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Posts Tagged ‘enchanted gardens’

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Many of you already know how to make your own vanilla extract, but those of you who don’t, you will be pleasantly surprised at just how simple it is.

I say that quite a bit don’t I? “It’s so easy.” It’s really simple.”

But so much in life has been done by big machines and bigger business that many have never had the chance to realize just how easy or how much healthier, and even cheaper, they are to do yourself.

And Vanilla Extract is no different.

You need:

Vanilla beans
Hard alcohol (vodka, rum, brandy, whiskey, ect.)

I used 2 vanilla beans,  8 ounces of vodka and a recycled bottle.

Cut the vanilla beans in about 1 inch pieces. Place them in the bottle.

Fill the jar with alcohol. Cover and wait.

It takes about 3 months to get a good vanilla extract, but it’s usable within days. It really depends on the beans.

But get this…
You can keep topping off the bottle with more alcohol and continue to have plenty of vanilla extract! This will work for at least 3-4 more full bottles. As the beans soften they continue to release vanilla-ey goodness.

What you brewing in your kitchen?

Live Well!
~S 

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View the original post at A Life Enchanted

My family gave me the sweetest Mother’s Day gift.

A week “off”!

A full 7 days of no cleaning, no cooking, no grocery shopping, no taking care of them. They want to do everything for me. Hmmh. Well, let’s talk about this, shall we….

First, I can’t believe how unbelievably generous these darlings are. The Mister gets up at 4:30 every morning to go to work and works hard all day. So watching he and our daughter cook dinner, clean the kitchen and do laundry at the same time was actually a bit painful. Plus, I like taking care of them! I don’t have dinner on the table at the same time every night because I have to, but because I like to. In this house I clean the floors daily,  dust every other day, shop every other day. And I like being busy, so sitting knowing the floors need cleaning, the lawn REALLY needs mowing and my plans for this week were to clean out the pantry and all the kitchen cabinets has thus far, been near torture. (it’s not as spotless here as that may make it sound, really.) But I made a promise. And I just love that they would even want to do this. So here I sit.

Okay, not really. I must confess.
I went shopping on my way home. I scouted for dirty dishes (and embarrassingly found them) in the bedrooms. I weeded the gardens some. But that’s not really house work, is it? I swept the floors yesterday and am having a very hard time refraining today. And I did wash some dishes. BUT, only because I had dirtied them!

So, to keep my promise I found a whole bunch of other things to keep me busy after returning home from training. I had to get out or surely would have started dusting. So I went foraging.

I found a slew of dandelions for us to talk about later this week. Here are just a few.

And the mustard spinach growing in the lawn needed to be picked before the mower got a hold of it.

Then I decided to venture in the woods across from the house. I didn’t find much more than a bunch of mosquitoes. And a ton of fairly old bottles and cans. Who ever logged these woods many years ago (or the teenagers who once lived here) sure liked Budweiser.

How old do you think this Pepsi bottle is? It’s plastic, but still been here awhile.

And this iced tea can.

I did find some really great spots deep in the woods. At one point, there I was carrying my basket with the hood of my sweatshirt up to help fight off the mosquitoes. I found myself singing…

“Hey there Little Red Ridinghood. You sure are looking good. You’re everything that a big bad wolf could want.”

Do you remember that song? Well, about the third time through I realized I was in the exact location where the pack of coyote who live in these woods were yelling at me just two nights ago. I love to run in and wander the woods alone. The song was strangely fun and creepy.

The beasts will accompany my future foraging expeditions, per the Mister. I’m married to a Marine, grew up in the woods and have no trouble taking care of myself. Nor do I have a poor sense of direction, but I was stalked by a big cat in these woods once too. I mean a BIG cat. Mountain Lion. They “say” we don’t have them in the Shire, but that’s nonsense. I watched it run past me chasing a dear. A short time later I heard something following me. I turned just in time to see it behind me. I knew it was there all the way home. I’m frequently reminded we have 300 pounds of dog for a reason. But it’s much nicer alone.

I wandered for about an hour and then ventured back home. Started some vanilla extract…

And sourdough starter.

Made two new batches of sauerkraut.

Look at this line up!

Now I have a ton of writing to do and you have a sneak peak at a few of the things to come. But I fear I may have to break my promise before the week is over. I can only keep this up for so long. Or perhaps I should add a couple more morning clients?

I hope your week has started as sweetly as mine! 

Live Well!
~S 

We’re Moving!
Come visit our new home….

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This site is moving! Double posts are time consuming. I can only keep it up for so long. Come follow along at our new home! 

To all my lovely readers, may you enjoy this glorious Sunday with your loves! 

Moms and dads too. Sisters and brothers, friends and lovers. Enjoy your time together. Revel in the simple things.

The Mister, the babes and I were able to spend time yesterday with both of our momma’s. It was a beautiful day. I only wish there were more time. I made these baskets for both.

We were able to visit, had some dinner out and took some time just to be together. It doesn’t get to happen as often as it should. There’s an hours drive between us all. At least. And life can be so busy.

I filled them with some of my favorite things.

All hand made.

This stuff is glorious.

Lemon salt. Heavenly.

I had a lemon, lavender, rosemary theme going on. There’s been a lot of that going on around here lately. My three favorite things.

Enjoy your Sunday! Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! 

Live Well!
~S

We’re Moving!
Come visit our new home….

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The winner of last week’s Lemon Wonder Scrub giveaway is….

Julie Primmerman!!

Congratulations, Julie!

Thank you for the support! And thank you for sharing the site!

Live Well!
~S 

We’re Moving!
Come visit our new home….

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View the original post at A Life Enchanted

It’s been raining for days here in the Shire. But you won’t hear me complain. I love the rain. I find just as much beauty in a warm Spring rain as I do those bright sunny days. And I’m not afraid to get a little…or a lot wet for a visit to the garden.

I’m also not going to complain, because as you may have noticed, I have been rather preoccupied as of late. I know, I know. I haven’t written in days. I have been so busy with products though that there hasn’t been time for much of anything. I can’t tell you all the details for I don’t want to ruin any surprises for some, but I have been in a creating frenzy. My house has been littered with bottles and jars, paper drying and masses of heavenly herbs.  There have been early mornings, long days and late nights. I am proud to say I have created more potions and brews in the past week than ever before!

And my gardens can prove it. Oh, the neglect! I dodged a few rain drops and took some photos. You will see just what has been … NOT happening or happening without me here in the Enchanted Gardens. They sure aren’t looking very enchanted today. Have a look….

There’s quite a bit of lettuce.
But so much more waiting for a home.

Some celery, scallion and a lonely leek patiently waiting for the others to join.

The watermelon radish are putting up a good fight against the stones.

How do they get there?

The peas are looking okay.
I do wish I had gotten them in a week or two earlier.

 The blackberries need a straw blanket…
and perhaps a trim.

They chose this spot themselves. We didn’t plant them.
I do wish they had chosen a spot further from the raised beds.
Another bed and a fence belong here.
But I just don’t have the heart to pull them out.

 Nor do I have the heart to remove these
that have created a home on the other side of the raised beds.

Look at that mess!

 TOO many beets?

They self seeded AND I unknowingly planted more.
Thinning is in order here.

And here.
The cilantro self seeded last year
here where the pattypan squash will call home this year.

 And the dill called this place home
but the cucumbers are moving in soon.

Look at all that baby dill!
And I planted more…. uh oh.

 I was sad to tear out this raised bed,
but the hot tub needs a home too.

I told you it was a busy week…

The herb garden needs some love!
And some mulch.

But the chives are happy.

 The oregano is happy too.
She just needs a little hair cut.

So do her sisters.

The strawberry patch is doing okay,
but look what happens to the seaweed with all this rain.

Soft and mushy and slimy.
This is why I don’t use it for full mulching.

This is Matilda.
She was supposed to be a dwarf weeping cherry.

 She is not a dwarf.
I love her dearly, even if she is far too close to the house for her size.

The lawn is in terrible shape this year.
Ants and moles have taken up residence.
Sixx, the stealthy hunter is taking care of the moles.
The ants… well, that’s my job.
And I’m slacking.

The dogs have done their fair share of destruction as well.
I have my work cut out for me.

Nothing has been edged
and the mustard greens are trying to over take the lawn.

But The Mister’s grandmothers peonies are loving their new home.
Their very healthy, vibrant sisters didn’t fair so well.

Who new the gas man would decide the tank should be moved
when only come to fill??

And who in their right mind would place it over a group
of glorious peonies 3 feet wide?

Well, he did. And he killed them.
All of them.
This group here is the last of them because, well…
The Mister’s mum and aunts…
They killed theirs too.

I’m taking dear care of these ones.

Grow little beauties. Grow!
So the legacy may live on.

This is where my iPhone risked serious destruction as the drops turned to streams. The sun is finally shining though, and the last of the mass of botanicals is to be delivered today. Until Monday of course, when the conjuring will begin again.

I hope you get to play in your gardens this weekend!

Live Well!
~S 

We’re Moving!
Come visit our new home….

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