Harvesting Sunshine

Yesterday we had snow on the ground in the morning.  Today it was warm and sunny.  Ok then.

Here’s the view of our garden area, which soon will be tilled.  (I hope.)  That’s the barn in the background.

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Today, the kids and I gathered (more) dandelions to make syrup.  This was the result of our picking:

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Based on what I’ve read from various recipes, all you have to do to make dandelion syrup is pick a gazillion dandelions, rip the petals off, and cover them in water.  Boil from anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on what recipe you read.  Then allow to steep overnight.  That’s what’s going on right now.

In the morning, I will strain the liquid and measure it.  Then I will boil it with equal parts sugar until it is completely dissolved and, hopefully, thickened.  That’s about it!  Some recipes tell you to add lemon juice or spices, but that doesn’t seem to be required.  This needs to be kept in the fridge for sure.  I’ll tell you how it turns out–if it’s half as good as the dandelion jelly I still need to tell you about, it will be a success.  The jelly is like eating sunshine.

Next up is our mint/mullein scalp tea for my daughter.  Last week, I made mullein tea for my daughter’s itchy scalp, and IT HELPED.  I can’t tell you how many remedies we’ve tried for her itchy head, but the mullein tea worked.  I just poured it on after washing her hair.  Anyway, mint is also good for scalp ailments, and she asked if she could try mint tea instead since we have an abundance of mint growing near our house.  I said, why not use both?

Here are her herbs waiting for the tea pot to boil.

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And here’s mullein growing wild, just for reference.  Please note that I am NOT an herbalist or expert and I’m just learning all of this.  So don’t take my word for it.  Do some of your own research or ask a real expert before being sure you have identified a plant.

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Last, but definitely not least, we have a mystery plant growing in our garden!  I was hoping it was parsnip.  Nope, not parsnip. Rutabaga?  Nope.  (Thank goodness. Then I would feel compelled to actually prepare it.)  So, what is it?  My next guess is an overgrown radish.  What do you think this is?

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I am really hoping it is something edible, since there are a lot of them growing.

My Menu Board

If I only made half the things I pinned on Pinterest… Well, I’d have a lot more things like this:

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It’s my take on the menu boards I’ve seen.  I took an old bulletin board I got at a thrift store for $1 and decopaged it with scrapbook paper.  I painted the clothespins and hot glued them to the board.  The little pockets are boxes from medicine and yogurt starter–any lightweight box that size would do.  Decopage and hot glue, and there you have the little card holders.  One holds blank notecards, and the other is for ones that have dinner items written on them.  Rather than try to make fancy, decorated menu cards, I think the plain notecards fit my style.  I can make new ones easily and even erase.  My menu board was supposed to give me freedom by not having to decide what to make for dinner at the last minute, not constrain me by which recipes I have made into fancy cards.  I’ve been using it for a week and it really works for me.  The organic zucchini in the fridge will not spoil because I forgot it was there–it’s scheduled for dinner tomorrow.  So far, I love this system!

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