I'm Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh growing herbs is a passion I've had for more than 20 years now. The Backyard Patch is my own herb business started in 1995. I specialize in fresh, amazing, organic blended herbs. Those for cooking, tea and bath -- and they are all home-grown and hand-blended. In the last 20 years I have gained a knowledge of herbs and their flavors that I share here.
In the Spring I presented a garden theme idea of a Garden of
Mary. Now on the Feast of the Assumption
of Mary, which was first celebrated in 529 AD, I thought we could learn a few more
plants whose names were changed to Honor Mary.
Our Lady's Herbs
Spearmint was known as Our Lady's
Marjoram was Mother of God's Flower.
Bee balm and lemon balm were both
called Sweet Mary.
Catnip was Mary's Nettle.
Sage was Mary's shawl.
Dandelion was known as Mary's Bitter
A group of herbs became known as Manger Herbs because they made a bed for the
Infant Jesus when he was born.
·Sweet woodruff and
yellow bedstraw were called Our Lady's Bedstraw
·creeping thyme was
·Mints and pennyroyal
were also said to have been used in the manger.
This information came
from a hard to locate book entitled Mary’s
Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations, by Vincenzina Krymow.
I have never been able
to locate this book, but I have read excepts and paraphrases of it
from other blogs and articles. If anyone knows where I can get
a copy, please let me know. My library, normally the best at
locating the obscure and rare, has been unable to obtain a copy real
We are out at an event Saturday in Batavia - Green Fair on the Fox. Part of the "Green Theme" is to get involved in changing our habits to be more green. The ideas is to "Change ONE" thing you do to be more green. Once you do one, you can add another and another and.... Here are a list of suggestions:
Line dry laundry
Print double sided
Use cloth napkins
Compost food and yard waste
Turn off lights when you
leave the room
Replace your light bulbs with CFL bulbs
Turn your water heater
down a couple degrees
Use low flow toilets and shower heads
with cloth grocery bags
Use upcycled rags instead of paper towels
Switch to natural cleaning products
Reduce meat consumption
We have grown a garden and are composting our food and yard waste. We even save our grease for recycling through the Village. In our garden is a little known vegetable called Kohlrabi. A friend of mine in Seneca, IL gets me kohlrabi plants of the variety Kossack, which get large but do not get woody like some larger kohlrabi do. We love growing them as they can go in early and later in the summer. They also are a no maintenance plant. You plant them and later you harvest them. Occasionally you water them, but sometimes you do not even need to do that.
Kohlrabi is an underused vegetable. People do not grow it and if they do they are not sure what to do with it. I developed this slaw recipe to show how tasty it was to the uninitiated. It seems to be our favorite way to eat the vegetable, although this year I will also be fermenting it, as this is my new kick.
Peel two small kohlrabi, if young just cut off
the eyes. Shred the kohlrabi and radishes. You may use a food processor for
this. I use a mandolin or a cheese grater.
Mix vinegar, sugar, Soup & Salad Seasoning and fresh chopped parsley
in a glass bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Add
mayo. Pour over shredded veggies and toss. Chill for 30 minutes or more and
We have several high end and ethnic grocery stores in our
area. One of them sells olives in an
olive bar. I got a container with a
mixture of all the olives available in the bar that were already pitted to use
in the recipe. If this is not possible
where you live, get a can of black ripe olives and a jar of pitted large green
olives or Kalamata olives. The recipe will still be quite tasty.
We made this several times in July, serving it to party guests and at the Garden
Club meeting. In the process I found my
favorite version was when we grilled the peppers and mushrooms before chopping
them into the blend. The sweetness of
the grilled peppers and the smokiness of the mushrooms really added great
flavor components to the dish.
One batch was made with sautéed peppers, mushrooms and
olives that hubby had left over from making breakfast omelets. This was sweet
and savory at the same time.
The best part about the recipe was that no version was
bad. They were all tasty, all popular
with others, and all disappeared in a day.
Mushroom Muffalatta Dip / Salsa
¾ to 1 cup Olives, pitted (can be brined or olive oil cured),
1 red sweet pepper, chopped fine
3 to 4 button or bebe mushrooms, chopped fine
1 Shallot, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 Tbls. fresh flat parsley, minced
2 teaspoons oregano, minced (or 1 tsp dry)
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbls. Wine or herbal vinegar
You can hand chop the vegetables or use a food processor. You do not want to make this into a paste,
you want to see the chunks. I hand
chopped the olives, peppers and mushrooms and herbs.
Place chopped olives, peppers, and mushrooms in a bowl. In a smaller bowl combine minced herbs, olive
oil and vinegar. Whisk together. Pour over other ingredients and combine
well. Allow to meld in refrigerator for
an hour or more before serving.
Serve with sliced bread or crackers like a crostini.
Optional preparation method: to make this into a sandwich spread,
run the olives, vegetables and mushrooms in a food processor, then add herbs,
oil and vinegar and blend until you create a paste. Spread on sandwiches. Will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.
Did you know Cleopatra’s beauty was
attributed to her love of milk baths? Milk contains lactic acid, which is
packed with skin softening properties that leave skin feeling
smoother and more resilient. The lactic acid in milk acts similarly to the
alpha hydroxyl acids found in expensive skin creams, which dissolve
proteins that bind dead skin cells together. Milk baths are also
great for soothing burns and skin after spending too much time in the sun!
Milk baths are best with powdered
milk. Add two cups of powdered milk to your bath while it’s
filling. Herbs and honey can be added to give additional benefits. The recipe below has herbs to soothe, soften and protect skin form the ravages of summer sun.
Sun Healing Milk Bath
2 cups powdered milk
1 Tbls Thyme, lemon or common
1 Tbls. Sage
1 Tbls Marjoram
1 Tbls Rose petals
1 Tbls Basil leaves
Place the milk in the water while
filling the tub. Place the herbs in a
bag and swirl through the water while filling tub, then allow to soak in the water
while you bathe. The herbs will kill
germs, soften skin and reduce inflammation. Soak and relax!
9th 2016, just days after we’d heard the good news that monarch numbers had
rebounded to cover just over 4 hectares of forest in the mountains of central
Mexico; a huge winter storm hit their wintering sites and the surrounding area.
The storm began with rain and was followed by hail, snow, and sub-freezing
temperatures. The freezing temperatures killed many monarchs and the strong
winds caused trees to topple over, losing monarch habitat. Because the spring
migration from Mexico just started, the full population was in the storm's
courtesy of agardenbydesign.blogspot.com
The storm caused immense destruction, but it was hard to tell how
this would impact the monarchs and their habitat. However, the storm clarified
the importance of a large, robust monarch population. If it had hit two years
ago, when the monarch population was at its lowest level ever (under one
hectare), it is not clear that the population could have recovered.
Right after the storm, monarchs were spotted traveling north.
Journey North received their first reports on March 14th, and while the numbers
spotted by citizen scientists during the spring migration were low, monarchs
did move into their northern breeding grounds, and by June 16th, the migration
was approaching its northern extent. For maps of the migration this year visitJourney North’swebsite.
Monarch Larva Monitoring
confirm the low numbers reported by Journey North volunteers. We are seeing
numbers that rival those of 2013, which resulted in the lowest number of
monarchs ever seen in Mexico. However, we know that the population did rebound
from the low numbers a few years ago, and that, with our help, they can do it
again. And the population is still building this summer. Monarchs are around,
just not in the numbers that we’ve seen in the past; we’re starting to hear
more positive reports from people throughout the breeding range who have seen
their first monarch adults, eggs, or larvae of the year.
Join acitizen scienceproject
to help us document the state of the population.
supporting theMonarch Joint Venture, or
other organizations working to preserve space for the creatures with which we
share this earth. Support the Xerces Society which creates programs on pollinators.
time of year the mosquitoes and other biting insects drive me crazy. I am
like a magnet for biting things. So through the years I have developed
several concoctions to use on my skin to keep the little pests away.
are several you can try at home also:
Herbal Vinegar Spray
can pour the prepared vinegar into spray bottles for easy application.
cups fresh insect-repellent herbs
lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia and L. x intermedia)
Lemon thyme (Thymus x citriodorus)
Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum albescens)
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
cups apple cider vinegar
fresh herbs in a glass quart jar and cover with vinegar, bruise the herbs with
the handle of a wood or plastic spoon to release the oils in the leaves. Use a
plastic lid to seal the jar (vinegar corrodes metal). Shake
every day for 3 to 7 days. Filter vinegar within a week and use within the
year. Fresh herbs are best, but dry will
work if you have nothing fresh.
Antiseptic Insect Repellent Skin Oil
thyme and tea tree oils are very strong and pungent oils, so we suggest a skin
test first; if it burns when you apply it, dilute it further or don’t use
cup almond, walnut or grapeseed oil
6 drops oregano, thyme or tea tree oil
4 drops each of up to four insect repellent oils
oil to a small clean bottle, preferably dark glass. Drop in the essential oils
of your choice and shake well. Label and keep in a dark, cool place.
No insect repellent is effective against all bugs all of the time. Essential
oils are volatile, which means they evaporate quickly and must be reapplied
regularly. If you get mosquito or chigger bites, rub a plantain leaf on them
for quick relief.
is a weed we see everywhere, so you probably have some handy.
test for allergic reactions before applying homemade remedies to your entire
body. Put a little of the remedy on the inside crease of your elbow, and wait
15 minutes to an hour. If no reddening or blistering occurs, you should be safe
to use the remedy.
A friend asked me today if you can cook with lavender. I said absolutely, as lavender is an ingredient in the seasoning Herbs de Provence. She wanted something to try it out with and I suggested this salmon recipe you can make on the grill. The best way to make it is to smoke the salmon with lavender as you grill it. To do that you just cut a bunch of flowering lavender and put the stalks
in a glass of water for 45 minutes to 2
hours. The soaked herbs can be strewn on the coals
of the grill as the salmon cooks and the resulting
smoke lends a faint camphor and pine flavor to the
• 2 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons fresh lavender buds
• 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
• 4 fresh salmon fillets
In a large bowl, mash the garlic
and lavender buds together. Stir in the soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, and
oils, whisking to blend together. Add the salmon fillets to the bowl, cover,
and marinate for 30 minutes or longer. At
serving time, fire a barbecue grill and place salmon fillets-skin side down-on
the grill. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, basting frequently with the marinade, then
turn fillets once and cook another minute or more until the flesh is opaque and
flakes easily with a fork. Serve with a
fresh vegetable salad or coleslaw.