The farmers have been busy working day and night to harvest the corn in the fields around our home. The sound of the combine is the sound of summer coming to a close.
The earth seems to give birth in September; the orchards are full of apples and pears weighing heavy on branches. Muscadine grapes are purpling, and brown nuts are falling on these September days.
Yesterday, during my morning walk down our country lane, I noticed that the spiders are casting thick webs on the tops of my neighbor’s hedgerow. When the morning sun hits the dewy webs, there is an iridescent glow to them that reminds me of a soft blanket. When I paused to study them, I had a childlike thought that these thick webs could be used to cover tiny animals or fairy babies. I think we need to get out in nature more, without taking our phones with us so that our imaginations can take us to other worlds, if only for a short time.
The goldenrod that grows along our back fence is bursting with tiny yellow flowers and is ready to be harvested for tincture making. Some of you may ask, “Isn’t goldenrod that nasty weed responsible for my seasonal allergies?” Well, no. Many studies have shown that the culprit is ragweed, not goldenrod. Goldenrod just gets the bad reputation because it blooms at the same time and is showier than ragweed. Goldenrod pollen can only be transferred by bees; ragweed pollen, on the other hand, is transported by the wind. And the wind carried pollen is what makes you sneeze and your eyes water. But don’t take my word for it. Look it up.
You can buy goldenrod tinctures, (herbal medicines made with alcohol) but I like to make my own because I know exactly what goes into them, and it is a whole lot cheaper. I like to gather my goldenrod in the morning, take it home and chop it all up (leaves, stems, and flowers). I then fill a pint sized jar full of the herb and pour 90 proof vodka over the top of it. I put a lid on it and store it in a dark cabinet for six weeks. After that, I strain it and pour it into a clean jar.
Goldenrod is a strong astringent, so it sucks up extra moisture and tightens mucous membranes (mouth, sinuses, GI tract.), giving an anti-inflammatory effect. When you take the wetness and inflammation out of mucous membranes, most allergy symptoms disappear. The beauty of goldenrod is that it takes effect right away. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that if you are consuming processed foods daily, all of the herbal medicines in the world won’t work as well as they could. You need to be eating well too, to get the most out of your herbal remedies, but that is a topic for another week.
The Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead has been a great success! I truly appreciate all of you who come by and shop with us. If you would like to be added to our email newsletter list, you can visit my website www.sweetharvesthomestead and sign up.
I’ll leave you with a poem:
See, what a riot of color! Hark what a riot of sound! Golden grain and golden leaves rustling on the ground. Here is the wealth worth hoarding, Here is the gold of God: The sun upon the harvest fields, and the gleam of the goldenrod. – Marion Doyle.
That’s the news from the homestead. See you next week
I have an apron that I have worn flat out from 20 plus years of use. It is my very favorite one, not only for the way it fits but for the history of it. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother Alma Pauline Burchfiel Sellers. She was born in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee and I was fortunate to know her for six short years. She had a green thumb and grew a beautiful assortment of plants and flowers around her little home in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. She loved flowers and nature so much so, that she told my husband he was kin to the foxes and the birds when he was a little boy. There was some truth to that – her great-grandparents were Christopher Fox and Eliza Bird.
After she passed away, I remember my sister-in-law (who wasn’t even my sister-in- law at the time) mentioning to me that I should go to Memaw’s house with her to pick out some of her aprons as keepsakes. I thought that was awfully generous of the family because I was still just a girlfriend and not a true member of the family – yet.
We went, and I picked out four different aprons; all handmade, probably by her. They have never been put away as keepsakes, though. They have been put to very good use.
They have wiped hands that were caked with biscuit dough and kept eager children who wanted to help with the dishes, dry. They have carried eggs in from the chicken coop, wiped away tears from a sad child, and kept church clothes clean as Sunday dinner was prepared. The pockets have held little matchbox cars and doll shoes that were picked up before the vacuum cleaner sucked them up and they have wrapped a warm baby fresh from the bath.
And that was just in the 20 years that I have owned them. I wonder what adventures those aprons went on when they belonged to her? Probably very similar; Time changes, but apron wearing mothers remain the same.
My favorite one has quite a few holes in it now; I don’t want to part with it because so many memories are attached to it; Her memories and mine.
As I stated earlier, it fits well, so I wanted to recreate one like it. I managed to make a nice new one that looks and fits just like the careworn apron that belonged to her. It will take some time and washings to soften it up, but with a busy household like this one, it shouldn’t be too long.
I wonder if someday, the girlfriend of one of my yet- to- be –born- grandson’s will take it as a keepsake of me, and appreciate it as much as the one I picked out so long ago?
I wanted to say a big Thank You to all of the wonderful folks that came out to our grand opening of the Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead. It was a great success, and I can’t wait to see you
every Friday from 10 – noon.
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!
From the Mint Hill Times & The Weekly Post Newspaper:*
The adage good things come in small packages is fitting for a new home based boutique in Stanfield. Lindy Mayberry Sellers has transformed a 6 x 6-foot closet in her home into an elegant space filled with handcrafted goodness. The boutique may be small, but it’s loaded with charm and items that Sellers makes herself. You can find a variety of handcrafted soap; Vanilla Bean infused Strawberry & Blueberry jam, Reliance grape with nutmeg jelly and relishes; all made from locally sourced produce. Luxurious face cream, herbal salve, & watercolor cards line the shelves and every Friday, Sellers will be up early baking bread to sell. When asked about why she opened her shop, Sellers replied, “I have some fantastic customers that come by weekly to the Farmers Market in Locust. Since my season there is over, I didn’t want to make them have to wait until next summer; I thought this was a great way to keep those relationships going. I am a different kind of businesswoman I guess because I value the friendships more than anything else.” The Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead is only open on Friday’s and the hours are from 10 – Noon. When asked about the limited days and hours, Sellers said “I am a one-woman show, and it takes a lot of time to make and create everything that I sell. The limited hours and day work with our lifestyle, and I hope it works for my customers too.” The Tiny Boutique will have it’s Grand Opening on Friday, September 9th from 10 – noon. It is located at 6628 Smith Road in Stanfield. Sellers says “it is a little out of the way, but it is worth the drive; Stanfield is a beautiful area!”
Early this morning I went outside to my herb garden to gather Comfrey to make a healing salve. Herbs are best gathered in the morning after the dew has cleared, but before the heat of the day sets in and draws off volatile oils.
While I was out there, I noticed that the persimmons on our tree are big and fat and have a muted peach tint to them. After the first frost, they will make a delicious persimmon pudding.
The pumpkin seeds that we planted in the summer have many bright yellow blooms on them, and a few tiny baby pumpkins are beginning to form. You have to get out in the garden very early to even see the flowers opened because by 10 am, they are closed up tight.
This time of year makes me think of good soups. I like to make up extra and freeze it so that we can have a fast and nourishing meal for busy weeknights. This is one of our family favorites, and I hope it will become one of yours too.
One tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 lbs of your favorite BBQ pork
3 (14.75 ounce) can cream style corn
3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the onions until soft. Mix in the pork, corn, tomatoes, broth and BBQ sauce.
Cook, occasionally stirring, for 2 hours, or until thickened.
Enjoy with hot cornbread.
This Friday, September 9th is our Grand Opening of the Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead. We will be open from 10 – noon and will have your favorite fragrances of handcrafted soap, an assortment of seasonal jams and freshly baked homemade bread.
Hope to see you there!
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!
e rosy pink, reliance grape. I thought all grape jelly was purple until I discovered this little gem last year.With the cooler mornings that we have experienced the past few days and the gentle pulling away of summer, my mind starts thinking ahead to filling our larder full of the last of the summer garden fruits. We are fortunate to have a grape growing friend who generously shares his bounty with us. One of my favorite things to can or *put up* is jelly, made with th
The taste of a reliance grape isn’t quite as strong as a concord grape; it has a milder flavor. While making jelly with reliance grapes this week, I added 1 Tablespoon of freshly ground nutmeg to the mix. I was pleasantly surprised at the difference it made in the flavor of the jelly. It will make a fine accompaniment to fresh biscuits and a hot cup of coffee later on in the fall.
We had some extra left over in the pot, so I used it to make up my version of a Monte Cristo sandwich. I took two slices of sourdough bread and spread each of them with the Pink Grape/Nutmeg jelly. Then I added pieces of thinly sliced brie cheese. I topped that off with some honey ham and toasted it in the oven for 5 minutes, just until the brie melted and the bread was lightly crisp. Heavenly day was it good! The sweet and savory combination was an explosion of flavor on my taste buds and the hint of nutmeg paired so well with the brie. We have made those sandwiches for supper for the past three nights. When you’ve made up something as tasty as that – it’s hard to stop at just one.
We will have plenty of jars of Pink Grape/ Nutmeg Jelly at our grand opening of the Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead on Friday, September 9th from 10- noon. Can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces once again!
I also wanted to let you know that the tiny boutique will be a pickup location for the naked pig meats. If you order your meat from the online store or call them up to place your order, Jenny will bring them here to Stanfield and you can pick them up here if it is a more convenient location for you.
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.