Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

Would be trail mix.

Beans and I have been studying plants and learning about safe foraging. (important things to learn about when you are two and something called "bane berry" looks inviting.) Alaska has an incredible number of wild and edible plants. Every day we learn or identify something new, I am amazed at how God provides for humans... Even in places labelled "barren".
Our own yard (not including our thriving garden) is full of so many amazing plants that are edible, medicinal, and just amazing.
We are quickly becoming foragers, and even putting some of our "mountain medicine" to good use. Combined with our garden, we have concocted some tasty teas with added benefits of curbing headaches, tummy aches, and even helping mosquito bites to stop itching. Here's one of our recent tasty teas:

Moose Nugget Forager Tea:
mint (from the garden. We used peppermint this is 50% of your tea)
wild rose petals (edible! Good trail snack!)
wild bluebells (also good trail snack)
wild raspbery leaves
strawberry leaves

dry all ingredients in a warm oven (170F ish) until dried. Cool and store. When you are ready for tea, lightly crush enough for your tea. Steep 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!
This is a great "reviving" tea when two small children have completely worn you out by nap time!


The rain stuck around for a few days. Now that we have a lull in the grey skies, Beans, Little Nugget and I ventured out to inspect the gardens and give the baby chicks some time in the sun. The baby chicks can hardly be called "babies" any more. They have their adolescent feathers, their combs are growing, and a definite pecking order is being established. We have a variety of breeds: Americaunas (they will lay green and blue eggs! Really!), Orpingtons, Brahmas, Red Sex Links, Black Sex Links, Silver Wyandottes, Columbian Wyandottes, Australorps, White Cornish, Black Cornish, Polish Chooks, Silkies, and one Bantam. We affectionately call our three older hens and our rooster "chicken mutts", as they descend from a line of various hens and *ahem* zealous roosters.
The six turkeys are Bronze (a breed, not just a color). What a clucky peepy little entourage they are. They are as eager for wild Alaska greenery as we humans are, and they make weeding the garden a pleasure. Beans and Nugget like to poke dandelions through the chicken fencing and watch the birds gobble them up. Ricky Bobby is a sucker for fireweed, and Baby Girl will get downright pecky over lamb's quarters.

Speaking of the garden, I suppose I could let y'all in on what's been planted.
We've got rows and rows of potatoes. J came wih me to the greenhouse and got a little excited about all the varieties of potatoes available. What I'll say about that is there are twothings I'd better not hear this winter. One is "I'm sick if potatoes". The other is "we are out of potatoes". Wih five rows planted (each row about 30 feet long), we'd better not run out of potatoes.
Onions make another 60 feet of garden space.
Strawberries and rhubarb grow together, next to rows of cauliflower and broccoli. Kholrabi, four varieties of lettuce, carrots, andradish make up about half of the remaining garden space. We have two pea tepees where green arrow peas and sugar snap peas are starting to grow. Celery, turnips, beets, zuchinni plants, green onions, and yellow squash fill the othe half, and an experimental bed of pumpkins round out the outdoor garden. The greenhouse is filled with tomato plants, cucumber, and several varieties of peppers.
A short walk to the house finds the porch surrounded with container gardens of herbs. Beans' "tea garden" consists of peppermint, lemon balm, spearmint, lavender, anise hyssop, and lavender bergamot. My kitchen herbs consist of rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, cinnamon basil, and chives.
It sounds full and crowded, but I must make room for more. A dear friend gifte me with a chocolate mint plant, and I couldn't resist a couple of Roman chamomile plants in the nursery. I have several more starts coming from Washington State next week, and will start planting fruiting trees and bushes as well. I have two choke cherry trees waiting for holes to be dug when it dries out a little but more, as well as some edible flowers from seed and starts to be planted.

Phew! That makes it sound like a lot, but I am already looking forward to expanding the garden space next yer! There is so much more I WANT to grow!

Well, nap time is about over, and it looks like I'd better get the laundry off the line before the next set of storms rolls in. After that, a cup of Forager Tea and snuggle time with my sweet girls. Several of our butterflies have been emerging from their cocoons... A perfect segway to story time and craft time while we observe our new additions.

THIS is what I love about homeschooling:
from some measly caterpillars comes science, reading, arts and crafts, biology, and even religion... If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new!

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails


Vasti said...

great busy day! most of it sounds really challenging.

Mail Order Brides said...

Doing gargening is a really rewarding thing. Whatever you plant there can come in handy. I myself grow different fruit trees and vegetables in my garden, besides, they are mot more heathy than bought ones.