Saturday, April 04, 2009

Now Up! More Tomatoes, Wind and Waves

Up during the night:

  • The rest of the yellow pear tomatoes
  • 18 cells of Patio tomatoes

Still no show from any of the green peppers, the rosemary or the chives. I thought the chives were coming up, turned out to be another group of onions.

Everything is outside in the sunshine. It is only 6 C (42 F) but the sun is strong and there's no wind, so the brassicas are sitting inside the "dealie", with the top thrown back. Even though there's no top on them the plastic sides concentrate the heat. In the greenhouse it's 25 C (77 F) without lights, and with the side unzipped.

I weeded the oval flower bed I spoke of in an earlier post, added some organic matter and some granulated organic fertilizer. The soil is quite sandy - that's the soil here - sand - and even though it rained a bit the last couple of days that bed was dry. I'd like to be able to water, but can't haul buckets that far.

I walked down to the Lake path to gather balsam buds and mullein seeds to make balsam and mullein seed salve with, and I did gather a few buds, but while six degrees is warm enough for a shirt here where it's protected, it is certainly not warm enough in a 20 km wind coming off 100 miles of water.

The whitecaps were slapping up on the beach and the wind chewed at my bare ears like a rusty saw. I gathered only about 1/4 of the buds I need before turning tail and coming home. I'll go back when it's a bit warmer, and I'll be smart enough to wear a jacket and hat.

Balsam and mullein seed salve is an old remedy for sprains, aching or inflamed muscles. You must gather your balsam buds in early spring, while the buds are still tightly closed. You can pop these off the limbs, but take only one or two from each limb.

You need about 1/2 cup of balsam buds and 1/4 cup of mullein seeds. The mullein seeds can be gathered in the fall or in the spring, as the seed spikes still contain many seeds even in spring. Simply bend the seed spike over, put it inside a plastic bag and shake or hit it to make the small black seeds rattle out.

The seeds and buds go into a cup of olive oil and are simmered (covered) in a double boiler for an hour. Allow to cool, strain and return the oil to the double boiler. Heat again and stir in an ounce and a half of grated beeswax, a little at a time, stirring until the wax melts into the oil. Once the wax is melted into the oil carefully pour the hot mixture into clean jars with sealer lids. The little six ounce size jelly jars are ideal. With a pretty label and a ribbon this salve makes a wonderful gift. Store it in a cool dark place to preserve its medicinal quality for about two years.

Mullein seeds simmered in olive oil are a wonderful earache remedy, 1/4 cup of seeds to 1/2 cup of olive oil, strained, cooled and stored in small glass jars.

Time to get up and get on with housekeeping. It's so lovely out it's tempting to throw all responsibility aside and just go out and play in the dirt, but we all know that if I do that tomorrow I'll need my shovel to clear a path. One thing about living in a small space is that it teaches you the discipline of a place for everything and everything in it's place. It doesn't always work out that way of course, but it's a good goal. :)

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