Posts from the ‘garden’ Category

Want to know the best herb in the world?


Lemon Verbena plants can grow to be 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. This was bought last year. It is deciduous so over the winter we’d thought it died. Good thing we didn’t uproot it! it is easily 4x as big as last year!

Now it may not be the most versatile of herbs.  In fact I guarantee it is not.  We easily use the chives and parsley most often, and who can argue against the wonderful flavor of fresh basil, but my favorite is hands-down the lemon verbena.

I hear that you should harvest leaves before the plant flowers for the best flavor. Harvest by plucking individual leaves, not by cutting branches, unless you are trying to prune.

We use the lemon verbena in tea along with some fresh mint leaves.  I am going to attempt to dry the leaves so I can enjoy this refreshing herbal tea all. year. long.  I Gathered several handfuls of leaves and pulled out the old de-humidifier we got from a friend who was cleaning out her late grandfather’s estate.

mmmmm smells like heaven….if heaven smelled lemoney-sweet

Place the Lemon Verbena leaves on the de-humidifier so air can circulate all around them. Our de-humidifier has several levels and a solid sheet for making fruit leathers so I placed this sheet on the bottom rack to catch any crumbs from the dried leaves.

Dry the leaves on the lowest setting. I let them sit overnight.

In the morning the leaves were perfectly dried.

Be sure to check the leaves and make sure they crumble easily. They can also be dried by laying them out on paper towels and then transferring them to drying racks, but I found the overnight a ton faster and less of a hassle.

And now I have a jar of dried lemon verbena! Viola!

Final thought: If you don’t have a lemon verbena plant buy one.  Ours was $4 from the local Home Depot.  If it dies you’re only out $4 and if it lives, oh the glory that will be wafted about your property will be priceless!

Of course while I was drying these I got an urge for some delicious lemon verbena mint tea.  So what is a girl to do?  Guess I’ll just brew up a pot.  Want a play-by-play of that too?  I know you do!  (short version: put leaves in pot, add hot water.)

Mint and Lemon Verbena leaves for a 3 cup pot of tea. Even Beanie loves the smell and is always asking if she can pick one just to have.

Select the perfect tea-pot.

rinse the tea leaves thoroughly.


Fill the pot with hot water while the fresh cool water boils. Pre-heating your tea-pot helps to keep it from cracking.

Here is another shot to show the proportions of lemon verbena to mint. The volume of each is approx. the same, but the mint leaves are much larger in size, so more lemon verbena are needed. We usually go about 16 lemon to 8 mint.

empty the hot water and put the leaves in the pot.

add boiling water.

Let seep for 5-10 minutes or until desired strength is reached.

Add sugar (or honey or nothing) and enjoy.

They’re Beginning to look a lot like Chickens

At 5 weeks old our little chicks are really feathering out.  The Barred Rocks are the biggest and I’ll give you one guess who is smallest…

They’re starting to show some real personality and even Dinner is growing on me.

A few of them figured out how to climb up into the apple tree and have been roosting away up there.  It was pretty cute, one of the Rhode Island Reds did it first and then it was the hot thing for about five minutes, all but the silkies were trying there little clawed foot at it.  My husband wonders if they’ll fly the coop climbing up so high into the tree…what do you think?

Now if they will just figure out how to get back into the coop by themselves I’ll be happy.

Dinner and Goldilocks enjoy the warm day from the bough of our teeny Apple tree.

Dinner, our SLW, is turning into one of the more beautiful birds.

Dinner snoozing.

Our Barred Rocks and Teeny Weenie, the partridge silkie, taking a nap.

Pretty Polly pecking for prizes.

Apparently the chickens aren’t the only ones who like Apple Trees.

The poor chickens were all huddled in the corner trying to stay away from the monster after their feed. The poor squirrel didn’t know how to get out, and about had a heart attack when my husband went in to chase it out of there.

And as a side question…doesn’t anybody know when we should harvest our lettuce?

 May 27, 2012  Side Yard Flock   11 Comments
Categories: chickens, garden, photography Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,