Tbl. of lemon balm and mix into cream cheese. Its great on fruit, toast or anything else you might use cream cheese on. Sweeten it to make a great desert toping.
Lemon Balm topped fruit
1 C. fruit of choice (we used a peach, watermelon would also be great!0
1 Tbl. lemon balm, chopped
Sprinkle lemon balm over fruit of choice. Fruit salad would be great also!
Fresh Lemon Balm Tea
2 Tbl. Fresh Lemon Balm, chopped
6 oz boiling water
Place chopped lemon balm in a french press, tea ball or directly in cup. Pour hot water over and let steep for 3-7 minutes or to taste. Strain leaves from water and enjoy!
Our yard is over taken with black berry leaves, here in Oregon they are invasive and usually a pain for many a land owner. They grow wild on the side of the road, they over take everything if not kept at bay. We have taken that problem and turned it into a solution by using them in one of our most popular teas. Check out this weeks YouTube video on how we use many of the wild edibles and weeds in our yard!
Its officially summer and its starting to get mighty warm in the Pacific Northwest. It makes for happy plants but also thirsty and dehydrated gardeners as well as children. What to do? We thought we would share our favorite down on the farm recipe for a nutritious hydrating and flavorful cold drink that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The recipe we are sharing today is made with our Bloom'n Hibiscus Tea Blend which features the lovely and brilliant colored hibiscus flower. Most people will recognize this lovely flower as a Hawaiian flower and actually the yellow hibiscus is the state of Hawaii's flower. It has a bright petals usually five in number with a long protruding pistil typical of the tropical flower we all tend to think of. They come in many different colors but our tea today features the bright red variety.
The tropical flower this tea is based off of will make you think of the tropics when you drink it as the lemon balm and lemon grass compliment the fruitless of this flower with a citrus twist. Blackberry and Raspberry leaves give it some heartiness which is reminiscent of a light green tea and add a nutritious punch. Some have likened the taste of this hibiscus tea to 'Kool-aid' but better and I have yet to meet anyone who didn't like this tea - be they a tea drinker or not.
According to online sources hibiscus boosts the immune system, helps prevent cold and flu, assists in weight loss, helps to quench thirst, aids in blood pressure management, assists in reducing anxiety and depression, helps to lower levels of bad LDL, protects the liver against infections, assists with relief from cramps and menstrual symptoms as well as slowing down the growth of cancer.
Needless to say if you are looking for cool and refreshing and a crowd pleaser for young or old this is the drink to try!! Without further ado we will move on to the tutorial.
Bloom'n Hibiscus Cooler Recipe
What you will need:
1 1/2 gal. canning jar or glass equivalent
2 large tea filters (found at most grocery stores near the coffee filters)
1/2 oz Bloom'n Hibiscus Loose Leaf Tea (small bag from our farm store)
1/2 gallon filtered water
1 lid for canning jar
1/3 cup local raw honey (optional)
1/4 cup organic unbleached sugar (optional)
Lemon slices (optional)
Once you have your materials gathered together take the 1/2 oz of Bloom'n Hibiscus tea and place it inside each of the tea filters, putting half a bag of tea in one filter and the other half in the second filter.
Next fill your half gallon jar with clean filtered water (tap water will work but may give an off flavor). We love our Berky for filtering gunk out of water as well as fluoride.
Slide your tea bags in the jar hanging the lip of them over the edge of the jar so that the tea leaves cannot get out of the bag. Screw the lid on your jar so that it holds the tea bags in place.
Place your tea in a sunny spot outside, we tried ours in the entrance to the greenhouse... but the sun moved so we decided to move the tea....
It loved brewing on the front porch as much as we love the sun on the front porch too... this day we skipped the tea bags and dumped our blend right in the jar using a metal strainer to separate when finished. When your tea has brewed to the strength you prefer (for us about 4-6 hours depending on the sun) discard the tea filters and/or strain. Pour over ice for a refreshing drink. Though if you would like to make your tea up as we do it down on the farm we add about 1/3 of a cup of raw local honey and blend using a stick blender. We pour over ice and if we are getting really fancy with it we dip the rim of our cup in some liquid (water or lemon juice) and then dip the rim in some organic raw sugar for some sparkle. Add a slice of lemon to your cup and you have a very affordable summer time treat!
Thanks for visiting us down on the farm and if you really want to make this an affordable drink make sure to check out our larger size economy bags of tea for more tea and less on your pocket book in our farm store. See you next time!
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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