Elderberries are ripe and plentiful right now, here in the Carolina Piedmont. We have several bushes that we planted a few years ago that are growing profusely, and dripping with the dark, rich, tiny berries that hold so many immune boosting and anti- inflammatory properties.
I have written many times about the wealth of herbs available in our own backyards that the good Lord provided to us, if we just take the time to learn about, and properly identify them. Of course, when using herbs, you must exercise caution, just like with any allopathic medicine, but usually, there are no side effects, and they work better (for my family anyway).
Each year when the elderberries ripen, I like to go out and gather them and make up this simple syrup. We take this daily starting in October, and it has helped ward off colds for my family for many years.
If you don’t have access to fresh elderberries, you can buy them dried from online herb suppliers.
Recipe for Elderberry Syrup
2 oz dried or fresh elderberries
1 pint filtered water
3/4 cup organic honey
Add water and elderberries to a pot and simmer for 20 minutes
Remove from heat, strain, and mix with 3/4 cup of organic honey
Funnel into a dark colored bottle and keep unrefrigerated for up to two months (ours doesn't last that long because we take 1 TBS daily)
Sweet Harvest Homestead has some exciting news! Friday, September 9th from 10 until noon we will have our grand opening of the Tiny Boutique at Sweet Harvest Homestead. The tiny shop will feature all of the delicious, seasonal jams, jellies, relishes, and bread, as well as hand, crafted soap, herbal salves, creams and watercolor art that I had at the Locust Farmers Market this Summer. Having the Tiny Boutique in my home will allow me to continue to provide great products and service to you, dear customers while home-schooling my children and keeping the home fires burning. It fits our lifestyle very well, and I am excited about the concept and new venture for our family.
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!
It happened this morning; did you sense it, see it, feel it too?
When I walked downstairs at day break and looked outside our windows, the dappled light was hitting the trees in the woods just a touch differently than it has all summer. And there was a difference in the overall feeling in the atmosphere. My younger two children each saw and mentioned the same thing to me, independent of one another. I love that they are sensitive to this sort of thing too.
The clouds even had different formations than they do the rest of the year. It's coming.
I can feel the change, the contrast from yesterday to this morning was evident; the summertime haze wasn’t as thick, so the sky was clearer and a shade of blue that only comes with this gentle turn of the earth. Even though the official start is over a month away, it's coming.
Mother nature is taking her last dance in her gown of green and blue gossamer and will soon change into her loveliest frock of all; one of crimson and gold with trimmings of purple and orange.
I sense it here in the Carolina Piedmont, do you?
If you've received a card from me in the past few years or if I have ever signed my book to you, chances are, it came with a tagline that read "you are great."
Why do I do that? Well, a couple of years ago, tucked down in an old forgotten box, I found a card that my mother gave to me the year before she died. In it, she wrote "you are great, love Mama & Daddy."
Since then, I have tried to do my best to live up to the potential that she saw in me.
That is why I like to write that little bit of encouragement when I get a chance. You never know when someone might read those words and take it to heart; if not at the time you wrote it to them, then maybe a few years down the road, like I did.
I believe that everyone has the power to be great in some way.
It doesn't have to be "Great" as the world may see it, but...you .are . great, and you need to know that!
That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.
“Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum…”
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Even though that passage was written over 50 years ago, it is still fitting right now on these humid, sweltering, summer days. A great way to cool off in this heat is with a bowl of home-made ice cream.
I remember when I was about 11 years old, my granddaddy bought an electric ice-cream maker. He let me go to the store with him and choose the ingredients and flavors that we would need to make ice cream. I chose mint chocolate chip. We set to work making it for the whole family on his front porch. I remember my brother and younger cousins eating the rock salt, and I was worried that all of that salt would get down inside of the container that held the rich, creamy goodness. Thankfully, no salt got in the ice cream. When it was finally finished, all of the cousins gathered around the machine and watched as my granddaddy pried the top lose. We all held our breath in anticipation of the treat, and when the lid was finally off, it exposed a deep green ice cream (because I was a little heavy handed with the food coloring). The chocolate chips were too big and hard to eat because they were frozen, but that memory will live forever as the best ice cream that I ever tasted.
When you are surrounded by all of your family and having a good time on your grandparent's front porch, everything tastes good.
I’ve been experimenting with different flavors of ice- cream, and I think I have hit the mark with this one. It is flavored with cardamom, and the texture is more like the old fashioned Ice milk, instead of ice cream. Does anyone remember ice milk? That was my daddy’s favorite; haven’t seen it in years, but I digress.
Cardamom is a spice that is used in Scandinavian and Indian cuisine. We also use it a lot here because I am nuts about the flavor.
To make Cardamom Ice Cream, you only need a few items.
2 quarts light cream
½ cup sugar
1 TBS freshly ground cardamom.
One fresh egg
8x8 metal baking dish
Mix first three ingredients together in a large saucepan and warm up. In a separate bowl, crack the egg and temper it ( add a little of the hot cream, a tablespoon at a time and stir. This prevents the egg from cooking in the hot liquid) When the egg mixture is tempered, add back to your pot of heated cream and mix well. Pour mixture into baking dish and set it in your freezer for several hours. The shallower the pan, the faster the cream freezes. After the mixture is frozen, scoop out and enjoy.
Cover with plastic wrap or convert to a lidded container and store in the freezer…that is if there is any left.
I have been thinking of adding a new segment to the podcast about books. I consider myself a life long learner and I have at least three books going at once, all of the time. Truth be told, if I went to a doctor for a diagnosis, I would probably have ADD because I flitter and flit from one topic to another all of the time- I like to look at that as an asset instead of something that needs to be medicated out of me.
If I stumble upon something that really resonates with me and is game changing or just helps me to think differently, I want to share it with you. Some may be fictional but most will be non-fiction.
I have recently been re-reading a great book by Claude Bristol called the magic of believing. Written in 1948, the magic of believing can change your life if you follow the steps that Claude Bristol lays out. Now, it is not new age fluff; Even well-known Christians like Norman Vincent Peale have said this is a great inspirational book - Set a goal in your life, visualize yourself moving toward that goal and see the steps involved.
It is a positive approach to self-improvement that works for many. It is a matter of positive thinking and believing that better things in your life are due to come to you. You can find the book at the library or buy it on Amazon but you can also listen to an abridged version on you tube for free! Give it a listen; I think you’ll really enjoy it!
Speaking of you tube, you can listen to my podcast on you-tube right now. I have a new channel there. I have avoided you tube as a platform for so long now, but I bit the bullet and uploaded my podcasts as well as a couple of how to videos. More videos will come so stay tuned.
Now, I wanted to ask a favor of you dear listeners, If you enjoy listening to the sweet harvest homestead podcast, would you do me the honor of leaving a review on iTunes or subscribing to my you tube channel and giving me a thumbs up? Reviews help get the podcast noticed so that others can enjoy the show too.
Thank you so much for listening and for your support.
That’s’ the news from the homestead, see you next week.
There is just something about the taste of fresh basil that speaks summertime to me. My basil is growing abundantly this year, and I think it is because I took the advice of a sage gardening friend, and planted it next to my tomatoes. Apparently, basil and tomato are companion plants; that is they benefit each other when grown side by side. Creamy Basil Dressing is a warm weather treat to my family, and we love to have a light supper of a homemade cornbread and salad with this dressing.
½ cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
One clove garlic 3
TBS vinegar One tsp
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and creamy. Keep refrigerated. This is the ultimate taste of summer!
This Thursday is my last for the summer at the Farmers Market. Don’t forget to go by and see my other friends who will still be there until October, providing you with freshly grown fruits and vegetables, crafts and eggs. They are a great group of hardworking people, and we certainly appreciate your patronage of the Locust Farmers Market. Be sure to come out to the Stanly County Farmers Market in Albemarle on the evening of Friday, July 29th. They will be having their evening market starting at 5:30. A large array of farmers and artisans will be there along with musicians and square dance demonstrations. I will be there for a book signing with my book, From Farm to Market: Stories of Farmers and Artisans in the Carolina Piedmont. I would love your support.
Sweet Harvest Homestead has some exciting news! Even though we won’t be at the market again until next summer, you will still be able to buy our products year round. Have you heard of the tiny house craze? Well, I am going to have a tiny shop with tiny hours in Stanfield. Stay tuned for information about our grand opening next month! I’ll leave you with a poem about Summer Children by one of my favorite poets, Edgar A. Guest. That’s the news from the homestead, see you soon! I like 'em, in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale, I like 'em in the
Stay tuned for information about our grand opening next month!
I’ll leave you with a poem about Summer Children by one of my favorite poets, Edgar A. Guest.
That’s the news from the homestead, see you soon!
I like 'em, in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale,
I like 'em in the spring time when the March winds blow a gale;
But when summer suns have tanned 'em and they're racing to and fro, I somehow think the children make the finest sort of show.
When they're brown as little berries and they're bare of foot and head,
And they're on the go each minute where the velvet lawns are spread,
Then their health is at its finest and they never stop to rest, Oh, it's then I think the children look and are their very best.
We've got to know the winter and we've got to know the spring, But for children, could I do it, unto summer I would cling;
For I'm happiest when I see 'em, as a wild and merry band Of healthy, lusty youngsters that the summer sun has tanned.