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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hill Country Herbs in December

Today was a rainy day in the Hill Country...gray skies, no patches of sun, and cool constant light drizzly rain. A slumber day. But of course, by midday, a bit of cabin fever set in and I had to go outside and breathe in fresh earthly goodness.

I first ventured to check on my Cleavers "hot spot" and I was thrilled to see baby Cleavers coming up once again. Cleavers (Gallium aparine) are like precious friends that I wait all year-round to see...and in December they come and make their annual appearance. I'm very excited to see them. I look forward to seeing them take hold and using them in body cleansing infusions and making them into healing oils/salves/lotions.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is also another herb that loves cooler temperatures and thrives outdoors in the Hill Country. I have Yarrow growing in the herb garden and planted in pots on the back patio. Yarrow is a tasty little herb that has wonderful flavor. I like to nibble on it in the garden and add the beautiful feather like leaves to salads for a special treat. Yarrow has astringent properties and is also known as "soldier's woundwort" as it has long been used to stop external bleeding when applied to wounds. Anti-inflammatory in nature, it can be applied directly, made into a poultice and can be infused in oils and used in salves and creams.
Here's a picture of my Thyme in the greenhouse. I love this plant - we go back over five years I think. I sit with it, admire it, harvest it, and spoil it...especially this time of year when the tiny green leaves sparkle with life. I like to cook with as much Thyme as I can during the winter months. I attribute health and wellness to Thyme, as it is a wonderful plant full of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties due to its high Thymol content. It is wonderful infused into oils for cooking or for topical use - how could you not have time for Thyme in your herb garden?
Remember this little hitch hiker? This is the Patchouli plant I carried on the plane with me from Oregon to Texas. I purchased it from Horizon Herb's Richo Cech himself! His lovely wife gingerly wrapped the potted little herb in a cloth covering "diaper" wrapped with twine. I love this little plant, it reminds me of the wonderful time herbhusband and I had at Rootstalk in Salem, Oregon this past September. I'm protecting it in the greenhouse, as it does not like cold temperatures. I'm looking forward to seeing it mature...and although I won't be using it in my skin care potions - I'm happy to have it join the rest of the herbs in the garden.

The Meyer Lemon is at it again. This year, I harvested over 40 lemons and that's not counting the dozen I left on the tree (seen here). I made limoncello with some of the peels - I lovely treat. Squeezing a bit of the juice in water is a wonderful bright pick me up any time of day. The taste is sweet and clean. The yellow Meyer's bring sunshine and joy on this drizzly day. To promote a healthy throat, it's great to have a squeeze of meyer lemon in warm water with a bit of honey. A lovely warm beverage on this cloudy day. That sounds so good, I'm signing off to make a cup and grab a good herb book and rest easy for the rest of the day. Hope you find some time to treat yourself to this lovely infusion some time this winter season.

Wishing you warmth and health herbal friends,

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