Shuck Beans to Soup Beans

Now that the canning is done, we can turn our minds to the dry, yellowed beans we sorted out of the pile in the beginning.  They won’t go to waste.  If you were planning to grow beans to use for soup beans you would leave them on the plant until they, and the plant were…

Planning and Preparation – Green Bean Canning, Part 1

The first, and most essential step to enjoyable and effective canning, is planning and preparation.  I did not grow up canning, I grew up being told that home canned food would kill you, quickly, violently, and mysteriously.  This is absolutely true, poorly canned food can kill you.  Thankfully, canning isn’t an art, it’s a science. …

We Can Green Beans, and You Can Too!

There has been a huge resurgence in canning lately.  Perhaps it is a desire to get closer to the land again, or to embrace our old fashioned values and culture, or maybe it is simply a greater desire for healthy, homegrown food.  Whatever the reason, more and more people want to learn how to can…

Poke – Nutritious Food, or Deadly Poison?

Poke, it’s the sure sign that winter is over and hope is beginning again.  It’s usually the first harvestable green of spring, which makes it especially appreciated at our house.  Phytolacca americana, (poke, poke sallet, poke salad, poke berry, poke root, or pokeweed) has been an American staple as long as people who wrote things…

Hibiscus – Plant of the Week

I am not good at making plants live, although I have been improving over the past few years.  So when it comes to creating flower gardens I’m hesitant.  I don’t want to buy a plant that I will likely kill (like our impatiens this year), and I don’t want to dig up a perfectly happy…

Spotted Wintergreen – Plant of the Week

This is spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata), also called striped prince’s pine, and spotted pipsissewa.  It’s a very small plant, usually only 6 inches tall when flowering.  It is an exciting little plant because its leaves are evergreen so it can be easily found through the winter.  Like many of our forest plants it enjoys acidic…

Rhododendron – Plant of the Week

Rhdodendron is one of our most pervasive forest plants, so much so that in my mind it fades into the background landscape much like the ground around it.  I admittedly have thought so little of it that when I went to look up the scientific name I did not expect to find more than one…

Mountain Stewartia – Plant of the Week

My favorite book is Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier.  That probably shouldn’t be a woman’s favorite book, but it is mine.  I’ve actually never read it visually, but I listen to it several times a year as I fold laundry or work the garden.  The first time I listened to it I was working a…