At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
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The best gardening and farming book EVER

If you ask us, and we do get asked a lot, the best book to learn about farming and gardening (or to learn a few new tricks if you're a life long farmer or gardener) is to go to the source: Jethro Tull's Horse Hoeing Husbandry, the first, and still the best, book on modern scientific agriculture.  It's available on Kindle for just under $2 at

http://www.amazon.com/Hoeing-Husbandry-Jethro-Brachfeld-ebook/dp/B0041OSBPW

The book teaches you how to farm and garden better - and the science behind why.  Covering everything from soil science to harvesting and marketing, from training draft animals to training better roosters, the most basic algae to the most complex agroecology, the history of agriculture gains new relevance when updated with modern science.

 
 

Plantain Leaves with Currants and Roasted Nuts

Plantain Leaves with Currants and Roasted Nuts

Recipe from Wild Food Foragers of America, Vol. 1 No. 4, August/September 2003.

1 pound plantain leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, pecans or walnuts)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup currants or raisins

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Wash, but don’t dry the plantain leaves, then chop coarsely.  Place in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook, covered, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to a colander and rinse quickly. Press out as much water as possible. (This will remove bitterness from older leaves.)

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over a medium fire, add the nuts and cook just until they begin to roast.  Add garlic, and cook another minute.  Add the leaves, currants, salt and pepper. 

Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 more minutes and serve hot.

 
 

Violet soup and violet salad

What to do with those delicious violets?  Try soup and salad!

 

Violet Pineapple Soup

Recipe from Valentine Floral Creations, 2009.  http://www.valentine.gr

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 cups pineapple juice

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

3 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 cups strawberries or raspberries, sliced

1 cup diced orange sections or drained canned mandarin oranges

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

1/2 cup fresh violets

Sour cream

Instructions

Combine pineapple juice and tapioca, bring to a boil. Remove from heat adding sugar and lemon peel. Cool to room temp. Add fruit, liqueur, and violets. Chill, before serving, add dollop sour cream to each bowl and garnish with a violet.

 

Violet-Mint Salad

Recipe from Prodigal Garden. http://www.prodigalgardens.info

Ingredients

2 cups violet leaves, cut into thin ribbons

1 carrot, grated

1 cup mint leaves, chopped fine or minced in food processor

1 cup dried fruit (choice of raisins, dates, craisins, currants, apricot)

1 cup walnuts

1 cup violet blossoms

Dressing: Creamy Violet Dressing is recommended (See entry for Speedwell, and substitute violets for speedwell)

Instructions

Toss everything together and top with your favorite dressing.

 

Turning over a new leaf

Mmmm!  Today we had our first evergreen and poplar leaves of the season!  The evergreen leaves were enjoyed with breakfast; the poplar leaves were given to two different friends in need whose doctors are allowing them to writhe in agony. 

One of our friends broke her fingers and they are swollen and painful - the pain medicine prescribed was taken orally and though her problem was on just a part of her body, she had to medicate her whole body!  Binding a poultice of the leaves and ground up bark of poplar and willow on her fingers with some bandaids makes better sense.  Our other friend's very arthritic neck found some relief with a poultice as well, though he did not want to bind it: he rubbed the powderized poplar and willow and found relief.

Leaves are less medicinal than bark, but more easily powderize without resorting to a coffee grinder.  Just dry out the leaves and crush them!  We make extra for ourselves in spring with the very powerful young leaves so that in the summer, autumn and winter we are never without.

 
 
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