It's Tea Time!

Erick's been trying to ditch his coffee and caffeine in-take. I love my coffee and as much as I try to give it up, I find myself slipping back into drinking it pretty regularly.  Back in the day, Erick could easily brew and drink an entire pot of coffee, each morning all by himself. It's quite impressive to me that he's been able to give it up.  

The main struggle I've watched him have is finding other options of what he can drink. He gave up caffeinated soda as well.  After a little research, he decided to start making his own herbal teas with ingredients he can forage from our gardens.  

This evening I caught him in the backyard harvesting leaves from our raspberry plants.  

HEALTH BENEFITS OF RASPBERRY LEAF

The therapeutic use of the raspberry leaf was first described in 1597 in a book called “The Herbal,” or “A General History of Plants.” Today, the raspberry leaf and fruit are still used as medicine.

Raspberry leaf is used for gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorders, including diarrhea; for respiratory system disorders, including flu and swine flu; and for heart problems, fever, diabetes, and vitamin deficiency. It is also used to promote sweating, urination, and bile production. Some people use it for general "purification of skin and blood.”

Some women use raspberry leaf for painful periods, heavy periodsmorning sickness associated with pregnancy, preventing miscarriage, and easing labor and delivery.

Raspberry leaf is applied directly to the skin for sore throats and skin rashes.



He also picked a few dandelions! 


HEALTH BENEFITS OF DANDELIONS:

Digestive Aid – Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines. 
Kidney – This weed-like superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system too. 
Liver – Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance. 
Antioxidants – Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells. 
Cancer – Dandelion acts against cancer to slow its growth and prevent its spread. The leaves are especially rich in the antioxidants and phytonutrients that combat cancer. 
Diabetes – Recent animal studies show promise that dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also regulate blood pressure. 
Cholesterol – Animal studies have shown that dandelion lowers and control cholesterol levels. 
Gallbladder – Dandelion increases bile production and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages. 
Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can relieve pain and swelling. 
Immune System – Animal studies also show that dandelion boosts immune function and fights off microbes and fungi. Dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible. They have a slightly bitter flavor that can be minimized by harvesting them in the fall or spring. Cooking cuts the bitter flavor as well though the leaves make a great addition to raw salads.

...as well as some beautiful lemon balm. 


HEALTH BENEFITS OF LEMON BALM

Lemon balm is classified as a stimulating nervine, or nerve tonic, and though it has a soothing effect on the nervous system and alleviates anxiety, it is not a simple sedative. Lemon balm is particularly indicated for nervous problems that have arisen from long-standing stress and for anxiety accompanied by headache, sluggishness, confusion, depression, and exhaustion. Researchers have found that a mixture of lemon balm and valerian is as effective as some tranquilizers, without the side effects.
Lemon balm also is credited with an antiviral effect, and it seems particularly effective against the herpes virus. Lemon balm alleviates stomach gas and cramps and has a general antispasmodic effect on the stomach and intestines. It also relaxes the blood vessels, which helps to reduce blood pressure.

All three of these have amazing medicinal qualities as you can see. 

Once he picked enough to make a good pot of tea, he loaded them onto the dehydrator trays.


It didn't take too long before they were fully dried and ready to be crushed and made into tea. 


He crushed all of the leaves and dandelions into small pieces...


...and then placed it all into some cheesecloth, and tied it into a bag. 

He brought a pot of water to a boil, and dropped the sack of leaves into the water. Turned off the burner and let the water and herbs steep together...   

After 30 minutes or so, he removed the cheesecloth sack from the pot and poured us both a cup of tea. We sweetened it with a tablespoon of raw honey.  Absolutely delicious! 

We Got Caught up on Planting & Some Friends Stopped By!

We worked so hard over the weekend but I think we are just about up to date on our planting schedule for all of April! Just in time too! 


Erick and I have successfully planted seeds to every raised bed we have. Now we just water and wait! 

We are growing a wider variety of produce this year than years prior.  I think last year we had over 100 different types of crops and we're easily over that this year. 

Little Peppy sat with me while we watched Erick work on planting some of the Clematis and Kiwi vines on our teepee.  He's good company to keep around. 

This is going to be so fun once it's covered fully in the vines we've planted.  A tee-pee tunnel you'll be able to walk underneath. 

It's all finally coming along! 

I even managed to get the lawns mowed and edged. I can't wait until we get rid of ALL of the lawn.  This year we mulched most of the backyard and I'm loving not having to mow around raised beds and the fruit tree orchard. 

I got out my hummingbird feeders too for around the deck. 

We always get so many hummingbirds in the gardens. I don't mind putting a few feeders out to help attract them. 


We got a lovely surprise from our friends Georgia and Jane.  Georgia proved to be quite the "goat whisperer".  They loved her! 

Sylvester loved the attention. He was so content being held by Georgia. 

It's always great to have friends stop by! Come love on the goats, the chickens and even the bunny. We don't mind! Bring your table scraps and make friends with our farm animals! 

I think Peppy has a new best friend! 

Monday Morning Walk Through!

This morning when we woke up, the sky was incredibly blue and the sun was bright as could be. Weather man's calling for really warm temps. this week. It might even get to 80'! For some not familiar with our Pacific Northwest climates, that's pretty warm for April-May.  

I'm hoping that Erick and I can go for a walk this evening when he gets home. That is, after we make a dump run. I swear that we go to the dump more than anyone I know. Yesterday we were laughing because we don't even realize how it's even possible. We never buy anything, and when we do, it gets planted in the ground. Where does all this "junk" come from? Yesterday he cleaned out most of his garage and filled his pickup to the brim.  OVER the brim in fact. It always feels good getting rid of things. I love de-cluttering spaces. 

When I walked outside this morning to let all of the animals out, I noticed how lovely all of our fruit trees are doing in our orchard. Every one of them have beautiful blooms on them.  This one had hot pink flowers all over it just starting to open up. In a day or so, this tree will be so beautiful with all of the flowers wide open. 

I noticed all of our carrots and onions have sprouted! So exciting! We love growing onions and carrots, so this year we decided to grow a larger variety of them then we normally do.  

Our garlic is doing great!  I'm looking forward to eating the garlic-scapes once they arrive. 


Yummy Swiss Chard.  I grow this mostly because I think the stalks are beautiful, and because it's super healthy for you. I love using chard in so many of our recipes at home. 


Look at how well our Sugar Snap Peas are doing! Growing right up along their trellises in the garden! I swore last year that we weren't going to grow more of these, but somehow I couldn't resist. They provide a bumper crop year after year. 
More chard pictures here!

Look at those hot pink stalks and bright green leaves. Tell me that doesn't look delicious. 

No matter what we do to try and "contain" these white raspberries, they keep growing and coming back stronger and stronger every year! It's a good thing we think they are tasty and don't mind having them around! 

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing pretty rows of seedlings popping up in the raised beds! 

Our tomato plants that were planted out in the pizza garden have survived their first heavy rain storm we had the other night and they seem to be doing okay. Like I mentioned before in a different post, I prefer to grow my tomatoes and peppers inside the greenhouse but we are trying them this year also in our "Pizza Garden". 

Our pepper plants outside the greenhouse are doing well also!  We've had success growing peppers outside in raised beds before so I'm not expecting any issues with these.  

Oregano. It smells soooo good. We have two varieties growing this year. One classic and one spicy. 

The peppers we started in the greenhouse, inside our 5 gallon buckets, are sprouting up and doing really well! I can almost taste fresh peppers like the ones we harvested all summer long last year. 

We have more ripe kumquats!  Our patio citrus trees are still growing and are healthy! 

Lemon balm, that was gifted to us last year, is coming up with its new growth this season. We love making lemon balm jelly from these leaves, and I'm anticipating being able to make tea from the leaves as well. 

We love clematis! Here's a variety we planted last summer, in June or July, and it's completely taken over the lattice on the deck. So beautiful with all of it's flowers open right now! 

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