The Un Neatness of it All

It is Fall. Here in Texas the weather this year is untypically Fall like. Cool nights in the 50’s with highs in the mid to low 70’s, enjoyable and unusual for us.  Typically, the temperatures go from HOT to cold without much in between, like fall weather.

My garden beds have been in great need of cleaning out for a couple of months now. (I like a clean and tidy house.  I also like my beds and yard to be neat and tidy.)  When I let the clean out of the gardens go (like I have for months) it feels untidy and like I need to clean house.  So, with the help of my husband we set out to clean out some garden beds.

I started in the round garden bed that is directly in front of the porch we sit on every day.  We enjoy sitting on the porch chatting at the end of our day, relaxing.  This round bed was atrocious. Grass was 2 feet high overwhelming the mint that was trying to come back now that the weather has cooled off. I was pulling and digging out the roots that run underground.  We trimmed hedges, cleaned out weeds, raked, pulled and picked up for hours.

As I was cleaning the round bed I began to wonder “Can there be beauty or calm in the un neatness of it all?” The un neatness of it all……. 

As I was looking at the tall grass I was pulling and tossing to the side; I saw some light colored fuzzy soft looking ends on some of the grass. I became curious and had to take a break and see if I could work some of that fuzzy soft looking grass heads out away from the other burn pile bound stack of garden debris.

Someone described me as tenacious one time and I have to say, that I am.  I sat on the damp ground and carefully worked out the grass heads and stems until I had a small pile of them.  Taken away from all of the other un neatness, I thought these were simple and lovely.  Looked like something you might find in a Fall floral arrangement. I left them in the pile on the grass and went back to my tasks.

The stopping place was determined. I looked over the yard at the garden beds and received the instant gratification one can get from yard work.  The beds we worked looked much better and the round bed showed a few remaining pieces of mint popping up to catch the afternoon sun.

I finally picked up the small pile of grass I had set aside and decided I thought it was lovely.  I put it in a small vase, created for me by my daughter years ago, and looked for other opportunities for what might be lovely and calm laying in the un neatness scattered all across the front of my house.

There, simply lovely.

Placed in the vase by my chair in my now favorite corner on my porch it provides a calm beauty.

There will always be un neatness on my small acreage and in my gardens but as I’m walking thru it each day I will remember to look for the beauty and calm in the un neatness of it all.

Life can be un neat, messy, full of weeds so it blocks our view of what may be calm and beautiful. Don’t forget to look.

Banana, Pancakes, Autumn Spice

I had very ripe bananas this morning when I got ready to make some breakfast.  I decided to make one of my favorite things, Banana Pancakes.

Make your pancake batter as you normally do.  If it is from scratch or mix it doesn’t matter.  All you are going to do is add some very ripe bananas.  I made a standard amount of pancake batter for a family of 4.

Mash up 2 ripe bananas.  Once well mashed add them into your batter.  Then add C & J Farms 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Autumn Spice Blend.  Mix until well incorporated.  Cook as normal.

This is so yummy as it is but would be amazing with our new Chocolate Honey on top.

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It’s Time for Thyme

Thyme is an herb we take for granted.  We add it liberally to our sauces, chicken, soups and more as a culinary staple but this is an herb we can turn to time and again for help.

If you like to grow things thyme is a very easy herb to grow.  You can put it in pots or garden spaces as borders.  This plant (here in Texas) stays green year round.  Our Texas summers push the plant back a bit in the heat of the year but it bounces back as soon as the weather begins to cool down.  So plant it once and have it for a long time.

During this challenging time in our world today, many of us are looking for ways to boost our immune systems and help us to stay well.  So, it’s time we looked at Thyme.

Did you know thyme supports lung health?  It also has many other therapeutic properties.  First, this herb is considered beneficial for coughs, colds, respiratory issues, bronchitis, promoting breathing and help to break up phlegm.  It is also thought to strengthen the lungs.

* Cough

Thyme has long been used as a home remedy for cough, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions. It is sometimes taken orally to treat a chest infection or inhaled to open airways. There is some clinical evidence of these effects.

According to a 2013 study in the European Respiratory Journal, thymol acts on receptors on the tongue, mouth, throat, and nasal passages in a way that may suppress coughs.

The study involved 18 volunteers, each of whom was exposed to cough stimuli. After using a thymol nasal spray, they underwent several tests to evaluate the urge to cough, the number of coughs experienced, and the threshold by which coughs occurred.

While the nasal spray had no effect on the cough threshold (the point where coughs occur in response to stimuli), it significantly reduced the number and severity of coughs as well as the overall urge to cough. The users reported that the spray had a pleasant cooling effect.

You can find much information on this herb. Here is a list of a few more things it is said to help:  Atopic Dermoatitis, Intestinal Infections, and Menstrual Cramps.

Personally, I have used thyme as a gargle for sore throats and it worked so much and so quickly.  I keep this growing and on hand dried all of the time.  We hope you do your own research.  For us – it’s always time for Thyme.

Click here to take advantage our our special, 10% off of any bulk herbs.  Type in this code:  Justbc at checkout to receive the special.  This offer will be good thru July 15th.

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*this information came from VeryWellHealth.com

This is for information purposes only.  Always talk with your doctor before you add herbs in a medicinal way to your diet and always do your own research.

 

This Herb May Help a Cough, Congestion

Mullein is a common weed prominent all over the United States, often found along stretches of the highway, on the edges of forests and on the gravely sides of railroad tracks. But this plant is much more than a bit of roadside greenery, as it may assist in the recovery of several common conditions within it its fuzzy, pale green leaves and yellow rosettes. Originally used by the natives in several parts of the United States, this plant is still used because of its, beneficial effects on the respiratory system. Assisting with common ailments such as coughing, lung weakness, respiratory constriction and chest colds, the mullein plant is truly a lung healing herb.

Known as Verbascum thapsus, its Latin name, mullein is considered beneficial for the lungs because it is an expectorant. This means that the herb may help the body remove excess mucus from lungs and soothes the mucus membranes with its emollient properties. It is therefore excellent for helping with the relief of bronchitis, heavy coughing, chest colds and even asthma. Both the leaves and the flowers of the plant contain saponins, natural detergents which make a cough more productive in releasing and expelling phlegm from the walls of the lungs, and mucilage, a gelatinous substance which soothes any irritated membrane.

The herb is also a diuretic and thus can relieve urinary tract inflammation when taken through a tea. It can also be used to decrease inflammation in the bowels, helping to reduce colitis and other issues.

A Mullein Tea Recipe
Ingredients
1 ½ cups boiling water
1-2 teaspoons dried mullein leaves and/or flowers (flowers make a sweeter tea)
1 teaspoon dried spearmint (optional for flavor)
1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)

Method
Steep the mullein leaves in hot water inside a tea ball or strainer for 15 minutes. Add honey if you like a sweeter tea.

Other Ways to Use this Herb:
Mullein extract infused with olive oil has been used to reduce the inflammation of earaches, sore joints, insect bites and hemorrhoids because of its soothing properties.

Simple poultices made out of fresh, mashed mullein and flowers mixed with water can also be used to relieve, burns, boils and sores.

Notes to Know:
Native Americans and the Amish smoked the dried leaves to relax the lungs when respiratory coughing was uncontrollable, or breathing became too difficult. Often just making a smudge of the leaves would suffice.

If you decide to make your own concoctions from mullein, which is easy to do, make sure that you strain all your product through a very fine sieve to remove the hairs from the leaves. These hairs are what most people find irritating if they have allergies.

Mullein must always be heated thoroughly before being ingested due to the saponins which are rather toxic. After being heated, mullein is fine for humans.

This is for information only.  Though this herb has been used for centuries.

A study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308991417_Assessing_the_Effectiveness_of_Mullein_on_Respiratory_Conditions_Such_as_Asthma

https://www.organicauthority.com/health/mullein-herbal-tea

Thyme to Boost your Immune System

Thyme is one of those herbs most of us have in our pantry.  It is a well loved herb most associated with Italian dishes.  I love the flavor of Thyme in my dishes but it also has properties that may help boost your immune system.  I know I have had my grandson use it as a gargle for red sore throat.

Getting all the vitamins your body needs every day can be challenging. Luckily, thyme is packed with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. If you feel a cold coming on, thyme can help get you back in good health. Another health benefit of thyme: It’s a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese.

More benefits of Thyme: 1) fungicidal properties, 2) make homemade bug repellant, 3) its antiseptic and antifungal properties, 4) often used for aromatic and therapeutic purposes because of its active substance carvacrol.

To use this for it’s benefits other than yummy in food you can make a tincture.  Watch our facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/CJFarmsTexas/?ref=bookmarks to see when that will be available.

Watch this video to learn how to use your culinary herbs at home to enjoy in other ways and that may be beneficial to our bodies.

Hoping these things might help us stay well.  Always let your medical professional know you are incorporating herbs and seek advise.

 

 

https://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-thyme#3

 

Fall Container Gardens – Hard to Find Medicinal Herbs, Let’s Plant

It is August and is now typically Texas HOT and I’m talking about gardening.  We have just put out a limited amount of beautiful medicinal herb plants to use as container gardening for this fall and winter.  I want to tell you about them.  They are beautiful for container planting, some of them are so fragrant and all of them are helpful.

First let me tell you about the few plants we have in one gallon pots.  They are already of a nice size so put into a lovely pot these are ready to make a statement now.

GYNURA SPINACH – aka longevity spinach. Research shows that it is an efficient regulator of blood sugar.  Leaves eaten in salads or cooked in dishes, may lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

This is a fast growing plant. Is vining in nature but can be cut to bush.  It is a good candidate for growing indoors as it is a tropical. It is easy to grow, just give them lots of light. You can enjoy these leaves raw or cooked. They are very high in protein.  Good for vegetarians to know.
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WHITE CHRYSANTHEMUM TEA – I am so excited about this plant!! White Chrysanthemum Tea – Chinese Gong Ju Hua Cha, is made form the dried flowers of this plant.  Did you know all Chrysanthemum flowers are edible?  They are!

An evergreen and hardy to 0 degrees. Flowering occurs in the fall in zone 7.  The plant prefers full sun, well drained soils and frequent watering.

The flowers are steeped in hot water and a herbal tea is made.  This is highly medicinal and thought to help reduce inflammation in the body, help with eye problems like – blurred vision, spotty vision, watery eyes and maybe even help with cataracts. May help with high cholesterol, blood pressure and alleviate cold symptoms.
Med - White Chry Tea

CURRY TREE – this smells delightful!!! This is another great container tree.  In a container it will grow about 3’ in height.  It likes to be fed and pruned for a strong bushy plant  Unless you live in zone 9 or higher the container is the way to go.  It can be outside here all summer and then moved indoors for the winter.

The leaves are thick so normally always fried in oil alone before adding any other spices to the dish.  Make a pesto or use on your BBQ.  Experiment with this one.  A beautiful fragrant plant.  A conversation piece for sure.
Med - Curry Tree - Copy

TEA TREE – we are all familiar with Tea Tree Oil, well this is the tree it comes from.

The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a small evergreen that likes warm climates. It is attractive and fragrant, with an exotic look. The oil from the foliage of this tree is widely used.  Melaleuca tea trees attract attention in your garden, with the trunk being one of the most attractive features is the trunk, with its gorgeous, papery bark.  Living here in Texas where it is mostly warm it can be planted in the gardens.  This can also be grown in containers and is a good way to control the rapid growth of this tree. This also ensures its survival. It must have a lot of sunlight.  This is a fast-growing tree.  It takes a few years before you will see the flowers.

It is recommended you don’t plant this tree outside unless you live in a zone 8 or above. The trees need sun, sun, sun.  They will not do well in the shade. Make sure the soil drains easily. These trees like water.  You need to keep that soil a bit moist at all times.

It is an evergreen and can grow 8 to 15 feet and does like the Texas heat.  It is cold hardy to at least 16 degrees.  It is used in products like soap, toothpaste, oils, etc. Anti-fungal/bacterial.
Med - Tea Tree

The following plants I have in 4″ pots.
HIBISCUS “ROSELLE”
Hibiscus Roselle This bushy shrub can grow 4 to 7’ tall in t he ground but is also a good candidate for container growing. Water the soil when it becomes dry to the touch. To reiterate, water only enough to make the soil moist, not wet. It is critical to use the right type of fertilizer. The fertilizer needs to be one with low phosphorus, moderate nitrogen, and high potassium. Fertilize every two to three weeks.

The calyx is harvested and steeped to make a tea.  Hibiscus Roselle tea is reported to lower blood pressure and lower your LDL cholesterol. This may be worth trying. The beautiful tea is red in color and tastes delicious.  Hibiscus tea does not contain caffeine and is reported to help you relax, making it a good drink for those that are sensitive to caffeine.

ZA’ATAR – this is a wild oregano in Israel. It is in the oregano/thyme family.  This is also called the bible hyssop. This herb can be put into a delicious olive oil to enjoy dipping a fresh crusty bread in. It can be used as an herb in many culinary dishes.  Commonly used in Mediterranean dishes with yogurt, meats and veggies.

TOOTHACHE PLANT – Acmella Oleracea – It has daisy like flowers in the summertime.  It has been used medicinally for a long time. It has been used been used for generations to manage the pain of toothaches. Both the leaves and the attractive golden flowers can be used as a natural anesthetic. Simply chew the leaves or flowers for a few seconds then you’ll experience a tingling and numbing sensation in your mouth. An infusion or tincture made from the Toothache Plant is said to promote gum and throat health due to its strong antibacterial properties. Also called Spilanthes oleracea.

This herb is a good candidate for container growing.  It gets to about 18” tall, fast grower and takes well to pruning.  It needs a lot of light but don’t overwater.  Wait until the soil is dry to the touch then water. Provides pretty yellow flowers. Enjoy this one.
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ST. JOHNS WORT – This plant is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. Research indicates St. John’s wort is most often used as a dietary supplement for depression. People also use it as a dietary supplement for other conditions, including menopausal symptoms, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and obsessive-disorder. It is used topically for wound healing.  The flowering tops of St. John’s wort are used to prepare teas, tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. Topical preparations are also available.  This plant likes a lot of water. Is a small shruby plant.

Easy to grow it is not too particular.  Gets to about 3’ tall and provides yellow flowers in the  summer time.
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HOLY BASIL, RAMA TULSI – We have two types of Holy Basil – Rama Tulsi – True Holy Basel, held sacred by the Hindus.  Enjoy in tea, cooking, and salads. Both of the Holy Basil (Tulsi) have a delightful fragrance.  I enjoy them very much for that one benefit alone.  They have been very easy for me to grow and will be a delight to have in your indoor herb garden.

It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for generations. This variety has been found to be one of the highest in medicinal compounds; adaptogenic, antifungal, antibacterial and immune enhancing. Enjoy a tea, tincture, extract or syrup.
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HOLY BASIL, KRISHNA TULSI – It acts like an annual, and is even known to self-seed in temperate climates, which is quite unusual for basil.  Eat one fresh leaf daily, or pick the leaves and flowers and dry them and make the tea. Most excellent. Adaptogenic, immune enhancing, antifungal and antibacterial.

This is easiest of all Tulsi types to grow in temperate gardens and is highly aromatic. Enjoy this too in your kitchen herb garden.  Enjoy this in your kitchen garden in the winter and set out on your porch the rest of the year.  Keep the flowers cut for a bushier plant with a lot more foliage.

Come out and get these hard to find plants and have them for this fall and winter.