A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: January 2014

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29 January 2014

How to Raise Rhubarb

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I refuse to admit it is still winter.  I am going to just pretend we are already nipping at the heels of Spring!  Early spring is one of my VERY favorite times to garden, for each tiny bit of green seems like a major victory.  Nondescript plants become the stars of the show when they are the only green around and vegetables we might throw to the compost heap in late fall are the delicacies that see us through the last bitter days of late winter.  While asparagus reigns KING over the early spring garden, there is another plant I look forward to seeing each February or March.  I call her the queen.


Queen rhubarb that is...


She is not all that impressive until you look around and notice that everything else in the garden is still looking ragged, hagard and mean.  Rhubarb is throwing out her tough and bombascious greens and sticking her thumb up at the world.  No really.  Hop back up there to that first photo and you will see it.  That little lump in the middle of the plant.  That is the beginnings of a FABULOUS pie.

That "thumb" will morph into long stems with ruffly leaves on the end.  You want to EAT the stems and SKIP the leaves.  Those broad, light-gathering leaves will make you sick if you eat them.  Stick to those lovely stalks mixed with some strawberries.


The stalks start off small, like any good thing, and they taste best when they are about the size of a large pencil.  As they get thicker, the taste gets muddled.  Snap off the stalks, but leave the roots and you will have rhubarb for years to come!

Note:  I purchased my rhubarb roots at WalMart very cheaply and they have done fine!!  Rhubarb can be split at the root to make more plants, so all in all, a VERY inexpensive plant to grow!


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How to Raise Rhubarb

Pin It

I refuse to admit it is still winter.  I am going to just pretend we are already nipping at the heels of Spring!  Early spring is one of my VERY favorite times to garden, for each tiny bit of green seems like a major victory.  Nondescript plants become the stars of the show when they are the only green around and vegetables we might throw to the compost heap in late fall are the delicacies that see us through the last bitter days of late winter.  While asparagus reigns KING over the early spring garden, there is another plant I look forward to seeing each February or March.  I call her the queen.


Queen rhubarb that is...


She is not all that impressive until you look around and notice that everything else in the garden is still looking ragged, hagard and mean.  Rhubarb is throwing out her tough and bombascious greens and sticking her thumb up at the world.  No really.  Hop back up there to that first photo and you will see it.  That little lump in the middle of the plant.  That is the beginnings of a FABULOUS pie.

That "thumb" will morph into long stems with ruffly leaves on the end.  You want to EAT the stems and SKIP the leaves.  Those broad, light-gathering leaves will make you sick if you eat them.  Stick to those lovely stalks mixed with some strawberries.


The stalks start off small, like any good thing, and they taste best when they are about the size of a large pencil.  As they get thicker, the taste gets muddled.  Snap off the stalks, but leave the roots and you will have rhubarb for years to come!

Note:  I purchased my rhubarb roots at WalMart very cheaply and they have done fine!!  Rhubarb can be split at the root to make more plants, so all in all, a VERY inexpensive plant to grow!


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27 January 2014

Green Tea and Allspice Soap (in the microwave!)

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You know the kind of soap that scratches your skin when you use it?
You know...the kind you use when you REALLY want to feel clean and scrub off the dirt of the day?
That kind of soap serves as a cleanser AND an exfoliator and when making your own, 
you can use anything from oatmeal to salt or sugar to a host of spices including the wonderful smelling...

ALLSPICE.


A small handful of allspice,  a little Green Tea fragrance oil, a flat of glycerin melt and pour soap base from Stephenson's 
and a wee bit of Ivory Soap are the basic ingredients for this soap.


You don't have to use those exact ingredients, but to make an exfoliating soap you WILL need:

A. A meltable soap base
B. An exfoliating add-in like allspice
C. Fragrance oil

Put your spices in a plastic bag and SMOOSH them.


Once they are good and smashed (but NOT powdered yet), you are ready to add them to the soap base.  Simply melt the chunks of glycerin
 (or whichever type of soap base you desire) in the microwave, add the chunks of allspice and a few drops of fragrance oil.

Want a little more help with these steps?  Learn about the basic process of easy soap making HERE.


Mix and pour into a greased loaf pan and allow it to cool. For an extra layer of texture, I added more crushed allspice 
and grated ivory soap on the top of the soap while it was still slightly warm and loose.


It created this cool textural effect on the top edge of the soap -- see above?

Once the soap is completely cooled, pry it out of the mold as gently as possible.


Then, take your basic kitchen knife to the soap and cut into the shapes you choose.  I made long bars.
The soap is VERY easy to cut -- see that photo on the left?


Smooth any edges with a tiny bit of water on your hands and you are done!


To package, parchment paper or a pretty towel work well.  
Secure with twine and add a little tag so folks don't try to EAT these bars!


Share the love this Valentines with 40% off Kiwi Crate!





Pin It

Green Tea and Allspice Soap (in the microwave!)

Pin It



You know the kind of soap that scratches your skin when you use it?
You know...the kind you use when you REALLY want to feel clean and scrub off the dirt of the day?
That kind of soap serves as a cleanser AND an exfoliator and when making your own, 
you can use anything from oatmeal to salt or sugar to a host of spices including the wonderful smelling...

ALLSPICE.


A small handful of allspice,  a little Green Tea fragrance oil, a flat of glycerin melt and pour soap base from Stephenson's 
and a wee bit of Ivory Soap are the basic ingredients for this soap.


You don't have to use those exact ingredients, but to make an exfoliating soap you WILL need:

A. A meltable soap base
B. An exfoliating add-in like allspice
C. Fragrance oil

Put your spices in a plastic bag and SMOOSH them.


Once they are good and smashed (but NOT powdered yet), you are ready to add them to the soap base.  Simply melt the chunks of glycerin
 (or whichever type of soap base you desire) in the microwave, add the chunks of allspice and a few drops of fragrance oil.

Want a little more help with these steps?  Learn about the basic process of easy soap making HERE.


Mix and pour into a greased loaf pan and allow it to cool. For an extra layer of texture, I added more crushed allspice 
and grated ivory soap on the top of the soap while it was still slightly warm and loose.


It created this cool textural effect on the top edge of the soap -- see above?

Once the soap is completely cooled, pry it out of the mold as gently as possible.


Then, take your basic kitchen knife to the soap and cut into the shapes you choose.  I made long bars.
The soap is VERY easy to cut -- see that photo on the left?


Smooth any edges with a tiny bit of water on your hands and you are done!


To package, parchment paper or a pretty towel work well.  
Secure with twine and add a little tag so folks don't try to EAT these bars!


Share the love this Valentines with 40% off Kiwi Crate!





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Spot the Imposter | Oranges and Purples

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Some are fake.  Some are real.  Can you play the game?


Say which is which and take your pick.
Then I'll tell you from whence they came.


Smokebush Flowers -- tiny, but real.


Purple Smokebush leaves?  Also real.
Smoky Grey Lambsear?  Also real.
Orange blooms?


Not so much.  

The Dollar Tree strikes again.

****************************************************************************
Though if you look in photo #1 you WILL see a true orange rose. 
 Did you know she was real while her bedfellows were fake?
****************************************************************************

Sick of the snow??  Me too.  
You might want to peruse the archives of my GARDENING PAGE to escape 
the icy nightmare outside or even say Hi to some of the gardeners over in the FORUM.

Pin It

Spot the Imposter | Oranges and Purples

Pin It

Some are fake.  Some are real.  Can you play the game?


Say which is which and take your pick.
Then I'll tell you from whence they came.


Smokebush Flowers -- tiny, but real.


Purple Smokebush leaves?  Also real.
Smoky Grey Lambsear?  Also real.
Orange blooms?


Not so much.  

The Dollar Tree strikes again.

****************************************************************************
Though if you look in photo #1 you WILL see a true orange rose. 
 Did you know she was real while her bedfellows were fake?
****************************************************************************

Sick of the snow??  Me too.  
You might want to peruse the archives of my GARDENING PAGE to escape 
the icy nightmare outside or even say Hi to some of the gardeners over in the FORUM.

Pin It

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